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.
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.