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. Japan’s busy capital, Tokyo, is one such place, but no worries, because you can’t easily feel discouraged once here, even during the winter! 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 resorts, 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!
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.
Tambara Snow Land with Lunch plus Strawberry Farm from Tokyo
Duration 10 hours
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.
Sumo Wrestling Tournament Experience in Tokyo
Duration 3 hours
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.
Dates: 2-3 December each year
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.
Where: Tokyo Big Sight
When: 28-31 December 2018
6. Experience the enthralling Odaiba 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
When: Every Saturday in December at 7pm
7. Go souvenir shopping at Boroichi Market II
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.
When: 15-16 December from 9am to 9pm
8. Gear up for ice skating
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.
9. Feel the winter at the Jingugaien Itcho Festival
Tree lovers, make sure you don’t pass by this naturally colorful festival if you happen to be in Tokyo 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
When: 16th November - 2nd December 2018, from 10am to 5.30pm
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.
Tokyo: Sumo Wrestling Demonstration & Chanko Nabe Lunch
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.
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 do all these fun things when in Tokyo for 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?
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