From a World Heritage-listed alpine town a few hours from Osaka, to Nagano’s Olympic ski slopes, to picturesque northern Hokkaido, a winter getaway will reward visitors keen for white landscapes before spring does its thing
By mid-March, most of Japan’s snowy landscapes begin to recede and fade as spring kicks in but there are pockets where you can still find snow until April, and even May. Here are five locations across Japan offering a last glimpse of winter’s white blanket.
Unesco World Heritage-listed Shirakawa-go is an alpine town famous for houses built with distinctive thatched ‘Gassho-zukuri’ roofs, literally meaning ‘hands in prayers’ – named after their steep structure. These sturdy houses have withstood the test of winters and heavy snow, some for over 250 years, and are popular as minshuku, or Japanese bed and breakfasts, throughout the seasons.
Although spring brings warmth, Shirakawa-go usually has snowy terrain until early May.