2023 Coto Travel Guide:  Things To Do in Japan in December

Japan is a beautiful country with four distinct seasons. December is the beginning of winter in Japan, and it’s a great time to visit if you want to experience the country’s snow and winter festivals. Here are some of the best things to do in Japan in December.

A Quick Jump To…

See The Christmas Illuminations

Japan is famous for its Christmas illuminations, and many beautiful displays can be seen in cities nationwide. Some of the most popular illuminations are in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. Definitely find a time to come to these places to take Instagram-worthy pictures with your family, friends, and loved ones!

Here are the places we love!

Keyakizaka Illumination

OMOHARA Christmas illumination

Midtown Christmas 2023

Visit A Christmas Market 🎄

Besides the Christmas illuminations, there will also be Christmas markets around the city waiting for people to visit every year! Each Christmas market has its selling point, but most of them offer German cuisine, such as mulled wine, beer, sausages, and beef stew. Besides, there are also Christmas ornaments that you can purchase from the stores. Some of the bigger Christmas markets, like the Tokyo Christmas Market, also offer shows for people to enjoy! If you haven’t been to a Christmas market before, Coto highly recommends you visit one of the following!

Here are the places we love!

Tokyo Christmas Market

Goulash (beef stew soup)¥1,000
Assorted Sausages (3 kinds)¥1,300
Mulled Wine¥700
Dutch Beer¥1,300
Hot Chocolate¥700
Price of some of the popular items!

Roppongi Hills Christmas Market

Goulash (beef stew soup)¥1,250
Assorted Sausages (3 kinds)¥2,200
Mulled Wine¥700
Dutch Beer¥900 ~ 1,500
Hot Chocolate¥550
Price of some of the popular items!

Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market

Goulash (beef stew soup)¥1,200
Assorted Sausages with cheese (10 kinds)¥1,600
Roast beef with potatoes¥1,200
Mulled Wine¥800
Hot Chocolate¥800
Price of some of the popular items!

Azabudai Hills Christmas Markets

Tokyo Skytree Town Dream Christmas

Meguro Machikado Heart & Art Christmas

Go Skiing Or Snowboarding 🎿

Japan has some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world. Hokkaido is the most popular destination for winter sports, but there are also great resorts in Nagano and Tohoku.

Here are the places we love!

Hakuba Valley

  • Location: Nagano
  • Winter lift ticket: One day pass: ¥8,500 (for more different kinds of tickets, click “winter lift ticket” to know more)

Resort APPI

  • Location: Iwate
  • Winter lift ticket: One day pass: ¥7,000 / ¥9,000 / ¥33,000 (for more different kinds of tickets, click “winter lift ticket” to know more)

Rusutsu Resort

  • Location: Hokkaido
  • Winter lift ticket: One day pass: ¥11,500 (for more different kinds of tickets, click “winter lift ticket” to know more)

Prince Snow Resorts

  • Location: Various places depend on which ski resorts you want to go to!

Visit Chichibu Yomatsuri 🏮

Known as one of Japan’s three major Hikiyama festivals, the Chichibu Yomatsuri in December features dazzling floats adorned with lanterns. The festival’s nighttime procession creates a magical atmosphere, illuminating the winter sky.

Information on Chichibu Yomatsuri

Take A Soak In An Onsen ♨️

Onsen are hot springs that are found all over Japan. They are a great way to relax and warm up on a cold winter day.

Check out the 2023 Coto Travel Guide: Things To Do in Japan in November for more information on which onsen to go!

Enjoy A Traditional New Year’s Eve Celebration 🎇

New Year’s Eve is a big celebration in Japan, and there are many traditional events and activities to take part in. People usually eat 年越しそば toshikoshi soba, also known as “year-crossing” buckwheat noodles. The meaning behind this is to have a “long life.” Besides traditional food, families also gathered together to watch 紅白歌合戦 Kōhaku Uta Gassen, broadcasted by NHK.

You Might Be Wondering…

What is the weather like in Japan in December?

The weather in Japan in December varies depending on the region. In general, the northern regions of Japan, such as Hokkaido, experience colder temperatures and snowfall. Southern regions, such as Kyushu and Okinawa, have milder temperatures.

What should I pack for a trip to Japan in December?

Be sure to pack warm clothing, such as a jacket, hat, and gloves. You may also want to pack snow boots if you plan on doing any winter activities.

What are some popular tourist destinations in Japan in December?

Some popular tourist destinations in Japan in December include Hokkaido, Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo.

What are some traditional Japanese Christmas foods?

Some traditional Japanese Christmas foods include Kentucky Fried Chicken and Christmas cake. Stay tuned for our Christmas Blog for more information!

What are some popular New Year's Eve traditions in Japan?

Some popular New Year’s Eve traditions in Japan include eating soba noodles, visiting temples, and watching fireworks displays.

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