What's new

Travel Will I enjoy a December trip to Japan?

Ozreth

Registered
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
3
I've been looking to go to Japan for about ten years now and finally have the resources to do so. My options are either go in mid December or wait another year. The thing is, even if I go this December I'll probably still be able to go again next year. I'm just worried that it might be a waste of money if December is too dreary of a time to go. I of course want to spend my days walking/training around sight seeing rather than be stuck indoors. It seems that it won't be rainy or snowy, which is good, but I don't want to be uncomfortably cold either. I'd like to be able to see a variety of vegetation but I imagine that will all be dead and gone by this time. I also like the bustle of crowds and outdoor activities, which I fear will be subdued during time time. For a first time trip, is it worth going in mid December? Thanks!

For reference I'm looking at Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto and would stay for about two weeks.
 

Ozreth

Registered
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
3
When could you go next year? Let's compare.
Next Fall, which makes the answer sound obvious but after all this time of trying to go and finally being able to I'm ready to get on a plane in December! The practical side of me is having some reservations though. I think if the weather was comfortable enough for me to walk around all day, if most attractions are still open, and if I can catch some flowers/trees/etc here and there I would be happy.
 

undrentide

Japa'n vagyok
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
3,621
Ratings
305
It really depends on which part of Japan you wish to visit.
In Tokyo, it could be rather cold in December, but all the entertainments are open and available, in big parks like Shinjuku gyoen you can enjoy trees and flowers all year round - December surely isn't the best season for flowers, but camelia (sazanka) will be in bloom.
You can walk around all day, if you have a good jacket or overcoat to keep yourself warm.
 
Joined
May 12, 2013
Messages
1,333
Ratings
178
Coming from Phoenix, I imagine December will be rather chilly in Tokyo.

I don't know what you want to see, but touring around the southern parts of Japan would probably be very interesting, though possibly not terribly exciting in the same way as Tokyo. Might make a nice December trip, especially if you wander down into the islands.
 

Ozreth

Registered
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
3
Coming from Phoenix, I imagine December will be rather chilly in Tokyo.

I don't know what you want to see, but touring around the southern parts of Japan would probably be very interesting, though possibly not terribly exciting in the same way as Tokyo. Might make a nice December trip, especially if you wander down into the islands.
I do currently live in Phoenix, but I've also lived in Oklahoma City and NYC, so cold really doesn't bother me, in fact I'd almost welcome it right now, as long as it isn't so cold as to put a damper on my days. I have read that the days are generally clear in December though, rather than gray and cloudy, so that's good!

As far as what I want to see-- I'm not too terribly picky and would like to see a little bit of everything. Bustling parts of Tokyo and interesting shops, historical landmarks, the countryside, small towns, you name it and I'd have a great time.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2014
Messages
940
Ratings
137
Having never been to Japan I can't speak from personal experience, but the main writer of the Tofugu blog even recommends going in winter over other seasons. Apparently, summer is just too hot and humid unless you go up north.

The comments below the article also contain many insights from other people.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2015
Messages
12
Ratings
1
I've been looking to go to Japan for about ten years now and finally have the resources to do so. My options are either go in mid December or wait another year. The thing is, even if I go this December I'll probably still be able to go again next year. I'm just worried that it might be a waste of money if December is too dreary of a time to go. I of course want to spend my days walking/training around sight seeing rather than be stuck indoors. It seems that it won't be rainy or snowy, which is good, but I don't want to be uncomfortably cold either. I'd like to be able to see a variety of vegetation but I imagine that will all be dead and gone by this time. I also like the bustle of crowds and outdoor activities, which I fear will be subdued during time time. For a first time trip, is it worth going in mid December? Thanks!

For reference I'm looking at Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto and would stay for about two weeks.
well since you got the resources you should go because its more then a perfect time
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2016
Messages
6
Ratings
2
Hello,
I travel to Japan in December every year! It is a great time to visit :) it is always around 10 degrees Celsius in Tokyo. Real winter with snow starts around February there. If you don't like coldness it's even warmer on the south of Tokyo (Kanagawa). Here is a short list of a great things to do in Japan on winter:
- Enjoing christmas illuminations (Toky, Enoshima, Kobe)
- sightseeing in main cities and enjoying winter menus ;)
- experiencing the traditions of the Japanese New Year with special food and visiting temples (best: Kyoto, Kamakura, Nara)
- sightseeing in smaller cities on the warmer side (Enoshima, Kamakura, Yokohama)
- going to the mountains for skiing (Hokkaido, North Honshu, Japanese Alps)
- Going to onsens (Hakone, Kusatsu, Nikko, Yudanaka). If you dont have too much time to visit smaller cities, in Tokyo or Osaka you can even find onsens (looking more like a pool) in normal hotels eg.APA
- If you like winter scenery - visiting snow monkeys (yudanaka), and stopping in the way in Nagano and Matsumoto castle (castles are windy though!)
- going shopping during new year's sales (every bigger city,in Tokyo especially: Shinjuku, Shibuya)

Have a nice, cozy time in Japan!
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2016
Messages
12
Ratings
5
Can I echo Kinchan - December is just as good a time to go as any.
I too travel to Japan every December, sometimes experiencing 正月and all the quiet it brings to Tokyo for a few days ;-)
More than once the temperature has been known to be a lot warmer than expected so I always take a light jacket with me as well as warm coat.
If you're traveling about then avoid doing it after the 27th - even if you can get a reservation. I made that mistake once - the Shinkansen trip from Kyoto back to Tokyo on January 3rd one year was an excruciating experience. The train manager lost control due to the excessive number of unreserved passengers. Unreserved in both ticket and nature (booze-a-go-go!).
 
Top