Weather in Japan: Best Time to Visit

Dec 12, 2023

“When is the best time to come to Japan?” – one of the questions we often hear. The good news for visitors is that Japan is a great destination to visit all year round! It’s also difficult to decide when is the best time to come. Each season is strongly embedded in its culture, activities, and events. It all depends on your preferences, what kind of traveler you are, and what you want to do. 

Let’s take a closer look at Japan’s weather. We’ll also discuss the signature activities and festivals in each season. After reading this, you can decide on your own preferred time to travel to Japan. 

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Winter: Crispy blue skies and snow festival

Winter in Japan can mean a great deal of snow, but don’t let the cold put you off. The winter months from early November and last May are perhaps the best times to visit the island nation. While most of Japan’s major cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka generally don’t get (much) snow, but all have options to see the white powder in their vicinity. Given Japan’s mountainous terrain and numerous volcanoes, you’re never too far from a ski slope – or a hot spring, for that matter. 

In the snow-rich regions, many winter activities are organized such as the famous Otaru Snow Light Path Festival. Hokkaido’s port city of Otaru hosts an annual snow festival every February, and it sure is a showstopper. The city’s streets are illuminated with hundreds of lights and snow statues.

Otaru Snow Light Path Festival attracts more than 2 million visitors each year in the winter.

See Tokyo’s incredible illuminations.

Mt. Fuji, the best view to see clear blue skies in the winter.

Spring: Cherry blossom viewing 

Like in many countries, spring marks the arrival of the warmer weather. By late March, the Japanese flock outside to reign in the season with the incoming cherry blossom. 

Cherry blossoms are the most recognizable symbol of Japanese culture.

To the Japanese sakura symbolizes human life, transience, and nobleness. A deluge of pink and white descends across cities, towns, parks, and mountains, creating ample opportunity for outdoor fun and revelry. Locals gather at parks to celebrate with beer, food, and camaraderie. You can also bring a picnic blanket (or blue tarp, as is typical among local Japanese) and join the fun. No matter where you are in Japan, the cherry blossom season is full of spectacular sights and immense natural beauty.

Himeji Castle (姫路城) (Kyoto) is one of the best view to witness Cherry blossoms.

Check our 12 DAY WONDERFUL JAPAN to visit Himeji Castle –  Japan’s best preserved feudal castle

During this period, most of Japan rests at a pleasant 12 degrees Celsius, meaning you can travel comfortably in light outerwear and sweaters. Though the weather is starting to warm up, temperatures may suddenly drop. Bring a few extra layers just in case you find yourself growing cold. 

Summers with lower prices: Enjoy gorgeous matsuri and firework festivals

Across much of Japan, the summer is characterized by hot and humid weather. It kicks off with the rainy season (tsuyu) in June. Considering this, summer may not be the best choice for many people, but it comes with the advantage of lower prices.

But despite the torrid climate, summer can also be one of the liveliest times to be in Japan. While there are great ones throughout the year, summertime features many of Japan’s best festivals. Japanese matsuri – in all their color, tradition, and exuberance – are often spectacular. You can find these famous matsuri festivals: Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri, Osaka’s Tenjin Matsuri, Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri,…

Gion Matsuri festival, recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, is an annual festival of Kyoto.

The most important feature of the Japanese summer is fireworks or hanabi. As the heat begins to wane in the evenings, people partake in regional fireworks or hanabi. During the summer months in July and August, hundreds of fireworks festivals are organized throughout Japan. The beautiful fireworks sometimes draw millions of visitors! 

Tokyo’s Sumida River Fireworks are especially famous in Japan.

Shinmei Fireworks Festival has 20,000 fireworks synchronized to pyrotechnic displays and music. 

Local people can display traditional songs and dances, and centuries-old festivals. Food stands along the way and watching people wearing Yukata (traditional summer clothes) at the festival are just like popping out from the movies or anime!

Yukata is a Japanese garment, made of cotton or synthetic fabric, and unlined.

Also, you can enjoy the beaches around Japan and try out some shaved ice which is popular during the hot summer.

Beautiful autumn foliage during fall

Autumn is arguably one of the best seasons to visit Japan, with pleasant temperatures and stunning natural sights. As the summer heat wanes and a winter chill begins to set in, Japan’s dense forests begin turning hues of vivid orange, yellow, and red. Traditional gardens and parks showcase these autumn colors and attract crowds of visitors eager to see the changing leaves.

Koyo or momiji-gari is Japan’s the autumn variant of sakura.

The temperature in fall is still pleasant but it is much less humid, you can often walk around in your light outfit. This in combination with the stunning autumn foliage, makes autumn also a popular time to travel in Japan. 

Kiyomizu-dera temple with autumn maple tree in Kyoto, Japan.

Conclusion

Japan is beautiful at any time of year, and we hope you have the chance to visit soon. At Asia Vacation Group, our Japan tours are designed to cater to every season. Each tour promises an exceptional experience, no matter which season you choose to explore in Japan. For more information about our Japan tours, please contact us at 1800 229 339.

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