December usually brings cool and dry weather to Japan, and there are few visitors, especially in the first few weeks. This means it’s a good month to visit if you’re comfortable with the lower temperatures. Traditional ryokans, like Fujioto Ryokan, are usually minimally heated, so staying in one can be slightly chilly. However, there’s something special about soaking in an outdoor onsen during the winter, especially in the north, where you can relax in a natural hot spring surrounded by snow. Things pick up a bit at the end of the month and you may find some attractions closed in the run up to the New Year.