4 Essential Tips to Help You Prepare For Japanese Winter

  • HOW TO
  • Winter is coming, are you ready? You should be. It’s extremely cold weather, though humid in some places, and at least in most of Kyushu, no snow to play with. Prepping for it is a little different than you may be accustomed to, but these few tips may save your heating bill, or at the very least keep you a little more toasty.

    1. Window Block Sheets


    A lot of older Japanese houses have single pane windows. Newer apartments and condominiums may have double panes, but chances are, you will need these bad boys to keep you warm, especially in rural areas. You can find these at most home centres, or hardware stores.

    To install, you simply spray the window with water from a spray bottle (mister) and attach the plastic role. Make sure your windows are clean first, to avoid repeating the process.

    Although they look a little cheap, they really do add warmth to the room, by keeping cold air out and hot air in.

    2. Heat Tech


    Thanks to Warm Biz – companies and workplace policies encouraging workers to dress more warmly rather than crank up the heat – there are a variety of options to keep you warm, without making you look like you are at an ugly sweater party.

    The best ones, in my opinion, are Uniqlo’s Heat Tech series. The great thing about these is, depending on your choice, no one knows you are wearing them! Unlike traditional winter clothing that is bulky and worn on the outside, Heat Tech is just amazing long underwear and undershirts that you wear underneath your usual suit, jeans, etc.

    Available in a variety of colors, patterns, and cuts, you are sure to find something that suits you. In recent years, Uniqlo has expanded its offerings from standard underthings to socks, patterned shirts, even sweaters and slacks!

    Check out their website for more!

    3. Hokkairo


    Right off the bat you should know there are 2 kinds, with different purposes in mind. The loose kind, and the ones with sticker backs. The loose variety is meant to be kept in pockets, so you can stick your hands in to keep them toasty, or slid into boots, etc. They can be moved around easily to your cold spots, and bring instant warmth.


    The ones with the sticker backs are meant to be placed on your tummy or back, affixed to undershirts. Don’t put them directly on your skin, you don’t want to get burned!

    Depending on the brand of each, the heat lasts from 3 – 12 hours. Check the pack and choose according to your needs.

    4. Hot Convenience Store Drinks


    Of course, there are a variety of coffees and teas, but the delicious ones in my opinion are the lemon and ginger ones. The PET bottles for hot drinks are thicker than standard bottles, and the drinks hold the heat well. Lemon and yuzu based drinks are great for sore throats or a quick wake-me-up in the morning, and hot ginger is excellent for keeping your tummy toasty for a few hours. You can even find hot Calpis, which is surely a unique Japanese taste!

    Prices range from 100 yen to 150 yen, and the sizes are usually around 300ml.

    Also available at vending machines (look for the ones with red lettering – red means hot, blue or black mean cold) these hot drinks are perfect for when you are out and about, and can’t really brew a hot tea or coffee.


    Hopefully, these ideas will keep you a little warmer and happier this winter. If not, just crawl under your kotatsu and wait for spring.

    Related Articles:
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    How to Stay Fashionable and Warm During the Japanese Winter