Best time to visit Japan

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Japan

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.

24 THINGS TO DO IN JAPAN (APRIL 13 - APRIL 22)

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!

Fuji Shibazakura

Fuji Shibazakura

April 11–May 24, 2020 • event

A festival that celebrates the beauty of Shibazakura

Hanami Season

Hanami Season

February–April  • activity

Enjoy the colorful sights of spring blossoms

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

Fireworks on Lake Toyako

Fireworks on Lake Toyako

April–October • activity

Watch fireworks every night on Lake Toyako over six months!

Aoshima (Cat Island)

Aoshima (Cat Island)

April–October • nature

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

Eel Fishing

Eel Fishing

November–mid-April • activity

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

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

Sagano Bamboo Forest (Arashiyama)

Sagano Bamboo Forest (Arashiyama)

all year round • nature

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

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...

Flowering in Hitachi Seaside Park

Flowering in Hitachi Seaside Park

April–May | September–October • nature

Discover the ravishing beauty of the blooming meadows

Baseball Season

Baseball Season

March–October  • activity

An American sport with the Japanese twist

Beach Season

Beach Season

April–October • activity

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

Nabana No Sato Winter Illumination

Nabana No Sato Winter Illumination

October 19 2019–May 06 2020 • event

Discover the beauty and magic of Japanese gardens at night

Samurai Kembu (Sword Dance)

Samurai Kembu (Sword Dance)

all year round • activity

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

Strawberries

Strawberries

December–May • food

The unique Japanese strawberries make for great romantic gifts

Fukinoto

Fukinoto

late March– April • food

Taste this true sign of spring

Kusa Mochi

Kusa Mochi

March–May • food

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

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

Mizubasho or Skunk Cabbage

Mizubasho or Skunk Cabbage

mid-April–early May  • nature

A beautifully strange flower

Yonaguni Monument

Yonaguni Monument

November–June (all year round) • activity

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

Toyosu Market

Toyosu Market

all year round • activity

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

Whale Watching

Whale Watching

all year round • nature

A wonderful alternative to whaling from Hokkaido to Okinawa

Windsurfing

Windsurfing

April–October • activity

Japan offers some great windy places perfect for this sport

74 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

Wisteria Tunnels

Wisteria Tunnels

late April–early May • nature

Visit the hundred-year-old wisteria gardens during bloom and see its unbelievable beauty

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

Snow Monkeys

Snow Monkeys

December–March • activity

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

Ume Blossom

Ume Blossom

February–March • nature

The beautiful though often underappreciated blossom of the Japanese plum is one of the first signs of spring

Climbing Mount Fuji

Climbing Mount Fuji

early July–mid-September  • activity

Climbing Mt Fuji is a truly beautiful experience​!

Sumo

Sumo

May 10–24, 2020 | July 05–19, 2020 | September 13–27, 2020 | November 08–22, 2020 • event

Check out this famous and ancient Japanese sport in action!

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

September 14–15, 2020 • event

A truly wild festival with giant floats and hundreds of participants

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

Onbashira Festival

Onbashira Festival

April–May 2022 (TBA) • event

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

Winter Illumination

Winter Illumination

early November–mid-February • event

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

Hydrangea Blossoms

Hydrangea Blossoms

June–early July • nature

Explore the temples of Kamakura with its stunning flower carpets

Lavender

Lavender

July–August • nature

A season for purple fields of beauty

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

Kanamara Matsuri

Kanamara Matsuri

April 05, 2020 • event

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

Arashiyama Hanatouro

Arashiyama Hanatouro

March 06–15, 2020 • event

A spectacular 10 days in western Kyoto!

Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri

Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri

mid-August • event

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

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!

Daimonji or Gozan no Okuribi

Daimonji or Gozan no Okuribi

August 16 • event

Enormous characters set afire to guide ancestors to the other world

Nagaoka Fireworks Festival

Nagaoka Fireworks Festival

August 01–August 03 • event

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

Hadaka Matsuri

Hadaka Matsuri

February 15, 2020 • event

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

Azaleas

Azaleas

late May–June  • nature

A colourful miracle of spring!

Tsuchiura National Fireworks Competition

Tsuchiura National Fireworks Competition

October 24, 2020 • event

One of the last major fireworks shows of the year

Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival

January 31–February 11, 2020 • event

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

Setsubun

Setsubun

February 03 • event

A special ceremony to welcome spring by throwing soybeans

Naki-Zumo

Naki-Zumo

late April or early May • event

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

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

Okunoshima (Rabbit Island)

Okunoshima (Rabbit Island)

November–March • nature

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

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

late July–mid-August • nature

These amazing yellow flowers are now in bloom!

Tezutsu Hanabi

Tezutsu Hanabi

September 14–15, 2020 • event

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

Obon Matsuri

Obon Matsuri

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

Feel the spirituality of the Japanese Buddhist festival of the Dead

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

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

Tanabata Festival

Tanabata Festival

July 07–August • event

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

Inago

Inago

December–February  • food

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

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

Pikachu Tairyou Hassei-Chu

Pikachu Tairyou Hassei-Chu

August 10–16, 2020 • event

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

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

Kaki or Japanese Persimmon

Kaki or Japanese Persimmon

November–February  • food

An autumn fruit with a woody texture

Abare Festival

Abare Festival

July 03–04, 2020 • event

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

Whooper Swans at Lake Kussharo

Whooper Swans at Lake Kussharo

December–February • nature

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

Snowboarding and Skiing

Snowboarding and Skiing

mid-December–late March • activity

Choose winter sports in Japan, the scenery is unforgettable!

Ume

Ume

June–July • food

Well-known for their blossoms, umes are Japanese plums

Kakigori or Shaved Ice

Kakigori or Shaved Ice

June–August • food

Suffering from intense summer heat? Cool down with delicious Kakigori

Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road

Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road

June–mid–November • activity

A scenic road with dramatic mountain scenery

Kichiji

Kichiji

December–February  • food

A small fish with a great taste

Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon Boat Racing

May 03–May 05 • event

Colourfully decorated boats race for a good catch and safety

Sunakake Matsuri

Sunakake Matsuri

February 11 • activity

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

Shinmei Fireworks Festival

Shinmei Fireworks Festival

August 03, 2019 • event

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

Omagari National Fireworks Competition

Omagari National Fireworks Competition

August 29, 2020 • 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

Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

March 01, 2020 • event

Update: The Tokyo Marathon 2020 will be held only for the marathon elites and the wheelchair elites

Fuji Apples

Fuji Apples

September–November • food

These special Japanese apples are both sweet and juicy

Mibu no Hana Taue

Mibu no Hana Taue

June 07, 2020 • event

Traditional rice planting is quite a spectacular event!

Satonishiki Cherries

Satonishiki Cherries

May–July • food

A bright red and luxurious variety of cherry

Kyoho

Kyoho

September–December • food

Japanese grapes with a thick skin

Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber

December–February • food

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

Shikwasa

Shikwasa

August – December • food

A special fruit to eat during winter

Seppetobe

Seppetobe

June 07, 2020 • event

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

Nashi Pears

Nashi Pears

September–October • food

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

Asparagus

Asparagus

May–July • food

You will find it everywhere during this season!

Eel

Eel

June–August  • food

In Japan summer means eel time!

Hina Matsuri

Hina Matsuri

March 3 • event

A unique festival that features rituals with dolls

Nabemono or Nabe

Nabemono or Nabe

December–February • food

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

Sumida River Fireworks

Sumida River Fireworks

July 25, 2020 • event

One of the oldest and most famous fireworks shows in Japan

Fuji Rock Festival

Fuji Rock Festival

August 21–23, 2020 • 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

Hachi No Ko

Hachi No Ko

August • food

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

Mission Uchimizu

Mission Uchimizu

June–August • activity

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

Kumo-Gassen or Kajiki Spider Fighting Festival (加治木くも合戦)

Kumo-Gassen or Kajiki Spider Fighting Festival (加治木くも合戦)

June 16, 2019 • event

This bloody battle between spiders is a regional highlight

Halloween

Halloween

late October • event

Even without trick-or-treating Halloween is an incredible holiday in Japan

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

Last updated:
jan
7.2
feb
7.1
mar
7.3
apr
8.2
may
8.8
jun
8.4
jul
6.7
aug
6.1
sep
7.3
oct
8.6
nov
8.2
dec
7.5

Japan weather in January

7.2/10 score
Very good
7° average
average temperatures
15 mm
precipitation
10h 01m
daylight duration
Japanese winters are usually sunny with little rain or snow. The air is dry, with low humidity. January is the coldest month in Tokyo and Kyoto. The weather is usually crisp and sunny. It’s a good time for sightseeing with cold but quite comfortable temperatures above the freezing levels. Don’t forget to take your warm coat though, because occasional freeze and snowfalls are possible. Hokkaido weather in January is much colder with temperatures slightly below freezing. It can snow, but it also rains for about half of January in Hokkaido. So rubber boots and umbrella are handy. Okinawa is much warmer in January than the rest of Japan. During the day the air warms up to 20°C (68°F). It never gets really cold here, but you will need a sweater and a light jacket for evenings and early mornings. It’s a good time for hikes and long walks.

Japan weather in February

7.1/10 score
Very good
7° average
average temperatures
16 mm
precipitation
10h 51m
daylight duration
It’s a peak of winter and the coldest month in Japan overall. In Tokyo, February is almost as cold as January. There is a mix of sunny and cloudy days. However, the skies are mostly clear. There are 11 rainy days so don’t forget an umbrella. Sightseeing is also possible since the weather is sunny and dry. Towards the end of the month, you could see the nature waking up and ume beginning to blossom. February is also the best time to do winter sports and see some legendary snowy landscapes of Hokkaido and Shirakawago. The temperature on Hokkaido often drops below freezing. There can be a few days of snow during February, and it’s going to rain for sure for almost half of the month. Okinawa remains comfortably warm and dry in February. You can witness cherry blossoms here during this month.

Japan weather in March

7.3/10 score
Very good
11° average
average temperatures
17 mm
precipitation
11h 58m
daylight duration
It’s probably the best time to visit Japan. Nature starts to awaken. With every new day, you see more and more cherry trees in blossom. Towards the end of the month, the whole country will turn into a beautiful garden. The temperature is also rising. You could go for a picnic or sit in an outdoor café enjoying the warmth. In Tokyo, the temperature picks up to a comfortable level. However, you will still need a coat for evenings, mornings and sudden cold waves. There are also 16 rainy days in March so pack an umbrella. The skies are mostly clear, and there are about four hours of daily sunshine. Hokkaido remains cold in March. It’s also rather wet. Snow is possible, and there are about 20 rainy days. Pack some waterproof clothes and boots. Okinawa is beautiful and blooming in March. It’s finally warm enough to go to a beach and enjoy the spring sun.

Japan weather in April

8.2/10 score
Excellent
15° average
average temperatures
17 mm
precipitation
13h 06m
daylight duration
It is one of the most beautiful and popular months to visit Japan, marked by cherry and other trees’ blossoms. Parks and gardens are crowded by people enjoying warm pleasant weather and beautiful flowers in full bloom. You will be tired of taking pictures of the enchanting landscapes both in the cities and country-side. In Tokyo, the weather is very comfortable to stay outdoors. You will need a light jacket for the late evenings and an umbrella. There are 16 rainy days this month. Spring finally arrives in Hokkaido. It is getting warmer, but you’ll still need a coat for cold waves and nights. It also rains a lot. With up to 20 rainy days, an umbrella will come handy. April is one of the best months in Okinawa. It is warm, sunny and dry. The perfect weather for the beach, hiking or sightseeing.

Japan weather in May

8.8/10 score
Excellent
20° average
average temperatures
17 mm
precipitation
14h 03m
daylight duration
Cherry blossom is over but flowers are still in bloom, vegetation is lush and the weather is perfect for walking outside. It is perfectly warm and sunny in Tokyo. With six hours of daily sunshine, you can do plenty of sightseeing. May has 16 rainy days, but rains are short and not too intense. If you plan to visit Okinawa and other locations in the south of the country, pack sunscreen and light breathable clothes since heat can be really intense. Also, take an umbrella, since May marks the start of the rainy season. However, it’s still a good time for a beach vacation. If you go to Hokkaido, a light jacket will be handy since the spring is usually delayed for about a month there.

Japan weather in June

8.4/10 score
Excellent
23° average
average temperatures
19 mm
precipitation
14h 32m
daylight duration
The rainy season is underway, and even if it doesn’t rain every day, the sky is rather grey. However, in Tokyo, there are still six hours of daily sunshine, and the skies are often clear. There are 20 rainy days this month as well so be prepared for wet weather combined with the summer heat. June, however, is a very pleasant time in Hokkaido, where it’s still sunny and dry, so it’s a perfect time to visit this beautiful island. In the countryside, it’s possible to see how the farmers are planting rice. In Okinawa, June brings 80% humidity, heat, and constant rain.

Japan weather in July

6.7/10 score
Good
27° average
average temperatures
16 mm
precipitation
14h 18m
daylight duration
The rainy season stops in the first half of July, but it’s still too hot and humid for sightseeing. It’s cooler in the mountains, so you can climb Mount Fuji. In Tokyo, it’s hot and sticky. There are 20 rainy days in July, but the skies are more clear than in June. There are six hours of daily sunshine. July is a good time to go for a beach vacation in Okinawa. It’s very hot, but it’s also finally dry, which means that you can spend a lot of time on the seaside enjoying the breeze and tropical weather. Hokkaido is usually cooler than the rest of the country, which also makes it a good destination this month.

Japan weather in August

6.1/10 score
Good
28° average
average temperatures
17 mm
precipitation
13h 28m
daylight duration
The hottest month in Japan. You can survive on the beach or in the mountains. In Tokyo, it’s hot and sticky weather with less rain than in June or July. Sightseeing in Tokyo and Kyoto are only possible if you hop from one air-conditioned venue to another. You will need light breathable clothes and sunscreen. The skies are mostly clear, and there are about 16 rainy days this month. Okinawa is a good place to visit this month. The heat is not too bad if you spend your time on the beach. But humidity and rainfall increase compared to July. And mind the typhoon season in Okinawa at the end of summer. August is one of the best times to visit Hokkaido where the weather is very comfortable, not too hot or cold. It rains for about 16 days, but the rains are not too intense.

Japan weather in September

7.3/10 score
Very good
25° average
average temperatures
20 mm
precipitation
12h 24m
daylight duration
The heat becomes more bearable is September. But it’s still rather hot. In addition, it gets dark and cloudy. In Tokyo, the rains become more frequent. There are over 20 rainy days this month. The skies are usually cloudy, there are just four hours of daily sunshine. The South of the country might experience typhoons with some strong showers and winds. They usually last for a few days. As a bonus, after the typhoon, the weather is usually nice and clear. It’s still rather hot and humid for sightseeing. But a perfect time for outdoor activities in the mountains. Hokkaido offers perfect weather for hiking in September. It’s very pleasant, and the rain is moderate and not too intense.

Japan weather in October

8.6/10 score
Excellent
20° average
average temperatures
20 mm
precipitation
11h 17m
daylight duration
The weather starts to cool down. The trees are changing their color. It’s one of the best months to be in Japan. Whether you choose outdoor activities or sightseeing, you’re guaranteed a comfortable stay. Take a windbreaker or light jacket since the temperature at night might drop to 15 OC. In Tokyo, there are still 17 rainy days in October, but it gets drier and brighter towards the second half of the month. The temperature is also moderate and pleasant to take long walks and go sightseeing. Hokkaido offers moderate and dry weather in October. But take a jacket for evenings and sudden cold waves. Okinawa experiences some drop in temperatures in October. However, it’s still possible to visit the beach. The sea temperature is still warm.

Japan weather in November

8.2/10 score
Excellent
14° average
average temperatures
17 mm
precipitation
10h 17m
daylight duration
This is one of the best months to visit Japan. Trees show all shades of yellow and red while the grass is still green and the weather is warm enough for a long walk through all the best sights. Go to the mountains or the countryside and your camera will be overloaded with amazing pictures. In Tokyo, November is a clear and sunny month with comfortable temperatures. You can wander through the city for hours, enjoy its parks and gardens and various outdoor sports. There are just 12 rainy days, and this month is usually quite dry. In Hokkaido, it can already snow in November, and you will for sure experience some rain. The temperatures cool down so pack some warm layers and a coat. Okinawa is much warmer than the rest of Japan. The temperatures drop, and it’s a great time to go hiking or sightseeing. You can still get a few warm days to visit the beach, but cold waves are also possible

Japan weather in December

7.5/10 score
Very good
9° average
average temperatures
16 mm
precipitation
9h 47m
daylight duration
The beginning of winter is a good time to travel and see the sights. The weather is still not that cold, with plenty of sunshine. The North of the country can experience some snow which means the start of the highly anticipated skiing season. In Tokyo, December is the dryest month of the year. The weather is crisp and clear. The temperatures are not too cold to spend time outdoors but pack some warm clothes and a coat in case of cold waves. It’s quite sunny. There are about six hours of daily sunshine and just 12 rainy days this month. In Okinawa, it’s warmer than in the rest of Japan. However, the beach season is definitely over. It’s good weather for hiking and sightseeing.