As the holiday season is in full swing, some of us are heading home to be with family or going on tropical vacations. And some of us will stay here in Miyazaki to watch the red leaves fall off the branches and warm up with a hot bowl of ramen. There is a chance it won’t be as nostalgic as your hometown traditions, but Miyazaki and the surrounding areas have a lot to offer during this season! So, we have compiled a list of ideas to battle those Japanese-shocked holiday blues. And hey, you might even discover a new tradition of your own!
Onsen Hopping in an Onsen Village
Kurokawa in Kumamoto or Yufuin and Beppu in Oita are great options! You might even want to treat yourself and stay in a traditional ryokan!
Ice Skating in Ebino
Ebino’s ice rink (map) is open from November 26 until March 5. MAJET has hosted several ice skating events here in the past and they’ve been a lot of fun! Check out the post from last year’s event here. 🙂
Cabin Retreat in the Mountains
What says winter better than cozying up in a mountain cabin with some hot cocoa and warm blankets?! Gokase no Sato, Ikenobukuro, and Kurokawa Cottages are some of our favorites.
Hiking at Ebino Kougen
It might get a little chilly for hiking, but that’s nothing a few layers and a good thermos can’t fix! Winter cold helps take the haze out of the air, making the landscapes even more striking than usual. After your hike, warm up and relax in one of the nearby onsen.
Skiing and Snowboarding in Gokase
If you’re just looking for a weekend trip that won’t break the bank, or if you’ve never skied before, Gokase Highland Ski (map) is the place for you! You can rent equipment there, so no worries if you don’t have any. 😉
Gather some friends and warm up with a hot pot of nabe under the kotatsu! Check out our Nabe Time! blog post for some delicious recipes to try. 😉
Events & Festivals:
Spend an entire night drinking shochu while watching traditional kagura performances with the locals.
As summer is to fireworks, so winter is to illuminations. Almost anywhere you go will have some sort of display–you can check out the Festivals and Events Calendar for a full list, or check out some of our favorites below!
Florante in Miyazaki City
Plaza Illumination in Miyakonojo
Kobayashi Winter Festival
Miyazaki International Festa
Held on December 10th, this festival features an art exhibition, world music and dance, a Japanese speech contest, and many more events! If you’ll be around, do stop by and check it out!
Miyazaki City International Christmas Market
This is a special opportunity to share the Christmas spirit with some local Miyazakians and possibly get some daikyuu if you volunteer! Fill out the RSVP form by December 16th to save your spot!
Aoshima Naked Man Festival
Head out to Aoshima on Coming of Age Day to see the Aoshima Hadaka Mairi. Don’t worry, the participants aren’t actually naked, but they may as well be with their thin loincloths and robes! If you haven’t been to Aoshima yet, this is also a great chance to check out the shrine while you’re there.
Sights to See:
Shirataki Falls in Gokase (map) is famous for its fall foliage, but in winter you’ll have the opportunity to see the waterfall completely frozen!
Takachiho Gorge (map) is gorgeous any time of year, and its a perfect place to hang out during the day before catching a yokagura performance at night!
Even if the temperatures are still warm during the day, cool autumn and winter mornings are the perfect time to drive up to Kunimigaoka in Takachiho (map). Arrive early and you’ll be able to see the Sea of Clouds! Why not try catching the sunrise after seeing a yokagura performance?
A little bit away from Ebino plateau is Lake Miike (map). If you hike around the lake after a snowfall, you’ll be treated to a beautiful snow-covered landscape.
Well there you have it! There are tons of things to see and do in and around Miyazaki during the winter, so be sure to get yourself out from under that kotatsu and experience it all!
If you know of any other great events or activities, let us know!