Category Archives: Weather

How to get cheaper winter clothes in Sapporo

I got a question about reasonable way to get cheaper winter outfit in this blog’s comment, so took research by myself and asked my friends for better answer in these a few days. It might not be the best answer, but I hope information could be helpful for you.
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What to wear in Hokkaido in winter (Jan to Feb)

Jan to Feb is the season having with a lot of snow as well as the lowest temperature in a year. Cold days with temperature which doesn’t reach 0℃ keep continuing in whole this period. It’s often around 0℃ even in South part of Hokkaido like Hakodate which is much warmer than other part of Hokkaido as well. Read More

What to wear in Hokkaido in winter (Nov to Dec)


When it comes to Nov, the temperature rapidly falls and the lowest is below 10℃ in most areas in Hokkaido until mid Nov. After late Nov, it becomes below 0℃ and even the highest temperature is lower than 5℃. The first snow also falls in late Oct to early Nov every year. If you plan to come to Hokkaido in this period, may be able to see such a fresh snow by chance.
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5 tips for winter clothes in Hokkaido


Winter is the season exactly representing the image of Hokkaido, beautiful, white and quiet ,which would be very attractive for lots of domestic and foreign tourists. Hokkaido’s major events, white illumination and each local area’s winter festivals including Sapporo snow festival are also held in this season. However, some tourists may guess winter in Hokkaido is too cold to enjoy the trip…. To enjoy and stay more comfortable in winter in Hokkaido, let me introduce not only outfits commonly known, but also tips for winter clothings in Hokkaido. The season almost starts from November and continue until early April. People in Hokkaido overcome the serious coldness of winter for a half of the year along with following tips!

1, Difference between city and county side

Outfit for shopping in Sapporo and exploring nature like watching drift ice on the ship at Okhotsk sea is totally different. Even though saying “Travel in Hokkaido”, the option is various and clothings should adjust to locations where you go and activity you do. If you go to Shiretoko, Mt. Taisetu or any spots with beautiful natural surroundings, I recommend to visit outdoor shops in advance to get winter jacket and other clothes to protect from severe coldness.
Meanwhile, it’s actually enough hot in the department stores and shopping malls in Hokkaido, so outfit doesn’t look much different from shopping places in Tokyo, Osaka or other areas in Japan. I often feel too hot during shopping at Sapporo city, therefore also recommend tourists not to wear heavy sweater on under your coat. My most comfortable sets of closing is Uniqlo’s HEATTECH underwear + long sleeve T-shirts + thin sweater. Some local people may feel even this set of clothing looks too hot, but layering with three clothes is just comfortable for me and also helpful as I can take off shirts at washroom once feeling too hot^^

2, Unbrella is not necessary but hooded coat is more helpful

You would expect to see lots of snow in Hokkaido, on the other hand, may be anxious about it. Snow can be continuously falling from morning to evening in a day , but it is not always necessary to use umbrella in whole winter. In case we move from a building to another building or walking distance is short during a little snowing, local people don’t use umbrellas. Instead of that, hooded coat is very useful. Snow in Hokkaido is very light and not watery , so covering by hood is enough helpful to avoid snow. In order to walk safe on the slippery and frozen road, it would not be a good idea to bring an umbrella and be better to keep both hands free.


3, Winter shoes to avoid falling over frozen road

If you move around Sapporo city center, walking with sneaker should be no problem as from Sapporo station to subway Odori and Susukino station is connected by underground path or most road in the city area is developed with heating system to melt snow of the surface. Wearing business shoes whose sole are smooth and slippery or high heels are dangerous in winter in Hokkaido. If you want to continue to wear your own shoes during travel in Hokkaido, some shops in new Chitose airport or JR station selling non- slip tools to directly attach on your shoes might be convenient for you. As local shoes shops are normally allocates most of selling space to snow boots or other winter foot wears during snow season, you could also find your favorite one there.

4, Gloves, wool scarf and woollen hat

Gloves and wool scarf are the accessories most Hokkaido people are putting on in Winter. Those are not for looking fashionable, but also used for protecting against coldness. It is good to prepare wool scarf and gloves made by wool or fleece fabric or whatever light and handy rather than thick ones like used at skiing. Once hands are getting colder, it’s difficult to recover warm when staying outside. Additionally, I especially emphasis that walking with own hands in the pockets is very dangerous as it makes us much difficult to keep balance and easier to fall down.
Sometimes in winter the wind brow strong, so woolen hat or earmuff is very useful to cover your ear and head. A hat is also useful to avoid head hitting on ground in case you fall down on slippery road.

 


5, Underwears

I recommend to wear tight underwears to protect cold air coming in your body during winter in Hokkaido. HEATTECH underwear by Uniqlo which is made by thin material and also has high heat keeping effect is one of my necessary winter clothes. For ladies, it would be just suitable to wear before wool sweater and cotton shirts or cotton blouse. Although it is actually cold in winter in Hokkaido, local women don’t hesitate to wear skirt as well. I also usually don’t feel cold when wearing long boots and putting on thick stockings with the thickness of 60 denier to 80 denier under the skirt. If the temperature becomes below -5℃, many ladies even put on stockings under jeans. By the way, you plan to keep staying inside like department stores or shopping malls over a long hours in a day, clothes under the winter jacket are no need too thick as those places always keep enough warm in winter.

What to wear in Hokkaido in autumn (Sep to Oct)

Autumn in Hokkaido is so beautiful and it brings delicious foods like vegetables, fruits and seafood to us. It is also my favorite season.
Getting colder in late Aug, we just feel the beginning of autumn from that time on. It falls snow on the top of mountains in Oct, which almost means the season is changing to Winter. It is commonly said that autumn in Hokkaido is short period almost only two months from Sep to Oct.
Below chart is showing highest and lowest temperature in Sapporo for each month in 2016 provided by official website of Japan Meteorological Agency. <!–more–>
As you may aware, the difference between highest and lowest is very large, and in other words, temperature between day time and morning or night is also very different. It is very important to prepare properly clothes for travel in Hokkaido. Most Japanese domestic tourists always concern what to wear for the travel to Hokkaido, so I guess foreign tourists are much annoying this matter due to luck of enough local information in English….
 

Highest and lowest temperature in Sapporo (2016)

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Highest 4.0 8.3 13.5 21.1 29.7  28.4
Lowest  -10.7  -10.9  -6.9  0.1  1.7  8.4
Month Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Highest 30.5  31.9 31.1  24.7  14.5  11.9
Lowest  13.4  15.1 9.5  0.5  -7.0 -9.2
In Sep, it is better to wear long sleeves rather than short sleeves and also good to wear long pants rather than short pants. If you are lady and like to wear skirt, it is better to wear stockings with skirt. When you have a plan to go north or east Hokkaido, such as Asahikawa, Kushiro or Obihiro, better to bring cardigan, hooded jacket or hooded sweatshirt to keep warm.
In Oct, we seldom see people wearing short sleeves! 😀 Local people usually wear cardigan, hooded jacket or sweatshirt on long sleeves and additionally put light down jacket or light coat on in case it becomes colder around 10°C. Wool scarf or wool gloves may be useful when you go to see night view especially from the mountain top like Mt. Moiwa in Sapporo. It sometimes falls snow in Oct, but we can still walk with sneakers, not necessary winter shoes.
Below is a sample of suitable clothing by temperature. I hope this helps you to judge what to wear in Hokkaido at the time of preparation for your trip.

 

Sample of suitable clothes in Hokkaido

Temperature below Sample of suitable clothes in Hokkaido
25°C  Better to prepare long sleeves to put it on short sleeves  for night
20°C  Wear cotton cardigan or cotton jacket on long sleeves
15°C  Start wearing winter clothes such as wool sweater, wool jacket and down made vest on long sleeves
10°C  Wear cotton made coat or light down coat on wool sweater
8°C  Wear wool made coat or light down coat on wool sweater
5°C  Wear wool made coat or thick down coat on wool sweater. Better to put on wool gloves and wool scarf.
0°C  Wear wool made coat or thick down coat on wool sweater with turtle-necked underwear. Better to put on wool gloves and wool scarf

Check Sapporo weather and temperature

When it comes to going to travel, the weather of your travel destination would be one of concerns. Four season in Sapporo is clearly divided and the temperature difference between day and night is considerable, so adequate clothing or belongings are needed to enjoy your travel.
As a rough indicator, most Sapporo citizen wear long sleeves or cardigan around 20 degrees, cotton jacket around 15 degrees and prepare thin coat when it becomes below 10 degrees.Getting further colder like below 5 degrees, most people wear down-jacket or wool coat.
There are a number of websites to check the weather forecast for all over Japan, but the official website by Japan meteorological agency is still most reliable.
Including the weather, you can check current condition of Sapporo city center via a live streaming at Sapporo TV tower

Suitable clothing for travel to Sapporo


When you visit to Sapporo, choosing suitable clothing might be one of the annoying matters for you. Weather and temperature in Sapporo are clearly distinguished for four seasons, so checking the weather forecast and preparation of adequate clothing before the travel are strongly recommended. As one of Sapporo local people, let me introduce general clothing for each season.

Spring season in Sapporo: Early April-mid Jun
*Average temperature: 7.1℃ -16.7℃
*General clothing for spring in Sapporo: Long sleeve shirt, skirt/long pants, cardigan and jacket

On Apr, a jacket is still needed. Wearing long sleeve shirt may be enough comfortable for some of you in May and Jun, but you may also feel cold without jacket in the night during this period. Wearing short sleeve is still too early even sometime after Jun.

For Spring

Summer season in Sapporo: Mid Jun-Aug
*Average temperature:16.7℃-22.3℃
*General clothing for summer in Sapporo: T shirt, short pants or skirt (long sleeves are still needed in Jun)

Some days in Jun are still cold in Sapporo, but summer is coming little by little after early Jul. Compared to other cities in Asian countries, the humidity in Sapporo is not high, so you would feel very comfortable for its summer season.

For Summer

Autumn season in Sapporo: Early Sep-mid Nov
*Average temperature:4.9℃-18.1℃
*General clothing for Autumn in Sapporo: Some long sleeves with Jacket or coat

It is the most difficult season to tell what kind of clothes are comfortable. After mid Sep, it is soon to become cold in Sapporo. Temperatures between day and night is largely different during this season, so it would be better to bring jacket or coat to put on any long sleeves. Oct and Nov are recognized as autumn on the calendar, but sometimes you may need winter clothes such as wool cardigan.  In 2015, it fell snow in Oct…

For Autumn


Winter season in Sapporo: Mid Nov-early Apr
*Average temperature:4.9℃(Jan:-3.6℃)-7.1℃
*General clothing and additional items for winter : Down jacket or wool coat, sweater, wool scarf, and wool glovesFor Winter
Winter in Sapporo that you need to prepare for serious cold begins from mid Nov. Outside is very cold, on the other hand, heater well works at the department store and underpass, so you may be surprised with the deference of those temperatures.  When you plan to go to Sapporo city center for shopping whole day, it would be better to wear a coat, wool cardigan and long sleeves so that you can put on or take off own clothes easily.

Underpass in Sapporo
Underpass in Sapporo


 

When to visit Sapporo?

Compared to other areas in Japan, four seasons of Hokkaido is clearly divided. As you may know, winter in Hokkaido is severely cold and continues a long time, but once  become warming, several kinds of flowers are bloomed at the same time, which makes people feel exact spring . Summer in Hokkaido is cooler and more comfortable than in Tokyo or other areas in Japan, but it is short and you would soon feel autumn even late August.
Each season has each good point though,  if I am asked the best season of Sapporo for travel, following ranking is my personal recommend order. It would be greatly appreciated if you refer to this post for your travel planning.

 

No 1. Autumn (Early Sep- Mid Nov)

The season enables us to enjoy hot spring with watching autumn leaves and is fulfilled with delicious foods. In particular, fresh seafood such as saury fish, salmon and salmon roe are available at the local restaurants and supermarkets at cheap price in Sapporo. If you have plan to visit Sapporo beginning of Nov, I recommend going out to Hokkaido University (North 13 Rd, Chuo-Ku, Sapporo) to see golden color scenery by ginkgo trees.

At Hokkaido university


No 2. Summer (Mid Jun-Aug)

Summer in Hokkaido is very very short. Though it has exceeded 30 degrees for recent years in Sapporo as well, its weather and humidity during summer season is still more comfortable than other areas in Japan. At Sapporo Odori Park located in the central of Sapporo city, outdoor beer restaurants called “Beer garden ” are open from mid Jul to mid Aug every year. Those who have plan to visit Sapporo during this period would have chance to enjoy fresh beer with refreshing night breeze. 


hakko gakuen2
At Hakko Gakuen



No 3. Spring (Early April-Mid Jun)

In Hokkaido where winter continues for a half year, many local people choose spring as the most preferable and happy season. A symbol flower of Spring, cherry blossoms are bloomed in late April in Sapporo, though those are bloomed in late March in Tokyo. Spring is a definitely beautiful season, but there is one caution for tourists who visit Hokkaido between late Mar and beginning of Apr. Due to snow starts melting during this period, road condition is so bad that it is easy to get dirty by many puddles. If you walk around the central town of Sapporo, better to use underpass to avoid uncomfortable matter.


sakura 2 for
At Shiroishi Cycling Road


No 4. Winter (Mid Nov-Early Apr)

Sapporo citizens experience winter for nearly 6 months in a year. Travelers who have never seen snow in their home countries may visit Hokkaido in order to see it, but this season is very hard and it makes local people feel quite long period to spend it…..What travelers need to take care in this season is outfits and shoes to spend comfortably during the travel. I guess most travelers prepare clothes with enough thick to keep warm, but heater of underground and shops in Sapporo works very well, therefore someone may feel too hot if they stay inside all day long. A recommendable way to spend comfortable in Sapporo is layering a few clothes so that you can take off some at anytime. To avoid slipping on the icy road, it is better to buy anti-slip tool to put on your own shoes at any kiosk in new Chitose airport or Sapporo Station.


susukino festival
At Susukino