Winter In Japan: 10 Must-Know Tips To Survive The Cold


Cheng Sim •  Dec 10, 2018

Winter holidays require a lot of preparations. Sometimes, we ask ourselves if we've brought enough jackets to brave the cold. Other times, we need to count the number of heat packs we need. That explains why we always struggle to zip up our suitcase ?

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Thankfully, we are here to make things easier for you. In this article, we've compiled the best essential items you'll need for a great winter holiday in Japan. From warm leggings to socks, make sure you save some space in your suitcase for these items!

1. Heat packs

These tiny packets of heat packs are a godsend for winter days in Japan. It’s important to bring them because the weather can be unpredictable. You never know when a sudden drop in temperature might hit you ?

We’re a fan of Daiso’s hand and body warmers. For hand warmers, just stuff it into your pockets and reach out to keep your hands warm. Since it only lasts for eight hours, you might need to use two pairs per day (for day and night).

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Using the body warmers are just as easy. Just stick it on your clothes and you’re all set! You can paste it on the front and back of your clothes if you like. Remember not to place it on your bare skin or you’ll suffer serious burns! For body warmers, it generally provides ten hours of warmth ☺️

2. Down jacket

For anyone living in a tropical country, wearing a down jacket is something we could never do. However, a winter holiday in Japan gives us a chance to do so. Warm and cosy, we love everything about it!

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These days, down jackets come in a variety of shades and designs. We recommend colours that are easy to mix and match such as black, navy, grey and beige. If you’re a fan of colours, go ahead and choose a fun shade! Just remember to buy the ones with a hoodie ?

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3. Fleece-lined leggings

Here’s a true story, I never appreciated fleece-lined leggings until it saved me from freezing during the frigid winter days! Since then, it has become my personal winter essential. Since it’s form-fitting, you can wear these fleece-lined leggings underneath a pair of straight cut jeans or long skirts.

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The fleece lining provides added warmth to your legs. Wearing a pair is good enough to protect you from the shivering cold. Since they’re comfortable, you can wear it to sleep as well ?

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4. Sweaters

Winter is the season for fluffy and cosy sweaters! We’re a huge fan of knitted sweaters. You know, the holiday classics! Certain sweaters are designed with round necklines. For us, we prefer the ones with a turtleneck. That way, we can skip the scarf altogether ?

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Since your sweater is likely to be the top layer, wear a colour that goes well with the rest of the outfit. Never be afraid to go bold with patterns and prints. Find the ones that truly represent your personality to create a standout winter moment!

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5. Heat tech

The golden rule for winter is to keep yourself warm. What better way to do so than with Uniqlo’s famous heat tech line? Stretchable and comfortable, these winter saviours are designed with heat-retaining fabric, which generates heat from your body. So don’t be fooled by their lightweight fabric!

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Apart from that, its form-fitting silhouette also means it doesn’t add bulk to your clothes. It’s much better than piling on multiple layers of t-shirts! We suggest buying a few pairs to embrace the cold nights in Japan ?

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6. Winter boots

Here’s our favourite part: shoes! We love leaving footprints in the snow with a pair of winter boots. When shopping for winter footwear, the keyword is fleece. With that being said, invest on a pair that comes with a fleece lining. It can get really cold in Japan, so don’t rely on socks alone.

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Another keyword to remember is waterproof. There might be some rainy days in winter too, so avoid fabric or suede. Opt for faux leather or waterproof fabric. That way, you can wipe the moisture off easily. Besides that, buy a pair of footwear with good grip and rubber soles. Trust us, it hurts to fall on your butt when walking down the slippery pavement!

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7. Warm socks

There’s something very warm and cosy about socks. We just love wearing them! Some of us prefer knitted socks for the winter, so it’ll match our sweaters. Other times, warm socks will do the trick too.

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If you’re planning to buy thicker socks, remember to buy shoes that are one or two sizes larger than your usual. For sleep time, buy a pair of comfortable ones. Here’s a beauty hack: Before you put on your socks, apply some moisturiser on your feet before you sleep. That way, you won’t have to deal with dry feet in the morning ?

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8. Gloves

To embrace the winter holiday in Japan, pack a pair of gloves. Our hands can get cold very easily, and you don’t want to keep rubbing your hands together all day. The same rule applies here: opt for gloves with inner lining. The added layer will keep your little fingers warm and cosy ?

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Another kind of winter gloves you can choose is the knitted fingerless gloves. If you won’t be anticipating any snow, these are cute and perfect. It also saves you the trouble from taking your gloves off every time you use your phone. Pretty convenient, if you ask us!

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9. Scarves

Ah, scarves. The quintessential winter accessory that we can’t live without. Apart from protecting your neck from the bitter cold, it also adds a style dimension to your outfit. Whether you go for prints or solid colours, it can bring out the best of your personal style ?

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Depending on the temperature, a soft scarf can keep you cosy. For snowy holidays, however, go for the knitted and oversized ones. We love bringing a few scarf options so we can switch up our look every other day.

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10. Beanies

Oh, we just adore beanies! Apart from being an added layer of winter protection, it is a fantastic style piece for the holidays too. This one definitely comes in handy when your down jacket doesn’t have a hoodie ?

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Beanies come in a variety of designs, but the knitted ones are our favourites. We personally love the one with the fur pom poms. It’s so cute, don’t you think? Whatever your style preferences are, there’s definitely a beanie out there with your name on it.

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BONUS: Winter beverages to try in Japan!

Now that we have rounded up the essential items for your winter holiday in Japan, it’s time to recommend the drinks you should try! When it comes to winter, it’s natural to think of hot chocolates. When you’re in Japan, you can try other alternatives too. Think a warm cup of matcha green tea ?

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Apart from that, Starbucks in Japan creates very crafty flavours during winter too. Last year, their Chocolate Banana Cocoa was a huge hit. And the year before that, the baristas served Snow Pecan Nut Latte from the counters. Isn’t that amazing? We’re excited to see what’s next!

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Spending our winter holidays in Japan is amazing. We know it takes more preparation than usual, but thankfully, we are here to ensure that you have everything. From down jackets to scarves, remember to pack these essential items for your next winter vacation! Also, save us a nice winter latte from Starbucks ?