Things to do in Japan in January
January is the first month of the calendar year in Japan, it also announces the beginning of the third quarter in schools and universities for pupils and students.
The tourist season is relatively quiet during winter. January ranks among the least popular months of the year for foreign travelers, if not the lowest.
This low-season period gives the best deals to small-budget travelers, who can find flights ✈️ and accommodation much cheaper than usual. Moreover, not crowded sightseeing spots are so much more pleasant to visit, even if the sleeping nature of Japan does not allow to witness its full colorful potential, especially in Japanese gardens.
Climate and weather
Winter spreads from the North to the South of Japan, with more or less intensity depending on the geographical location.
The archipelago hosts numerous snow-covered ski resorts, especially on Hokkaido Island and in the Japanese Alps. Big cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka have a pretty cold winter but not so humid and mostly sunny. Southern islands, from Kyushu to Okinawa, show nicer temperatures.
However, watch out for the sunset, which occurs around 5 p.m. and sometimes implies to wake up early in order to ensure a whole day of visits.
National public holidays
New Year's Eve period involves a few days break in the country’s economy. Many stores, restaurants, museums and gardens are closed around the 1st of January.
On the other hand, train 🚅 stations and national airports see their traffic double: Japanese people travel to go to their family’s house or take some fresh air. It is interesting for tourists to stroll around big avenues become strangely calm.
Non-worked days are:
- January 2 -- Emperor’s wishes in Tokyo Imperial Palace
- January, second Monday -- Seijin no Hi: celebration for Coming of Adult Age (at 20 years old) in Japan
Top things to do
The capital city of Japan happens to be very pleasant in January. More quiet and less touristic, Tokyo is still charming under the soft winter sunlight with a clear skyline. And Osaka always holds on lively evenings to be explored by nightlife lovers.
Below is a list of Japanese seasonal attractions and events in January:
Travel packing tips
In your luggage, layered clothing is relevant to be cold-safe and rain ☔️-ready. Thick and brand new socks are useful to walk indoors sacred places or houses. Sunglasses can also be helpful in case of any outdoor stroll.
In your toiletry bag, cough and cold medicines must be brought, except for Vicks balm which can be purchased on site.