Best time to visit Japan

Land of the Rising Sun

Japan is also known as Nippon and is an island country in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Japan is not just an island country but also covers almost 7000 islands spread out in Japan’s Sea. Despite its size, it’s one of the most populated countries in the world, with a global ranking of 11 and a population of 125 million. Almost 75% of the country is covered in mountainous terrain. The entire population resides in the narrow portion of the coastal plains. Japan is ranked at a steep 11th position for international tourism, and around 30 million tourists flock to the country every year.

tokyo japan
Tokyo, Japan

Japan is one of the most highly regarded and most famous tourist destinations, and it offers a unique blend of eastern culture and tradition in an ultra-modern country. These are the sort of unique experiences that you will not find in any other country. Japan has been home to one of the oldest civilizations, and this, combined with the stunning natural beauty, makes it special. Japan has some of the best mountain landscapes, diverse scenery, pristine natural beauty, and much more. Besides, you can find a mix of incredible food not limited to sushi, beautiful temples, traditional art and craft, unique fighting events like Sumo championships, beautiful shrines, and Zen gardens, etc. All this and the weather make it a superb all-year-round destination for tourists.

Seasons in Japan

Since we have now come to understand that Japan is an all-year tourist destination, let’s look individually at the seasons and understand what tourists can enjoy in them. So that you can better understand what season of Japan appeals to you and travel during that season.

Spring season

Temperature

Let’s start with the spring season, which is one of the most famous seasons. We will discuss why shorty. The spring season lasts from the middle of March to the end of May, during which the temperatures and weather will go several changes. In springtime, the weather can be very unpredictable and will catch you off guard if you are not prepared, and you may even fall sick if your body cannot handle the changes well. It can be very pleasant one day with not even a pullover required, while on others it can be so cold, you will need a winter coat to go out.

During this season, the temperatures will range from 4 to 18 degrees Celsius, which is 40 to 65 °F. Spring in any place around the globe is signified by fresh, lush green vegetation and new blooms. It’s the same in Japan, but the beauty is incomparable. Sakura, the Japanese word for Cherry Blossoms, is one of Japan’s most popular seasons. You can catch the sakura blooms from mid-march to mid-April, depending on location in Japan. However, we recommend visiting Japan to experience Sakura blooms in the latter half of April and May.

Tourism

It is the time of the year when the blooms are in their pinkest color, and the entire landscape looks surreal and heavenly. This is one season that you must experience and more beautiful in person than it appears in the pictures. Undoubtedly this is also one of the busiest seasons of the year will. Millions of tourists flocking Japan to catch this rare annual sight of pink flowers in bloom. Everything like flights, hotels, tours, etc., will be overbooked, and unless you have planned it well, chances are it’s very difficult for you to let a last-minute entry. Hanami – Japanese word for “flower viewing,” and the flowers themselves are known as Hana.

Even the locals are in the mood to enjoy and you will them enjoying the outdoors with their families on picnics and other activities. The flower bloom lasts for about 2 weeks, and it’s a period long enough for you to catch them. Do note the period of the Golden Week, which is around the last week of April and the first week of May, a week-long holiday, then the Japanese themselves travel in huge numbers. It is just a couple of holidays bunched together, giving the Japanese a long holiday, which everyone seems to take advantage of. You can imagine how traveling during this period would be. 

Summer season

Temperature

The summer season in Japan will start in June and last until the middle of September, depending on where you are placed. Like the usual summers, Japanese summers are characterized by heat and humidity. The temperatures will be in the range of 22 to 32 degrees Celsius, which is 70 to 90 °F. Temperatures can soar to unbearable levels in July and August, and some days can be exceptionally hot and humid. The heat can be handled, but the humidity can be bad for outdoor activities and sightseeing. Summers also coincide with the summer vacations in Japan, or maybe it was planned that way. Just kidding. However, vacations mean you will suddenly be in the midst of a tourist flood with even the locals pouring in at every location. Since the days are longer, you will be able to enjoy the country a lot more and add a lot of things to your itinerary.

Tourism

You can mitigate the heat by visiting some of the mountain regions like the Hokkaido, Tohoku in north Japan, and the Japan Alps. Besides, there will be several festivals happening in summer like the Awa Odori festival in Tokushima, on the island of Shikoku, Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri, Osaka’s Tenjin Matsuri, and Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri. It does not include the countless local and cultural festivals (known as matsuri) that take place in every city, town, and locality. Indulging in the festivities is a must-do as you will experience spectacular events in all their grandiose, colors, and exuberance. This is not it, and you will also be able to enjoy some grand fireworks (known as Hanabi) spectacle, especially the Sumida river fireworks in Tokyo. But no matter where you are in this season, you will be able to enjoy the fireworks.

Fall Season

Temperature

Autumn starts in the middle of September and will last well into December, with temperatures falling gradually and the scenery also undergoing a lot of noticeable changes. Just like Spring, Fall is also the best time to visit Japan for the pleasant weather and many cultural events. Usual temperatures will be in the range of 10 to 20 degrees Celsius or 50 to 70 °F. If you love the cherry blossoms of spring in their vibrant colors, you will also love the changing colors of foliage from Copper, Yellow, and Red.

Tourism

September will still be pretty warm, and the actual weather starts changing around the middle of October. Tourist numbers will be low in September and October and will pick up only in November when a flood of tourists will appear out of nowhere to enjoy the leaves’ changing colors. You can delay your plans for early December if you want to give the tourist crowd a miss. 

Winter season

Temperature

Winter season will start from December and last until the middle of March, and you will see temperatures falling to below freezing temperatures. Temperature ranges of -3 to 7 Degrees Celsius are common. Winters will be cold and slightly harsh and beautiful, with the landscape covered beautifully in a snow blanket. A lot of people travel to the ski resorts in the mountains to enjoy nature and snow sports. This is the time when you can really enjoy the hot springs in Japan.

Tourism

Winter has its own little charm, and there are a lot who do appreciate it. Even normal travelers who enjoy the country in other seasons go back to enjoy the winter views. Besides, the days before and after New Year’s Eve will see a huge and sudden surge in tourist numbers. You can explore some nature activities like snow hikes in the forest with guides.

Cheapest time to travel

September forms the cheapest month as airfares will fall to their lowest as the tourist season fades. The number of tourist arrivals will fall drastically as they will now pick up only for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. Winters is not the time people want to visit Japan, although a few want to do just that. Therefore the accommodation, tours and local expenses will drop significantly, and you can expect to get a good deal of discounts not available any other time of the year. Only the ski resorts will be in peak season in winters, and all the others can be done for cheap. There will be even more discounts and lower prices during the weekdays.

Japans peak travel periods

We have shared below a list of the times of the year when you will find the maximum crowd. Shorter than a season, these typically last a few days to a week.

  • New Year’s Eve time – from Christmas until the first week of January
  • The Cherry blossom season: from around the second half of March into the first half of April
  • Golden Week – a group of National Holidays that become an extended holiday week in the first week of May
  • Obon: an extended holiday in the mid- August
  • All National holiday – a day when the entire country enjoys a holiday. We have listed out the national holidays as well as other cultural events below.

For your benefit, we have listed out some of the cultural events and festivities. You can make a note of these and make them part of your plans.

Events:

  • New Year’s Day – January
  • National Foundation Day – February 11
  • Valentine’s Day – February 14
  • Sapporo Snow Festival
  • Otaru Snow Light Path, Hokkaido
  • Higashiyama Hanatouro in Kyoto
  • Inabe Plum Festival
  • Doll’s Festival – March 3
  • White Day – March 14
  • Vernal (Spring) Equinox Day – March 20 – 21
  • Wisteria Flower Festival, in Ashikaga Park
  • Golden Week – April 27 – May 5 (National Holiday)
  • Showa Day – April 29 (National Holiday)
  • Constitution Memorial Day – May 3 (National Holiday)
  • Greenery Day – May 4 – (National Holiday)
  • Children’s Day – May 5 (National Holiday)
  • Marine Day – 3rd Monday in July
  • Ocean Day – July 22 (National Holiday)
  • Health and Sports Day – July 23 (National Holiday)
  • Star Festival – July and August
  • Gion Festival in Kyoto
  • Mitama Festival in Tokyo’s Chiyoda area
  • Mountain Day – August 11 (National Holiday)
  • Obon – August 12 – 16 (National Holiday)
  • Respect for the Aged Day – 3rd Monday in September (National Holiday)
  • Sapporo’s Autumn Fest
  • Autumn Equinox Day – Around September 22 – 23 (National Holiday)
  • Citizens Day – October 1
  • Sawara Grand Festival, Katori
  • Health and Sports Day – 2nd Monday in October
  • Culture Day – November 3 (National Holiday)
  • Labor Thanksgiving Day – November 23 (National Holiday)
  • Emperor’s Birthday – December 23
  • New Year’s Holidays – December 23 to January 3 (National Holiday)

Special Tips

  • Japan is an all-year destination, so you will always find tourists, while their numbers can change wildly at times. Even during the off-season months of December, you will find massive crowds when there are festivities or special events. So check the calendar and time your trip well, so you do not get caught unexpectedly.
  • Tourist seasons and festivals will be marked with crowds, high prices for everything, and lower availability of accommodation. Plan well.
  • Tourist guides are in demand, and you may want to book them in advance.
  • If planning for April, do watch out for the Golden week and plan before it.

Summary

Japan is probably one of a few countries which is an all-year destination. Also, because it’s a large country, extreme weather will depend on where you are in the country like those in summers. Do make a note of all that we have shared and plan your trip well. I hope this information will help you plan well and have a wonderful trip to Japan. Cheers, and wishing you happy travels.

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