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Visiting Japan is an excellent idea if you want to learn more about the tradition, culture, and history of “The land of the rising sun.”
Japan is a land of beautiful parks filled with greenery and gorgeous colors, especially at the time of autumn foliage. Many temples, castles, national parks, cities and festivals wait for you to explore.
Planning a last-minute trip to Japan?
Top Experiences and Tours in Japan:
- See the sights with a tour of Tokyo: Full-Day Private Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide
- See Mount Fuji on the Private Full Day Sightseeing Tour to Mount Fuji and Hakone
- Explore more with this tour of Tokyo Half-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide
Where to stay in Japan:
- Find accommodation with Booking.com
- Find your dream apartment in Japan with Agoda
- Find a hostel in Japan with Hostelworld
However, whether an opportunity for a trip just came up, or if you’ve always longed to visit Japan, there are certain things to be considered.
In particular, you will want to consider the time of year you will go. Maybe you want to pick a month that features lovely weather. Or maybe you want to go when it’s not so crowded. Possibly you dream of visiting Japan when the iconic cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
So, When is the Best Time to Visit Japan?
What You Need to Know About Seasons in Japan
Japan has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. During the spring, magic happens throughout Japan: it’s cherry blossom season. This phenomenon attracts many tourists who want to experience the beautiful blooms, also called Hanami.
The summer months of July and August are the warmest period of the year in Japan. That is the right time to relax at the beach, enjoy water sports and hiking in national parks or in the Japanese Alps.
Best Tips & Tools to Plan Your Trip
Autumn brings colder days. In September and October, typhoons and rainy periods can be expected in some parts of the country. Winter will see snowfall and lasts from mid-December until the end of February. During that period in the northern parts of Japan, you can hit the ski slopes or enjoy other winter sports.
Furthermore, Japan has many festivals which bring a lively atmosphere and fun times year-round. The most significant events are the Sapporo Snow Festival in February, Kanamara Matsuri in April, Nebuta Matsuri in August and Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri in September.
A Month-By-Month Guide for Japan Travel
Before you go to Japan, it is good to know where the country is located. Japan’s islands are in the northwest Pacific Ocean in East Asia. The capital city of Tokyo is one of the most populated cities in the world, with 15 million people.
Japan consists of five main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa. The temperature range between the colder northern cities like Sapporo on Hokkaido and the warmest towns, such as Naha in Okinawa Prefecture in the south, is significant.
What is the Weather in Japan?
January in Japan
January is the coldest month of the year in Japan. The snow in northern Japan guarantees great entertainment at ski resorts. We recommend visiting Nagano if you love snowboarding or skiing.
February in Japan
Although it’s still cold, the days are relatively sunny. Conditions for enjoying winter sports are excellent. You can visit the Sapporo Snow Festival, or you can see snow monkeys at Jigokudani Monkey Park.
March in Japan
The weather in March is no longer as cold as in January and February. The winter ends slowly, and temperatures rise from mid-March. You can admire cherry blossom viewing in late March all around the country.
More and more tourists hit the streets of Japanese major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama. Don’t miss the traditional ceremony Omizutori, in the temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Japanese also celebrate Hina Matsuri (Girls’ Day) every March 3.
April in Japan
April is the peak of the cherry blossom season (Sakura). That incredible phenomenon attracts many visitors throughout Japan. Bear in mind that prices in hotels are slightly higher in early April than in the winter months.
The old town of Takayama is very popular in April, thanks to the Takayama Matsuri festival. The Golden Week begins in late April, and many Japanese will be on vacation and travel with children across the country. That period is the peak of domestic travel.
May in Japan
Early May is the most crowded period and probably the best time of year for visiting Japan. The weather is nice, and since it’s not too hot or too cold, it is a popular time for outdoor activities. There may be some rain, but overall, you can use your time to walk around and marvel at the greenery of Japanese parks.
You may still enjoy cherry blossom season on Hokkaido Island, although it is typically over in other parts of the country. Or, you can visit Asakusa Festival in Tokyo in mid-May. However, we recommend avoiding Okinawa Island in May because the rainy season starts.
June in Japan
June is known as a rainy month in Japan. If you visit this beautiful country in June, check the weather forecast regularly. On the plus side, precipitation guarantees lush vegetation, so you can admire the greenery wherever you go. The weather is warm, and from mid-June, when the rainy season called Tsuyu ends, it is perfect for walking tours.
You can go sightseeing and explore the temples, cities, and natural beauties of Japan, as well as visit the Fussa Firefly Festival.
July in Japan
Since the rainy season has finished, the weather is warmer, and numerous festivals are held across the country. The most famous is Kyoto Matsuri, which typically brings thousands of visitors to the city of Kyoto to enjoy a multi-day program.
From mid-July, conditions for hiking on Fuji Mountain can be excellent. July is also perfect for scuba diving and other water sports activities, as well as visiting Gion Matsuri Festival and watching the amazing Sumidagawa Fireworks.
August in Japan
August is the hottest month of the year. It is also the best time for exploring the natural beauties of Japan’s national parks. In addition, some of the most popular festivals happen in mid-August.
The Nebuta Festival alone attracts around 3 million visitors every summer. Plus, there is the Obon Festival, as well as Awa Odori, the main traditional dance festival in Japan with lantern floats, parades, dancers and musicians.
September in Japan
Numerous Japanese people will travel throughout the country during the five-day national holiday known as Silver Week. So, September can easily be considered one of the busiest months of the year. It brings even hotter days, so top tourist spots are very crowded.
The Typhoon season begins in the south. Be careful; that can cause problems and delays with transport, flights and trains.
October in Japan
The summer season is over, and autumn arrives throughout Japan. The weather is colder, but you won’t mind if you are a nature lover. You can enjoy nature’s beauty including the colors of the fall foliage. The average temperature is around 15 degrees Celsius.
You can visit the Hokkaido Food Festival or Niihama Taiko festival on Shikoku Island, attended by more than 200,000 visitors every year.
November in Japan
November is the period with fewer crowds than the summer months. The autumn colors are still amazing, and the weather is chilly and dry. November also offers the best chance of seeing Mount Fuji. You can also visit the Meiji Autumn Festival and the Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka.
December in Japan
December is one of the coldest months of the year in Japan. The ski season begins in the northern parts of Japan, while New Year’s Festivals are held in the rest of the country. December is an ideal time to visit Onsen Baths, natural thermal hot springs. Those in Hakone are the best.
If You Go to Japan
To make your journey to Japan an unforgettable experience full of beautiful memories, knowing what kind of weather you can expect can be useful.
Now that you’ve learned the schedule of the most important cultural and entertainment events, you can easily organize your vacation in this amazing country.
Author Bio: Based in Serbia in Europe, Marija Stojanovic Petkovski worked as a journalist but realized writing about the most beautiful places in the world is something that inspires her. She is sure that a pint of good craft beer perfectly accompanies a tasty home-made lasagne. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her children and spending time outdoors with her family.