Kyoto-Hakone-Tokyo – January Sights

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.

Viewing 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.
fuji from train
My view of Mt Fuji when I was traveling from Tokyo to Osaka in Nov

  • 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.

My view of Mt Fuji from the main observatory at Tokyo Tower in Nov

2. Arashiyama

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.

Nighttime Parade "Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights"-1

Once Upon a Time-4


A quick search on Goggle revealed several stunning illuminations happening now til Feb 2016.

tokyo dome illumination
Tokyo Dome City – Nov 10 to Feb 14
Yomiuri Land – until Feb 14
Shiodome Caretta – Nov 19 to Feb 14

Tokyo Skytree was a letdown. Perhaps these other places will prove otherwise.


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