By Lauren Ferrone
Published: Monday, March 5, 2018
Winter might be a time for hibernation in some countries, but not when you’re in the Land of the Rising Sun. Words: Ben Groundwater
This is a time when the mountains rest under vast blankets of snow, when the trees stand stark against rich blue skies, and when your breath condenses into a cloud right in front of your eyes.
Life doesn’t just go on in Japan in winter, it thrives. It’s a time for festivals and celebrations, a time for eating, drinking, shopping, exercising, and so much more.
If you happen to find yourself in Japan in the colder months, it’s worth making the most of these seasonal activities.
This is the winter activity that first pops to mind for many people when they think about Japan, and for good reason. The local ski industry is booming thanks to affordable lift tickets, beautiful scenery, and snow, glorious snow.
If you love powder days, Japan is the place for you: we’re talking up to 14m of the white stuff falling every year at popular resorts, such as Niseko on the northern island of Hokkaido and Hakuba on the main island of Honshu.
While those two locales are the best known to Australians, there are plenty of other mountains to discover here, all which offer great skiing, a friendly atmosphere, a unique snow culture, and much more.
The Japanese are obsessed with food, particularly fresh, seasonally-appropriate food, and winter is as good a time as any to enjoy nature’s bounty.
One of the most prized winter foods in Japan is crab, and you’ll see it appearing on menus in plenty of forms – crab sushi, steamed crab, or even crab soup – as the colder months descend.
Winter is also a time for nabe, the Japanese hotpot, which often features plenty of hearty root vegetables, tofu and meat. Pair it with a little hot sake and you have yourself the perfect winter warmer.