15 Never-Forgetting Things to Do in Japan in February

February is the month while we all get excited and happier!!

Well, you know what I mean, right??

With Valentine’s Day, February is the month of appreciating the love of our life and making remarkable memories.

And, visiting Japan in February will be an excellent option for you to cheer up as this country offers vibrant festivals, snow activities, hot onsen, and many more at this time.

Also, it’s a fantastic time to adore the early blooming of cherry blossoms!

Including all of these, there are many other fun things to do in Japan in February.

So, if this upcoming February your travel destination is Japan, check out all the activities and places that I will describe today.

15 Most Cheerful Things to Do in Japan in February

Many people wonder whether February is a good time to go to Japan or not.

If you have the same concern, I will give you a proper answer to this query first.

Okay, the thing is, only in February you can enjoy some of the best festivals in Japan like Sapporo Snow Festival & Kamakura Festival.

Hence, yes, it is surely one of the best months to visit Japan.

Wait!! Wait!!

Actually, there are more than just these two feasts that you may have no idea about.

That’s why you need to check all the activities and places that I am going to mention here one by one. And, after that, you will get an in-depth answer.

Alright, it’s time to begin our journey of finding the amusement of February in Japan.

Most Exciting Festivals & Events to Attend in February

First, I will talk about all festivals and events that take place in Japan.

1. The World-Renowned Sapporo Snow Festival

Coming to Japan in February and missing the famous Sapporo Snow Festival, it can’t happen!!

This feast is held once a year at Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, in early February and lasts for over one week.

Attracting about two million visitors every year, Sapporo Snow Celebration represents impressive artworks that are made with ice and snow.

You will find hundreds of ice sculptures in various sizes, covering more than 1.5 km of the downtown park.

Sapporo snow sculpture

As the showcase area is so long, you may get tired of watching all the pieces of artistry, but trust me, it will be worth your time.

Sapporo Snow Festival started back in 1950, and the scale has been getting larger every year.

The celebration is divided into three sites: Tsu Dome, Odori Park, and Susukino.

Among them, the Odori Site holds the main attraction of the fiesta, where you will see over 100 ice/snow statues, including 10 m tall larger ones.

Soon after the sunset, the festive lights are turned on, making the statues look like what you expect in a dreamland.

sapporo winter illumination

You know what, I have no words to explain how beautiful the view is in real life.

So, you need to come here to Japan to feel this fest’s actual sensation.

Ohh, I forgot to say that there are many on-site food stalls from where you can eat delicious food.

2. Yokote Kamakura Festival

Wanna walk on a road full of fireflies?

It sounds impossible, right?

Well, attending the Kamakura Festival is gonna give you such a feeling.

Held in Yokote City, Akita Prefecture, Tohoku Region, the Yokote Kamakura Snow Feast features hundreds of small and large snow domes that are placed in different locations of the city.

Kamakura-festival

Usually, this festival takes place on 15th and 16th February every year, when the whole city turns into a winter wonderland with snow covering up everywhere.

Anyway, during the daytime, special events, food stalls are found at several locations.

You will find a lot of large Kamakura domes (small snow-made houses), where you can enter and enjoy various Japanese traditional foods like Mochi (soft rice cake) and drinks.

When the darkness spreads around, over 100 small snow domes are set by Yokote River with candles inside.

Kamakura Festival at Tochigi

And that’s where you will experience the much-awaited walking on the fireflies feel.

I will say it is one of the must-see winter events that you should not miss anyway while being in Japan in February.

By the way, if you wish to stay in Yokote City during the celebration, make sure to reserve a hotel room in advance as many travelers come here at this time.

3. Kawazu Cherry Blossom Feast

Many people believe that Japanese cherry blossoms are only available in late March to early April.

See also  13 Joyful Things to Do in Japan in September

Well, it’s a 100% misconception!

The Kawazu Sakura is an early cherry blossom that starts to flourish from mid-February and lasts till mid-March.

sakura

Personally, I like this cherry blossom because of its large petals and beautiful pinkish color.

So, if you want to capture some stunning photos with the spectacular pink view, head to Kawazu City, Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture, where over 8,000 Kawazu Sakura trees are lined along the river.

sakura tree

Besides this, you will also find the pretty yellow canola flowers alongside the riverbanks, making a breath-taking view of two distinct colors.

Kawazu Sakura Festival has been held since the 1980s in February. And, now visitors from outside the country even enjoy it.

At night, a light-up event of the cherry trees takes place.

So, if you are traveling with your bae, it can be a perfect spot for setting up a romantic date.

4. Nagasaki Lantern Festival

The biggest lantern festival in Japan!!

Yeah, I am indicating none other than Nagasaki Lantern Festival that is arranged in Nagasaki City each year for celebrating the Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year depends on the new moon, which occurs between January 21 to February 20, according to the international calendar. So, please check whether it will match your traveling year or not.

The celebration features over 15,000 lanterns that light up the whole city for 15 days.

Nagasaki Lantern Festival

It was initially started by the Chinese residents of Nagasaki City’s Chinatown in 1994, and now it has become an official annual event.

The main fest area is Chinatown, and the surrounding area like the central park, the popular spectacle bridge, and shopping arcade.

With all the colorful lanterns lightening up, these areas look straight out of a fairytale movie.

Besides, there are other shows and attractions such as Emperor’s Parade, Chinese Acrobatics, and many more.

If you are a huge admirer of Chinese movie legend Jet Li and have already watched “Martial Arts of Shaolin,” you know how entertaining the Chinese Lion Dance is.

Chinese lion dance

So, the best part of attending this feast is that it will let you experience the same type of dance show!!

Exciting!! Right?

Then, what you are waiting for, just come here to enjoy the fun during the fiesta.

5. Various Ume (Plum Blossom) Fest

Since the Japanese flower season slowly kicks off from February, you have the opportunity to see the early Cherry Blossoms.

And, one of the most renowned flowers in Japan that start blooming in February is Ume, known as Plum Blossoms.

plum Blossom japan

Numerous Plum Blossoms events are organized across Japan in February and March.

Some of the significant places where Ume can be seen are Inabe Plum Grove (in Inabe City), Suzuka Forest Garden (in Suzuka City), and Kairakuen Garden (in Mito City).

Personally, I like the festival held in Inabe Plum Grove, where over 100 types and around 4,500 plum trees are available.

When you see the view of a colorful plum blossom, your jaw will be drop-in WoW!

Plum tree

Moreover, during the Inabe Plum Festival, various delicious plum foods are sold, like plum juice, plum extract, and plum jam, that you can consider trying out.

Usually, this celebration is held in late February, but I suggest you check out their official site for any latest updates before heading there.

6. A Traditional Event “Setsubun”

Wanna shoo away all the demons that are trying to disturb you?

Yeah!!

The fact is most people don’t even know about this Setsubun event.

And that’s my job to introduce you to some unusual sides of Japan.

Okay, Setsubun no Hi (Bean-throwing Festival in English) takes place four times a year on the last day of each season.

According to the lunar calendar, 3rd February is the last day of winter when this feast is arranged.

Setsubun's bean and demon

Once we Japanese had the belief that “oni”, a kind of folklore creature which is similar to western demons, appears at the time of changing seasons.

And, in order to scare those away, we throw dried soybeans while yelling “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi” that means “Demon out, the fortune in.”

In temples & shrines, it is celebrated more seriously and traditionally by following the rituals.

Here in the video, you can see the Setsubun Festival at the Heian Shrine in Kyoto.

So, what are you thinking, let’s scare these demons away by attending the ceremony in February.

7. Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

Every February, the snowy town of Otaru in Hokkaido arranges Japan’s most attractive candlelight festival.

You will find snow-covered streets glowing with over 120,000 candles.

snow light

And to give the candles a more magical touch, the flames are protected with hand-made lanterns.

During the fest, these glittering candles are lined up by the Otaru canal, creating an eye-catching view.

Mainly there are two areas in the city, Temiyasen Kaijo & Unga Kaijo, where this light event happens.

Snow light path

But, the good thing is, both of these areas are within walking distance, so you can easily visit both.

Besides, as Otaru is a picturesque Japanese town with the vibe of 1950, you can stroll around the whole village and capture some beautiful moments on your camera.

8. The Much-Awaited Valentine’s Day!!

Well, I can sense that you were waiting for this.

How can I forget about Valentine’s day?

See also  15 Enjoyable Things to Do in Japan in January

It’s not like we Japanese can stay away from love!!

By the way, Japanese Valentine’s Day is quite unique compared to other countries.

Valentine's day

On this day, women present chocolate to men to show affection.

Many shops sell special chocolate & dessert during this period. So, if you are a chocolate fan, it is surely one of the best things to buy in February.

So, if you are a girl, give them to someone who holds a special place in your heart.

Valentine's Day Chocolate

And in case you are a male, I hope your girl reads this article!!

What I mean is, hopefully, she knows about this ritual.

9. Mount Fuji Day

On February 23rd, we celebrate “Mount Fuji day” to protect and promote Japan’s tallest mountain.

Usually, around 2,000 fireworks are set off on Lake Kawaguchi on this day.

Mount Fuji fireworks

Mount Fuji is situated in Shizuoka of Honshu Island, which is around 100 Km away from the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area.

With its graceful pyramidical form, it has become recognized worldwide and even considered as a sacred symbol of Japan.

Mount Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes have many things to offer, and the most famous ones are climbing and hiking.

Mount Fuji view from Chureito Pagoda

Nevertheless, if you are not willing to hike, then I will advise you to see the view of the mountain from Chureito Pagoda.

10. Winter Illuminations

Winter illuminations are one of Japan’s most anticipated winter events, which is held in many places across the country.

Most of the illuminations start from December, and many long-run events continue till February.

Tokyo winter illumination

As all of my previous festivals are organized outside the capital city, you are probably feeling sad if you are only looking for things to do in Tokyo in February.

So, here is the good news for you!

There are numerous illuminations events in Tokyo that are worth visiting, such as Marunouchi Illumination, Meguro River Minna no Illumination, Tokyo Illumilia, Nihonbashi Illumination, Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, and Yomiuriland Jewellumination.

Fun Activities to Do in February

You are coming to Japan in February and missing winter activities; it can’t happen!!

So, let’s see what type of fun is waiting for you.

11. Take A Bathe in Hot Onsen

Onsen is one of Japan’s traditional things that you should experience once at least.

And winter is definitely the best season to soak up your body in a hot bath to stay away from the cold.

Now, tell me, are you going to travel with your lover?

Then I recommend you stay at an authentic Japanese Ryokan or hotel that has a hot spring inside.

Japanese Hot Onsen

There, you two can enjoy a romantic bath and share some beautiful moments.

What a treat!!

Anyway, you can also choose to visit various onsen towns like Kusatsu (in Gunma Prefecture), Hakone (in Kanagawa Prefecture), and Ikaho (in Gunma Prefecture), where some of the top-class hot springs are available.

Private onsen in Japanese Ryokan

Another fabulous onsen town is Beppu which is one of the favorites that you can consider checking out too.

12. Enjoy World-Class Skiing & Snowboarding

It’s time to become cool by showing some crazy ski & snowboard tricks!!

With some top-class ski resorts, Japan welcomes you to feel the thrill of these winter sports.

Even if you have no skills, these resorts’ instructors will help you learn the basics.

So, no worry, my friend!!

Ski resort japan

To name a few best ski resorts are Niseko (in Hokkaido), Zao (in Yamagata), Hakuba (in Nagano), Gala (in Niigata), and so on.

Okay, Do you know that you can still enjoy skiing even if you are staying in Osaka?

Yes, you heard me right.

Many travelers don’t know about it and only head to Hokkaido, which is, of course, a paradise for skiing.

But, you have options like Rokkosan Ski Resort (in Hyogo), Hachi Kita Kogen Ski Resort (in Hyogo), and Gransnow Okuibuki Ski Resort (in Shiga) that can be easily reached from Osaka.

Niseko ski village

So, while looking for things to do in Osaka in February, dropping by these resorts will be a great treat for you.

Best Places to Visit in Japan in February

Your February vacation will remain incomplete if you don’t visit the locations that I am going to mention now.

Thus, be sure to add them to your list.

13. Shirakawa-go & Gokayama

Announced as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, Shirakawa-go and neighboring Gokayama are popular for their traditional gassho-zukuri houses.

Some of these farmhouses are over 250 years old.

Hence, if you want to experience the older generation lifestyle, skipping todays’ concrete buildings, this place is your way out.

Shirakawa-go village

The whole village covers up in snow during February, and the night view will definitely make you fall in love with the appearance.

When you enter the Shirakawa-go village, you will feel like wandering in a Disney movie land!!

The best way to adventure the town is to stay overnight at one of the farmhouses in or around Ogimachi.

As I said that the houses are old-style, don’t assume that there are no modern amenities.

An open fireplace is found in the common dining room that keeps the house warm in winter and sometimes for cooking.

Shirakawa-go village in winter

The guest rooms come with a low table and tatami mat floors. However, the baths and toilets are typically modern but shared.

The cost per night on these houses is around 10,000 to 30,000 yen ($88 to $264) per person.

See also  10 Superb Things to Do in Japan in November

And, for reservations, you may check out this website.

I will say, Shirakawa-go & Gokayama are some of the top places to visit in February that you should not skip at all.

14. Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano

Monkeys are taking a bath in the onsen!!

It may sound weird if you have never seen such a scene, but that’s what you are going to witness while visiting Jigokudani Monkey Park.

Jigokudani Monkey Park

This park has Japanese Macaques, which are also well-known as Snow Monkeys.

During the cold season, these monkeys soak themselves in hot springs just like a human in a man-made pool.

They live in a large group, and it will be quite entertaining to watch them interact with each other, even sometimes with the visitors.

snow monkey japan

Thus, if you want to catch this rare sight, just go to the Jigokudani park.

But, remember that it is prohibited to touch or feed the monkeys.

And, for further information, kindly visit their official site.

Must-Try Dishes During February

With a rich history of cuisine, Japan has many appetizing dishes to offer.

And now I will tell you which dishes we Japanese people eat a lot in the chilly season.

15. Winter BBQ & Nabe (Hot Pot)

The fun of arranging a BBQ party is different in winter than in any other season.

What!! Don’t you agree with me?

Anyway, you can set up a BBQ party outdoors or grab them from a restaurant, whatever you prefer.

BBQ japan

In Tokyo, some of the trendy BBQ spots are CAFÉ: HAUS GARDEN BBQ, 10th story Shibuya Sakuragaoka, WILD MAGIC The Rainbow Farm, and Hatsushima Island.

Another traditional Japanese dish that is consumed especially in winter is Nabemono (shortly Nabe).

Japanese people usually like to eat them sitting in a group around a table while the dish being cooked on a burner.

Bowl of sukiyaki

Therefore, if you are traveling with your friends, you can enjoy it in this way.

And one of the most popular hot pot dishes is Sukiyaki, which is prepared by cooking beef, onion, tofu, and other ingredients in a soy sauce-oriented soup.

For example, Ishibashi (at Kanda), Sakuranabe Nakae Kanemura (at Minowa), and Okahan Main Store (at Ginza) are some of the best places in Tokyo where you can enjoy Sukiyaki.

Well, I have finished talking about all the festivals to attend, fun activities to do and places to visit in Japan in February.

It’s time to discuss an essential fact: the weather conditions in Japan during this month.

The Typical Weather of Japan in February

The climate in Japan varies a lot according to different areas. The average temperature is about 6 degrees Celsius in February.

Here is a chart of temperatures for February in Japan.

City Name Highest Temperature (avg.) Lowest Temperature (avg.)
Sapporo
0° C
-7° C
Tokyo
10° C
2° C
Osaka
9° C
3° C
Takayama
4° C
-5° C
Fukuoka
11° C
4° C
Naha
19° C
14° C

Expected Crowd & Cost of Accomodation

As February holds some of the biggest festivals in Japan, like Sapporo Snow Fest and Otaru Light-Up Event, organized in Hokkaido, you should expect a lot of crowd in this region.

Also, this island is popular for skiing and other snow sports, so before traveling there, you are advised to book flights and a hotel room in advance.

As many travelers stay overnight in Sapporo (the capital of Hokkaido), the cost of hotel rooms will be a bit higher than usual.

Other destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hiroshima are not that busy with tourists in February. Yet, you should not ignore the fact that these areas have a lot to offer generally.

Okay, this is the end of my writing.

Let’s put an end to this topic here.

Conclusion

By now, I hope you have settled which things to do in Japan in February.

Whatever you end up putting on your bucket list, be assured that you will not regret any.

Lastly, as February is the month of love, I want to teach you a line in Japanese that you can try saying to your sweetheart.

“Itsumo arashi no ato no watashi no niji de itekurete arigato”, which means “Thank you for always being my rainbow after the storm.”

Frequently Asked Questions:

As the weather in February is cold, you need to wear warm clothes. Here is a list of things to pack while traveling to Japan for this month.

  1. Padded coats, sweaters, or jackets.
  2. Long-sleeved tops.
  3. Woolen socks, hand gloves, hats, scarves.
  4. Ear warmers.
  5. Long pants & trousers.
  6. High boots and trekking shoes.
  7. Lip balm & moisturizer.

After reaching Japan, I advise you to buy a heat pack too.

Yes, usually Tokyo has 9 to 10 snow days on average each year.

The snow generally falls from December to March, but January & February are the two months with the most snow days.

During February, it is quite common to snow in Hokkaido. That’s why you get the finest snow powder in all of Hokakkaido’s ski resorts.

Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, has snowfalls around 22 days in February.