I've been doing a bit of looking around for the cheapest options when travelling to Japan, and it's pretty clear that travelling during November / December / January will give me the cheapest options. I know another off-peak season is during Summer, but I've visited Japan once before during the season of summer and really disliked the temperatures / rain / humidity - plus I just want to check out Japan in a new season!
But what I'm mainly concerned about is - can you still basically do what you'd be doing in other seasons when travelling in winter? I'm just afraid that some services / places might be closed off due to cold temperatures / snow / etc. Is this true? I'm talking about visiting islands like Gunkanjima, Okunoshima (rabbit island), Tashirojima during winter.
I've also heard that Japan tends to be very gloomy or dull during winter, is this really true?
A friend of mine went to Japan in January last year and thought it was amazing. He didn't find that anywhere was closed and it was snowing when he was there, but he didn't visit all the places you are planning to go. He thought it was beautiful in the winter and was even able to go up to Koya-San and stay with some monks up there. Personally I wouldn't like the short, dark days but if that's not something that bothers you then you shouldn't find it gloomy.
I have no idea about Japan in Winter season but after reading both posts, I can see that it is looking very attractive and beautiful in the winter season. Now, after that, I will make a plan to go there in the last days of this month. I hope I will go there soon. I love to explore new and untouched places.
I've been to Japan in January and had reasonably good weather one trip, and very cold and some snow on another trip. We passed through one area on the bullet train and there was a blizzard there but fortunately it was just cold when I got to my destination..
I never thought it dull or gloomy, and yes, everywhere was open. I'd go again in January.
Cyberia, Your experience is truly great and increase my interest. I can't wait to see the beauty of this country. The January is far way so I will wait for this month. I hope I will also enjoy there a lot.