[Weather] What to wear in Shirakawa-go during Winter

Shirakawa-go – A place of real winter wonderland

Shirakawa-go is in Gifu, where is the heavy snow area in central Japan. It snows from December to March, and the deepest snow depth could reach 2-3 meters. Please see the average temperature and snow report of last winter below.

Year 2017 2018
Month 11 12 1 2 3 4


Daily average 5.5 0.1 -1.6 -1.8 3.9 11.1
Highest average temperature 10.9 3.6 1.6 2.7 11 18.3
Lowest average temperature 1.2 -2.8 -4.8 -6 -1.3 4.8
Highest temperature 21.1 11.1 8.9 9.5 20.1 29.1
Lowest temperature -2.6 -8 -11.1 -10.6 -6.1 -1.2


Total snowfall 27 287 356 231 30 12
Daily maximum snowfall 10 37 40 36 3 12
Maximum depth 15 117 185 236 146 11

Resource: Japan meteorological Agency

What to wear in Shirakawago?

Prepare your wearing base on your schedule of the day

In the heavy snow area, there is a large temperature difference between indoor and outdoor. Although it’s under 0 Celsius degree outdoor, there are always heaters inside, therefore the indoor temperature is around 20 Celsius degree. In this kind of situation, I would recommend to prepare the clothes base on the schedule of the day. For example, in the day time you don’t have to wear too heavy when just having a walk around the village, because you might keep go indoor and outdoor constantly. But for the light-up event, which might spend the whole night outdoor, you need to be well prepared. We are going to introduce what you could prepare for travel during winter.

For outdoor activities over 3 hours Daily normal wearing
Occasion The light-up event Have a walk in the afternoon
Coat Windproof and waterproof long coat Windproof coat or wool coat
Inner-wear Uniqlo heattech extra warm Uniqlo heattech inner-wear
Top Knitwear or thick cotton wear Long sleeve shirt
Bottoms Heattech leggings with trousers
Shoes Waterproof and Slip-proof snow boots
Accessories Beanie, scarves, gloves, and mask
Extra wear Light down jacket

The wearing principle in winter

1.It’s better to wear in layers

A warm coat is the most essential thing, you don’t have to wear too much inside, so that it would be easy to take off and wouldn’t be too warm when you’re indoor. However, for the long time outdoor activities, the down coat with 90% and above down (not feathers) filling is recommended or 100% wool coat is also a good choice. Moreover, the waterproof and windproof material — Gore-tex jacket with a warm down inner is also suitable for outdoor activities. Here are the examples:

Lativ 95% down coat Uniqlo wool coat

2. Heattech inner

A warm inner inside could be very helpful, highly recommend Uniqlo Heattech extra warm inner and leggings. It’s specially design for snow activities, please see the picture below. (Btw it’s not a sponsored post)

Uniqlo extra warm inner

Uniqlo extra warm leggings

3. Waterproof and Slip-proof boots

Normally in the cities where snows a lot, snow on the driveway and sidewalk would be cleaned in the early morning, however in the countryside snow removal task is too difficult to clean it completely. Therefore, for the safety concern a pair of waterproof and slip-proof snow boots is vital. The snow boots brand I would recommend are Timberland and Sorel, but if you don’t want to spend too much money on buying a new one, you can just get a pair of snow spike in convenient store with a pair of waterproof boots. The snow spike is around 1000 yen and you can wear it outside of your boots for preventing slip.


Timberland official website

Sorel Rakuten market


Snow spike


4. Accessory:

  • Mitten/Gloves: It’s hard to maintain balance when walking in the snow, therefore if you keep your hands in the pockets that might be dangerous. With a pair of gloves, it’s not only convenient to take pictures outdoor, but also could prevent yourself from getting hurt then falling.
  • Beanie: Except in cities, not many people would use umbrella when it’s snowing, besides it’s not convenient for photo shooting. So that wearing a beanie not only can keep you warm but also, it’s easier for outdoor activities.
  • Mask: For people who are more sensitive to cold air, masks are recommended. Please use a thick mask, otherwise mask is easy to get wet by your breath.
  • Toes warmer: In Japan, there is a special warmer for toes, it’s helpful when doing long time outdoor activities. Because toes are easy to be freeze when you walking in the snow for a long time, your toes might feel nothing and hurt after that. Therefore, toe warmer is important and you can easily get it in the supermarket or convenient store in Japan.

Conclusion of winter outdoor wearing

There are various ways to prepare winter waring, and everyone has different level of fearing cold. This article is just some little tips for the travelers who haven’t experienced snow before. Hope everyone has fun in the winter wonderland of Shirakawa-go.

In conclusion

Top heattech inner+thick cotton outdoor wear+knitwear or down jacket+warm coat
Bottoms heattech legging+trousers
Accessories gloves+beanie+scarf+mask
Shoes Snow boots or waterproof boots + snow spike