Japan in January??

May 17th, 2019, 10:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,336
Japan in January??

I have some air miles and an Amex companion voucher burning a hole in my inbox! We have a window of opportunity for travel in mid January. Anyone been at that time of year? Is it a decent time to visit as far as the weather is concerned?

I appreciate that it will be cold, which is not a problem but would love some blue skies ( enough grey in England in January). Hotel prices do seem lower so I am guessing it is less crowded in Jan.

Any suggestions for a 10 - 12 day trip? Initial thoughts were just revisiting Tokyo and Kyoto but a couple of days in the countryside at a reasonably priced Ryokan would be nice.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
crellston is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 08:46 AM
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I am planning to visit Japan with my partner for two weeks in mid January. I lived in Japan for three years and my memory is that January can certainly be cold (especially in the more northerly parts of the country), but itís also beautiful. In central Japan, December and January tend to be some of the sunniest and clearest months of the year, strangely enough! You can expect at least some blue skies unless youíre very unlucky. This makes it one of the best times of the year to see Mt Fuji, for example. As long as you avoid the New Years and Chinese New Years, it is definitely the low season as well - which I prefer. Some suggestions for things to do to take advantage of the winter:

- Go to some outdoor hot springs (onsen). There is nothing like sitting in a hot springs bath while snow falls around you! Skiing and winter sports are popular as well if youíre into that.
- Look up some local festivals and see if any will overlap with your trip. Summer is the traditional festival time in Japan, but there are plenty in winter as well. This is doubly true if you will be in Japan over January 1st to 3rd or so.
- Japan is a profoundly seasonal country, if that makes sense. Each season has food and drink specialties. Take advantage of winter specialities like mikan (Japanese tangerines), oden and nabe ( both a kind of stew), mochi (pounded rice cakes), etc. Donít forget non-food traditions like sumo and sitting under a kotatsu (a kind of heated table with a blanket over it.)
lizu2014 is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 01:36 PM
Join Date: Sep 2014
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You can certainly do it. It will be cold and there's a big lack of the verdant green and flowers in other seasons, but it's a tourist low season and airfares are cheaper. Going to some hot springs is a great idea. Weather is usually not bad - enough clear days for you, and winter is a good time to see Mt Fuji, which is often obscured.

Adastra2200 is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 03:06 AM
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Thanks for the ideas. You have both convinced me . Flights are booked and I am off in search of snow surrounded, open-air onsens etc.!
crellston is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 01:04 PM
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Maybe a good time of year to go to Okinawa?
thursdaysd is offline  
May 20th, 2019, 05:06 AM
Join Date: Apr 2015
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We went in winter this last season and it was fine - other than spending a bit of time in Tokyo (we holidayed in Japan in 2017 for three weeks as well) and Kyoto (and Nara) for a few nights each, we took off for six nights in Wakayama Prefecture south from Osaka and it was wonderful, lovely coastal scenery, it's tuna country so lots of that, great wagyu beef there too and we certainly enjoyed a few bbq's! We always stay in hotels although we did stay in Yunomine which is an amazing onsen town (the whole town literally steams!) on the Kumano Kodo trail at a very good hostel.
patriciatbrogan is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 02:47 AM
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Okinawa wasn’t even in my radar but it does look like a good time. Apparently it is sakura season in Jan.

Patricia, you are making me very hungry - tuna and wagyu, two of my favourite foods. Yunomine does look amazing. Are you happy to share the name of the hostel you used there?
crellston is offline  
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