Best time to visit Japan

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Best time of year to visit Japan

March to May and October to November are considered the best time visit Japan, even though climate differs from north to south. Nothing can be more vibrant, yet more crowded, than Japanese parks during the Hanami (cherry blossom) season in April. Avoid the ‘Golden Week’ in early May when all the country is on the move. Summer can be hot and humid washed up with typhoon rains and spiced up with high prices because of holidays. You can conquer Mount Fiji in July–August thanks to warm days. October and November bring striking red and yellow hues to the landscapes. A period from December through February is cold so it’s time to experience traditional outdoor onsens or watch the snow monkeys taking a hot bath.

25 THINGS TO DO IN JAPAN (MARCH 25 - APRIL 03)

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

late March–late April • nature

The first week of April is the best chance to see Japanese cherry trees in full bloom!

Snow Monkeys

Snow Monkeys

December–March • activity

Visit one of Japan's 'hell valleys' to see snow monkeys playing and bathing in hot springs

Hanami Season

Hanami Season

February–April  • activity

Enjoy the colorful sights of spring blossoms

Ume Blossom

Ume Blossom

February–March • nature

The beautiful though often underappreciated blossoms of Japanese plum or apricot are one of the first signs of spring

Zao Fox Village

Zao Fox Village

March–October • nature

Around 200 fluffy residents of this village enjoy its diverse infrastructure with fox hotels as an alternative to fox houses, also fox feeding area, and even fox shrine—everything to cater their needs

Eel Fishing

Eel Fishing

November–mid-April • activity

In order to attract eels, Japanese fishermen use an interesting technique. Check it out for yourself!

Aoshima (Cat Island)

Aoshima (Cat Island)

April–October • nature

Mice are not allowed to the island, but guests bringing tuna cans are welcome

Fireworks on Lake Toyako

Fireworks on Lake Toyako

April–October • activity

Watch fireworks every night on Lake Toyako over six months!

Eight Hells of Beppu

Eight Hells of Beppu

September–May • nature

Blood Pond Hell... For some it became the sheer blood hell—the Japanese used the pond to boil sinners in their own blood and dirt...

Baseball Season

Baseball Season

March–October  • activity

An American sport with the Japanese twist

Okunoshima (Rabbit Island)

Okunoshima (Rabbit Island)

November–March • nature

Get smothered by thousands of bunnies at a former secret military base

Geisha Dances in Kyoto

Geisha Dances in Kyoto

April–late May | early November • event

Don't miss the chance to meet prominent Japanese Geishas while in Kyoto

Beach Season

Beach Season

April–October • activity

The official beach season starts with the end of school. But you can enjoy it any time

Strawberries

Strawberries

December–May • food

The unique Japanese strawberries make for great romantic gifts

Sagano Bamboo Forest (Arashiyama)

Sagano Bamboo Forest (Arashiyama)

all year round • nature

Mind visiting this bamboo grove to relax from the noisy city streets

Kusa Mochi

Kusa Mochi

March–May • food

Traditionally eaten in spring, "grass mochi" is a true delight

Flowering in Hitachi Seaside Park

Flowering in Hitachi Seaside Park

April–May | September–October • nature

Discover the ravishing beauty of the blooming meadows

Fukinoto

Fukinoto

late March– April • food

Taste this true sign of spring

Hanami Dango

Hanami Dango

late March–April • food

Thanks to this traditional Japanese dessert you will be able to feel cherry blossoms with all your five senses

Nabana No Sato Winter Illumination

Nabana No Sato Winter Illumination

October 15 2018–March 31 2019 • event

Discover the beauty and magic of Japanese gardens at night

Cranes of Kushiro Marshlands (Winter Feeding Sites)

Cranes of Kushiro Marshlands (Winter Feeding Sites)

November–March • nature

It's easier to spot the cranes at the winter feeding sites of the national park, the only known place where endangered Japanese Cranes live

Samurai Kembu (Sword Dance)

Samurai Kembu (Sword Dance)

all year round • activity

Learn about the Samurai culture and traditions at Kembu Theater in Kyoto

Snowboarding and Skiing

Snowboarding and Skiing

mid-December–late March • activity

Choose winter sports in Japan, the scenery is unforgettable!

Windsurfing

Windsurfing

April–October • activity

Japan offers some great windy places perfect for this sport

Yonaguni Monument

Yonaguni Monument

November–June (all year round) • activity

The possibly humanmade underwater structure could date back to the ice age

70 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

Synchronous Fireflies

Synchronous Fireflies

late May–June • nature

Although thousands of firefly species live around the world, there are not that many places where you can observe such magic

Fuji Shibazakura

Fuji Shibazakura

April 14–May 27, 2018 • event

A festival that celebrates the beauty of Shibazakura

Climbing Mount Fuji

Climbing Mount Fuji

early July–mid-September  • activity

Climbing Mt Fuji is a truly beautiful experience​!

Onbashira Festival

Onbashira Festival

April–May 2022 (TBA) • event

A deadly festival of log riding that attracts more than half a million people

Sumo

Sumo

January 13–27, 2019 | March 10–24, 2019 | May 12–26, 2019 | July 07–21, 2019 | September 08–22, 2019 | November 10–24, 2019 • event

Check out this famous and ancient Japanese sport in action!

Wisteria Tunnels

Wisteria Tunnels

late April–early May • nature

It's unbelievable that such beauty actually exists on planet Earth. Visit the hundred-year-old wisteria gardens during bloom and see for yourself

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

September 14–16, 2019 | September 30, 2019 | October 06–07, 2019 • event

A truly wild festival with giant floats and hundreds of participants

Ohinata no Hitoboshi or Fire Ring Festival

Ohinata no Hitoboshi or Fire Ring Festival

August 14–August 15 • event

The beautiful mystic sight of spinning fire rings is an unforgettable experience

Hydrangea Blossoms

Hydrangea Blossoms

June–early July • nature

Explore the temples of Kamakura with its stunning flower carpets

Kanamara Matsuri

Kanamara Matsuri

April 07, 2019 • event

An interesting festival that celebrates fertility and openness that welcomes everyone!

Lavender

Lavender

July–August • nature

A season for purple fields of beauty

Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri

Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri

mid-August • event

Definitely the wettest in Japan! This water-throwing festival brings both happiness and prosperity

Daimonji or Gozan no Okuribi

Daimonji or Gozan no Okuribi

August 16 • event

Enormous characters set afire to guide ancestors to the other world

Setsubun

Setsubun

February 03 • event

A special ceremony to welcome spring by throwing soybeans

Hadaka Matsuri

Hadaka Matsuri

February 16, 2019 • event

Finally being nude brings some luck and fortune at this festival!

Arashiyama Hanatouro

Arashiyama Hanatouro

December 08–17, 2018 • event

A spectacular 10 days in western Kyoto!

Naki-Zumo

Naki-Zumo

late April or early May • event

This Baby Crying Festival that has been making children cry for over 300 years!

Nagaoka Fireworks Festival

Nagaoka Fireworks Festival

August 01–August 03 • event

This grand fireworks finale spans over two kilometers of the riverbank!

Winter Magic of Biei Blue Pond

Winter Magic of Biei Blue Pond

November–February • nature

Just half an hour by bus from Biei, you can feel the magic of winter and see a different version of the Blue Pond

Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival

January 31–February 11, 2019 • event

A bit commercialized but this beautiful festival of snow statues is a winter highlight in Sapporo parks

Cormorant Fishing

Cormorant Fishing

May 11–October 15 • activity

One of the oldest fishing traditions in the world, Ukai fishing is a fascinating practice. Check out just how it's done!

Azaleas

Azaleas

late May–June  • nature

A colourful miracle of spring!

Tsuchiura National Fireworks Competition

Tsuchiura National Fireworks Competition

October 05, 2019 • event

One of the last major fireworks shows of the year

Tezutsu Hanabi

Tezutsu Hanabi

July 20, 2019 • event

This hand-held fireworks festival has been celebrated since the 1500s!

Zao Snow Monsters

Zao Snow Monsters

January–February • nature

If you suppose these are man-carved ice blocks, you underestimate the talents of nature—the snow monsters appear on their own

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

late July–mid-August • nature

These amazing yellow flowers are now in bloom!

Baby Deer at Nara Park

Baby Deer at Nara Park

June–August • nature

The deer may be not the only attraction of Nara Park, but they are definitely the most popular one, especially the little ones

Obon Matsuri

Obon Matsuri

July 13–July 15 | August 13–August 15 • event

Feel the spirituality of the Japanese Buddhist festival of the Dead

Star Sand Beach (Hoshizuna-no-Hama)

Star Sand Beach (Hoshizuna-no-Hama)

June–November • nature

The tiny beach on Takenomi island is really one of a kind

Kinkan

Kinkan

November–February • food

A small fruit with a sweet peel

Inago

Inago

December–February  • food

This insect dish is available in jars or freshly boiled and prepared over rice during winter

Toshikoshi Soba

Toshikoshi Soba

December 31 • food

Traditional noodles for a great New Year's meal

Aomori Nebuta

Aomori Nebuta

August 02–August 07 • event

Enormous lantern-floats with human figures and intense dancing make this summer festival extraordinary

Tanabata Festival

Tanabata Festival

July 07–August • event

Celebrated nationwide, this festival brings colour and romance to daily life!

Kichiji

Kichiji

December–February  • food

A small fish with a great taste

Abare Festival

Abare Festival

July 05–06, 2019 • event

This fierce festival of "fire and violence" includes lots of smashing, dedicated to Yasaka Shrine in Ushitsu of Noto Peninsula

Mizubasho or Skunk Cabbage

Mizubasho or Skunk Cabbage

mid-April–early May  • nature

A beautifully strange flower

Ume

Ume

June–July • food

Well-known for their blossoms, umes are Japanese plums

Whooper Swans at Lake Kussharo

Whooper Swans at Lake Kussharo

December–February • nature

Gorgeous proud birds spend the winter in the snow-covered lake

Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

March 03, 2019 • event

Take part in the most prestigeous long distance race of Asia

Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon Boat Racing

May 03–May 05 • event

Colourfully decorated boats race for a good catch and safety

Kaki or Japanese Persimmon

Kaki or Japanese Persimmon

November–February  • food

An autumn fruit with a woody texture

Pikachu Tairyou Hassei-Chu

Pikachu Tairyou Hassei-Chu

August 10–16, 2018 • event

A wonderful week full of bright yellow colours and hundreds of Pikachus dressed in cute costumes

Sunakake Matsuri

Sunakake Matsuri

February 11 • activity

Have you ever dreamt of going back to your childhood and starting a sand fight?

Kakigori or Shaved Ice

Kakigori or Shaved Ice

June–August • food

Suffering from intense summer heat? Cool down with delicious Kakigori

Shinmei Fireworks Festival

Shinmei Fireworks Festival

August 07, 2018 • event

With its beautiful colours and stunning displays, the Shinmei fireworks festival will not leave you disappointed!

Mibu no Hana Taue

Mibu no Hana Taue

June 02, 2019 • event

Traditional rice planting is quite a spectacular event!

Nashi Pears

Nashi Pears

September–October • food

Similar to apples in taste and texture, Japanese pears are large and crispy

Omagari National Fireworks Competition

Omagari National Fireworks Competition

August 31, 2019 • event

A top-tier show in Japan that attracts thousands of spectators

Yuzu

Yuzu

November–December • food

Used mostly for cooking, this citrus fruit has a unique taste

Seppetobe

Seppetobe

June 02, 2019 • event

What can be better than dancing and drinking in a rice mud field?

Shikwasa

Shikwasa

August – December • food

A special fruit to eat during winter

Fuji Apples

Fuji Apples

September–November • food

These special Japanese apples are both sweet and juicy

Hina Matsuri

Hina Matsuri

March 3 • event

A unique festival that features rituals with dolls

Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber

December–February • food

Though not too pleasing to the eye, these creatures are a true delicacy

Hachi No Ko

Hachi No Ko

August • food

A specialty of Nagano, this bee and wasp larvae dish is one of a kind!

Sumida River Fireworks

Sumida River Fireworks

July 27, 2019 • event

One of the oldest and most famous fireworks shows in Japan

Asparagus

Asparagus

May–July • food

You will find it everywhere during this season!

Eel

Eel

June–August  • food

In Japan summer means eel time!

Fuji Rock Festival

Fuji Rock Festival

July 26–28, 2019 • event

Japan's largest outdoor music festival provides a great opportunity to enjoy the best of indie, rock and world music! And maybe also win a year's supply of meat?

Ja Matsuri

Ja Matsuri

May 05 • event

A festival of 15 meter-long snakes from around Mamada district

Satonishiki Cherries

Satonishiki Cherries

May–July • food

A bright red and luxurious variety of cherry

Toyosu Market

Toyosu Market

all year round • activity

A successor of the legendary Tsukiji market is a new gourmet tourist mecca

Nabemono or Nabe

Nabemono or Nabe

December–February • food

Try this Japanese hot pot dish when it's cold outside

Winter Illumination

Winter Illumination

mid-November–mid-February • event

Tokyo beats many European capitals as far as Christmas lights are concerned

Kumo-Gassen

Kumo-Gassen

June 17, 2018 • event

This bloody battle between spiders is a regional highlight

Mission Uchimizu

Mission Uchimizu

June–August • activity

Japanese simultaniously pour the water on the pavements to cool the heat

Kyoho

Kyoho

September–December • food

Japanese grapes with a thick skin

Zazamushi

Zazamushi

late November–February • food

Most often eaten in winter, zazamushi might be the strangest dish you have ever tried!

Mikan

Mikan

October–January • food

A citrus fruit that is easy to peel