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 renowned for its many events and things to do in February. Snow Festivals, lantern festivals, valentines day and more. Immerse yourself in February festivities and enjoy the ending of the Winter season in Japan.
1. Valentines Day
Embark on a love-filled adventure this February in Japan, where Valentine’s Day takes on a sweet and charming vibe. Picture this: women take the lead by crafting handmade chocolates, a gesture known as “giri-choco” for obligatory gifts and “honmei-choco” for those dear to the heart. It’s a delightful reversal of roles in comparison to valentines day in other countries, creating an atmosphere of excitement and creativity in the air. Whether you’re sharing chocolates with your special someone or spreading love among friends and colleagues, the experience is truly heartwarming. Dive into the local chocolate scene at specialty shops or roll up your sleeve and join chocolate-making workshops for a hands-on delicious celebration. A great way to do that is at Miyashita Parks Kit Kat Chocolatory.
Setsubun, a lively and colorful Japanese festival, marks the coming of spring and the end of winter. Setsubun is celebrated on the last day before Spring, it is a day filled with unique traditions. One of the main customs is the “mamemaki” or bean- throwing ceremony, where roasted soybeans are scattered to drive away evil spirits and invite good luck into homes. People often participate in this ritual with great enthusiasm, shouting “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi!” meaning “Out with the demons, in with good luck!” Another highlight is the decoration of homes with “fukumame”, auspicious beans believed to bring prosperity. Setsubun is not just a time to dispel negativity but also a joyous occasion for families to come together, enjoy special foods like Ehomaki (lucky direction sushi rolls), and partake in the vibrant festivities that symbolize the arrival of a new season.
3. Skiing or Snowboarding
February in Japan is a winter wonderland in various regions, and for snow enthusiasts, it’s the perfect time to hit the slopes for skiing and snowboarding adventures. One of the favorite spots for winter sports enthusiasts is Niseko in Hokkaido, renowned for its powdery snow and diverse range of slopes catering to all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-timer, Japan’s winter wonderland, also known as Hokkaido has something for everyone. Another top destination is Hakuba in Nagano, boasting a scenic backdrop of Northern Alps. Enjoy gliding through fresh powder with friends and family or take lessons from expert instructors if you’re new to the sport. February provides an ideal opportunity to revel in Japan’s snowy landscapes, and these ski resorts offer not just thrilling slopes but also picturesque views, making it an unforgettable winter experience.
4. Sapporo Festival
The Sapporo Snow Festival, a spectacular winter event, transforms the city into a magical winter wonderland. Held annually in early February, this festival is renowned for its stunning snow and ice sculptures that captivate visitors from around the world. The highlight is the Odori Park venue, where enormous sculptures showcase intricate details and creativity. The festival also extends to the Susukino district, known for its breathtaking ice sculptures that illuminate the night. Visitors can marvel at the craftsmanship, attend concerts, and indulge in delicious local cuisine. Whether it’s exploring the snowy landscapes or participating in fun winter activities, the Sapporo Snow Festival offers a unique and enchanting experience, making it a must-visit destination during the winter season in Japan.
5. Plum blossom (Ume) Viewing
Embrace the enchanting beauty of February by indulging in the tradition of Plum Blossom (Ume) Viewing across Japan. As winter’s chill begins to subside, ume trees burst into delicate blossom, painting parks and gardens in hues of pink and white. One of the most picturesque spots for ume viewing is Tokyo’s Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, where the fragrant blossoms create a serene ambiance. Share this delightful experience with friends or a loved one, relishing the sweet fragrance and the visual feast of blooming ume trees. The Plum Blossom Viewing season is not only a celebration of nature’s renewal but also a time to appreciate the fleeting beauty of these early spring flowers. Embrace the tranquil moments and the promise of spring in the air.
6. Lunar New Year
Step into the vibrant tapestry in Japan as the Lunar New Year unfolds, bringing with it a cascade of joyous celebrations. Embrace the lively atmosphere as streets come alive with colorful decorations, traditional performances, and the aroma of festive delicacies. The Lunar New Year festivities in Japan offer a unique blend of cultural richness and modern flair, providing a truly immersive experience. Join in the lively parades, witness breathtaking lion dances, and savor dishes believed to bring good fortune in the coming year.
February is the perfect time to experience the tranquility and rejuvenation of an onsen in Japan, especially in the northern regions. As winter covers the landscapes in a serene layer of snow, the onsen experience becomes even more enchanting. Nestled amidst picturesque snowy surroundings, onsen resorts offer a serene escape where visitors can unwind in natural hot springs, surrounded by the beauty of a winter wonderland. The therapeutic warmth of the hot springs provides a soothing contrast to the crisp, cold air, creating a peaceful and rejuvenating retreat. Whether it’s enjoying an open-air bath with snowflakes gently falling or relaxing in indoor facilities with panoramic winter views, February offers a unique and serene atmosphere for an onsen getaway in Japan.
8. Yokote Kamakura Festival
February in Japan offers more than just skiing and snowboarding; it also brings the enchanting Yokote Kamakura Festival. Head to Yokote City in Akita Prefecture for a unique winter experience. The festival is known for its kamakura, which are snow huts illuminated from within by candlelight, creating a magical ambiance. Join the locals in building your kamakura, dedicated to the water deity, or explore the intricate designs of larger ones. The festival also features outdoor tea ceremonies, local delicacies, and traditional performances. Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends, immerse yourself in the warmth of community spirit amid the snowy landscapes of Yokote in February. It’s a perfect opportunity to witness Japanese winter tradition and create lasting memories.
9. Nagasaki Lantern Festival
In February, venture beyond the snow-covered landscapes and explore the mesmerizing Nagasaki Lantern Festival. Held in Nagasaki City, this annual event transforms the streets into a vibrant sea of colorful lanterns. As you stroll through the illuminated pathways, you’ll encounter intricate lantern displays, traditional performances, and a lively atmosphere. Joining the festival with friends or family enhances the experience, allowing you to share the joy of lantern-gazing and indulge in local festival treats. Don’t miss the spectacle of Nagasakis lantern-lit nights, where the city comes alive with cultural richness and wonderful beauty.
10. Winter Illumination
As February unfolds in Japan, brace yourself for a mesmerizing spectacle that transcends the chill- Winter Illumination. Picture streets adorned with millions of twinkling lights, casting a magical glow that turns ordinary nights into extraordinary experiences. Whether strolling through enchanting parks or iconic landmarks, you’ll find yourself immersed in a dazzling display of colors and patterns that paint the town aglow. Popular installations are mostly found in Tokyo or Osaka where the beautiful City serves as backdrop.
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