There are certain wintertime activities that just feel festive - one of which has to be ice skating. I think about my favorite Christmas movies, like Elf - and there's almost always an ice skating scene in them. Even though Japan may not celebrate Christmas in the way that many of us are used to, they're definitely on board with many fun festive activities - and a number of seasonal ice skating rinks pop up across the country during this time of year. If you're looking for spots to get your skate on when you're in Japan over the winter months, here are several places in Tokyo and Yokohama where you can enjoy yourself on the ice.
Tokyo Midtown Skating Rink
Dates: From January 5th through to March 4th 2018
If you happen to miss the illuminations taking place at Tokyo Midtown (they run up until Christmas Day), never fear - right after the illuminations are done and the New Year's break is over, they transform that area into an ice skating rink. In past years they've even had fun extra events at the rink here including a masquerade event where there were masks for rent - so needless to say it has quite the sophisticated vibe.
Admission to the event here is 1500 yen for adults, and 1000 yen for children aged junior high school age and below.
You can find Tokyo Midtown at the map address below. The closest station is Roppongi.
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Skating Rink
Dates: From December 2nd 2017 through to February 18th 2018
A combination of skating and culture? The Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse area ticks both of those boxes for you. Their annual Art Rink event has been running for the last thirteen years, and showcases different artists who get to use the rink as a wide open canvas for displaying their work. At last year's event, there were almost 100,000 visitors that attended during the opening period, and they're looking at exceeding that this year. As well as the art on display, you get a beautiful view of Landmark Tower and the Cosmo Clock Ferris Wheel, two icons of the Yokohama skyline.
Admission to the rink is 500 yen for adults (counted as high school students and above), 400 yen for elementary and junior high school students, and 300 yen for children under elementary age. Skate rental is an additional 500 yen.
The map location for the Red Brick Warehouse area is below - the closest stations are either the Bashamichi or the Nihon-Odori Stations on the Minato Mirai line (from there it's about 6 minutes on foot).
Akasaka White Sacas Skating Rink
Dates: From November 23rd 2017 through to February 25th 2018
This year marks the tenth year running for the Akasaka White Sacas Winter Event, and the rink here is one of the largest in Tokyo - so if space is a consideration this might be the spot! Also, if you'll be in Japan across the holidays and want to skate on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve, the rink here stays open right until midnight on Christmas Eve and until 1am on New Year's morning, which might be the perfect way to ring in 2018 in style. If your skating isn't at the proficiency you'd like it to be either, they also offer lessons here for all skill levels - perhaps a skating lesson might make a fun Christmas present for yourself or someone you know.
Admission here is 1200 yen for adults, and 600 yen for middle school aged children and younger. On top of that, skate rental is 500 yen. A half hour beginner skate lesson is 3500 yen and requires advance bookings, which are handled by their reception staff.
The White Sacas event location is on the map below - it's literally a minute on foot from the Akasaka Station. There are also more details about the event on their website here (in Japanese).
Toshimaen Amusement Park
Dates: From December 9th 2017 through to 28th February 2018
The Toshimaen Amusement Park is situated a short 15 minute train ride from Ikebukuro Station, and transforms into a winter wonderland at this time of year. They host a "Winter Fantasia" event here with some beautiful illuminations on display, and they top it off with a great outdoor rink where you get a great vantage point of the amusement park rides, too. On December 10th, there is also a skating demonstration taking place by Takahiko Kozuka, a former Japanese team figure skater - so if you want to see a professional take to the ice, this weekend is the time to check it out.
Admission to the Toshimaen Amusement Park (which includes the ice skating rink and skate rental as well) is 2100 yen for adults and 1600 yen for children up to primary school age.
The map location for the Toshimaen Amusement Park is below - it's situated right by the Toshimaen Station which is serviced by both the Seibu Toshima Line and the Toei Oedo Line.
Tokyo Skytree Skating Rink
Dates: From January 4th through to March 11th 2018
Skating with a view? You've found your spot! The Tokyo Skytree Skating Rink starts up just after the New Year's Holiday period, and this spot is a particularly family friendly one to take your tots along to. The event this year is also incorporating kids skating and play areas - so even if your little ones aren't proficient at skating they're still bound to have a good time. Another reason that this is a perfect spot to visit with children is that on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays throughout the event there will be appearances by Sorakara-chan, the Tokyo Skytree Mascot. Perfect for a memorable happy snap!
Admission to the event here is 1600 yen for adults, and 900 yen for children junior high school age and younger. They also have a parent/child ticket deal for 2000 yen.
The map details for getting to Tokyo Skytree are below. The most convenient stations for accessing Skytree are the aptly named Tokyo Skytree Station on the Tobu Skytree Line or Oshiage Station on the Hanzomon Line.
If you were looking for another way to embrace your winter vacation to Japan, some ice skating will have you feeling festive and even burning some energy while you do it. All of that exercise in the cold is the perfect reason for another giant bowl of ramen, right?