So you've found yourself in an awesome position where you are able to go to some winter festivals in Japan. Make sure you've prepared yourself enough so you don't wind up with frost bite!
Here are my biggest tips for going to a winter festival in northern Japan.
Layers - These are going to be your best friend during this time. You may get hot and need to take a layer off, but it is better to have a lot of different layers on to make sure you stay warm when outside for long periods of time.
Shoe Warmers - Keep those toes toast and warm inside your winter boots! Standing for a long time can make your feet ache if you only do the toe ones, so I recommend doing the whole foot warmer.
Backpack - A lot of times there is going to be cute things to buy at a winter festival, so bring your backpack (and cash!) so you can carry all the cute things you find.
Cash - Most stalls in Japan only accept cash. You are probably used to carrying cash, but be sure to stop at the ATM before the weekend to avoid those pesky weekend fees!
Hat or ear warmer - while it may not be the coldest, your ears will be susceptible getting too cold and painful, so make sure those are covered.
Comfortable winter boots - You will be walking a lot! So make sure your shoes are comfortable and not going to toss your back or knee out!
Snow pants - A must in my opinion for being out in the cold and snow for a long time. Keep your legs dry and warm and sometimes it's warm enough you won't need a coat - just your snow pants (most Americans will need to buy snow pants online as they don't always come in big enough sizes. Also, I highly recommend the overall snow pants).
Keep your car (or your friend's car) ready for any winter issues - Make sure you have a plan for if you get stuck in the snow or need to get yourselves out a pickle. Keep extra clothes or blankets if you get stranded, and make sure you have your winter tires on. Take it slow when driving and leave with enough time to avoid rushing. Also be sure to know where you are going to park before you go. It's a stress you don't need to deal with when you're just wanting a fun day out.
Plan out ahead of time - it is hard to hit all the festivals in Akita, as they are pretty spread out over the whole prefecture, and only happen for two weekends, so pre-plan which ones you want to hit up.
Do you have any other winter festival tips?
As always, have lots of fun, enjoy the experience and know that a conbini is most likely not too far away!
Love always, Laura Ann