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Defeat the biting cold with hearty food, warm baths, and enchanting holiday illuminations

The chill of winter means you'll have to come extra prepared to brave the elements, packing scarves, gloves, down jackets, and more. Once you acclimate to the cold, you'll find the city is full of enchanting spectacles, soothing food, and centuries-old rituals. What's more, the crisp air, deep blue skies, and minimal rain make it the ideal season for incredible views across the city and surrounding countryside.


  • With temperatures averaging between 0 to 8 degrees Celsius in Tokyo, be sure to come prepared with a heavy jacket, scarf, and winter cap
  • If you're still having trouble dealing with the chill, go to any convenience store and purchase a box of "hokkairo," disposable heating pads that you can adhere to the inside of your shoes, gloves, and jackets
  • The low humidity in winter results in crystal clear views, so you can often see the silhouette of Mt. Fuji from the top of TOKYO SKYTREE

Hearty food to warm the soul

Japanese cuisine flows with the seasons. While summer is a popular time for outdoor barbecues, skewered meats, and chilled noodles—in winter you can enjoy a wide range of savory stews and steaming hot pots.

Enjoy a relaxing “nabe” hot pot meal

Nabe hot pots are a staple of Japanese winter. Head to the Ryogoku area, home of the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo arena, to sample chanko nabe—the type of hot pot that sumo wrestlers eat. You can also visit the Okubo area, known as "Korean Town" for its many Korean restaurants, to chow down on a kimchi nabe. For the more adventurous, izakaya pubs and specialty restaurants offer motsu-nabe, which contains organ meat.


Stewed meats and veggies to go

From humble stalls to high-class restaurants, there are a huge number of places in Tokyo that serve oden—a selection of stewed meats and veggies. Check out the Akabane Ichibangai Shopping Street with its laid-back atmosphere, or one of Ginza's many hidden gems in the backstreets. Track down a great oden place in your own favorite part of town. In the winter months you'll also find oden on sale at virtually every convenience store.


Enchanting Christmas lights will put you in the holiday spirit

Tokyo winters come alive with extravagant illuminations and festive decorations for occasions like Christmas and Valentine's Day. Popular spots for illuminations include the tree-lined streets of Omotesando, Ginza, and Ebisu. Marunouchi district, Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi, and the Meguro River in Nakameguro are also popular.
Winter Illumination Guide


Escape the winter chill with a relaxing bath

Winter is the perfect season to enjoy a traditional bath or take a dip in a hot spring. Tokyo has numerous public baths on offer.
Onsen & Bathhouses


Festivals & Traditional Events

While summer offers vibrant festivals, bon-odori dance, and firework displays—winter also has plenty of traditional events and customs to take part in.
Note: See 'The Best Festivals in Tokyo and Japan' for more details about festivals held in Tokyo throughout the year.

New Year's customs

If you happen to be in Japan over the New Year's holiday, head to Meiji Jingu Shrine on January 1st (starting at midnight) to partake in "hatsumode" (the first temple/shrine visit of the new year). Meiji Jingu, which enshrines the Emperor Meiji and his wife, is visited by over 3 million people over the first three days of the new year. It's known for being the most popular place in Japan to go for hatsumode.


Bean-throwing festivals

February 3 marks the last day of winter on the old Japanese calendar, and the traditional way to celebrate is called Setsubun. On this day before spring, people scatter beans to ward off bad luck and draw in good fortune. At Zojoji Temple, you can try scattering beans for yourself and enjoy food from various stalls. At Sensoji Temple, people believe that no demons would dare appear before the enshrined Kannon bodhisattva—so people focus on chants for good luck.
Setsubun takes place at shrines and temples all over the city, including Ookunitama-jinja Shrine and Kanda Myojin Shrine, and draws many visitors.

Events in December

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Events in January

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Events in February

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More Winter Fun


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