Photo: Photo: iStock: Tatsuo11

Best hidden spots for a winter trip in Japan

By Cassandra Lord

We’re shifting from T-shirts to sweaters and pulling out the kotatsu (a table with a heater underneath)—which, in Japan, means dazzling illuminations and cute winter dates. Unfortunately, despite the cold, it still gets pretty crowded.

To enjoy the wintertime views around Japan safely and comfortably, here’s a short selection of spots not on everyone’s list. So grab your gloves and scarf, and let’s get going!


Lake Yuno (Nikko)

Although Tokyo has fantastic illuminations in winter, you’ll have to head out of the city if you don’t want swarms of people in your photos.

A fun option for an overnight trip is the wintery sights of Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture. The winter months make for a magical walk around Yuno Lake, where you can see the snow-covered peaks glistening across tranquil waters. In the evening, you can see illuminations around Lake Chuzenji, where the lights bounce off the water and create a romantic ambiance.

Alternatively, for foodies and fruit lovers, you could head to one of the many strawberry farms to pick your own delicious winter treats. Strawberries are a popular winter fruit in Japan (grown in greenhouses), and Tochigi is well known for its juicy strawberries.


Hakuba (Nagano)

Nagano and Niigata are ideal spots to hit the winter slopes. For a simple and relatively affordable ski trip, Unazuki Snow Park in Toyama is off the radar for most. There are also nearby onsen (hot springs) and viewing spots that make for fun visits after skiing, like the Omokage Observatory (observation deck), with views of the snowy mountains and onsen area.

For a similar experience in Gifu, the Hida Funayama Snow Resort is a quaint ski resort great for casual trips with the family or beginners. Experienced skiers will feel more at home on the challenging runs in Hakuba (Nagano Prefecture), but those resorts are often much more crowded.

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Well, each prefecture has its beauty

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Quite spectacular are the frozen falls in Ogano, just past Chichibu

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