Girl walking through Tokyo

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Why exactly is Japan the new fave winter spot?

Published July 12th, 2019

Japan is the new fave spot on every traveller’s must-see list. And in winter, it goes next level magic. Yes, there’s epic skiing and snowboarding and yes, it’s a BIG reason to go in the colder months. But it’s not the only one.

Here’s a look at all the best reasons to say ‘konnichiwa’ to our Japan Sale!

The ja-pow

That’s right, the snow in Japan has its own special name. And while it may sound like a karate move, the perfect white goodness of ja-pow can never be underestimated once it’s time to slay the slopes. Because it’s drier and more powdery than all the other snows - so when you stack it, it’s soft and cushy - aka not hard and icy. We love that. (And it’ 100% for snow angels!)

Need more reasons to ski and snowboard? Japan is full of top-notch ski resorts with epic runs for all levels. Beginner? There are gentler slopes errrywhere to help you learn the ropes. Gone pro? Daredevils will find their thrills. That’s for sure.

The sake, whiskey and food

Sake, katsu curry and oden. sushi, tea and ramen. Or zosui, whiskey and tempura? Eating and drinking in Japan is defs a highlight. And it only gets better in winter. Don’t miss the super warm and comforting guratan (a filling, creamy pasta dish topped with cheese), nabe (delicious hotpot) and yakiimo (baked Japanese sweet potato). All best served huddled up with mates under a kotatsu (heated blanket - the Japanese love them!).

Oh and there’s plenty of hot chocolate and fireplaces to be found too.

 

The friendly locals

Anyone who’s been to Japan raves about how safe they felt. The Japanese people are uber friendly, so welcoming and hospitable, whether it’s hotel staff, a shop attendant or a stranger in the street that you’re asking for help or directions. Extreme politeness is just a part of their beautiful nature.

The karaoke and nightlife

Japan and karaoke go together like Straya and Vegemite. You simply can’t visit without giving it a red hot go. And thankfully, there are karaoke rooms everywhere to whip out a few ballads, warm up your vocal chords and keep your alter-ego in check. #wheninjapan

The onsens

Bit nippy? Head straight for the onsen (hot spring) baths. It’s warm, steamy and it’s a must-do natural part of winter life here. Apres-ski or apres-exploring, Japan is dotted with onsens, from the mountains to the cities and everywhere in between. They generally come with epic out-the-foggy-window-views too. Think gorgeous valleys, natural pools and Japanese architecture. Where better to get naked and chill?

No fret - you do get a modesty towel. You know, for an eeny weeny bit of extra coverage.

 

The culture

Where else can you ski one day and check out temples the next? Do the cat cafes, ride the bullet train, and suss out the quirky shops (btw did we mention the epic winter sales hit in January and February?). PLUS drop by the snow monkeys of Nagano, join in all the winter festival celebrations, and admire the “Frost Flowers” of Lake Akan (or else be freaked out by the “snow monsters” of Yamagata Prefecture).

Still around in Feb? Keep those eyes peeled for white and pink signs of ume blossom. Nope, not cherry blossoms. Plum blossoms - the first signal that winter is coming to an end and spring is nearing.

The winter spirit of Tokyo

Tokyo really pulls out all the winter charms once the temps drop. Think less crowds, all the famous sites with a magical dusting of snow and the city is bejewelled in millions and millions of tiny twinkling lights. Plus - winter is the best time to spot Mt Fuji thanks to the crisp, clear days and blue skies. Your Insta of that now snow-capped volcanic peak is sure to trump all the misty-can-barely-see-it snaps out there.

 

tijanaaaaaa

Tijana Jaksic

After some hardcore scrimping and saving, Tijana’s first backpacking trip confirmed she was onto something good. She hasn’t stopped since. Fave memories to date include dancing with locals in the streets of Havana, bartering for too many scarves in the markets of India, getting lost in the bustle of Hong Kong, sipping cocktails in the Greek Islands and jumping off waterfalls in Croatia. Now she gets to write about travel for a living – the best way to satiate the wanderlust between adventures.