31: Culture: Winter in Nagoya

winter culture

Hey guys!

It’s finally starting to get a little colder outside! Despite being the middle of January, we’ve had a pretty mild winter over here so far. That being said, my first year here was a bit of a shock to my Texas-born-system— it was super freaking cold.

I seriously thought I was going to freeze, because it was unlike any winter I’ve ever lived through! Soooo, I want to share some survival tips I’ve picked up along the way to keep warm and well through the Japanese winter!


winter in nagoya

Is it really that bad?

No, it’s not really that bad. The temperature hovers, on average, around 9° C (48.2° F) for the high and around 1° C (33° F) for the low where I live in Nagoya. What really was so different for me when I first came to Japan was that I couldn’t drive. In Texas, even though the temperatures are sometimes extreme, I didn’t notice it because the only time I was really outside was for trips to and from parking lots.

I walk so much more in Japan. It’s normal to take trains/walk/ride bicycles over here, as opposed to drive short distances. Like, it’s nothing for me to walk up to an hour to go somewhere. (oh it sucked at first, but now I don’t mind at all) S0 naturally, it feels colder or hotter because I’m actually experiencing the weather. (LOL)

The biggest difference

Even more than not having a car or being able to drive is the fact that most Japanese houses and apartments do not have central heating or insulation like I was used to back home. It was like I couldn’t get warm, no matter what I did. Or if it did get warm, my AC unit (which also functions as a heater) was set to a three hour timer and there isn’t any way to hack it (tried), so I would literally wake up from the cold (or in the summer, the heat).

Through trial and error, talking to lots of people and really observing the people around me, I discovered a few little ways to lessen the OMGIMGONNAFREEZE feeling that was literally the theme song of my first winter in Japan.

Handy Stuff

カイロ (kairo) are little packets of metal powder that function as hand warmers. There are several different types: sticky-type (you can stick them on your stomach or back), regular-type (no sticky, they typically just go in your pockets) and then there are ones specifically made to go inside your socks or tights to keep your feet warm. The heat usually lasts a few hours. These can be purchased at any drug store and sometimes even the conbini for pretty cheap.

湯たんぽ (yutanpo) are hot water bottles. This was such a lifesaver when I still lived at the place where the heater shut off after three hours! It kept my bed nice and toasty, even if the heater was off. I used my hot water kettle to heat up the water and it stays warm all night.

Electric space heater and Power Drop humidifier. The heater kind of explains itself, right? 😆 The apartment I live in now is two rooms, and of course the big heater/AC unit is in the living room. This means the bedroom gets freaking cold. It is a waste of energy and electric bill to run the big heater all night when it hardly makes a difference, so I shut my bedroom door and use this little guy. The humidifier is totally optional, but keeps the air/you from completely drying out.

160 デニール タイツ (160 denier tights) just may be warmer than actually wearing pants. I’m a skirt girl and with these on, it feels like I’m wearing fleece on my legs. They are so warm! These tights are really thick, with a fleece/sweater-type lining on the inside. I’ve actually even seen up to 400 denier tights, which is awesome!  Nagoya isn’t quite that cold.

Wrapping up

Of course, if you were raised in a colder climate, I’m sure the winter in Japan won’t really be much of a surprise to you. Like I said, where in live in Nagoya isn’t even really that cold, it just feels that way when you have to be outside in it. I wasn’t prepared AT ALL my first year here and it was miserable. 😖 If any of you ever visit, I wouldn’t want you to go through that! ✨☃✨

Are you from a cold climate? How do you keep warm? Share, share!

Trish sign blog



17 thoughts on “31: Culture: Winter in Nagoya

  1. Celia says:

    Good tips – I need to get more warm tights! When I moved to Japan, I came in the middle of winter and was not prepared AT ALL! I think I got sick almost straight away 😦


    • Trish says:

      Dang, I’ll bet it was a shock to your system! It’s summer in Australia now, right? And you were up where it actually snows, lol!
      I live in those tights, lol. Can’t beat the 3 for ¥1000 at Tutuanna❤️
      Thank you so much for reading!!😍


      • Celia says:

        Yeah, I went from the middle of summer to the middle of winter, with nothing but one lousy jacket! lol >_< I'll be dropping by Tutuanna next chance I get! hehe. x


      • Trish says:

        Oooh man, no wonder you got sick! HAHA XD
        Go, go! Check out the little socks with ribbons on the back, too! They’re presh ❤


  2. Stephanie says:

    If you have south-facing windows, open the curtains on sunny days to to let the sunshine naturally heat up the room and at night close the curtains (the thicker the better) to prevent heat from escaping.

    My old apartment faced the southeast and my apartment now faces mostly the north and I can definitely feel the difference.

    160 denier tights are amazing. I’m actually warmer at school when I wear them rather than pants. I never would have believed it lol.


    • Trish says:

      If I say I have no idea what direction my windows are facing, does that make me sound like a noob? XD I’m totally checking today!! I don’t think I have any windows on that side, though. It seems like the sun NEVER shines in my apartment…like ever.
      I’m totally wearing those tights right now! As warm as my legs are, I could sure go for a カイロin my shoe!


  3. Justine says:

    I can’t believe they don’t heat their houses! I’m from Canada so I’ve always kind of laughed when people think 0-10 degrees is cold… our coldest days get up to -40 degrees with the wind chill, and the coldest day my dad can remember (I wasn’t alive yet) was -80. BUT it is a completely different story without heated homes. Our homes are all heated, so we rarely get cold. I mean we do, but never for more than an hour or two. And while the sensation of walking outside and having the snot freeze in your nose and the water vapour freeze in your lungs (which makes you cough instantly) is quite painful, its nothing compared to spending a whole winter without heating.

    I was in for a total shock when I spent my first winter in New Zealand. I was living in Ohakune and the days were usually around 5 degrees and the nights were below zero. There was no heating or insulation in the houses and I’d have to say that was the coldest time of my entire life. I would go to the bar every day just to sit by the fire and keep warm! I’d even bring a book because I didn’t really have any money to buy drinks haha. Picture that, someone just reading a novel in the bar everyday. Luckily my partner worked there so they never kicked me out for not buying anything.

    Good for you for sticking it out and finding ways to cope with the elements! One thing about cold winters is that it truly makes us grateful when the days start to get just the teensiest bit warmer in the spring 🙂

    – Justine

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trish says:

      OOOOHHMG, that’s a degree of cold that I can’t even wrap my head around! There is absolutely no way anyone could live in that without insulated homes and heating! I can’t even imagine the electricity costs in the winter! D:Is that kind of cold something a person ever gets used to?

      I totally understand going to the bar to stay warm! I’m not even kidding when I say that I can absolutely relate!! 😀 I laugh because that thought has crossed my mind more than once!! I’m on really good terms with the people at my regular bar, lol. ❤
      I am definitely already ready for spring! Japan is huge on seasonal activities and spring is soooo much fun!

      Thank you so much for reading!! ❤ ❤


      • Justine says:

        Hahaha I’m not sure if anyone who didn’t grow up with it could get used to that kind of cold, but when you grow up with it it just seems normal. But yes, our utility bill usually doubles in winter and triples during the really cold weeks.

        I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking about getting warm in public places! I think cold weather has an effect on the closeness of people. It’s probably the reason Canadians have a world reputation for being “nice”. When it’s cold out we need to look out for one another 🙂

        I look forward to hearing more about your adventures in Japan. It has always been my dream do go there, one that I hope to achieve in the near future!


      • Trish says:

        That’s a really adorable description of Canadians! ❤ It is totally true that every single person I know from Canada is an absolute sweetheart!

        Thank you so much for reading! You should totally visit! We could go keep warm at the bar together, lol 😉


  4. Raquel says:

    Oh my! How did I not find your blog earlier?! Nagoya sounds like it has a pretty mild winter, that’s nice. I like it cold but not SUPER COLD. Enough to feel like winter but that I can still be functional xD. From what I always see Japan seems super cold but now that I think of it it’s probably because it’s almost always images of Hokkaido that I see when people talk about winter in Japan. Which makes sense. I was over there this past summer and I’m starting to realize that temperature wise it’s not that different from here.
    Btw, does that mean you don’t have hot water bottles for bed in USA?
    Anyway, I’m off to take a look at your blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trish says:

      Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! ❤
      Yea, it's really not too bad in Nagoya during the winter. The kicker is not having any insulation in the buildings. Well, that and having to wait for transportation (trains/buses). I'd say overall, Nagoya is pretty close in climate to where I'm from in Texas. 🙂
      Oh cool! Where did you visit last summer?
      Ah, in Texas we didn't really need hot water bottles in bed. I suppose they do have them, but I never used one. 😉
      Thank you so much for reading and for the lovely comment!! ❤ ❤


      • Raquel says:

        Oh, I think here in Spain we’re more prone to use transportation, I know what you mean. I always hate waiting for buses under the rain, I’m feeling the cold the whole day and I’m almost always sick the following one xD
        I spent a month in Osaka, visited Himeji, Kobe, and Nara, then 5 days in Kyoto, and then I bought a JR Pass so I went to Hiroshima, Miyajima, Nagoya, Kanazawa, Kamakura… and spent a week in Tokyo too. Now that I type it I went to maaaany places, was so lucky. I had been saving for this trip for a long time so I wanted to visit as many things and places as possible. It was amazing.
        Oh we use them quite a lot. Not that we need it, we do have insulation and heating, but they feel so great in bed haha.


  5. Sassy says:

    It must be totally different when you’re from an area where you never really have to be outside when it’s too cold/hot. Here in Switzerland, it’s most of the time between -5°C and +5°C during winter times and I don’t like it that much either. I wish I could go anywhere by car haha – or stay at home when it’s this cold.
    I love the advice you’re giving here. I gotta check out if I find thighs that are like the ones you described. 🙂 I often wear thighs, but sometimes they don’t seem to be great enough for windy days … 🙂
    xx Sassy


    • Trish says:

      It was kind of a shock, I guess. Like, I for sure got sick a lot the first winter here. I realize it’s not even that cold here…but dang it felt like it! 😆
      One of my really good Japanese friends went to high school in Switzerland and he rolls his eyes at me when I complain about cold, lol.
      The tights are lifesavers!! They’re like little fleece blankets for your legs! I hope you can find some!❤
      Thank you so much for reading!😍


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