Visited Japan in June and November. Never in the winter month of January. I am curious to know what is in store, and how different it is from Spring and Autumn.
1. Mount Fuji
January is one of the coldest and driest months in Japan, making it one of the best times to catch a clear view of Mt Fuji.
So where are the best viewing spots?
- From the shinkansen on route to Kyoto, Mt Fuji can be seen on the right side of the train around Shin-Fuji Station. Choose a D or E seat when making seat reservations. From Kyoto to Hakone, choose the left window seats.
- From Hakone, catch a view of Mt Fuji at Moto Hakone, Hakone Detached Palace, Lake Ashinoko on board sightseeing boats, Owakudani (currently closed due to increased volcanic activity in the area) and Gotemba Preminum Outlets.
- From Tokyo, the best observation deck to see Mt Fuji for free is at Bunkyo Civic Center. You can also see it from Tokyo Tower for an admission fee of 900 yen.
Situated in the western outskirts of Kyoto, Arashiyama is famous for cherry blossom and autumn colours viewing. I was there in Nov last year and there were throngs of people. Tickets for Sagano Scenic Train were totally sold out. The path through the bamboo forest was congested. The only plus point was the beautiful red maple trees.
If you fancy tranquility, then winter is the time to visit Arashiyama. I like this post with its peaceful picture of the bamboo forest.
3. Tokyo Winter Illuminations
The only illumination I saw last Nov was at Tokyo Skytree.
Not as spectacular as expected. I was rather disappointed considering it was my only night in the city. What saved the day was the other two nights, first was Disneyland’s Electrical Parade Dreamlights and Once Upon A Time Show, and the other was Disney Sea’s Fantasmic.
A quick search on Goggle revealed several stunning illuminations happening now til Feb 2016.
Tokyo Skytree was a letdown. Perhaps these other places will prove otherwise.