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Be Left in Awe at Nature’s Beauty! 5 Best Spots in Japan for Magical Winter Views

Why not go see beautiful winter scenery in Japan? This article introduces five recommended spots to enjoy stunning winter landscapes in Japan.

1. Drift Ice in the Sea of Okhotsk (Hokkaido)

Hokkaido is Japan's northernmost prefecture. A fantastic winter view not to be missed in Hokkaido is the drift ice on the Sea of Okhotsk. Drift ice is ice that is carried along the water's surface. In frigid zones, the surface of the ocean freezes in the winter, and parts of the frozen surface break off and drift to various places. The drift ice that can be seen in Hokkaido is said to be from the ocean many miles north, northeast of Sakhalin. A cruise on the Abashiri Drift Ice Sightseeing & Icebreaker Ship is the recommended way to see the drift ice. It is an exciting tour on a boat that travels right through an ocean covered in drift ice. The drift ice can usually be seen from the end of January to early March.

Access: Approx. 10 minutes by bus from JR Abashiri Station (to boarding point)

1. Drift Ice in the Sea of Okhotsk (Hokkaido)

4-5-1 Minami Sanjo Higashi, Abashiri-shi, Hokkaido

2. Nyuto Onsen-kyo (Akita)

Nyuto Onsen-kyo is a secluded hot spring area that onsen (hot spring) lovers from around the world travel to. The onsen nestled among the natural landscape truly deserve the moniker of a secret getaway. There are seven onsen inns, each with distinguishing features and benefits. Among them, there is even a famous onsen that dates back to the Edo period (1603-1868). Nyuto Onsen-kyo is even more magical in the winter when the charming inns are covered in snow. The warm light that spills out from the inns are a beautiful sight to behold.

Access: Approx. 50 minutes from Tazawako Station by an Ugo Kotsu bus bound for Nyuto Onsen

2. Nyuto Onsen-kyo (Akita)

3. Ouchi-juku (Fukushima)

Ouchi-juku flourished as a "shukuba-machi" during the Edo period. A shukuba-machi is a town that developed around an inn for travelers to rest and sleep in. It also handled transportation of goods to the next shukuba-machi. Ouchi-juku is a historic spot that retains the visage of a shukuba-machi. it has a museum to learn how people from the time lived, as well as many shops to enjoy the local specialty, Tokato soba (thick noodles) with negi (scallions). In the winter, the thatched roofs (made with dry vegetation) and ground are covered with snow, creating a magical snowscape.

Access: 15 minutes by car from Yunokami Onsen Station

3. Ouchi-juku (Fukushima)

O-aza Ouchi Yamamoto, Shimogo-machi, Minami Aizu-gun, Fukushima

4. Omaki Onsen (Toyama)

Omaki Onsen is a secluded hot-spring inn accessible only by boat. Guests travel there through beautiful mountains covered in snow. The inn itself is surrounded all around by magnificent winter scenery, so you can have a wonderfully luxurious time there. As you get there on a gently-rocking boat, you'll notice the perfectly-still onsen appear from the distance. It is the place to go if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy an onsen with stunning views. The inn is open to day visitors, so stop by to take a dip in their baths.

Access: 30 minutes on a Shogawa Gorge Cruise boat (fee required) from Komaki Dam

4. Omaki Onsen (Toyama)

44 Omaki, Toga-mura, Nanto-shi, Toyama

5. Ine no Funaya (Kyoto)

Ine no Funaya is an area with approximately 230 houses lined up along the ocean, sometimes referred to as the "Venice of Japan". The houses have two stories, with landing spaces for small boats or workshops on the ground floor and living quarters on the upper floor, suiting the lifestyles of the people of the village, many of whom work in the fishing industry. In the winter, the houses and surrounding mountains are covered in snow and the magical scenery reflected on the ocean, creating a dazzlingly beautiful sight.

Access: Approx. 1 hour by bus from Kyoto Tango Railway Miyazu Line Amanohashidate Station

5. Ine no Funaya (Kyoto)

77 Aza Hirata, Ine-cho, Yosa-gun, Kyoto

Did you see a spot you'd like to go to? Enjoy the beautiful winter scenery of Japan!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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