Best time to visit Japan

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Visiting Japan is an excellent way to learn more about the traditions, 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.

However, whether you’re planning a trip to Japan, or if you’ve always longed to visit Japan, here’s what you need to know.

First, you’ll 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. You may dream of visiting Japan when the iconic cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

So, When is the Best Time to Visit Japan?

Japan Pagoda Temple.
Pagoda Temple. Image from Canva

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.

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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.

Japan has many festivals that offer a lively atmosphere and fun 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.

Japan is a popular year-round destination, but when is the best time to visit Japan? Here is a month-by-month breakdown of what to expect. #Japan #besttimetovisitjapan

A Month-By-Month Guide for Japan Travel

Before you go to Japan, knowing where the country is located is good. 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 has 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.

Best Tips & Tools to Plan Your Trip

What is the Weather in Japan?

Ski hill in Japan
Ski hill in Japan. Image from Canva

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.

Tokyo: Best time to visit Japan
Tokyo Image from Canva

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 hotels prices 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.

Cherry blossoms with Mount Fuji backdrop
Cherry blossoms with Mount Fuji backdrop. Image from Canva

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.

The Festival of Nomaoi
The Festival of Nomaoi is held in July. Image from Canva

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.

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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.

Daigoji Temple in Autumn
Daigoji Temple in Autumn. Image from Canva

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 yearly.

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.

Town of Otaru in winter. Best time to visit Japan
Town of Otaru in winter. Image from Canva

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, which are natural thermal hot springs. Those in Hakone are the best.

If You Go to Japan

Knowing what kind of weather you can expect can be useful for making your journey to Japan unforgettable and full of beautiful memories.

Author Bio: Based in Serbia in Europe, Marija Stojanovic Petkovski worked as a journalist but realized that writing about the most beautiful places in the world inspires her. She is sure that a pint of good craft beer perfectly accompanies a tasty homemade lasagne. She enjoys playing with her children and spending time outdoors with her family in her spare time.

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3 Comments

  1. This article provides valuable information. Now, I have a guide to help me determine which month would be ideal for visiting Japan. Thank you!

  2. Wonderfully detailed article! Thank You. I am planning to make my 91 year old Mother’s wish to visit Japan a dream come true!
    She is vibrant and has always dreamed of seeing Japan. It’s up to me to make this trip happen..sooner than later! 😉