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10 Fun Family 2021 Winter Activities in Tokyo


Families reunite and spend time together in Japan during holiday break which is usually the last week of December along with the New Year weekend in January. In Japan, there are many winter activities that families can do together. There are also winter activities just for kids that the parents can enjoy with them as well as Christmas activities like markets and food festivals. In this blog, we will show you fun winter activities you can do with your family in Tokyo. Of course, you can go on a solo adventure or bring friends along instead.

In case you’d like to learn a few Japanese words related to this blog’s topic, please feel free to check out the list below:

Winter – 冬 (fuyu)

Christmas – クリスマス (kurisumasu)

Family – 家族 (kazoku)

Activities – 活動 (katsudou)

Holiday – 休日 (kyujitsu)

End & beginning of the year – 年末年始 (nenmatsu nenshi)

Onsen (public hot bath) – 温泉 (onsen)

Fukubukuro (lucky bag) – 福袋 (fukubukuro)

10 Fun Family Winter Activities in Tokyo

Table of Contents

1. Visit an onsen/sauna in Tokyo

A common winter activity that families in Japan enjoy doing together is going to the onsen. Depending on the location, there’s no time limit so you can relax there as long as you’d like. If you are a fan of Japanese onsens but you don’t want to travel far outside Tokyo, Smiles already picked some options for you.

If you can’t find an onsen that allows people who have tattoos, there’s no need to worry; we’ve provided you with a lot of other options for winter activities in this blog. Scroll down to find out!

2. Go ice skating in Tokyo

Tokyo offers a variety of places to go ice skating. It can be a fun winter activity for kids and family members. Ice skating rinks are either indoor or outdoor. You can warm your body up and get a workout, which makes it a healthy outdoor activity for yourself and your family members. Check out the best ice skating places in Tokyo via the following link:

Best places to go ice-skating in Tokyo and Yokohama: https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/things-to-do/ice-skating-in-tokyo-and-yokohama

ice skating in Tokyo

3. Go to the illumination sites in Tokyo

When winter arrives in Japan, illumination sites become the most popular winter activity in metropolitan areas like Tokyo. Tokyo offers a variety of places that show off their flashy lights. Some areas decorate well-known shopping spots or streets and others have a dedicated and spacious location where they showcase holiday art. To see where you can go see the winter illumination in Tokyo for free, feel free to check out the blog we wrote by clicking on the following link:

Winter Illumination: 10 Free Hot Spots to see in Tokyo 2021

winter illumination tokyo

4. Go to a cozy restaurant in Tokyo

If you’d like to eat a holiday meal at a cozy restaurant in Tokyo, there are places that will let you experience that. Restaurants in Tokyo vary and there is a variety you can choose from, no matter if it’s for a casual get-together or a formal date. Certain types of cozy restaurants can range from offering a warm atmosphere to having kotatsu tables, which are traditional Japanese tables with a heating system underneath. Feel free to take a look below at the cozy restaurants we found in Tokyo for you. If you are concerned about COVID-19, scroll down to the sixth winter activity in this article.

Ryogoku Terrace Cafe

Totoshigure Shimokitazawa

Honke Kanoya

5. Join a 30k marathon in Tokyo

It’s the end of the year and you haven’t been able to check off your new year’s resolutions. If this has been on your mind, worry no more. Smiles is here to suggest you a winter activity that will help you not only to get into shape but to also enjoy running around and discovering interesting parts of Tokyo: a 30k marathon in Tokyo. To see more information, click on the link below:


6. Enjoy nabe at home in Tokyo

For those of you who want a fun and affordable winter activity, inviting a few friends over or gathering with your family and enjoying nabe (hot pot) at home is one of our recommendations. As simple as it may sound, this winter activity is one of the most common activities in Japan. 

Believe it or not, there are many different types of nabe: Kimchi hot pot, seafood hot pot, motsu hot pot, etc. If you’d like to try something new this winter, feel free to try making nabe at home or enjoy at a restaurant.

Ishikare Nabe recipe

Nabe restaurants in Tokyo:

Chanko Nabe Shinzan

Horumon nabe


7. Go to a Christmas market in Tokyo

The Christmas market is the perfect place for a family outing during the winter season. If you are looking for another popular winter activity in Japan, check out the five following Christmas markets in Tokyo:

1. Tokyo Christmas Market 

Location: Hibiya

Time: Until 25 Dec 2021

2. Roppongi Hills Christmas Market 

Location: Roppongi

Time: Until 25 Dec 2021

3. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market

Location: Minato Mirai

Time: Until 25 Dec 2021

4. Meguro Machikado Heart & Art Christmas
Location: Meguro

Time: Until 12 Dec 2021

5. Winter Cast Market

Location: Shibuya

Time: Until 30 Jan 2022

8. Go to a Christmas food festival in Tokyo

Visiting a Christmas food festival is highly recommended as a winter activity in Tokyo. It’s great for dates and spending time with friends and/or family. Food festivals are a great way to try a variety of foods if you love eating. One thing to note about food festivals is that they tend to be a little more expensive compared to the other winter activities we suggested. However, entrances fees are usually free so you can also enjoy the events by browsing through the booths. Below, we’ve found a popular holiday food festival located in Omotesando:

Time: 2021/11/11(木) ~ 2021/12/25(土)

Place: Omotesando Hills (Omotesando station)

Website: https://www.enjoytokyo.jp/event/381307/

9. Enjoy some holiday treats at a cafe in Tokyo

After a long week of strenuous tasks at work and tedious exams at school, what can be better than enjoying a lazy day in tranquility? An idea for that is to enjoy some treats with a cup of tea or coffee at a cafe in Tokyo as a soul-healing winter activity. This winter activity can be great for the event that you’re reuniting with an old friend. You can also find a place to read a book or watch some Netflix with someone. Feel free to check out the cafes we found that have WiFi and power outlets:

10 best cafes in Tokyo with WiFi and outlets for remote work and studying and more

Tokyo cafes with wifi and power outlets

10. Treat yourself to a fukubukuro in Tokyo

Fukubukuro is a popular item to purchase during the holiday season in Japan, before and after New Year’s Day. A fukubukuro is usually a large bag filled with a variety of selected items from a store. Shops either sell fukubukuro bags with surprise items or they indicate what’s inside each of them. What’s so great about fukubukuro bags, you ask? They’re sold at great prices. You can get a bundle of products at a big discount, so we recommend you get them at first sight. They can sell out fast. Here is a list of stores that sell fukubukuro in Japan:

So which one will it be?

We hope we inspired you to do something fun during the winter season. Japan offers a variety of winter activities you can do with your family and friends so take advantage of them. Do you have any suggestions? Have you done anything that we mentioned above? What was it like? Please feel free to share with us! Happy holidays!

Related articles:

Winter Illumination: 10 Free Hot Spots to see in Tokyo 2021

10 best cafes in Tokyo with WiFi and outlets for remote work and studying and more

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