2024 Coto Travel Guide: Things To Do In Japan In January

January in Japan is a magical time. The country is transformed into a winter wonderland, with snow-capped mountains, glittering illuminations, and the festive spirit of the New Year. Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, outdoor adventures, or pure relaxation, Japan in January has something for everyone.

A Quick Jump To…

Experience お正月 Oshogatsu (Japanese New Year)

Immerse yourself in the unique traditions of Japanese New Year. Visit shrines and temples for 初詣 Hatsumode (first prayers), savor traditional おせち料理 Osechi cuisine, and witness festive decorations and events. Even if you missed the Hatsumode or Osechi cuisine on the first day of January, don’t worry; you can always go to the shrines in Japan and get Japanese dishes that are in the Osechi cuisine.

Check out our blog for more about Japanese New Year tradition and Osechi Cusine: Celebrating Shogatsu: Unveiling the Magic of Japanese New Year.

Photo By byFood

Witness winter illuminations

Cities across Japan come alive with dazzling illuminations, creating a fairytale-like atmosphere. Don’t miss the Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, Sagamiko Illumillion, or the stunning Nabana no Sato illumination in Mie Prefecture.

Sagamiko Illumination at Fujikyu Photo By

Tokyo Midtown Hibiya

Sagamiko Illumination at Fujikyu

Nabana no Sato illumination

Warm up with a soak in an onsen

Escape the cold in a natural hot spring. From traditional ryokans to modern spa resorts, there are onsen experiences for every taste and budget.

Tenzan Onsen Photo By www.tabiulala.com

Tenzan Onsen 天山温泉

Hakone Yuryo Onsen 箱根湯寮温泉

Check out our blog for more about Japanese onsen: 2023 Coto Travel Guide: Things To Do In Japan In November

Hit the slopes 

Japan boasts world-class ski and snowboard resorts with powder snow and breathtaking scenery. Niseko United in Hokkaido and Hakuba in Nagano are particularly popular choices.

Hakuba Valley Photo By Travel Japan

Hakuba Valley

  • Location: Nagano
  • Winter lift ticket: One day pass: ¥8,500

Resort APPI

  • Location: Iwate
  • Winter lift ticket: One day pass: ¥7,000 / ¥9,000 / ¥33,000

Check out our blog for more about ski resorts: 2023 Coto Travel Guide: Things To Do In Japan In December

Encounter the Snow Monkeys

Observe the adorable Japanese macaques soaking in hot springs in Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano.

Jigokudani Monkey Park

Attend the Sumo Grand Tournament

Watch skilled sumo wrestlers compete in the first tournament of the year in Tokyo.

Photo By Tokyo Cheapo

Japanese Sumo Association

Explore winter festivals

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of local festivals like the Wakakusa Yamayaki in Nara or the Atami Plum Blossom Festival.

Wakakusa Yamayaki Photo By OH! MATSURi

Wakakusa Yamayaki

  • Opening Hours: 16:45~ | fireworks – 18:00 
  • Entrance Fees: ¥150
  • Tel: 0742-27-8677
  • Location: 奈良市登大路町30

Atami Plum Blossom Festival

Planning Tips

  • Weather: Be prepared for cold temperatures and occasional snowfall, especially in northern regions. Pack warm clothes and waterproof gear.
  • Crowds: New Year’s week is one of the busiest times to visit Japan. Expect larger crowds at popular attractions and higher prices.
  • Transportation: Public transportation is highly efficient in Japan. Consider purchasing a JR Pass for unlimited travel on Japan Railways trains.

January in Japan offers a unique blend of festive traditions, natural beauty, and exciting activities. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, Japan in winter is sure to leave you with lasting memories. So pack your bags, embrace the chilly air, and experience the magic of Japan in January!

You Might Be Wondering…

Is it expensive to travel to Japan in January?

Yes, January can be more expensive to visit due to the New Year holiday season and winter sports peak season. However, there are ways to save money, such as choosing budget-friendly accommodations and traveling during weekdays.

Do I need a visa to visit Japan?

Most visitors from Western countries can stay in Japan for up to 90 days without a visa. However, checking with your local embassy or consulate for the latest visa requirements is always best.

What language do I need to speak?

While English is spoken in some tourist areas, knowing some basic Japanese phrases will go a long way. Coto offers part-time and lite-intensive courses, which are Japanese lessons that have flexible scheduling and can fit into your busy schedule.

Test your Japanese level!

Do a self-test to see which course fits you.

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