What Is February in Japan Like? Festivals and Events to Enjoy the Snow Season!

Here we present some basic information about February in Japan such as official holidays, weather, and climate. Also, check out events like Setsubun, Sapporo Snow Festival, and Valentine’s Day. In Japan, you can only enjoy these in February.

In Japan, it is still a cold winter in February. However, that is why we have many festivals and events to celebrate the cold and snow. If you plan on traveling to Japan in February, please check this basic information about the February holidays, weather, climate and so on in advance!

February National Holidays in Japan

In February, only the following day is a national holiday in Japan:

Date Name and Remarks
February 11th National Foundation Day
National Foundation Day is literally a day to celebrate the establishment of Japan as a nation.

It is said that Japan’s first emperor, “Jinmu-Tenno”, ascended to the emperor’s seat on that day in 660 BC. However, this is actually a record based on mythological legend, so the clear date is still unknown.

There are no big events or festivals on National Foundation Day. However, some businesses are closed like other holidays, so it is necessary to check in advance.

February climate in Japan (weather, temperature, fashion etc.)

Average Highest Lowest
Hokkaido(Sapporo) -3.1℃ 0.1℃ -6.6℃
Tokyo 5.7℃ 10.4℃ 1.7℃
Nagoya 5.2℃ 10.1℃ 1.1℃
Kyoto 5.1℃ 9.7℃ 1.4℃
Osaka 6.3℃ 10.2℃ 2.9℃
Hiroshima 6.0℃ 10.6℃ 2.1℃
Fukuoka 7.4℃ 11.1℃ 4.1℃
Okinawa(Naha) 17.0℃ 19.5℃ 14.6℃

In Japan, it is still winter in February, and it snows a lot depending on the area. Especially in Hokkaido and Tohoku, the Northern area, lots of snow is still piled up.

It almost never snows in Tokyo or cities south of Tokyo, like Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima. However, the times it snows, it always creates a little panic.

Japan’s February festivals and events

1) ”Setsubun” on February 3rd

“Setsubun” is a day used to mark the change from winter to spring. It is said that “oni” (Japanese ogres) tend to appear on this day from ancient times. Japanese people scatter beans to scare “oni” away at home, and this event is called “mamemaki.” (It is said that this event is originated in China)

It is hard to participate in this event since it is done in people’s homes, but some shrines hold “mamemaki” events, like the Washi Shrine in Asakusa, so if you’re interested, please do some research!

There are also other traditions about Setsubun, such as eating as many beans as your age makes you healthy, or eating a big sushi roll called “ehomaki” brings you luck. On February 3rd, beans and “ehomaki” are sold in various supermarkets and convenience stores.

2) Valentine’s Day on February 14th

Just like other countries from all over the world, people celebrate Valentine’s Day in Japan too.

However, the difference from other countries is that in Japan, Valentine’s Day is a day for girls to tell their feelings to boys by giving them chocolates!

As a result, in Japan, an unbelievable variety of chocolates are sold in this season. Especially the foods sections of big department stores like Isetan are absolutely wonderful for chocolate lovers.

3) ”Sapporo Snow Festival” in Sapporo, Hokkaido

Every February, in Odori Park in Sapporo, Hokkaido, there is “Sapporo Snow Festival”, a festival of snow and ice. Snow and ice statues of different sizes are displayed in this festival.

The number of visitors keeps increasing each year. To our surprise, 2.4 million people visited last year!

4) The Popular and Fantasitical ”Yokote Kamakura”

In Akita prefecture, one of the most snowy prefectures in Japan, there is an event where people make a shrine with snow called “kamakura” and worship the God of water on the 15th and 16th of every February. This tradition has continued for more than 400 years, so many tourists from both Japan and overseas rush to see this fantastic scenery.

Photo credit: 極地狐 via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

How was it? Sometimes the lowest temperature of the year is in February, so festivals in cold areas that use ice and snow are popular. Please participate in these rare festivals especially if you live in countries that don’t have much snow!

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Written by KiKOU_official

This is KiKOU's official account. We'll provide a lot of articles about Japan.