If you visit Japan in winter, you'll forgo the sight of cherry blossoms in exchange for a unique experience of the country. The annual festival of lights in Nabana no Sato park, located near Nagoya, will dazzle you with its large, scintillating installations made up of over eight million LED lights. Tokyo also lights up for the end-of-year holidays, inviting you to stroll past festive decorations.
Outside of the big cities, the Japanese Alps offer unexpected moments like catching sight of snow monkeys in Jigokudani. "Hell Valley", which got its name thanks to its many hot springs, includes a park where macaque monkeys roam freely and soak in the onsens.
This region is also an excellent destination for winter sports and resort stays, like on Mount Kita, where you can hike to the highest peak in the Japanese Alps. Japanese winters are generally dry, guaranteeing you a beautiful, panoramic view.