10 Events and Things to do in Japan in December 2023

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Writer’s Profile

Luca Wirthmann is a student who was born and raised in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He will live and work in Tokyo as an intern for almost five months in order to get a better understanding of Japanese culture and develop his personality as well as business skills. In the summer of 2024 he will complete his Business Administration studies and plans to do his master’s program abroad. In his free time he’s both playing and watching sports, checking out new museums, and learning new languages.

Japan is blessed with many events and opportunities during the beginning of Winter. This article contains of 10 renowned Events and Things to do in Japan in December! Whether you want to explore some historical villages, savor Japanese cuisine or marvel at the Illuminations. This article is sure to have some Things to do that will satisfy your travel spirit.

1. Winter Illuminations

Witness the brightness of Japan’s winter illuminations and stroll through dazzling displays that turn the city into sparkling works of art. Embrace the enchanting glow of millions of twinkling lights that adorn landmarks, parks, malls and of course Christmas markets. Experience the beauty of winter nights illuminated with a kaleidoscope of colors, creating a captivating atmosphere that defines the winter season in Japan. See the most breathtaking displays and be sure to not miss out these iconic sceneries that captivate both locals and tourists alike!

2. Christmas Markets

December in Japan transforms into a magical wonderland with enchanting Christmas markets. Christmas Markets invite you to explore these festive get-togethers, where the smell of Glühwein (mulled wine), ginger bread and other festive delicacies are in the air. From handcrafted ornaments to delectable treats, these markets are a treasure trove of holiday cheer, providing an authentic experience where western and japanese traditions merge. Stroll through rows of festively adorned stalls, each offering a unique blend of traditional Japanese crafts and international holiday treasures. Revel in the lively atmosphere and discover the perfect gifts for your loved ones.

3. Ice Skating

Glide into the winter spirit with Ice Skating! It offers the perfect blend of seasonal fun and physical activity. From the iconic rinks in Tokyo to the scenic outdoor arenas in Hokkaido, there are opportunities everywhere to embrace the Japanese winter chill. Whether you are a seasoned skater or a novice, everyone is welcomed! Feel the winter air as you twirl under the open sky and against the backdrop of illuminated urban skylines.

4. Countdown Events

Celebrate the transition to a new year with the Countdown Events across Japan. From Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya Crossing to Kyoto‘s serene temples, you will find those Events everywhere! Join the locals in welcoming the new year with fireworks and a festive spirit. Capture the anticipation and excitement as you bid farewell to the old and welcome the new.

5. Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park

Escape to the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park that brings you face-to-face with Japan’s famous snow monkeys. December is the best time to witness these monkeys soothing in hot springs amid snowy landscapes. Get to know their natural behavior and observe how they interact with each other. Traverse snow-covered trails to reach the park, where you’ll observe the playful animals against the beautiful snowy backdrops. Learn about the conservation efforts to protect these unique inhabitants. This encounter is sure to make this trip a memorable one!

6. Chichibu Night Festival

Indulge into the heart of Japanese tradition with the Chichibu Night Festival. This festival illuminates the night with dazzling floats adorned in lanterns, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. Get insights into  the cultural significance of this centuries-old event, ensuring an immersive and unforgettable journey into the heritage of Chichibu. Experience the rhythmic beat of traditional drums and the craftsmanship of festival floats as they parade through the streets. 

7. Zao Juhyo Festival

Venture into the snow-covered landscapes of Zao during Zao Juhyo Festival tours. Marvel at the Ice Monsters (“Juhyo”), trees transformed into sculptures by snow and ice. This winter wonderland event offers a chance to witness nature’s artistry while learning about the local legends and traditions that make Zao a captivating destination in December. Traverse snow-covered trails and unveil the hidden beauty of the Juhyo. Warm up with local specialties as you immerse yourself in the folklore that surrounds these natural wonders, creating a truly enchanting winter experience.

8. Shirakawago

Uncover the charm of Shirakawago that showcases the winter beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage. Explore the iconic thatched-roof houses covered in snow, creating an instagrammable picture. Additionally you will have the chance to discover the cultural significance of this historic village, offering a serene escape into the heart of Japan in December. Wander through snow-covered streets lined with gassho-zukuri houses, experiencing the tranquility of this winter wonderland. Participate in traditional activities and savor local cuisine, gaining a deeper understanding of the History that has endured for generations in this unique community.

9. Onsen Visits

Indulge into the ultimate relaxation with Onsen; a perfect, if not the perfect relaxation place for the winter season. Japan’s hot springs are a soothing retreat during colder months, providing a serene escape surrounded by snowy landscapes. Immerse yourself in the therapeutic waters of these natural springs, where steam rises against a backdrop of snow-covered landscapes. Get to know the tradition of Onsens to ensure you fully embrace the calming and healing properties of these bathing wonders. 

10. Ramen Expo

Savor the rich flavors of Japan’s beloved comfort food at the Ramen Expo in Osaka. So what are you waiting for? Dive into the world of ramen, with diverse regional styles. From classic tonkotsu to broth creations, this Expo ensures a delectable journey through the heart of Japanese ramen culture. Visit renowned ramen shops and discover the stories behind each bowl. Engage with ramen masters, gaining insights into their craft and the cultural significance of this beloved dish.

Japan Wonder Travel Tours 

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan. 
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots! 
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help! 

Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market Food and Drink Tour
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo and try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake with one of our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking guides! 

tsukiji tour

Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.

Asakusa Tokyo private tour

Mt. Fuji Day Trip Bus Tour from Tokyo
Experience the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji by visiting the highlights of the area on our guided sightseeing bus tour! Departing from Shinjuku in central Tokyo, you can travel comfortably to all of the best spots in the area by bus.

mount fuji chureito pagoda

Kyoto Private Full Day Walking Tour
On this full-day private tour of Kyoto, you will be able to see the highlights of Kyoto in just one day and at the same time develop a deeper understanding of both the culture of the area and Japan as a whole.

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Happy traveling!

Stay informed of the best travel tips to Japan, the most exciting things to do and see, and the top experiences to have with the Japan Wonder Travel Newsletter. Every week we will introduce you to our latest content.


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