Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, has a population of over 37 million, making it the world’s most populous city. The city covers 2194.07 square kilometers and is home to some of the world’s most remarkable architectural pieces and old buildings, which help portray the stark contrast of the constantly changing world with the aftermath of destructive events such as earthquakes, fires, and war. Tokyo has an average elevation of 131 feet (40 meters) above sea levels and stretches from the border with Saitama in the north, traverses a predominantly rugged and forested hinterland, and ends on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. So, does it snow in Tokyo?
Due to its location outside the tropics, Tokyo experiences four climatic seasons affected by the Monsoon winds. The city experiences a humid subtropical climate where winters are mild with cold spells here and there. Tokyo is precipitous and has an annual rainfall that averages 60.2 inches (1530 millimeters) and infrequent annual snowfall that collects up to 3.1 inches (76.2 millimeters) of average snow throughout the year. The snow rarely remains on the ground for extended periods.
When does it snow in Tokyo?
Snow in Tokyo typically falls in winter which runs from December through to March.
Snowfall in December
December marks the onset of the winter period in Tokyo. Tokyo records mild temperatures ranging from lows of 42.6 degrees Fahrenheit (5.9 degrees Celsius) to highs of 52.2 degrees Fahrenheit (11.2 degrees Celsius). In December, the main precipitation is rainfall, which can reach up to 0.83 inches (21 millimeters) while snowfall is negligible.
Snowfall in January
January is the coldest month in Tokyo, with chilly temperatures ranging from lows of 37 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 degrees Celsius) to highs of 48 degrees Fahrenheit (8.9 degrees Celsius) being experienced. The first flakes of snow in Tokyo are seen in January. Tokyo sees snow for 1.3 snowfall days throughout the month, and the snow can accumulate up to 0.2 inches (5 millimeters).
Snowfall in February
February marks the last month of winter in Tokyo. The average temperatures in the city’s metropolitan area range from lows of 38.3 degrees Fahrenheit (3.5 degrees Celsius) to highs of 49.6 degrees Fahrenheit (9.8 degrees Celsius). Tokyo sees the most snowfall in February, with an aggregate of 0.83 inches (21 millimeters) of snow being recorded. Rainfall is also regularly seen throughout the month, and falls for an average of 9.6 days, and collects to depths of 0.87 inches (22 millimeters).
Ski Resorts in Tokyo
Japan, touted as the snowiest country in the world, has the second-highest number of ski resorts in the world. Therefore, despite Tokyo not having any ski resort within its metropolitan area, one can still ski and snowboard in the numerous ski resorts near Tokyo.
From the endless list of nearby ski resorts, here are a few worth checking out while in Tokyo.
Naeba Ski Resort
Naeba ski resort is one of Japan’s largest and most popular ski resorts due to it being easily accessible from Tokyo. Moreover, it has established itself in the global charts, having hosted four World Cup races in 1973, 1975, 2016, and 2020. This famous resort is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Takenoko in Niigata and covers a skiable area of 484 acres. The winter sports area is situated between the elevations of 2,953 feet (900 meters) and 5,869 feet (1,789 meters) above sea level.
Naeba has 16 runs available for skiing and snowboarding, with the longest run covering a distance of 4.0 kilometers. The resort has two gondolas and 33 ski lifts serving the extensive skiable area.
Hakuba Happoone Winter Resort
This ski resort is located on Mount Karamatsu in Hakuba and has a skiable area covering 494.2 acres. The winter sports area is situated between the elevations of 2,493 feet (760 meters) and 6,007 feet (1,831 meters) above sea level. The resort receives an average snowfall of 433 inches (11,000 millimeters) per year.
This resort has 13 runs available for skiing and snowboarding and is served by one gondola lift and 23 chairlifts that ferry guests around the ski area. The resort hosted the Alpine Skiing Downhill, Super Giant Slalom, and the Combine Slalom events during the 1998 Winter Olympics.
Snowtown Yeti Ski Resort
Snowtown Yeti ski resort is located on Mount Fuji and can be easily accessed from Tokyo. The resort’s winter sports area is located between elevations of 1,300 meters 1,450 meters and is divided into six slopes that cater to all difficulty levels.