If you are ever planning a trip to visit the land of Japan, one thing that might pop up in your mind is to wonder about when the best time to visit Japan is.
After all, nobody wants to travel to a location only to find out something isn’t right. Things like holidays, climate, accidents, events can all have an effect on a persons travel plans.
Which is why you always want to make sure that if you are going to be traveling anywhere, always check and make sure there isn’t going to be anything getting in your way.
Japan does have quite a few holidays which might get in the way of your travel plans. They also have 4 seasons which are vastly different from the rest.
You have the cherry blossom season, the festival season, rain season, as well as a snow season. Plus anything else in between.
So you always want to be prepared.
Fortunately for you, I am writing this post to help you with your choices. In this post, we’ll be discussing about the best times to travel to Japan, the seasonal changes, holidays, as well as anything else that might affect your trip.
We’ll also be giving you some extra tips which can help make your trip a whole lot more enjoyable.
So if you are ready, lets get started
Here is the ultimate guide to understanding when is the best time to visit Japan.
- Best Time To Visit Japan
- Geography Of Japan Overview
- Seasonal Weather In Japan
- Japan Month By Month
- Holidays You Should Know About
Best Time To Visit Japan
To make a long story short, there are quite a few dates which makes a trip to Japan quite comfortable and convenient.
For instance, if you want to be in a setting with fewer crowds and nice weather, that I would suggest the early spring time around March through April.
Another time which is pretty similar to the Spring time is in the Fall season of October through November.
However, our personal favorite is definitely going to be November. But we’ll get into that later.
In all honesty, there isn’t really a right or wrong answer to the question of when is the best time to visit Japan. It all depends on your circumstances and unique personal interests.
But even with that being said, there are still things you should know about before you make a decision to travel.
After reading this post, you’ll be able to know exactly when you think is the best time to visit Japan for yourself, as well as how to better prepare yourself for a better experience.
Geography Of Japan Overview
Japan is a country that doesn’t appear large when compared to other countries like China or the U.S.A, but it is still a pretty big country. It spreads more than 1,800 miles from the northern tip of the island to the southern tip of the island.
Because of this, it usually means that the weather between the northern and southern parts are vastly different from one another. For example, Hokkaido might be freezing and snowing while the island of Okinawa might be sunny and hot.
So do keep this in mind when you are making plans to travel here and deciding when is the best time to visit Japan.
Seasonal Weather In Japan
Like we said above, Japan is a pretty big country that consists of various different seasons and weather.
Down below, we are going to talk about each season and what you can expect from each one.
Depending on certain circumstances, it can definitely effect your decision on the best time to visit Japan
Months From: March Through May
Spring is one of the best times to travel to Japan. During this time you’ll find warm and comfortable temperatures that’ll make traveling around perfect.
It is also the time where Spring Blossoms are in full bloom and offer a spectacular photography moments.
Because of all of this, it is one of the most popular times to travel to Japan. Which means you’ll usually find large crowds here during this time.
Spring time is also the time where you’ll run into one of Japans biggest holidays which is “Golden Week”. Most Japanese people will have days off during this time so they’ll be using this time to travel around.
Notes: Bring a jacket if you can as it might be kind of windy during this time of year.
Average Weather Temperatures: around 5°C – 22°C
Pros of visiting Japan during the Spring:
- You’ll get the chance to see some beautiful cherry blossoms blooming around.
- Very warm and comfortable temperatures which are perfect for traveling.
Cons of visiting Japan during the Spring:
- Can be very crowded during this time of year
- Because this is considered peak season in Japan, some things might be more expensive than usual.
Months From: June Through August
Summer time in Japan is usually a time for lots of celebration of fun. Here you’ll find many festivals happening around this time so there are always things to see and do.
Do note that because it is the summer time, humidity might be pretty high. Which means you’ll usually feel very sticky. Not only that but it is also the time for the rain season to begin, which means you’ll see days with lots of rain as well as the occasional typhoon.
Note: Be sure to bring plenty of rain gear and umbrellas.
Average Weather Temperatures: Usually around 22°C – 32°C
Pros of visiting Japan during the Summer:
- Great time to do some outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, roaming around etc..
- During this time of the year, there will be a lot of festivals and celebrations going around which means lots of entertaining things for you to see and do.
Cons of visiting Japan during the Summer:
- Temperatures can be very hot as well as very humid. So you’ll be sweating a lot and also feeling very sticky.
- This is the season where rain also starts to fall. So expect a lot of days where you’ll see tons of rainfall and the occasional typhoon.
Months From: September Through November
Because Fall usually starts around the beginning of September, which is also during the peak of typhoon season, you will generally experience a lot of rain depending on where you are.
However the typhoon season doesn’t last for long and will generally start clearing up around October.
Around mid October through November is when you’ll usually see some amazing temperatures.
Notes: Bring some comfortable clothing and maybe an umbrella.
Average Weather Temperatures: 10°C – 27°C
Pros of visiting Japan during the Fall:
- Aside from the beginning of the season when it is typhoon season, the rest of Fall is actually really amazing and perfect for traveling around.
- Tree leaves change color giving way to a beautiful sight.
Cons of visiting Japan during the Fall:
- Because the typhoon season is still going on pretty strongly, you will expect to see many days with rain or typhoons going on in the beginning of the season.
Months From: December Through February
Winter in Japan is a very unique and different experience.
Depending on where you are currently in Japan for Winter, you might experience heavy snow or you might experience warm temperatures. Usually in the northern parts of Japan you will find it to be more cold and chilly than the southern parts like Okinawa.
Also during this time, you won’t see much crowds outside since it is pretty cold. Which makes it a pretty good time to roam around and travel.
Notes: Bring a jacket or some winter clothing just in case
Average winter temperatures: 35°F – 55°F (Tokyo) (2°C – 13°C)
Pros of visiting Japan during the Winter:
- The northern parts of Japan will usually get tons of snow which is great for winter activities like snowboarding or skiing.
- Least crowded time of year
- Great for scenic pictures of places covered in snow.
Cons of visiting Japan during the Winter:
- Can get very cold! As low as even 5°C
- Might not be able to do a lot of outdoor activities due to the snow.
Japan Month By Month
- January is the time of Winter where plenty of areas are still covered in snow. Which means if you like doing Winter activities like snowboarding or skiing, then this is the perfect time for you.
- While most of the northern areas are pretty cold and filled with snow, a lot of the other areas like Tokyo and Osaka are experience cold but still decently warm weather.
- Beautiful festivals will be held in most parts of the country celebrating the new year.
- Because it is the New Year, during the first week of January, many shops, tourist destinations, transport, and temples will be incredibly busy as locals will be out and about travleing around.
- Many places are actually closed during the New Years holiday.
- It can get very crowded depending on when you go.
- Many festivals will still continue on until mid-February or longer.
- This is the time when certain Snow Festivals come to life like the Sapporo Snow Festival or the Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival.
- February is the best time of year to go do Winter activities in Japan.
- Despite it being in February, it is most often regarded as the coldest month in Japan. Here temperatures will often drop below freezing levels.
- Depending on certain conditions, snow and ice may cause some delays during transportation.
- Lots of crowds will appear here because of Chinese New Year.
- Weather is fantastic as you’ll have a nice warm day with a bit of wind.
- Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom
- Many Cherry Blossom spots are packed full of people, making it hard to take pictures.
- Beautiful weather continues into this month with nice blue skies and a warm sun.
- Almost all the plants and flowers will be in full bloom around this time, which makes for a perfect picture moment.
- Cherry Blossoms are still in full bloom around this time.
- Large crowds will still be gathered here to view the Cherry Blossoms.
- Golden Week Holiday may start around Late April which means lots of traffic and crowds.
- Beautiful weather will continue into this month.
- Flowers are still in bloom.
- Depending on when you go, you might run into the Golden Week holiday which is a popular time for the locals to travel. Which means many places will be packed full of people.
- Not as crowded as other months since there isn’t any major public holidays during this time.
- Temperatures although hot, is still pretty comfortable for traveling around.
- This is the month when the rain season starts. The weather will turn very humid and you will often see days with lots of rain. Typhoons might even come occasionally.
- Views from famous scenic places like Mt. Fuji will sometimes be covered by clouds
- July is the time when most Summer festivals come to life like the Gion Festival in Kyoto or the IseShrine Fireworks Festival in Mie Prefecture.
- You’ll see many colorful decorations and tanzaka which are used to cover parks and towns in preparations for the Star Festival.
- The rain season will continue onto this month which brings the same problems as in June.
- Summer festivals are still continuing onto this month which includes traditional parades, fireworks, as well as live music shows.
- The rain season has ended and clear skies are back in action.
- August can be very hot with temperatures reaching as high as 30° – 32°C
- The rain season might be over, but typhoons can still occur randomly which makes transportation quiet dangerous.
- Loud bugs are everywhere, so if you are scared of insects, this might not be a good time for you.
- Crowds will go away and things will quiet down which makes traveling better.
- Heat also begins to die down so it isn’t as hot anymore.
- The rare and unique “Spider Lily” flower will be in full bloom late September.
- Depending on certain conditions, the heat may continue for much of September.
- September is also the month when it is peak typhoon season. So traveling around may be a bit dangerous.
- Weather will become a lot better with cooler air and nice winds starting to appear.
- Tree leaves will change colors into a beautiful bright red marking the appearance of Fall.
- Many places will celebrate Halloween with unique parties and decorations all around.
- Many places can be very crowded as locals and tourists will travel all around trying to view the beautiful tree leaves. Which means many popular parks and mountains will be crowded with people.
- May see a bigger than normal crowd depending on the dates for certain holidays.
- Possibly the best time of year to travel.
- Weather is comfortable with cool temperatures and a windy breeze.
- Not much rainfall comes down across Japan.
- Might be kind of chilly as the season prepares itself for Winter.
- Winter season starts so many winter activity places will open up.
- Many places are celebrating Christmas, so you can find beautiful lights and trees everywhere.
- It can get quite cold depending on which region of Japan you are in.
- Not much snow yet so some winter activity resorts are still closed.
Basically when you decide to visit Japan, you should take into consideration of both rain, heat as well as crowds.
- Rain season: May – June
- Typhoon season: June – October
- Worst heat: August
- Hot but bearable: May and September
- Not as hot, a little bit cold: December, January, February
- Most crowded months: late April – early May
- Least crowded months: January – early March
Holidays You Should Know About
Before you decide on the best time to visit Japan, one thing you must know about are the national holidays and festivals that might affect your travels.
These festivals and holidays might be fun to interact with, but it also means higher prices as well as crowds during peak times.
So always do some research to know what you are getting yourself into.
Down below are some of the major holidays and events that are going to happen during the year.
- January 1 (national holiday)
New Year (shogatsu): New year is the most important holiday in Japan. Many businesses will be closed during this time as people are celebrating with their family.
- Second Monday of January (national holiday)
Coming of Age (seijin no hi): This is a special holiday where Japan celebrates the coming of age of many men and women around who turn 20.
- February 3
Beginning of spring (setsubun): Although it isn’t a national holiday, it is often celebrated at shrines and temples nationwide.
- February 11 (national holiday)
National Foundation Day (kenkoku kinenbi): According to the earliest Japanese history records, the first Japanese emperor was crowned on this day.
- February 14
Valentine’s Day: This is not a national holiday, but is a time to celebrate as women give chocolates to men for Valentine’s Day.
- February 23 (national holiday)
Emperor’s Birthday (tenno no tanjobi): This is a holiday where people celebrate the birthday of the current emperor. This holiday date changes if a new emperor comes about.
- March 3
Doll’s Festival (hina matsuri): This is a time when families who have daughters will wish their girls a successful and happy life.
- March 14
White Day: This is the opposite of Valentine’s Day where men will give cakes or chocolates to women.
- Around March 20 (national holiday)
Spring Equinox Day (shunbun no hi): Graves will be visited during this time of week.
- April 29 (national holiday)
Showa Day (Showa no hi): This is a time to celebrate the birthday of former Emperor Showa. (golden week)
- May 3 (national holiday)
Constitution Day (kenpo kinenbi): A national holiday remembering the new constitution, which was put into effect after the war. (golden week)
- May 4 (national holiday)
Greenery Day (midori no hi): A holiday celebrating the former Emperor Showa’s love of plants and nature. (golden week)
- May 5 (national holiday)
Children’s Day (kodomo no hi): Boys Festival
- July/August 7
Star Festival (tanabata): A day where people celebrate Tanabata.
- Third Monday of July (national holiday)
Ocean Day (umi no hi): A new national holiday made to celebrate the ocean.
- August 11 (national holiday)
Mountain Day (yama no hi): A day to celebrate mountains.
- July/August 13-15
Obon: Obon is a Buddhist event to commemorate deceased ancestors.
- Third Monday of September (national holiday)
Respect for the Aged Day (keiro no hi): Respect for the elderly and longevity are celebrated on this national holiday.
- Around September 23 (national holiday)
Autumn Equinox Day (shubun no hi): A day to visit the graves of loved ones.
- November 3 (national holiday)
Culture Day (bunka no hi): A day for promotion of culture and the love of freedom and peace.
- November 23 (national holiday)
Labor Thanksgiving Day (kinro kansha no hi): A national holiday for honoring labour.
- December 24-25
Christmas: Although Christmas is not a national holiday, many places will still decorate their areas with Christmas lights and trees.
Overall, planning your trip to Japan isn’t really a hard thing to do.
Hopefully this list was able to help you out in some sort of way in finding out when is the best time to visit Japan.
Also, if you are planning to visit Japan anytime soon, you might be interested in some of my other Japan posts.
- Tokyo – 20 Things To Do In Tokyo
- Osaka – 18 Amazing Things To Do In Osaka
- Kyoto – 14 Awesome Things To Do In Kyoto
- Japan – 20 Amazing Foods You Have To Try In Japan
Or you can check out my complete list of things to do in Japan by clicking here.
Let me know how your trip goes!