On average, Tokyo receives 9-10 snow days each year. Snow occurs typically from December through March. However, January and February have the most snow days.
Continue reading to learn more about when it snows in Tokyo, the most likely snow dates, what to anticipate on a snow day in Tokyo, and where to find snow if you’re visiting.
Is There Snow in Tokyo?
Tokyo receives just one or two days of light snowfall in an average year, and the snow seldom lasts more than a few days on the ground, if at all. Nonetheless, the city is close to several notable snow resorts in Japan, several of which may be visited in a single day.
The two months of January and February are considered the most ideal for seeing these winter regions since the snow is at its heaviest.
How Much Snow Does Tokyo Get?
Annually, the greatest significant snow depth recorded is 3 inches, on average, since 1946. However, this is just an average, and there have been many years with far higher snow depths.
The current record, established in 1951, is 13 inches. Tokyo received 10.6 inches in 2014 and 8.2 inches in January of this year.
When Does Tokyo Get Snow?
For a city that averages 9-10 snow days per year, most of which fall between December and March, it’s difficult to predict precisely when it will snow in Tokyo.
For the last 72 years, the Japan Meteorological Agency has been keeping track of snow depths. There have only been 56 years with adequate snow to record any depth in those 72 years.
If you’re planning a vacation to Japan and want to see snow, it’s best to go in January or February. However, keep in mind that you are not guaranteed to see snow during your stay in Tokyo.
To See Snow in Tokyo, What Meteorological Conditions Must be Met?
Snowfall is possible when the temperature is between 32F and 36F, and the humidity is low. In a nutshell, one should recognize that a low temperature is one of the most severe issues regarding snow conditions.
Snow occurs in the high atmosphere regardless of the season, but it only manifests as snow on the earth’s surface when the temperature is cold enough.
If the temperature is too high, however, the structure of the snow will melt, and rain will pour.
In other words, for snow to reach the earth’s surface as snow, the temperature must remain low.
According to one hypothesis, air pressure becomes another important component determining snowfall when temperatures are 35.6F or lower.
Tokyo Snowfall Compared Other Japanese Cities like Osaka and Nagoya
Although the number of snow days in Osaka is higher than in Tokyo, snow accumulation seldom exceeds 2 inches.
One will observe that the amount of snowfall in Tokyo is rather considerable when compared to other major Japanese cities.
Does Snow Pose a Problem for Tokyo?
Since 1946, just four times has there been more than 10 inches of snow reported. Since the Japan Meteorological Agency began collecting statistics, only 11 times has there been more than 6 inches of snow.
Air Travel is Cancelled and Disrupted by Snowfall in Tokyo
Injuries from Slips and Falls Increase in Tokyo During Snowy Days
According to the Tokyo Fire Department, over 70 people were seriously injured after sliding on ice and snow.
The victim’s ages ranged from 19 and 90. So, be cautious if you’re in Tokyo during a significant snowstorm. If caught in the snow, it is advised that you take it slowly and be mindful.
Snow Wreaks Havoc on Tokyo’s traffic.
In a city with so little snowfall, it’s reasonable that winter tires aren’t widely used. Roads and bridges are blocked or limited to vehicles equipped with snow tires or chains during heavy snowfall.
Where Can Tourists Find Snow in and Around Tokyo?
Yuzawa is one of the most convenient spots with assured snow for a day trip from Tokyo, and it can be reached in under 90 minutes by Joetsu Shinkansen.
The town has good snow, thermal springs, and more than twenty ski resorts, one of which is immediately connected to the Gala Yuzawa shinkansen station. Non-skiers may also enjoy the snow at several resorts’ snow parks.
Manza Onsen Hot Springs
Manza Onsen is a Japanese hot spring resort located approximately 5905 feet above sea level, on the other side of Kusatsu Onsen, on Mount Shirane. Manza gets the country’s most sulfuric waters from the mountain, and the town gets a lot of snow in the winter.
This snowfall makes it one of the greatest sites near Tokyo to take in the winter wonderland.
Karuizawa is a posh mountain retreat for Tokyo’s affluent. As a result, the town of Karuizawa has some of the best shopping in the country, including one of the country’s largest outlet malls.
There’s also the Karuizawa Prince Ski Resort, which is one of Japan’s first resorts to open each year. One should note that their snow is artificial in the early season.
Minakami Onsen Hot Springs
Minakami is a prominent hot spring destination only a day’s drive from Tokyo. Takaragawa Onsen is one of Minakami’s most excellent hot springs, including some of the country’s largest and most famous outdoor pools.
Takaragawa Onsen is considered one of the closest co-ed bathing hot springs to Tokyo, with magnificent mixed-gender pools that run alongside a river and change character with the seasons. There is also a women-only outdoor bath.
Nikko is a great destination to get a taste of both snow and culture.
While the shrines and temples in the town center do not receive much snow on a regular year, the Okunikko region, which is located higher up in the mountains near Lake Chuzenji, generally has snowy vistas and frozen waterfalls; nevertheless, snow is not always assured during milder winters.
Kusatsu Onsen Hot Springs
Kusatsu Onsen has a vast supply of high-quality hot spring water and is routinely regarded as Japan’s best onsen destination.
In addition, the hot spring town is generally snow-covered in the winter, making for a pleasant overnight trip from Tokyo, especially when paired with a stay at one of the nearby ryokan.
Are there Any Ski Resorts Close to Tokyo?
Manza Onsen Ski Resort
Manza Onsen is a genuine onsen in Gunma Prefecture’s Agatsuma Region, which is a rural district. From the hot spring base, at an elevation of 5900 feet, you may enjoy a variety of routes.
The season at Manza Onsen lasts from mid-December until early April.
When it comes to lodging, it is recommended to stay at Manza Kogen Hotel if you want to focus on your trip’s skiing or snowboarding side and just want a safe, clean, and reasonable place to stay.
Manza Prince is a fantastic alternative if you want a little higher level and be closer to the slopes.
Fujiten Snow Resort
Fujiten Snow Resort allows you to ski at the foot of Mount Fuji and get up and personal with one of Japan’s most recognized sights. The ski season begins in early December and runs through early April.
The hotels are not very near Mount Fuji since it is such a massive mountain that it stretches out in all directions.
The ones nearest to you are around 7.5 miles distant. If you want to drink champagne for breakfast with a great view of Mount Fuji, go to Forest Village.
Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort
Gala Yuzawa ski resort is considered one of the most accessible ski resorts to get to from Tokyo.
It’s a popular tourist destination that’s ideal for day visits. From mid-November until late May, they have a ski season.
Your budget will limit your lodging options. In Yuzawa, there are several possibilities. Everything is available, from inexpensive shared dorm beds to more opulent hotels like Hotel Kiyotsukan.
Take note of the distance between the hotel and the ski resort.