Hokkaido Travel Guide Winter

Winter Travel Packing List for Hokkaido, Japan

Are you prepared for Hokkaido’s cold weather? Here I make a very simple packing list for a trip to Hokkaido this winter. Visiting Hokkaido in the winter could be challenging as the weather is awfully cold. If snow starts falling on its grounds, all the ski resorts will get busy.

Let’s say, winter is in full swing now. You hold a cup of coffee at a coffee shop while outside the temperature drops down, and snowing constantly.

What makes the day wonderful when you take long sleep on your bed, no I don’t follow this custom, sorry! Instead, I go outside and explore the areas in a new look.

Probably this outdoor winter scenery helps you to imagine Hokkaido’s extreme cold weather! photo Credit: satoshi sawada at Flickr.

In winter, a large number of local and international tourists gather in Hokkaido. If you ask them why they think it as a perfect winter holiday destination, then you can expect four possible answers – winter festivals, seafood, skiing and hot spring resorts.

In fact, I am telling you this based on my previous experiences as often I meet with strangers down the street in Sapporo.

By the way, let’s get to the main topic. Winter packing list somewhat messy but don’t feel that way as I am here to help you. May you find an easy way to get rid of this, good luck!

What to Pack and How to Pack Light for Hokkaido Winter

Snowy Hokkaido – this little girl does not seem surprised seeing a lot of snow piled up around the house. Photo Credit: Reginald Pentinio at Flickr.

I assume you have a very limited idea on how to deal with Hokkaido’s extreme cold weather. Don’t pretend that you know everything else to beat the cold there.

My first suggestion to you is – don’t encounter its extreme winter season without the ideas of how to dress warmly! Your attires have to be well suited and ideal to survive the cold.

Please note that you can buy winter cloths (cheap & expensive) in Sapporo. Therefore those who are sick for packing things and fond of light packing should consider buying clothes in Japan.

Keeping your body out of the freezing cold weather is all about Layers. There is variety of hot drinks available to keep you warm, though. Also, eating a bowl of hot ramen would work as a great tonic!

Winter Clothing – The Layers

The famous Hokkaido’s Red Fox! Do you think he is concerned about the Layers? Photo Credit: satoshi sawada at Flickr.

Let’s take a look at the winter clothing packing list that you desperately need to know before coming to Hokkaido.

Below you will see some of my best winter travel accessories (for men) that I personally used in the past and usually use during winter. Just to tell you that I am a huge fan of Columbia Sportswear and one of their loyal consumers!

For women, they can pack 2 or 3 bras and other necessary girls’ travel accessories. Also I recommend packing a pair of beautiful cozy comfy slippers including couple of long sleeve t-shirts.

If you have time then please read this article to get some ideas on what to wear in Hokkaido in winter.

Packing ListFor MenFor Women
The Boots1) Columbia Men's Bugaboot Plus III Omni Cold-Weather Boots
Women's DailyShoes Comfort Round Toe Mid Calf Flat Ankle High Eskimo Winter Fur Snow Boots
The Socks 2) Dickies Men's 4 Pack High Bulk Acrylic Thermal Boot Crew Socks
Kirkland Signature Womens Trail Sock Pack of 4
The Thermal Underwear 3) Tesla Blank Men's Thermal Microfiber Fleece Lined Top & Bottom Underwear Set MHS100
Ekouaer Women's Long Thermal Underwear Fleece Lined Winter Base Layering Set
The Pants4) SSLR Men's Straight Fit Flannel Lined Denim Jeans
Camii Mia Women's Winter Slim Fit Thermal Jeans Pants
The Fleece 5) Columbia Men's Cathedral Peak Front-Zip Fleece Vest
Columbia Women's Benton Springs Full-Zip Fleece Jacket
The Jacket 6) Columbia Men's Lhotse Mountain II Interchange Jacket
Columbia Women's Glam-Her Down Jacket
The Hat & Scarf 7) Men's Two-Toned 3M Fleece Thinsulate Ribbed Knit Scarf and Hat Set
Women Fashion Winter Warm Knitted Scarf and Hat Set Skullcaps
The Gloves & Mitten 8) Vbiger Winter Gloves Texting Gloves Touch Screen Mittens Warm Cold Weather Gloves For Men
Knolee Women's Screen Gloves Warm Lined Thick Touch Warmer Winter Gloves

Have you ever heard of the Sapporo Snow Festival?

There is nothing much to say here about this greatest snow festival because I have written a complete guide to enjoy the festival. Click here to read the article right away.

And if you are interested in experiencing more than this one, then follow this link and find other famous snow festivals of Japan.

Sapporo Snow Festival – everyone looks pretty great with their own winter attires. Photo Credit: Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet at Flickr.

My personal reviews for men’s clothing only that you see them on the table shown above.

1) Boots: It is a comfortable pair of boots with waterproof seam-sealed construction. Last year I bought this pair and I was fully satisfied with quality.

One of the most important features of this boot is – it is very light weight, warm and easy to walk on the snowy grounds. I highly recommend you this pair for your trip to Hokkaido this winter.

2) Socks: A pair of ordinary socks cannot protect you much, therefore prefer buying thermal boot socks that is lightweight and warm. 3 pair of socks is recommended for your Hokkaido trip!

3) Thermal Underwear: Visiting Hokkaido in the winter but without wearing thermal underwear? This sounds crazy and you are going to ruin your trip for sure.

Please wear the thermal underwear I recommend you here. This will keep you warm at night and day time when you go for skiing and snowboarding.

If you don’t know where to go for skiing and snowboarding then visit this page and find out the top ski resort in Hokkaido.

It is snowing in Sapporo! Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito at Flickr.

4) Pants: Life without jeans is worthless! This is actually what I think of. I have purchased this one a few days ago keeping in mind that I need a pair of jeans for my winter vacation.

Even though it is autumn now here, it is cold outside at night and very early in the morning. In fact, I wore it already and it fits me perfectly. It is really comfy!

5) Fleece: This is my one of the favorite winter outfits and a great treasure in my closet. It is nice and warm and perfect when you stay inside a hotel, restaurant, bar and shopping store.

Just take off your jacket and feel comfortable with this one. Don’t you forget that you are provided heating system inside a house!

Amazing winter view in Hokkaido. Photo Credit: Perfect Zero at Flickr.

6) Jacket: I have already bought this jacket for upcoming winter season. I know how cold it is in northern Japan. Don’t think twice but get this one before visiting Hokkaido. In an extreme cold weather that locals usually have in the winter know the value of a jacket like this one.

I would wear this over the fleece I purchased only when I feel really cold outside. If you coming to visit Hokkaido from a country where the weather is not as cold as it is in Hokkaido in winter then wear both (fleece + jacket). Good luck to you!

7) Hat & Scarf: Recently I have been looking for a set of scarf and hat and thankfully I have found this one.

The set looks very fashionable and I am sure when I wear these they would keep me warm and protect from cold wind and snow. Anyway, it is amazingly sophisticated! Please collect it soon.

8) Gloves & Mitten: You must need a comfy pair of gloves to deal with the cold weather in Hokkaido. I choose this one as it looks stylish and keeps my hands warm. It is a real charm, no way.

Electronic Device

Perfect attire! Well done. Photo Credit: Una Pan at Flickr.

I hope you won’t forget packing the following electronic devices.

Travel Plug Adapter – you can buy a travel adapter at BIC Camera, a famous electronics store.

Camera – pack your DSLR camera and capture the all happy moments

Laptop and Laptop charger

Phone and Phone charger


Miniature flashlight, and

Universal Travel Case for small electronics and accessories – this one is very handy and protects your all electronic devices from scratches and any other damages.

First Aid Kit

Winter in Hokkaido offers a lot of outdoor activities to enjoy. Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito at Flickr.

It is one of the most important topics to discuss about when packing a list of accessories in your luggage. Seriously you need these to make your trip hassle free.


Antiseptic cream


Medical tape


Useful Toiletries

It could slippery when walking along a designated path, so walk very carefully. Photo Credit: Rob White at Flickr.

Shampoo and conditioner – take the one you use for everyday, better buy a new one for your upcoming Hokkaido winter trip.

Miniature body lotion

Deodorant – anyway, what’s your favorite brand?

Razor – if you shave often almost every day then why not to take it?

Hair Clipper – Lately I have purchased this cheap hair clipper but it works great!

Toothpaste and toothbrush

Small size hairbrush or comb

Chapstick/Lip Balm – One of the a must needed toiletries!


Important Winter Travel Gear for Hokkaido Trip

Hokkaido is an ideal place for backcountry skiing. Photo Credit: Perfect Zero at Flickr.

Backpack (medium size) – You can take a look at my backpack for get some ideas.

Sunglasses – get one if you think it is necessary

Filtered water bottle

Luggage lock – Japan is one of the safest places on earth, no one would steal your things but who cares!

Digital hanging luggage scale

Money belt – wear this money belt and keep your valuables safe such as money, passport, and credit card.

Compression Bag

A pair of hiking boots – for a comfortable hike, please check this pair out.

Eye mask – works best when you sleep on the plane

Small Multi-Tool

Japan Travel Guidebook – Visiting Japan without packing a great travel guidebook?! That’s nonsense, please collect this travel guide as soon as possible.

Japanese phrasebook

Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order

My Final Words and Few Other Packing Tips

Many visitors come to Abashiri to experience the drift ice in the Sea of Okhotsk. Photo Credit: David McKelvey at Flickr.

When it comes to talking about winter packing list, first and foremost thing to discuss about is the clothing idea. While traveling in colder climates, you have to wear the perfect attires that make you feel good, look good and keep warm.

Sometimes it might seem awkward when you try to travel with only a carry-on luggage and medium size backpack. Packing all these travel accessories will not be a daunting task in your carry-on luggage and the backpack you are going to buy.

You can check out my current backpack that I have been using since last month. It’s servicing me very well!

The famous Otaru Canal during the Otaru snow light path festival. Photo Credit: SteFou! at Flickr.

Seriously you would freeze, if you ignore the clothing ideas I have shared with you here in this post. I don’t want to let it happen to you. Besides, walking down the street and experiencing the snow festivals across Hokkaido in February is a tradition we follow.

Therefore be well prepared, feel comfortable and always look good. If you are on a mission to discover all the winter wonders of Central & Northern Japan, then apply this packing list ideas.

I do hope this packing list helps you decide what to take and carry for this year winter holiday in Hokkaido. Enjoy the snowy weather to the fullest.