Yes, it does snow in Tokyo. It is not often a lot of snow and usually melts within a day or two. December/January bring the most snow, but I’ve seen snow as late as April.
The mostly pleasant Tokyo does indeed get snow each year.
But not much.
Of course, that depends. Obviously it isn’t anywhere near places like upstate New York, or Michigan may see.
But there are some heavy snowstorms that will knock Tokyo out for a day or two while roads are covered, slippery, and block trains — particularly the Shinkansen bullet train.
Tokyo Station can get very crowded when this happens — and the already insanely busy Shinjuku Station can become almost unbearable.
Flights to/from Haneda may get delayed or cancelled and the taxis/buses/trains out of Haneda into Tokyo could be troublesome.
Like this time in January 2018 when Tokyo was in chaos from too much snow.
But that’s quite rare, maybe once every couple years I’ve seen that.
There are several snowfalls per year but the snow typically doesn’t stick or will be gone before morning. But every once in a while you’re able to get a glimpse of a urban winter scenery.
When does it snow in Tokyo?
Now, this is the weird thing. I’ve seen snow as early as November — which doesn’t sound early as an Iowa boy. But Tokyo rarely sees snow that early.
It’s pretty much known that December is the start of the “snow season” in Tokyo. When Tokyo transforms into a Winter Wonderlong with fantastic winter lights and the cool glow from the skyscrapers.
When does it stop snowing?
Yea, no kidding.
Okay, that isn’t normal, but I have personally seen snow in April in Tokyo. It does happen.
Typically snow will end early March. But it’s super cool when it falls in late March/early April because you can then check out the beautiful cherry blossoms with snow on them.
Now that is a very rare shot you can get while in Tokyo if you’re lucky.
What to do in Tokyo in the winter?
If you are here in the winter and it’s a nice snowy wonderland during your stay, there are a few interesting ways to enjoy Tokyo that are actually best in the winter. The snowy landscape br
If you just happen to be here in mid-November you’re in luck! Check out the insane winter illuminations Tokyo puts up.
Especially the Roppongi Hills/Tokyo Tower area. Wow, those lights are really impressive.
But you honestly don’t have to look all over. Tokyo puts up lights everywhere and is super fun to just stroll around in the winter.
“Over 700,000 LEDs light up Keyakizaka Street and a few other sites in the area. With Tokyo Tower in the background, this is one of the most photographed spots during the holiday season.” —Rove.me
Enjoy a Hot Bowl of Ramen
Oh, I’m telling you… if you enjoy ramen, you’ll really like it on a cold winter evening in Tokyo.
The moment you walk inside a tonkotsu ramen shop, the smell and steam from the kitchen hit you immediately warms your soul.
Ramen is literally Japanese winter soul food. 🙂
There are a million ramen shops in Tokyo. Just walk down almost any street and you’ll find one. The best ramen shops are the tiny little dive joints you don’t see in the tourist guides often.
One of my favorites is HopeKen, but it’s way over in the suburbs of Tokyo — maybe a bit far if you’re downtown. Check our “Best Restaurants in Tokyo” guide for more ramen shops to check out.
There’s a ton more I could go into for winter activities in Tokyo. I’ll expand upon this article over time.
Maybe you’d like to learn about Japanese winter cuisine? Or go to a sumo match? Or soak in a hot onsen (hot spring)?
Whatever you decide I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. And the LonelyPlanet has a great guide on this as well.