When to Go to Japan
Japan by seasons
With snow in the north and sunny beaches in the south, the weather differs greatly across Japan’s island. Because of this, there’s never really a bad time to go to Japan. If you have a particular spot in mind though, or want to experience cherry blossom season in full bloom, read on to see our guide by seasons.
Mid-March – May
Spring is one of the best times to visit Japan as it offers mild weather and incredible scenery in the way of cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms can be seen all throughout Japan, even in the big cities like Tokyo. The season can vary from year to year but typically speaking the best time to see them in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto is in early April. Spring also coincides with ‘Golden Week,’ the busiest national holiday in the year, so be sure to avoid April 29 to May 5.
Cherry Blossom season: to see Japan covered in pink blossoms we recommend visiting between early March and April.
Matsumoto: the historic mountain town enjoys ideal weather in May.
June – August
Summer in Japan can be hot and humid in parts, particularly in the major cities. If you’re visiting in this season and would like to avoid the heat (it can get up to 40 degrees Celsius) we recommend hiking in the mountains on Honshu or enjoying a beach holiday in the Okinawa Islands. This time of year is also a popular time to climb Mount Fuji, which opens for climbers at the beginning of July.
Scuba diving: the Okinawa Islands in summer offer ideal diving conditions.
Sumindagawa Fireworks Festival: don’t miss the incredible fireworks display in Tokyo on the last Saturday in July.
Mount Fuji: if you’ve ever contemplated climbing the mountain, this is the best time to do so.
September - November
While spring in Japan may be the most famed time to visit Japan, autumn is almost just as good in terms of weather, scenery and fewer crowds. The change in leaves (known locally as koyo) is an incredible sight to see throughout the country with locals enjoying tsukimi, also known as ‘moon viewing parties’ to view the leaves. While autumn, particularly November, offers ideal scenery and weather in much of the country, be wary of typhoon season which typically hits Kyushu in September, and the five-day national holiday known as Silver Week which only takes place every few years.
Autumnal leaves: ideal spots to see the incredible autumnal leaves include Kyoto, Nara, Kanazawa and Tokyo.
Sumo season: Tokyo’s Sumo Tournament takes place in mid-September.
December to February
Come December and winter sets in on Japan with temperatures dropping to single digits and snow falling across much of the country. The parts of Japan that receives the heaviest snowfall are the Japanese Alps and the northern island of Hokkaido. Skiing is one of the most popular past times in Japan during this time with the sky season taking place from mid-December to late March. If skiing isn’t your thing, you can always spend your time in Japan’s onsens which are natural hot tubs found throughout the country.
Skiing: Japan’s most popular ski resorts include Hakuba in the alps near Nagano, and Niseko on the northern island of Hokkaido.
Sapporo Snow Festival: admire the incredible snow sculptures at this annual festival in February.
Kyushu for hot springs: take a winter soak in the famous Beppu Onsen, which boasts the largest number of hot spring wells in Japan.