Fantastic landscapes you’ll only see in winter

World Heritage Site Shiretoko (Sharicho, Hokkaido) in winter

Drift ice washing ashore in winter at the World Natural Heritage Site of Shiretoko Peninsula
Drift ice washing ashore in winter at the World Natural Heritage Site of Shiretoko Peninsula

In winter, drift ice washes ashore in many places along the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk. World Natural Heritage Site Shiretoko Peninsula is one of them. Here you’ll also be able to experience walking on the drift ice.

Location: Shari-cho, Sahrigun, Hokkaido

Access: board a bus (60-minute ride) at JR Shiretoko Shari Station, get off at the Shiretoko bus stop and walk for 10 minutes.

Period: every year in February

“Hagori,” lotus leaf-shaped ice formations (Towada City, Aomori Prefecture)

Lotus leaf-shaped ice formations in Lake Towada, Towada City, Aomori Prefecture
Lotus leaf-shaped ice formations in Lake Towada, Towada City, Aomori Prefecture

With a bit of luck, if you head over lake Towada in February, when it’s often frozen, you may see strange ice formations in the shape of lotus leaves scattered all over the lake.

Location: Okuse, Towada City, Aomori Prefecture

Access: 65-min. bus ride from JR Hachinohe Station to Towada-shi Chuo or a 35 to 50-min. bus ride from JR Shichinohe Towada Station to Towada-shi Chuo. From Towada-shi Chuo, it’s a 55-min. bus ride to Yakeyama and a 40 to 51-min. taxi ride from Yakeyama

Period: February

Ginzan Hot spring in winter (Obanazawa City, Yamagata Prefecture)

Winter view in snow of Ginzan Hot Spring in Obanazawa City, Yamagata Prefecture
Winter view in snow of Ginzan Hot Spring in Obanazawa City, Yamagata Prefecture

The hot-spring town of Ginzan is lined with historic buildings. At night, gas lamps are lit all over the town creating a beautiful atmosphere which is enriched by the snow piled up everywhere in winter.

Location: Ginzanshinhata, Oaza, Obanazawa City, Yamagata Prefecture

Access: From JR Oishida Station it’s a 15-min. bus ride to Obanazawa; from Obanazawa it’s a 41-min. bus ride to Ginzan Onsen.

Period: January to March

Aka Fuji (Susono City, Shizuoka Prefecture / Hakone-machi, Kanagawa Prefecture and so on)

Mt. Fuji dyed red by the winter sunlight in the morning and in the evening
Mt. Fuji dyed red by the winter sunlight in the morning and in the evening

“Aka Fuji” (red Fuji) is the phenomenon that occurs when the early-morning or early-evening rays dye red the snow on top of Mount Fuji. The phenomenon is visible from many areas in eastern Shizuoka Prefecture, western Kanagawa Prefecture and Yamanashi Prefecture. This particular photo of Mount Fuji was taken from Susono City in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Location: Vicinities of Mount Fuji

Period: From December to early March

Amanohashidate (Miyazu City, Kyoto Prefecture)

Winter view of Amanohashidate in Miyazu City, Kyoto Prefecture, which has been regarded from ancient times as one of the three most scenic spots in Japan.
Winter view of Amanohashidate in Miyazu City, Kyoto Prefecture, which has been regarded from ancient times as one of the three most scenic spots in Japan.

Amanohashidate, one of the representing Japan’s scenic spots. After a snow fall, the sandbar is dyed white, making the view truly spectacular.

Location: Monju, Miyazu City, Kyoto Prefecture

Access: Just outside Amanohashidate Station on Miyatoyo line of the Kyoto Tango Railway.

Time: January to February

Kazurabashi (Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture)

Winter view in snow of the Kazurabashi bridge in Iya Valley, Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture
Winter view in snow of the Kazurabashi bridge in Iya Valley, Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture

Stretching over the Iya Valley, this bridge is made with the Actinidia arguta vine. When covered by the winter snow, it looks like an ink-wash painting.

Location: 162-2, Zentoku, Nishi-Iyayamason, Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture

Access: Take a bus from JR Oboke Station to the Kazurabashi bus stop and walk for 6 minutes

Period: January to February