2019 Winter Destinations in Japan Popular With Foreign Tourists

09.January.2019 | SPOT

Travel lodging website Booking.com has revealed the most popular winter break destinations in Japan with foreign travellers from 2018 to 2019*.

East Asia: Kyushu & Okinawa, close to many other countries

Countries that are close to Japan including South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan have voted Kyushu and Okinawa as their favourite. South Koreans in particular have a tendency to enjoy hot spring spots in Kyushu such as the cities of Yufu, Beppu and Kumamoto. The number of people visiting these places not just as tourist locations but to enjoy the hot springs is on the increase.

 

Taiwanese travellers voted for 3 cities in Okinawa that made the list up to No. 20. A direct flight from Taiwan to Okinawa takes about one hour which is thought to be part of the reason behind its popularity.

South-East Asia: If you’re going in winter then why not enjoy the cold

The ranking shows that a lot of people in South-East Asian countries like Thailand and Singapore where the climate is warm all year round travel to Japan to enjoy the winter. Hokkaido is of course one of the main players, but the list shows that people tend to go to Takayama too where there is heavy snowfall. Their popularity can be accredited to providing snow like nowhere else in South-East Asia. Other spots include the beautiful resort town Fujikawaguchiko where you can see Mount Fuji.

Europe and America: Winter Sports & World Heritage Sites

Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hokkaido ranked up to No. 10 among foreign travellers from Europe and America. One especially interesting place that clocked in was Narita. This is because of the amount of arrivals and departures from Europe and America at Narita Airport. Its convenient location provides access to many tourist destinations in Japan.

 

Skiing and snowboarding are the perfect winter activities and ranked popular with travellers from the US and UK with places like Niseko and Hakuba. There are travellers who pointed towards Japan’s “JAPOW” powder snow.

 

For France places like the artistic town of Naoshima and World Heritage Site locations such as Nara, Nikko and Itsukushima proved popular. According to a report from the Japan Tourism Agency, 95% of French travellers stay in Japan over a long period of time spanning 7 to 90 days. This can be interpreted as giving themselves enough time to travel around these historical landmarks.

 

If you’re visiting Japan during this winter season, where do you plan on going?

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    Glowing lanterns make for a romantic atmosphere

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    Hot cocktails by the pool

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    Float beneath the starry sky to the sounds of the waves

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    Ibaraki Prefecture has been promoting the areas of Mount Tsukuba and Lake Kasumigaura with a variety of events and programs since 2018. For 2020, one of the programs the prefecture has announced is ‘Mount Tsukuba PLAY 2020’ which invites people on a trial tour around Mount Tsukuba and Lake Kasumigaura.

     

    About Mount Tsukuba

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    About Lake Kasumigaura

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    During the autumn season on weekends, the area offers a special long-ride cycling tour as an opportunity for people to soak up the local area, as well as kids programs, concerts for parents and their children, and other activity programs and guide tours. Bookings are now available online.

     

    A Look at Mount Tsukuba PLAY 2020

    Mount Tsukuba and Lake Kasumigaura – 2 Day 1 Night Sports Experience Tour

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    A Photogenic Tour in the Small Town by the Lake Shore

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    Concert in Tsukuba Forest

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    Cycling Along the Kokai River and Near Chikusei With Tsukuba Mounta in the Background

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    A Long Cycling Tour Around Lake Kasumigaura, Kitaura, and Tsukuba

    The program also offers a two-day long distance cycling tour of 100km.

  • Get Lucky in Marriage and Matchmaking This October in Shimane’s City of Matsue

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    Japan’s city of Matsue in Shimane Prefecture is wanting to create a new kind of sightseeing and tourist experience that encourages people to stay for a time in the city, and so it has launched the “Re Happy! Campaign.”

     

    In the old Japanese calendar, October is known as Kamiarizuki, or ‘the month when deities are around.’ The Izumo region of the country is known as a place where deities from all across Japan gather, and so October here has been called the one true Kamiarizuki. There are many different kinds of deities, but today we’ll be looking at those associated with matchmaking and marriage, and mapping out a route you can take around Matsue to up your luck when it comes to these things.

    Shop Name: Ohori to Hakucho

    We begin at Ohori to Hakucho, a confectionery shop that sells cute sweet treats and local delicacies, some of which are themed on increasing your luck with marriage ties.

    Kounkaku inside Matsu Castle

    There are many old and traditional Japanese houses around Matsue Castle which make for Instagram-worthy photos, so find the right spot as you walk around and snap some pictures.

     

    Heart-Shaped ema board

    Ema are small wooden plaques strung up at shrines on which people write their wishes. Write one yourself so that the deities can receive your desires.

    Tamatsukuri Onsen

    After a long stroll of sightseeing, head to the Tamatsukuri Onsen hot spring for a relaxing bathe. It’s said that sitting in an onsen hot spring beautifies your skin. Sit back and enjoy the fireworks on the screen while sipping on some high-grade sake.

     

    Matsue is a great place to visit whether on your own or as a couple, with plenty of spots to up your luck with matchmaking and marriage.

  • Snow Fireworks to Light Up the Winter Skies of Miyazaki at Phoenix Seagaia Resort

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    Phoenix Seagaia Resort, a resort located in Miyazaki Prefecture whose brand slogan claims them as the most beautiful in all of Japan, has announced a heart-warming new experience for the winter season.

     

    Seagaia’s Snow Fireworks

    Miyazaki doesn’t see a lot of snowfall, but this winter, the prefecture is welcoming an all-new fireworks festival which will launch fireworks into the sky that falls like pure white snow. Phoenix Seagaia Resort is also offering a guest plan which combines a stay at the resort with front row seats to the fireworks.

     

    Running: December 4, 2020 – February 27, 2021 (Fridays and Saturdays only + January 10, 2021)
    Time: 20:00 (Approx 3 minutes)
    Bookings: https://bit.ly/3lurZWK

     

    Starlight Winter Illuminations

    THE LIVING GARDEN is the garden area of Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort exclusive to guests. This winter, the garden will be lit up with 30,000 LED lights and lanterns to create a magical, starry sky-like atmosphere by both of the garden’s pools.

     

    Running: November 1, 2020 – February 28, 2021
    Location: THE LIVING GARDEN, Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort
    Illumination Times: Sunset to 23:00

    Price: Free (Exclusive to Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort guests)

     

    A Cosy Menu For a Warm Stay

    Gazebos by the waterside at THE LIVING GARDEN

    S’mores

    Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort will also serve s’mores, hot cocktails, and other treats at THE LIVING GARDEN with gazebos and fire pits. Enjoy fluffy marshmallow s’mores served with nuts and salted chocolate.

     

    Running: November 6, 2020 – February 28, 2021 (Excluding Wednesdays & Thursdays)

    Times: 19:30-23:00 (Last Orders 22:30)

    Location: KUROBAR, THE LIVING GARDEN, Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort

  • Ashikaga Flower Park Turns On the Lights For ‘The Garden of Illuminated Flowers’

    13.October.2020 | SPOT

    Ashikaga Flower Park in Ashikaga, Tochigi, has announced an illumination event for the autumn and winter seasons called “The Garden of Illuminated Flowers ~Flower Fantasy 2020~” which will run from October 17, 2020 to February 7, 2021.

     

    The annual event is being held a week later than usual in order to implement the necessary precautions against COVID-19 and to ensure visitors are divided from one another so that they can enjoy the event as always safely. Masks will need to be worn and visitors must sanitise their hands as well as have their temperature checked with the on-site thermal camera before entering the park.

    Held for the 19th time this year, the event was ranked among the Top 3 biggest light-up events in Japan in 2017 alongside Sapporo White Illuminations and Huis Ten Bosch Illuminations. It was also ranked top by night view critics in Japan as best the illumination event for four consecutive years.

     

    So, why is this event adored so much?


    The Miraculous Great Wisteria

    Due to COVID-19, people were unable to enjoy the blossoming wisteria during this year’s spring season, but now they can be enjoyed in autumn and winter in the form of illuminations.

    Illuminated Water Lilies

    Water lilies are enjoyed from summer through autumn. These water lily lights by the waterside are like little individual flower spirits.

    Illuminated Rose Garden

    A panoramic spectacle of vivid red rose lights. A special blue light-up will also take place to give gratitude to frontline workers who will be busy this season.


    A Flower Story of Illuminated Wisteria

    The multicoloured wisteria that bloom from mid-April to mid-May at the park are also being represented as dazzling illuminations which will reflect off the water surface to create a magical atmosphere.

    Snow World

    Santa Claus will be at the park from late November to late December to hand out presents to children.

     

    Enter a romantic world of Japanese illuminations at Ashikaga Flower Park.

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