When Does It Snow in Japan?

June 1, 2023

While many travellers imagine Japan to be a land of swaying cherry blossoms and stunning autumn foliage, the country also offers plenty of unique winter experiences. Snow is quite common in the northern areas and along the western coastline that faces the Sea of Japan. The snow season typically runs from mid- to late December until early March or April.

During this time, cold wind from Siberia sweeps over the Sea of Japan, collecting moisture that falls as snow. It is this precipitation that makes Hokkaido, the northern islands of Japan and the Alps all experience snowy conditions. The southern regions that face the Pacific Ocean get much less snow.

If you plan to visit the country during the winter, make sure you pack warm clothing. The average low in Tokyo is a brisk 1degC (33degF), while the chilly temperatures of central ski paradises like Nagano and Niigata can drop below freezing. The cold weather is made bearable by the presence of natural hot springs, which are found at numerous ski resorts and where both athletes and non-athletes alike can soak their aching muscles.

Other factors to consider when planning a trip to Japan include national holidays, local festivals and peak tourist seasons, which can result in higher prices, more crowds and delays at popular attractions. The peak typhoon season typically takes place in September, so you might want to avoid this month if you’re traveling by train or plane.


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