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.
First snow in Sapporo 2008-2017
|Year||Date of first snow|
By the way, we have to pay attention that the first snow does not always keep remaining until the end of winter but it usually melts soon. Therefore, if you eager to see winter scenery with lots of snow, I recommend to visit Hokkaido after mid Dec when “Neyuki” which means the root of snow falls. The season continues until March, so tourists visiting in the period from Dec to Mar need enough preparation of clothings to enjoy the trip.Suitable clothings and items in Nov to Dec are as follows.
Coat and jacket: Thick cotton-made jacket, light down jacket or thin wool made jacket for Nov and thick down jacket or thick wool made long coat for Dec. If the jacket or coat is that attaches with a hood, it does help to protect wind and snow.Coat and jacket are most important clothes for Hokkaido local people in winter and we usually prepare several types against each phase of coldness. 😀
Tops: Wearing two or three clothes as layering are recommended. (eg Cotton T shirts + light wool sweater or Cotton sleeveless tee + cotton blouse + wool cardigan etc) Wearing turtle-necked sweat shirts instead of cotton blouses is also very popular when it becomes much colder.As the image of Hokkaido, its outside is really cold, but inside like shopping malls, department stores and restaurants are very warm, so the temperature between outside and inside is totally different.(This is very similar situation where there is a big difference between outside with high temperature and inside with low temperature in southeast countries). To adjust to such a temperature difference, layering would work to spend comfortable.
Bottoms: Jeans seems to be too thin to spend sometimes in winter, so local people often wear trousers made by thick cotton or wool. Local ladies don’t hesitate to wear skirts even in winter, but always put stockings. Besides preparing warm clothes, fashion accessories also very helpful to protect serious coldness. Wool made hat, gloves and ear muff are very useful items to spend comfortable in winter in Hokkaido.
Shoes: Pumps and leather shoes are still fine in case no snow on the road. Local people usually change shoes to boots or winter shoes in mid Nov when the first snow falls or the temperature becomes around 5 ℃. As long as you walk around Sapporo in Nov to Dec, which has no such a lot of snow on the road, sports shoes should be still fine or attaching with anti-slip item on the sole of your own shoes should be better in order not to slip over the frozen road.
Following charts are highest and lowest temperatures for major cities in Hokkaido in Nov & Dec 2017. You would know how much different between highest temperature and lowest temperature for each month. It is highly recommended to check weather forecast carefully and prepare suitable clothings especially matching to each lowest temperature.
Highest and lowest temperature in Hokkaido (Nov 2017)
|City||Highest temperature in Nov||Lowest temperature in Nov|
|Sapporo (Central part)||17.4||-6.6|
|Asahikawa (North part)||18.1||-9.6|
|Hakodate (South part)||19.9||-5.0|
|Kushiro (East part)||14.7||-10.2|
|Obihiro (East part)||18.6||-11.5|
Highest and lowest temperature in Hokkaido (Dec 2017)
|City||Highest temperature in Dec||Lowest temperature in Dec|
|Sapporo (Central part)||8.8||-9.0|
|Asahikawa (North part)||6.6||-11.8|
|Hakodate (South part)||8.9||-7.9|
|Kushiro (East part)||7.8||-13.3|
|Obihiro (East part)||5.4||-17.0|
[Source: Japan Meteorological Agency]