fbpx

Your guide to Japan in December

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 With seasonal highlights and weather that ranges from autumnal cool to proper winter cold, Japan can be breathtakingly beautiful in December.

Japan’s Oshogatsu holiday season comes at the end of the month with Christmas being more of a token event. Crisp, clear winter skies make mountain vistas pop against azure backgrounds with everything seeming that little bit extra special at year’s end.

Change in season turns the year
Winter weather conditions vary greatly throughout Japan. As you might expect, southerly locations like Kyushu are warmer throughout the year than Hokkaido. Mountainous areas begin to get snow in late autumn and the thermometer may dip below zero in colder places like Nagano and Niigata. Sunny days in Tokyo can feel warm, but Kyoto gets surprisingly cold.

Originally a Western import, Christmas is celebrated in Japan but is much different than the family-oriented holiday in English speaking countries. Decorations are everywhere but few presents are exchanged. Christmas turkey is unheard of, with a Yuletide trip to KFC being the preferred practice. Couples go out for romantic dinners rather than spending time with family and Christmas cake is unrecognizable. Glitzy urban areas in the capital like Ginza and Marunouchi area around Tokyo Station are prime spots for fancy dinners and festive lights.

New Year’s Eve and the first few days of the new year are the more important holiday for Japanese. While most visitors don’t get to experience it in a family setting, you can visit shrines to see the new year is like a local. Many hold events and prepare warm sake, Toshi Koshi soba (buckwheat noodles), and pork soup for visitors.

Lighting up the night
As with fireworks, Japan excels at making lavish light displays in the wintertime. Many start in mid-November and continue through the winter adding a certain frisson to chilly city nights.

You’ll find major displays all over Tokyo and, if you have time, you can even take the Yamanote Line around the city to see a few of them. A short walk from Shimbashi Station, the Shiodome Light Display runs from November 16 to February. The Midtown Christmas event near Roppongi Station has a shorter run from November 15 to December 25.

Ringing in the ski season
While heavy snowfalls generally don’t arrive until the end of the month, most popular ski resorts are up and running by mid-December. When snowfall is scarce early in the season, resorts use artificial snow to compensate. Hokkaido’s big resorts may open as early as the end of November.

Bring in the hot spring 
Many of Japan’s ski resorts double as hot spring resorts or at least have a selection of onsen bathing spots nearby. Worth a visit for the baths in their own right, they offer pleasurable post-ski relaxation or a viable alternative to skiing and snowboarding.

What to know before you go

  1. Early season skiing is possible from mid to late December at some of the biggest and best resorts
  2. The new year’s period is a busy and expensive time to travel with some businesses closing for a few days
  3. The Oshogatsu holiday period typically runs from December 28 to January 5 depending on how the days fall
  4. Many shrines hold New Year’s Eve events on December 31

IANS

Read also: Japanese odyssey

- Advertisement -

Related Articles

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Podcasts

Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

0
  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

0
  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

0
  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Vinod Dua passes away at 67

0
The pioneering and anti-establishment television journalist, and a walking encyclopaedia on India's culinary secrets, Vinod Dua, passed away on Saturday, months after he lost...

Review: Bob Biswas

0
  This film focuses on the assassin Bob Biswas, a character conceived by Sujoy Ghosh and Advaita Kala’s Kahaani ( 2012) starring Vidya Balan, thus...
gita gopinath

Gita Gopinath to become IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director

0
  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that Gita Gopinath, currently chief economist of the IMF, is set to succeed Geoffrey Okamoto as the...
Photographer Naidu Kumpatla and his shot of a Laughing Kookaburra tossing her catch. Images supplied

Naidu Kumpatla: Bird Man

0
  It’s Sunday night and bird photographer Naidu Kumpatla has just returned to his Perth home from a weekend at Camel Soak in outback WA. The...
antim screening

WATCH: Bollywood fans light fireworks in theatres during ‘Antim’ screening

0
  Salman Khan aka 'Bhai' had a much-awaited theatrical release with Antim: The Final Truth last week, joined by his brother-in-law Aayush Sharma. Unfortunately, some emphatic fans...