Japan may be a small country, but it’s incredibly diverse. With landscapes that include everything from green spaces with gardens in the heart of big cities, to dramatic mountains and island beaches, when planning your trip you’ll want to know the best time to visit for what you hope to experience.
Best Time to Visit Japan
No matter when you visit Japan, there will be spectacular scenery and plenty of exciting things to see and do. The best months to come are generally in the spring and fall, April and May or September through December. The latter makes up the peak of the tourist season here, coinciding with the cherry blossom season while bringing some of the most pleasant weather of the year. That means you’ll have to battle the crowds and your book accommodation, tickets and airfare well in advance. A trip in September, October, November or December often means mild weather and thinner crowds, with autumn foliage creating even more stunning landscapes, especially in Hokkaido’s national parks during October and early November. As September falls in typhoon season, you might want to avoid that month if you hope to visit the coastal areas.
Summer is warm and humid, but it’s a great time for hiking and festivals, while winter is when you’ll obviously want to come to enjoy snow sports like skiing, as well as the hot springs. The rainy season typically runs from early June through mid-July in most of the country, except Okinawa where showers start in early May.
Winter: The Low Season, January through March
Fewer tourists visit Japan in the winter than any other season, so this is a great time to come to avoid the crowds, enjoy the hot springs and ski the slopes in the Alps or Hokkaido. It can be quite cold, however, with temperatures sometimes dipping just below freezing. In Tokyo, the average temperature ranges from about 36 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit during this season. Keep in mind that around the Christmas holidays, things will be busier, and you’ll need to book your accommodation well in advance.
Spring: The High Season, April and May
Spring is the most popular time for a visit to Japan, one of the most beautiful seasons of the year with cherry blossoms blooming from late March to mid-April. The weather will be pleasant, with little rainfall. There is high demand for accommodation, so you’ll need to book well in advance and prepare for crowds. During Golden Week (usually April 29 to May 5), Japan will be at its busiest with many Japanese traveling around this time too. Temperatures in Tokyo average anywhere from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Summer: Shoulder Season, June through August
This season is typically quite warm and humid, with lots of rainfall. While the parks and gardens will be beautifully lush, you’ll need an umbrella wherever you go. It is a good time to come for festivals like the world-famous Kyoto Matsuri festival in July, or to climb iconic Mount Fuji. The temperature averages anywhere from 64 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit this season in Tokyo.
Fall: Shoulder/Peak Season, September through December
Fall is a bit of a mixed bag, with September and early December more shoulder season, while October and November can be busy, but not as busy as April and May. Around the holidays you can expect crowds too. This can be a lovely time to visit, especially in the mountains with the brilliant foliage. The weather will have cooled, and it won’t be as rainy either, though they may be some scattered showers. Tokyo temperatures range from 39 to 79 Fahrenheit.
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