“Winter in Japan” is diverse, actually, as there are several climatic regions. Northern Japan has some of the snowiest large cities on earth, while Okinawa in the south is tropical.
My experience is of the Kanto region (that is, central eastern Japan), where it gets cold, but not too cold, and snow is fairly rare in recent years. Lately the overnight temperature has been getting down to 0 C (32 F), which is very chilly when you don’t have central heating or proper insulation. I don’t know about northern locales, but around here, people generally have wall-mounted air conditioner / heaters, and frequently kerosene or electric space heaters, and drafty windows and doors.
For readers in warmer climes who romanticize the idea of a cold winter, let me remind you of the following: drippy noses, never-ending colds, everyone coughing on the bus, numb fingers and toes, steamed up glasses when you come inside, being simultaneously hot and cold when you’re bundled up but walking around a lot, mold danger from window condensation, slipping on ice, feeling dried out from heaters, painfully cold water from the taps, etc. etc. etc. So yeah, not that romantic.
Anyway, the point of this blog post was to share a nifty list from the Gaijinpot blog, with ‘top 10 tips‘ for winter comfort in Japan. In summary:
- Thick curtains and window-sealing plastic
- Socks and slippers
- Nabe (hot-pot) dinners
- Kotatsu (yay!)
- Electric carpets
- Hot baths
- Electric kettles
- Walk around in the mall
- Stick-on warmers
- Travel somewhere else!
(Click through to the blog post to read more.)