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Top 3 International Travel Destinations for January 2024

a woman looking at a map trying to decide where to travel

This January, pack your bags and get ready for a much-needed winter respite in three different destinations that promise unforgettable winter experiences. From the snow-capped peaks of Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy to the tropical paradise of Bali in Indonesia, and the serene beauty of Kyoto in Japan, each location offers a unique blend of exciting attractions, fascinating traditions, rich history, and must-try dishes.

In Cortina d’Ampezzo, you’ll immerse yourself in a true winter wonderland, where the majestic Dolomites meet rich Italian culture. Here, you can indulge in winter sports, marvel at the stunning landscapes, experience Italian customs, and savor the delectable local cuisine.

Next, we swap the snow for sand as we head to Bali, a tropical haven that offers a warm escape from the winter chill. Explore the island’s lush landscapes, visit its iconic temples, soak up the vibrant local culture, and treat your taste buds to the exotic flavors of Balinese cuisine.

Finally, we journey to Kyoto, a city that beautifully blends tradition and modernity. Experience the tranquility of its historic temples, stroll through its picturesque gardens dusted in snow, participate in traditional tea ceremonies, and delight in the culinary artistry of authentic Japanese cuisine.

Join us as we delve into what makes each of these destinations a perfect winter getaway, offering not just a trip, but a journey filled with rich experiences and memories waiting to be made this coming January.

a snow-covered landscape photo of a ski resort in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

Winter Wonderland: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

Part of one of the top skiing and snowboarding destinations in all of Europe, the Dolomiti Superski Network, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy has over 62 miles of slopes and 86 ski runs that cater to every level of skiing expertise from novice to thrill-seeker and every stage of mastery in between. 

Beyond skiing, Cortina d’Ampezzo offers a plethora of activities for every member of the family. 

Take a scenic Faloria Cable Car Ride and view the stunning vistas of the gorgeous Italian Dolomites. For the adventure seeker, enjoy snowmobiling, ice climbing, and tobogganing. Hike the vast trails, like the Cinque Torri Loop Trail and the Giau Pass, that lead to the majestic Dolomite Mountains, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is also rich in historic sites like the Church La Parrocchiale SS. Filippo e Giacomo, located in the heart of Cortina d’Ampezzo, boasts grand medieval architecture that dates back to 1775. Don’t forget to tour the Musei delle Regole d’Ampezzo which displays a fascinating collection of fossils discovered in the Dolomites.

For a more leisurely experience, take a stroll through the picturesque, snow-covered streets of charming Centro Storico where visitors can peruse local shops and cafes.

Top Accommodations

Cortina d’Ampezzo boasts a variety of excellent places to stay. Some of the best lodging options include:

  • Villa l’Ampezzana
    • Location: Via Marangoni, 67, 32043, Cortina dʼAmpezzo, Italy
    • Rating: 7.0
    • Top Amenities: 1640 feet from Col Drusciè ski lift, free parking and wifi, private apartments and family rooms available, mountain views
  • Hotel Serena Cortina
    • Location: Via Faloria, 8, 32043 Cortina dʼAmpezzo, Italy
    • Rating: 8.1
    • Top Amenities: 2,000 feet from Funivia Faloria ski lift, free parking and wifi, restaurant on premises, family rooms available, breakfast in the room, pets allowed, child care available, mountain views
  • Barisetti Sport Hotel
    • Location: Via Dello Stadio, 28, 32043 Cortina dʼAmpezzo, Italy
    • Rating: 8.4
    • Top Amenities: 850 feet from Col Drusciè ski lift, spa, free wifi, family rooms available, breakfast in the room, pets allowed, mountain views
  • Hotel Villa Alpina
    • Location: Via Roma, 72, 32043 Cortina dʼAmpezzo, Italy
    • Rating: 8.9
    • Top Amenities: 1,350 feet from Funivia Faloria ski lift, free parking and wifi, family rooms available, breakfast in the room, city views
  • Hotel Villa Gaia
    • Location: Guide Alpine, 96, 32043 Cortina dʼAmpezzo, Italy
    • Rating: 9.2
    • Top Amenities: 3,050 feet from Funivia Faloria ski lift, free parking and wifi, family rooms available, breakfast in the room, pets allowed, mountain views

Culinary Delights

The dining scene in Cortina d’Ampezzo is diverse and enticing with renowned eateries that offer an array of culinary delights and breathtaking views such as:

  • SanBrite – Agri-Cuisine
    • Location: Località Alverà, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL, Italy
    • Rating: 4.6 out of 5
    • Ambiance: A warm and rustic interior with beautiful mountain views offers a pleasant backdrop for SanBrite’s fine agri cuisine.
    • Foodie Favorites: Spaghetti al Pino Mugo, mushroom soup, duck and cheese cappelletti
  • Agriturismo El Brite de Larieto
    • Location: Località Larieto, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL, Italy
    • Rating: 4.2 out of 5
    • Ambiance: A low-key, bucolic setting with gorgeous mountain views for fresh, farm-to-table dishes.
    • Foodie Favorites: beef tenderloin, Gnocchi alla Soreghina, fresh cheese and butter, cured beef with yellow polenta, and zopes
  • El Camineto
    • Location: Località Rumerlo, 1, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo BL, Italy
    • Rating: 4.6 out of 5
    • Ambiance: A charming eatery that capitalizes on breathtaking mountain views and countryside for a dining experience of local comfort foods.
    • Foodie Favorites: cured meats and cheeses, coal-coated ribs, spaghetti and onions, and porcini mushrooms with polenta.

Other crowd favorites include 5 Torri, Ristorante Rifugio Ospitale, and Ristorante Al Camin Cortina.

*** Note: Most restaurants are temporarily closed until the start of the high season in December.

Best Time to Travel to Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

Cortina d’Ampezzo’s high season is during the winter months from December to March when all of the best attractions are open. During this time, the population increases from approximately 4,000 residents to upwards of 40,000, so be sure to book your trip in advance of the high season to secure your accommodations. 

Important Dates to Remember:

Please note that the dates and events vary from year to year, be sure to check the specific dates and details closer to your visit.

  • December 25th through January 6th Christmas holiday season, the busiest time of the year in Cortina d’Ampezzo. This means that most of the attractions will be open to the public; however, between December 25th (Christmas) and January 6th (La Befana, the last day of the holiday season) there may be closed businesses or reduced hours. Be sure to check holiday hours before your trip. 
  • January 1st – New Year’s Day is a time of renewal and anticipation. Italians welcome the New Year with open arms, celebrating with fireworks, lavish feasts, and grand festivities in the main squares. For tourists, this presents an opportunity to partake in local traditions, savor special meals, and soak in the festive ambiance.
  • January 6th – Particularly enjoyable for children, Epiphany is a cherished holiday in Italy when Christians commemorate the Three Kings’ visit to baby Jesus. In Italy, the Epiphany is associated with the enchanting figure of Befana, who flies across the country on her broomstick, delivering sweets to good children and coal to those who have been naughty. Tourists can look forward to experiencing these unique local customs and celebrations.
  • January 19th – The Celebration of the Madonna della Difesa typically features processions, special church services, and community gatherings. These events provide tourists with a profound understanding of local culture and traditions.
  • January 26th through February 5th – The anniversary of the 1956 Winter Olympics, which was held in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, from January 26 to February 5, is celebrated. During this period, tourists may encounter special events or exhibitions commemorating this historic event, including the debut of the inaugural team from the USSR.

Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, is a winter wonderland that offers an unforgettable experience for travelers who aren’t afraid of chilly weather. From skiing on the expansive slopes of the Dolomites to wandering the charming streets of the quaint villages, there’s something special for everyone to experience. With a variety of top-notch accommodations and a diverse culinary scene, Cortina d’Ampezzo ensures a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a food lover, or a history enthusiast, Cortina d’Ampezzo promises a journey filled with breathtaking vistas, delectable dishes, and memorable moments for you to enjoy in January. 

an aerial photograph of a secluded beach in Bali, Indonesia

Tropical Getaway: Bali, Indonesia

Often referred to as the “Island of the Gods,” Bali, Indonesia offers a tropical destination for those who want to enjoy the sand and the sun. Bali offers an array of stunning beaches like Seminyak Beach with its high-end resorts and vibrant nightlight; Kuta Beach, famous for its surfing and lively beachside entertainment; and Nusa Dua Beach, renowned for its crystal-clear waters and pristine golden beaches, the perfect place for relaxation. Bali’s beaches are also known for their breathtaking sunsets on popular beaches like Jimbaran and Seminyak which offer some of the best views.

In addition to its gorgeous beaches, Bali has a wide range of adventurous water sports and activities such as surfing, snorkeling, diving, and jet-skiing. Locations like Amed and the Gill Islands are particularly popular for these activities. 

Bali’s marine biodiversity is another major attraction where snorkeling and diving offer a chance for swimmers to explore Bali’s colorful coral reefs and unique variety of sea creatures like whale sharks, mola mola, manta rays, green turtles, wonderpus, and ribbon eels.  

Beyond the beaches and waters, Bali is full of historic sites that speak of its rich culture. Visit the historic 16th-century temples of Tanah Lot and the Ululwatu Temple which dates back to the 11th century; view the Ujung Water Palace, the former palace of the Karangasem Regency that dates back to 1909; Besakih Temple, the holiest temple in Balinese Hinduism; and Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, the Shaivite water temple located on the shores of Lake Bratan.  

Bali also offers a shopper’s paradise with a variety of markets to explore. From the beachside bazaar of Kuta Art Market and the oldest traditional market, Sukawati Art Market, to the food lover’s paradise, Gianyar Night Market, and modern shopping in Seminyak Village, there’s something for everyone. Remember, bargaining is common practice in the markets of Bali, so brush up on your haggling skills and don’t be afraid to negotiate for the best prices! 

Top Accommodations

Bali has an array of exceptional lodging options at a variety of price points, some of which are:

  • Amnaya Resort Nusa Dua
    • Location: Jalan Pratama Gang Welaka no 8, Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua, Bali, 80363 Nusa Dua, Indonesia
    • Rating: 9.3
    • Top Amenities: Airport shuttle, outdoor swimming pool, spa, family rooms available, free wifi, restaurant on the premises, bay views
  • Potato Head Suites & Studios
    • Location: Jl. Petitenget Seminyak, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361 No.51B, 80361 Seminyak, Indonesia
    • Rating: 9.3
    • Top Amenities: beachfront location, airport shuttle, outdoor swimming pool, spa, 6 restaurants on the premises, breakfast in the room, bay views
  • Amandaya Canggu
    • Location: Gang Jalak Indah No.9, Tibubeneng, Kuta Utara, Badung Regency, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia, 80361
    • Rating: 9.2
    • Top Amenities: outdoor swimming pool, family rooms available, free wifi, breakfast in the room, garden views 
  • Chesa Canggu
    • Location: Jalan Lingkar Nelayan No. 9, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia, 80361
    • Rating: 9.7
    • Top Amenities: Free parking and wifi, 2 swimming pools, restaurant on the premises
  • Kanvaz Village Resort Seminyak
    • Location: JaIan Petitenget No. 188, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia, 80361
    • Rating: 9.2
    • Top Amenities: Airport shuttle, 7-minute walk to Batu Belig Beach, free parking and wifi, 2 swimming pools, spa, 2 restaurants on the premises, breakfast in the room 

Culinary Delights

The culinary scene in Bali is diverse and exciting, ranging from affordable street food to laid-back eateries and restaurants with stunning views of the beachfront. Here are a few standout establishments:

  • Jungle Fish Pool Bar
    • Location: Jalan Raya Sebali, Keliki, Kec. Payangan, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia, 80561
    • Rating: 4.6 out of 5
    • Ambiance: A peaceful and secluded hidden gem of Bali, the Jungle Fish Pool Bar offers a relaxing, private, tropical hideaway to enjoy delicious local cuisine.
    • Foodie Favorites: Arancini with black squid ink, prawn wontons, vegetable lumpia, katsu bowl, coconut curry, and dragonfruit smoothie
  • Mozaic
    • Location: Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Kedewatan, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia, 80561
    • Rating: 4.6 out of 5
    • Ambiance: A unique garden setting for visitors to enjoy a fine dining experience of iconic Asian gastronomic cuisine.
    • Foodie Favorites: 8-course seasonal meals, Botanical Menu, Escalope, Wagyu Beef Tartare, Petit Four, Valrhona Jivara’ Milk Chocolate Mousse, and Seasonal Mangosteen Sorbet Peanut Nougatine
  • Mamasan Bali
    • Location: Jalan Raya Kerobokan No.135, Kerobokan Kelod, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia,  80361
    • Rating: 4.5 out of 5
    • Ambiance: A modern, upscale bar and grill setting complements flavorful Asian (Thai and Chinese) fusion dishes.
    • Foodie Favorites: duck dumplings, bone marrow naan bread, chicken and prawn drunken noodles, beef salad, black sticky rice, Pho Bo noodles, Peking duck with pancake, crispy soft shell crab, wood-fired pork chop, and mushroom siew mai

A few other popular eateries include the beachside Jimbaran Beach Cafe and Radja Seafood Cafe Jimbaran, King’s Crab Restaurant, Ah Yat Abalone Seafood Restaurant, and Nelayan Restaurant & Puri Bar.

Best Time to Travel to Bali, Indonesia

While April through October is Bali’s dry season, this period also coincides with the peak tourist season, which leads to inflated prices, difficulty booking accommodations, and overcrowded beaches and attractions. 

For a pro traveler seeking relaxation at a more budget-friendly price point, visiting Bali during the “wet season,” between November and March, is a little-known secret. Due to Bali’s tropical climate, even during the wettest months, rain showers rarely last longer than a few hours. On average, Bali experiences about 27 rainy days. 

Typically, Bali in January has an average high temperature of about 84 degrees and a low temperature of about 80 degrees, with most days experiencing around 8 hours of sunshine. So, if you’re looking for a tropical destination without the crowds, Bali in January is the ideal time to visit.

Important Dates to Remember:

It’s always a good idea to check the dates of these holidays when planning your trip to Bali as these holidays could impact your visit. During these holidays, you might find special events, parades, and celebrations happening around the island.

  • December 31st & January 1st – New Year is celebrated in Bali with festive parties at the island’s premier beach clubs, bars, and restaurants. The celebrations include live DJ performances, beachfront parties, and luxurious seaside dinners.
  • January 4th through 14th – Galungan (the first day) and Junigan (the last day) are honored and celebrated in Bali. Galungan commemorates the triumph of dharma (good) over adharma (evil). It signifies the period when the spirits of deceased ancestors visit the Earth. Kuningan marks the departure of these spirits. During this time, local Hindus pray and meditate at their home temples and family shrines, reflecting on their ancestors and the wisdom they imparted. Kuningan concludes the holiday period, and on this day, people make offerings at temples and family shrines and visit each other’s homes to exchange gifts. It is also a time when people clean their homes and undertake repairs, as it is believed to bring good fortune.
  • January 22 – Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is celebrated by Chinese Balinese families across the island. Many venues prepare special meals and even offer weekend stays for families to enjoy. There are also events themed around the Chinese New Year for families and children, including special deals on staycations. Some venues even host lion dances, a traditional form of dance in Chinese culture, for children to enjoy.

Bali, Indonesia is truly the perfect destination for an island getaway, a tropical paradise that caters to all types of travelers. Whether you’re a beach lover drawn to the stunning coastlines of Seminyak, Kuta, and Nusa Dua, an adventure enthusiast eager to surf, snorkel, or dive in places like Amed and the Gill Islands, or a history buff interested in exploring the island’s rich cultural heritage through its ancient temples and palaces, Bali has something for everyone.

So, whether you’re negotiating prices at a bustling market, marveling at a breathtaking sunset on the beach, or exploring the vibrant marine life beneath the waves, Bali promises an unforgettable tropical getaway—without the crowds—in January.

a snow-covered, Japanese shrine in Koyoto, Japan

Peace & Tranquility: Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, is a city where the past and present coexist. The cold and often snowy January weather offers a unique perspective of Kyoto’s unparalleled beauty. Kyoto in the wintertime is full of beautiful winter scenery, relaxing experiences, and historic attractions. Witness the tranquil beauty of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and walk the Amanohashidate, known as the “bridge in heaven,” 1.86 miles of beautiful snow-covered sandbar that offers the most breathtaking view. View the panoramic splendor of Hozukyo Gorge by taking a leisurely ride on the Sagano Romantic Train or enjoy a relaxing day soaking in the natural hot springs of Kurama Onsen where you can keep warm while surrounded by snowy mountains and tranquil forests.

Kyoto’s shrines and temples are gorgeous sites to see, especially under a light dusting of snow. These enchanting locations speak of the rich heritage and traditions of the people of Bali. Explore the beautiful shrine of Kitano Tenmangu, built in 947 for Sugawara no Michizane, the Shinto god of learning, and the Kifune Shrine, built over 1,600 years ago to honor the god of water and rain. Visit Kyoto’s sacred temples such as the Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavillion, a Zen Buddhist temple comprised of two floors encased in opulent gold leaf, and the Sanzen-In Temple, a Zen Buddhist temple built in 804 by the revered imperial monk, Saicho.

In addition to Kyoto’s natural beauty and historic sites, the month of January in Kyoto is a time for festivals. Tourists can take part in the Toka Ebisu Festival (between January 9th and 11th) which celebrates Ebisu, the god of prosperity; people visit shrines and temples, making offerings and prayers for good fortune in the coming year. Hatsumode, First Shrine of the New Year) occurs during the first 3 days of the New Year (January 1, 2, and 3); people visit both local and major shrines and temples to pray for luck, success, and health in the new year. The most beautiful festival in January is the Snow Lantern Festival, which takes place in late January; villagers illuminate the snow-covered villages with hundreds of lanterns, making the village aglow with magical light.

For a genuinely unique shopping experience, be sure to check out Kyoto’s local markets. The Nishiki Market, known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen” has an enormous variety of food-related items for tourists to purchase and the Tenjin-San Flea Market, located at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and held on the 25th of every month, is the perfect place to shop for antiques, local ware, and food. 

Top Accommodations

In Kyoto, Japan, tourists have a variety of lodging and accommodation options to choose from: hotels, Ryokan (Japanese-style Inn), hostels, Shukubo (Temple lodging), vacation rentals, and Machiya (townhouses). Each accommodation offers a different type of experience, so be sure to choose the type that best suits your needs.

  • Hyatt Regency Kyoto
    • Location: 605-0941 Kyoto, Kyoto, Higashiyama-ku Sanjusangendo-Mawari 644-2, Japan
    • Rating: 8.5
    • Top Amenities: spa, gardens, free wifi, family rooms available, breakfast in the room, 3 restaurants on the premises, forest views
  • Yuzuya Ryokan
    • Location: 605-0074 Kyoto, Kyoto, Higashiyama-ku Gion-cho Minamigawa 545 , Japan
    • Rating: 9.1
    • Top Amenities: traditional Japanese-style inn, located just steps from the Yasaka Shrine, 10-minute walk to the Gion Shijo train station, gardens, restaurant on the premises
  • Koyasan Syukubo Ekoin Temple
    • Location: 648-0211 Wakayama, Koyasan, Koyasan 497, Japan
    • Rating: 9.2
    • Top Amenities: beautiful gardens, free parking and wifi, Buddhist morning services (optional), Goma fire ritual and meditation (optional), family rooms available, breakfast in the room, spa and public bath, meals served at the guest room 
  • Guest House Ga-Jyun (Hostel – Adults only)
    • Location: 605-0033 Kyoto, Kyoto, Higashiyama-ku Ebisu-cho 165, Japan
    • Rating: 9.2
    • Top Amenities: free wifi, garden, terrace 
  • Kyoisuke
    • Location: 604-0805 Kyoto, Kyoto, Nakagyo Mukadeyacho 378-3, Japan
    • Rating: 9.6
    • Top Amenities: housing units with private kitchenettes, private entrances, free wifi, breakfast in the room, gardens, garden views
  • The Machiya Ebisuya (Traditional Wooden Townhouses)
    • Location: 600-8062 Kyoto, Kyoto, Shimogyo-ku Ebisuya-cho 192-1, Japan
    • Rating: 9.0
    • Top Amenities: walking distance to city and markets, kitchenettes, free wifi, breakfast provided, garden

Culinary Delights

Kyoto’s food culture is diverse, ranging from the fine dining of a full-course kaiseki dinner to the shojin-ryori Japanese Buddhist vegetarian cuisine and the comforting obanzai home-style cooking. Here are some of Kyoto’s top restaurants:

  • Guilo Guilo Hitoshina
    • Location: 420-7 Namba-cho, Nishikiyamachi-dori-Matsubara-sagaru, Shimogyo-ku
    • Rating: 4.1 out of 5
    • Ambiance: A modern take on the traditional high-end kaiseki dinner, but at an affordable price point; a relaxed and fun atmosphere to enjoy an authentic 8-course kaiseki dinner.
    • Foodie Favorites: Sea cucumber soup with egg flower and fish cake; Japanese crab with miso and spring vegetable puree; yellowtail and yam soup; cuttlefish with red radish, shitake mushroom, and diakon dashi; deep fried pork belly with leek and kumquat sauce; rice onigiri with ginko nuts, salted fish, dashi broth, and pickled vegetables; kumquat ice cream, sweet potato cake, avocado cream, and strawberry 
  • Yoshuji
    • Location: 1074-2 Honmachi, Kurama, Sakyo-ku
    • Rating: 4.5 out of 5
    • Ambiance: Located just to the right of the entrance to Kurama-dera Mountain Temple, Yoshuji has a simple and traditional aesthetic with beautiful views of nature and a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy authentic shojin-ryori vegetarian cuisine. 
    • Foodie Favorites: soba noodles, Uzu Tororo Soba, eggplant dengaku, udon noodles, mitarashi dumplings, rice with mukago, black vanilla ice cream, mitarashi dango, shaved ice and zenzai.
  • Renkon-ya
    • Location: 236 Yamazaki-cho, Nishikiyamachi-dori-Sanjo-sagaru, Nakagyo-ku
    • Rating: 4.4 out of 5
    • Ambiance: An izakaya (a place to socialize) restaurant with a traditional Japanese aesthetic where obanzai home-style cooking is served with the traditional glass of sake
    • Foodie Favorites: karashi renkon, ATSU-age deep-fried tofu, niku- jaga meat and potato stew, Wakasa karei, chicken liver and soup with wine leeks, soy cooked beef, and the multilayer flavored mackerel with eggplant

Some more favorites for locals and tourists are Shigetsu (shojin-ryori vegetarian), Sushisei (sushi), Café Bibliotic Hello! (café), Ootoya Gohan-dokoro, Anzukko (gyoza bar), and Ramen Muraji.

Best Time to Travel to Kyoto, Japan

January is the best time to visit Kyoto, Japan. Tourists can take advantage of the clear, calm weather; villages and attractions looking beautiful in their light dustings of snow; fewer crowds, and the unique experiences and festivals celebrated in the winter months.

Important Dates to Remember:

Please note that the dates and events can vary from year to year, so it’s always a good idea to check the specific dates and details closer to your visit.

  • January 1st to 3rd – locals and tourists alike participate in Hatsumode, the inaugural shrine visit of the New Year. Notable locations for this event include the Heian-jingu Shrine, Fushimi-Inari-taisha Shrine, and Yasaka-jinja Shrine.
  • January 5th – the Ikenobo School of Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) conducts their Hatsu Ike (“First Arrangement”) ritual, a beautiful tradition to welcome the new year.
  • January 6th & 8th – the Gafūten Shōhin Bonsai Exhibition takes place. This annual event in Kyoto serves as a gathering spot for miniature bonsai artisans, collectors, and enthusiasts to share their work.
  • January 8th to 12th – the Tōka Ebisu festival is held at Kyoto Ebisu Shrine; the first major festival of the new year.
  • January 14th – the Hadaka Odori takes place. This tradition, which dates back to the Edo Period, is a prayer for a bountiful harvest, community happiness, and the fulfillment of wishes.
  • January 15th – marks the Toshiya, a renowned archery contest held at Sanjusangen-do Temple.
  • January 16th – the Musha Jinji, a military archery ritual, is held at Kamigamo Shrine. This ritual originated in the Heian court as a means to ward off bad luck.
  • January 20th – The Yutate Kagura; a ritual, which was initially used for divination and later for purification, is now primarily a prayer for good health.
  • January 29th – the Oni Yarai Shinji, or Ogre Banishing Ritual, is held. This event, which takes place during the Setsubun season, involves a trip to Iwashimizu Hachimangū.

Kyoto, Japan in January offers a unique blend of traditional and contemporary experiences with an atmosphere of peace and tranquility to help you find your way back to center over the long winter months. Kyoto’s natural beauty dusted with snow presents a serene and picturesque landscape. From the tranquil Arashiyama Bamboo Grove to the majestic Kinkakuji Temple, each site tells a story of Kyoto’s rich heritage. January presents vibrant festivals such as the Toka Ebisu Festival and the enchanting Snow Lantern Festival, offering visitors a glimpse into the local culture and traditions and making Kyoto a winter wonderland for tourists.

If you’re seeking a travel experience that combines natural beauty, historical sites, cultural immersion, festive experiences, and a chance to relax and unwind, Kyoto in January is the destination for you.


As we conclude our journey, it’s clear that each of these destinations – Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy; Bali, Indonesia; and Kyoto, Japan – offers a unique winter experience that caters to every traveler’s taste. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of winter sports against the backdrop of the stunning Dolomites, the tranquility of Bali’s pristine beaches and iconic temples, or the serene beauty of Kyoto’s historic shrines and traditional customs, there’s something for everyone.

These destinations not only offer beautiful landscapes and outdoor attractions but also provide an opportunity to immerse oneself in the local culture, history, and cuisine. Each location promises a journey of discovery and a treasure trove of experiences that will leave you with lasting memories.

So, pack your bags and set off on an adventure this January. No matter where you choose to go, rest assured, it will be a winter getaway to remember. Get your passport ready and go see the world!

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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