In January, Nagano Prefecture has cooler temperatures and more snow than Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. Major cities in the basins, such as Nagano City and Matsumoto City, are cold in the morning and evening, and temperatures do not rise even during the daytime. It snows often, but the amount of snowfall is much less than in mountainous areas such as Hakuba. On the other hand, mountainous areas such as Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, and Tsugaike Kogen get a lot of snow. Ski resorts located on the slopes of the mountains receive even more snowfall.

Overview of Nagano Prefecture’s climate (year-round)

January 02, 2019 : Even when major cities in the basin are not yet covered with snow, the mountainous regions are a world of deep snow, Matsumoto City, Nagano, Japan, Japan = Shutterstock

January 02, 2019 : Even when major cities in the basin are not yet covered with snow, the mountainous regions are a world of deep snow, Matsumoto City, Nagano, Japan, Japan = Shutterstock

Mountainous areas in Nagano Prefecture are covered with snow in January. Photo shows the scenery of Shiga Kogen in January = Shutterstock

Mountainous areas in Nagano Prefecture are covered with snow in January. Photo shows the scenery of Shiga Kogen in January = Shutterstock

In Nagano prefecture, there is a big difference in climate depending on the location such as mountainous areas and basins. So, first, let’s get an overview of the climate of Nagano prefecture throughout the year.

Mountainous areas are cold and snowy

In Nagano prefecture in the central region of Honshu, mountainous areas (Japanese Alps) with an altitude of 2,000 to 3,000 m are connected from north to south, and major cities such as Nagano City and Matsumoto City are located in the basin. Mountainous areas such as Hakuba, Kamikochi, and Shiga Kogen are cold and ideal as summer resorts, but in winter it is very cold and it snows a lot.

Basins have relatively little snow

On the other hand, in Nagano City, Matsumoto City, Suwa City, Iida City, etc., which are located in the basin, the maximum temperature is as high as in Tokyo during the daytime in summer, but it is cool in the morning and evening. It doesn’t snow as much as in the mountains in winter, but it’s colder than in Tokyo and Osaka.

Karuizawa does not get much snow in winter

Karuizawa, an hour away from Tokyo on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, is a popular highland resort area as a summer resort. However, Karuizawa has much less snow than Hakuba and Shiga Kogen. The entire area of ​​Nagano has less rainfall than other areas such as Tokyo. The cherry blossoms bloom a little later than in Tokyo and after early April.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I wear in Nagano Prefecture in January?

In January, it is really colder in Nagano Prefecture than in Tokyo or Osaka. It is recommended to wear a thick coat, scarf, and gloves. For more information on winter clothing, please refer to the following articles and others.

Can I rent ski and snowboard clothing at the ski resort?

Yes, all large ski resorts have extensive rental services. Children’s clothing and boards can also be rented.

What kind of shoes should I wear when going to deep snow places such as Hakuba and Shiga Kogen?

We Japanese often wear snow boots when we go to ski resorts such as Hakuba. Snow boots are waterproof and slip resistant. In winter, you can buy them for as little as 5,000 yen at shoe stores such as “ABC MART” in Tokyo and Osaka. However, if you are going to take a bus to your hotel, you may not need snow boots. Even in areas where snow is piled up, sidewalks and other paths are cleared of snow, so be sure to walk on such paths.

Will snow accumulation cause the Hokuriku Shinkansen to stop?

The Hokuriku Shinkansen is designed on the assumption that it will be covered with snow, so it is usually not affected by snow. However, please note that it may be suspended during heavy snowfall.

Weather in Nagano Pref. in early January

Sightseeing scenery that simply shows the weather in Nagano in January2

NAGANO, JAPAN – 3 January, 2017: many Japanese people come to Nagano’s Zenkoji Temple in New Year time for blessing = Shutterstock

Sightseeing scenery that simply shows the weather in Nagano in January3

January 5. , 2015: Winter view mountain valley snow field, Kashimayari, Nagano, Japan = Shutterstock

The snowfall figures for Hakuba are for Hakuba Village, and the ski resorts in Hakuba have much more snowfall.

Average temperature
Highest temperature
(Lowest temperature)
Total precipitation
(Total snowfall depth)
Nagano City -0.1 ℃  (31.8°F)
4.1℃  (39.4°F)
-3.6 ℃ (25.5°F)
18.2 mm (0.72 inch)
21 cm (8.27 inch)
Matsumoto 0.2℃  (32.4°F)
5.7℃  (42.3°F)
-4.6 ℃ (23.7°F)
10.5 mm (0.41 inch)
8 cm (3.15 inch)
Hakuba -2.4 ℃  (27.7°F)
1.9℃  (35.4°F)
-6.7 ℃ (19.9°F)
48.0 mm (1.89 inch)
69 cm (27.17 inch)
Karuizawa -2.9 ℃  (26.8°F)
2.9℃  (37.2°F)
-7.8 ℃ (18.0°F)
9.3 mm (0.37 inch)
11 cm (4.33 inch)

※ Source: All figures are the average for 30 years of 1991-2020 announced by the Japan Meteorological Agency

Weather in Nagano Pref. in mid-January

Sightseeing scenery that simply shows the weather in Nagano in January4

Nagano, JAPAN – January 18, 2017: big door of the Zenkoji Japanese temple = Shutterstock

Average temperature
Highest temperature
(Lowest temperature)
Total precipitation
(Total snowfall depth)
Nagano City -0.5 ℃  (31.1°F)
3.6℃  (38.5°F)
-3.9 ℃ (25.0°F)
17.5 mm (0.69 inch)
20 cm (7.87 inch)
Matsumoto -0.3 ℃  (31.5°F)
4.9 ℃  (40.8°F)
-4.8 ℃ (23.4°F)
12.7 mm (0.50 inch)
11 cm (4.33 inch)
Hakuba -2.8 ℃  (27.0°F)
1.3℃  (34.3°F)
-7.1 ℃ (19.2°F)
42.4 mm (1.67 inch)
63 cm (24.80 inch)
Karuizawa -3.4 ℃ (25.9°F)
2.1℃  (35.8°F)
-8.2 ℃ (17.2°F)
13.0 mm (0.51 inch)
16 cm (6.30 inch)

※Source:  All figures are the average for 30 years of 1991-2020 announced by the Japan Meteorological Agency

Weather in Nagano Pref. in late January

Sightseeing scenery that simply shows the weather in Nagano in January6

The Hokuriku Shinkansen Line will basically operate as usual, even with some snow, Nagano City, Japan=Shutterstock

Sightseeing scenery that simply shows the weather in Nagano in January5

In January, snow begins to accumulate in the basin in Nagano Prefecture, Nagano City, Japan=Shutterstock

Sightseeing scenery that simply shows the weather in Nagano in January7

Karuizawa, Japan – January 31, 2019 : Villa landscape in Hosinoya Karuizawa on a day of snow cover. Karuizawa doesn’t get as much snow as Hakuba, but at this time of year you need snow protection = Shutterstock

Average temperature
Highest temperature
(Lowest temperature)
Total precipitation
(Total snowfall depth)
Nagano City -0.6 ℃  (30.9°F)
3.6℃  (38.5°F)
-4.3 ℃ (24.3°F)
18.9 mm (0.74 inch)
22 cm (8.66 inch)
Matsumoto -0.6 ℃  (30.9°F)
4.7℃  (40.5°F)
-5.3 ℃ (22.5°F)
16.7 mm (0.66 inch)
14 cm (5.51 inch)
Hakuba -3.2 ℃  (26.2°F)
1.1℃  (34.0°F)
-7.6 ℃ (18.3°F)
51.2 mm (2.02 inch)
84 cm (33.07 inch)
Karuizawa -3.6 ℃  (25.5°F)
2.0℃  (35.6°F)
-8.6 ℃ (16.5°F)
14.4 mm (0.57 inch)
17 cm (6.70 inch)

※ Source: All figures are the average for 30 years of 1991-2020 announced by the Japan Meteorological Agency

What to wear in Japan during winter

For winter clothes, please refer to the following article.

Monthly weather in Nagano Pref.

Below are articles about the weather in Nagano Prefecture. Click on the month of interest to see articles about that month.

January February March
April May June
July August September
October November December

Weather in tourist destinations around Japan

Below are pages showing the climates of various regions in Japan at the same time of the year.

Tokyo Osaka Kyoto
Hokkaido Sendai Nagano
Nagoya Hiroshima Fukuoka
Okinawa

 

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