I made a post before on how to survive summer in Japan, and here is the winter edition.
Perhaps it doesn’t get as cold in Japan as it does in the UK but you definitely feel the cold a lot more here. First of all it’s a damp cold that seems to get right to your bones, and secondly houses and apartments don’t have good insulation or central heating. So you are just perpetually cold.
The warmest places in Japan are the trains and department stores. So you will need to wear layers you can take off so you don’t start sweating or pass out when you’re inside!
Of course you need a coat, hat, gloves and a scarf. Warm ugg boots or shoes with furry sheepskin type liners (available at Daiso for ¥105) wouldn’t go amiss either.
Heat tech tops, tights and socks are available many places like G.U., Tutuanna or Uniqlo, ¥500+.
Kairo (カイロ) – heat pads or bags
They warm up when you take them out of their plastic packets and stay warm for hours. You can get them with or without adhesive, so you can stick them in the back of your coat or hold them in your hands. From ¥53 for a single one to ¥800 for a bigger box.
Indoors it’s nice to have some fluffy, comfy room wear like warm socks and a hoodie.
Hot Carpet or Kotatsu
In my apartment we opted for a hot carpet this year. We had an electric heater last year and it was useless. I really love my hot carpet, it’s not the prettiest thing but it warms you up.
¥5,000 from Royal Home Center.
An alternative to the hot carpet is a kotatsu (heated table and blankets).
The vending machines that were all stocking Pocari Sweat in summer are all now dispensing hot coffee, tea, corn soup, coco and ginger ale. Hot fizzy ginger ale… For ¥120ish they are worth it to just hold in your hands, stuff in your pockets and warm up with, especially if you forgot your kairo!
In summer they were to wipe your sweaty forehead with now they are to dry your wet hands on so they don’t freeze when you go outside.
Hot Baths or Onsen
Nothing can beat a good soak in hot water! I recently had a yuzu bath as recommended by a Japanese friend.
I hope that helps, stay warm!