Packing the Right Clothes for Kobe in the Winter

ByJustin Hanus
Dec 27, 2023

Packing the Right Clothes for Kobe in the Winter

The weather varies greatly across Japan in the winter. Hokkaido is the coldest, with temperatures reaching as low as -11.4 ºC (11.5 ºF), whereas the Nanpo and Bonin Islands have a tropical climate year round. With mild winters, Kobe is somewhere in between. Using the average temperatures will help you determine what to pack if you’re visiting Kobe between December and March.

What Kind of Weather to Expect

Kobe has mild temperatures due to the protection Mount Rokko provides from the north winds as well as the warm waters of the Seto Inland Sea. In addition, the moderate humidity means you won’t find the breeze too bitingly cold. You can expect an average of around 16 days of snow over the entire winter.

December Temperatures and Suitable Clothing

In December, it still doesn’t feel like winter in Kobe. The average temperature is 8.7 ºC (47.7 ºF) with a low of only 5.4 ºC (41.7 ºF) and a high of 11.9 ºC (53.4 ºF). Along with January, this is one of the driest months.

Be prepared for cold days by carrying a heavy coat with you when you go out — you’ll find there are some days when you don’t need it. Sneakers or boots are ideal footwear. Layer up to be comfortable indoors and out.

January Temperatures and Suitable Clothing

Temperatures fall a few degrees in January, which has a historical average of 5.8 ºC (42.4 ºF), a low of 2.7 ºC (36.9 ºF), and a high of 9.0 ºC (48.2 ºF). However, recent years have seen slightly higher temperatures. You’ll need to add gloves and a scarf to your packing list, although there may be occasions when you don’t need them. You’ll also need warm sweaters (wool is perfect), a good long coat or down jacket, boots, slacks, thermal undergarments, and thick tights if you want to wear skirts or dresses.

February Temperatures and Suitable Clothing

By February, temperatures are back on the rise. The average is 6.1 ºC (43.0 ºF) with a low of 3.0 ºC (37.4 ºF) and a high of 9.6 ºC (49.3 ºF). However, the weather tends to be windier than in January, which often makes it feel colder. For this reason, you’ll need much the same clothing as for January.

March Temperatures and Suitable Clothing

The beginning of March is still technically winter, but it does start feeling more like spring as the month progresses. The average temperature is 9.9 ºC (50.0 ºF) with a low of 6.3 ºC (43.3 ºF) and a high of 13.5 ºC (56.3 ºF). You’ll need fewer layers and a lighter jacket for this weather. Bear in mind you’ll also need protection from the wet, as rainy days will become more frequent.

When deciding what clothing to pack, also consider what kinds of activities you expect to do in Kobe over the winter. There will be plenty to see outdoors, including Luminarie in December. If you’ll be spending most of your time indoors, however, you can expect to stay warm, as buildings will have the heat on during most of the winter.

663highland, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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