Early Spring in Japan

What to see and experience in February and March

By Elena Lisina    - 3 min read

Most tourists are sure that the best spring time to visit Japan is the cherry blossom season. Usually falling in April, blooming sakura is certainly a grand spectacle. However, there are other events in the early spring that are no less impressive.

Snow entertainment

Those who are not tired of snow can visit the north of the country, where plenty of it remains. Not only are there ski resorts with good trails and onsen but also the grand Snow Festival, held annually in Sapporo and featuring snow sculptures created by teams from all over the world. Akita hosts the unique Yokote Kamakura Festival, the main attraction being the magnificent sight of hundreds of glowing snow houses while in the Zao region, winds and wet snow create natural snow sculptures known as the 'snow monsters of the Zao'.


Winter and early spring is illumination time. Tree-lined streets, gardens and onsen are illuminated. In Nagoya, Nabana no Sato Park is particularly famous, being both luxurious and huge. Almost six million LED bulbs create all sorts of shapes and even landscapes.

Hina matsuri

Throughout the month of February, you will see shelves of dolls everywhere on the eve of the March 3rd Hina Matsuri Girls holiday. Tradition sees the top shelf with dolls of the Emperor and Empress, while below are courtiers, musicians and beautiful items such as furniture and miniature bonsai trees. Displays of dolls can be seen in temples, museums and shopping centers. The pyramid Bikkuri hinamatsuri at the festival in the city of Konosu in Saitama looks especially grand.

Plum blossoms

Some say that the Japanese consider the plum blossom to be the beginning of spring, not the cherry blossom. The plum blossom is a symbol of perseverance and courage, because it is not afraid of snow and frost. The beauty of the plum blossom is certainly on par with the sakura, especially when blooming in cascades. Many plum blossom festivals are held and one of the most famous is the Kairakuen Garden Festival in Mito.

Strawberries and festivals

It may seem surprising, but in winter and early spring in Japan, you can eat fresh strawberries. For strawberry lovers, there are many opportunities to visit strawberry farms where you can pick and eat as many strawberries as you want. Along with strawberry festivals are many other unique festivals such as the Naked Men Festival or the traditional Dogo Onsen festival. Festivals in Japan are a special phenomena, and should definitely be visited by anyone wanting to truly understand Japan.

A calendar of events can be viewed here.

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

Здравствуйте!Меня зовут Елена Лисина, и я являюсь новым Партнёром Japan Travel, ответственным за русскую версию. Путешествия пока невозможны, но есть время, чтобы продумать маршрут предстоящей поездки, пользуясь богатыми материалами сообщества, отвечающим самым разным интересам! Я буду публиковать блоги с разработанными маршрутами по разной тематике, так что приглашаю всех заинтересованных .

Original by Elena Lisina