12 Most Fascinating Things To Do In The Winter In Tokyo, Japan - Updated 2024

things to do in winter in tokyo
Villy
Villy  
Contributing Writer
Updated
| 5 min read

You don’t need a plethora of reasons to visit a place when the weather is pleasant enough. But things get trickier if you are visiting a place in the cold winter, although you stay at the best Airbnbs. Japan’s busy capital, Tokyo, is one such place. Tokyo can only captivate you with the contrast of skyscrapers and historic temples that beautifully decorate the city, while a number of museums and theatres make the city artistic. In the winter, you will find yourself playing with the snow in nearby unique hotels, enjoying the Christmas atmosphere all around, visiting exhilarating festivals, or tasting hot local delicacies, so keep reading to discover what Tokyo looks like in the winter time and don’t hesitate to pay a winter visit! Here is a list of the most fascinating things to do in the winter in Tokyo, Japan.

1. Visit Christmas markets in December

Tokyo Christmas Market, Hibiya Tokyo, Japan
Source: Photo by Flickr user Mark D used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Discover a surprising side of Tokyo during the winter season with its impressive European-style Christmas markets. This is one of the top winter activities in Tokyo. Locals eagerly flock to these seasonal markets in December for an enchanting experience filled with shopping, workshops, and delectable food. Immerse yourself in the magical ambiance of beautifully adorned stalls and booths offering crafts, ornaments, and a variety of mouthwatering treats. Sip on mulled wine as you explore, and you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a charming German village.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to enjoy the festive atmosphere and create unforgettable memories in Tokyo’s winter wonderland.

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2. See the beautiful illuminations on the streets

Tokyo Christmas Market, Hibiya Tokyo, Japan
Source: Photo by Flickr user Mark D used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Tokyo’s winter illuminations as they cast a warm glow across the city. Despite the cold, these mesmerizing displays will truly warm your heart. Tokyo’s urban landscape becomes a canvas for thousands of twinkling lights, creating a magical atmosphere that is sure to captivate you.

From tree-lined streets adorned with champagne-colored bulbs to modern and creative light installations, Tokyo’s winter illuminations offer a delightful visual feast. Take leisurely strolls through illuminated streets and parks, or immerse yourself in the enchantment of shopping centers adorned with brilliant displays. Winter in Tokyo becomes a radiant wonderland, providing the perfect backdrop for a memorable and joyous experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the city come alive with these dazzling illuminations during your visit.

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3. Learn the sumo culture (from USD 150.0)

Consider yourself lucky if you book a tour to see these sumo giants, as the sumo wrestling tournament takes places only three times annually. Feel the excitement to enter the Ryogoku Kokugikan, a famous Tokyo sumo stadium, and watch these enormous warriors trying to kick each other out of the ring. The price includes only the entrance fee to the stadium, however, an English-speaking guide will prove very beneficial, since they are normally quite knowledgeable about the sumo culture.

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Tokyo Sumo Wrestling Tournament Experience

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

221 reviews

4. Don't miss the Chichibu Yomatsuri


This spectacular Night Festival takes place every year on the 2nd and 3rd of December, right in the heart of winter, an hour and a half from Tokyo. As a float festival, you will see large floats beautifully decorated with lanterns, and wood carvings, pulled through the streets, while performances are given for the public. During both evenings, complimentary fireworks light the winter sky and give a magical essence to the festival. Food and local drinks to warm you up are available at the street stands.

Chichibu Yomatsuri

Dates: 2-3 December each year

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Tokyo Tour Guide

Ayano

Ayano

Hello! I am Ayano, a local host in Tokyo. I have been living in Tokyo for over 10 years, so I know a wide range of restaurants, bars, cafes, and tourist spots! Leave your Tokyo sightseeing to me. I have traveled to various countries and had unforgettable experiences. Being passionate about traveling, I really want to take you to the captivating places in Tokyo. As photography is my hobby, I wi... Read more

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5. Comic fan? Check out the Winter Comiket


Yes, you guessed it right. This is a comic-related event (in fact, one of the biggest in Japan), and what’s better than spending the last days of the year in the company of your much-loved mangas. The event takes place from morning till late afternoon (free entry), during which thousands of manga artists will display their creations for you to enjoy. If you wish to bring your costume, you might have to pay about 800yen (7USD), while it is advised to be in good health and dressed accordingly.

Winter Comiket

Where: Tokyo Big Sight

When: 28-31 December 2018

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6. Experience the enthralling Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks


What is another enchanting activity apart from winter illumination in Tokyo? Certainly, it’s rainbow fireworks. If you are heading to Tokyo this December, then don’t miss out the Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks, that is probably a favorite festival for the photography buffs as well. This impressive fireworks display is held every Saturday in December at 7pm, and the closer you get to New Year’s, the more crowded it gets. About 2,000 fireworks are expected to light the sky between Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba on the first Saturday of December, while a good spot to watch them is in front of the Decks shopping center.

Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks

Where: Odaiba

When: Every Saturday in December at 7pm

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7. Go souvenir shopping at Boroichi Market II

things to do in winter in tokyo | go souvenir shopping at boroichi market ii
Source: instagram

If you wish to buy a souvenir that reminds you of Japan, or you would like to capture some incredible photos, or you simply love strolling through huge markets, then you can`t ignore Boroichi Market. This super old event lasts two full Christmas days, during which more than 700 vendors gather to sell anything you can imagine; from quirky antiques to fascinating handicrafts, and of course, delicious food along the streets. To end the event, firecrackers are usually exploded.

Boroichi Market

Where: Setagaya

When: 15-16 December from 9am to 9pm

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8. Gear up for ice skating

東京スカイツリータウン 2017 アイススケートパーク (33128617196)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user bangdoll used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Whether you are visiting Tokyo for holidays or you call this place home, ice skating is always a good idea if you get on well with ice in general. There are quite a variety of ice skating rinks to choose from, depending on your preferences. Some of them are family-friendly and do have a separate kids` rink, while others have live music or even a light show on the ice to keep visitors entertained. Other rinks are ideal for professionals or skating lessons, but the majority of them are open during the winter time only.

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9. Feel the winter at the Jingugaien Itcho Festival

things to do in winter in tokyo | feel the winter at the jingugaien itcho festival
Source: instagram

Tree lovers, make sure you don’t pass by this naturally colorful festival during your quest of the best things to do in winter in Tokyo. If you happen to be in the city from mid-November to early December. The autumn is approaching its end, and the best spot to see the tree leaves turning into a magical yellowish color is the Icho Namiki avenue with the ginkgo trees. Of course, the avenue is open all day for visitors to walk through, however, between 10am to 8pm you will also be able to satisfy your appetite with festival-type delicacies.

Jingugaien Itcho Festival

Where: Jingugaien

When: 16th November - 2nd December 2018, from 10am to 5.30pm

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10. Spoil yourself with a treat to nabemono (from USD 92.0)

No trip in Tokyo is complete unless you try the extraordinary special locality, called Nabe, or else Nabemono. Nabe literally means hot pot and it is an ideal dish to warm you up during the cold winters. They usually cook it in a large pot and add ingredients such as vegetables, meat, or shellfish, while they place it in the center of the table where everyone may pick what they want. Except for being delicious, nabe is also a great way to socialize, so give it a try if you are around.

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Challenge Sumo Wrestlers and Enjoy Meal in Tokyo

Duration: 2 hours

319 reviews

11. Have fun in the snow (from USD 109.0)

If you suddenly feel like you’ve missed the child within you, then this is the right tour for you. Ideal for anyone who is a child in body and soul, this full-day tour takes you to Norn Minakami snow resort and ends with a visit to Harada strawberry farm, and as such, it operates between December to March. While on the tour, you’ll get the chance to build a snowman or try the funnier sledding, enjoy a tasty endless buffet lunch, and pick your own strawberries for dessert. Remember to bring all the winter equipment along on the trip.

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Tambara Snow Land with Lunch plus Strawberry Farm from Tokyo

Duration: 10 hours

2 reviews

12. Sparkle at the Tokyo illuminations (from USD 68.0)

sparkle at the tokyo illuminations
Source: www.viator.com

You can’t miss this very special night tour if you visit Tokyo in the winter. Hop on an E-assist bike, and with the help of a professional local guide, explore the best illumination spots of Tokyo, admiring the colorful lights displayed in buildings, trees, and landmarks of this wonderful city. With the electric bike, you don’t have to worry about slopes, just bring your positive energy, your friends and family, and enjoy the tour! Bicycle and helmet rentals, together with the guiding fee are included in the price.

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December 1st Tokyo Illumination Night Cycling Tour by Electric Assisted Bike

Duration: 3 hours (Approx.)

Boring winter? Not in Tokyo

Even if you can’t possibly complete enjoying all these fun things to do in Tokyo, Japan, during your winter holidays, you must acknowledge that Tokyo doesn’t sound like another boring destination where low temperatures keep you indoors. So, are you ready for Nabe gatherings?

Frequently asked questions about the things to do in winter in Tokyo, Japan


Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Meet Villy, a perpetual explorer with an insatiable curiosity for the world and an unwavering eagerness to learn. Growing up in Greece, Villy embarked on a journey to transcend her comfort zone....Read more

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