Mt Yoshino Nara Prefecture Japan min

Best time to visit Japan

A month-by-month guide of when to visit Japan

Cherry Blossoms at Mt Yoshino, Nara

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A month-by-month guide of when to visit Japan

Japan's climate offers year-round appeal, featuring four distinct seasons, each with its unique attractions.

Winter beckons skiers and snowboarders to the mountainous regions, which transform into hiker's paradises during summer. The southern islands boast inviting beaches, drawing sunseekers during the warm summer months.

In spring and autumn, pleasant temperatures harmonize with natural beauty, with cherry blossom season (sakura) and autumn leaf viewing (koyo) making these seasons exceptionally popular.

Japan is generally grouped into four regions – the main island, Honshu, the northern island, Hokkaido, the southern island, Kyushu, and the far southern islands including Okinawa. Due to the placement of Japan along a tectonic plate, these four regions offer a wide range of climates at different times of year.

As the largest island, Honshu displays diverse weather conditions. Northern Honshu and the Japanese Alps endure chilly winters and heavy snowfall, while the south and west enjoy milder winters but experience hot, humid summers, particularly in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Despite the heat, June is the wettest month with tropical showers until early July. Spring and autumn are both delightful times to visit, offering the most pleasant weather, and beautiful scenery with cherry blossoms in bloom from March to April (it varies year to year so make sure to check) and autumn colours descending from the mountains from late September through to early November.

In the north, Hokkaido experiences cooler temperatures, with a general range of -10°C to 25°C across the various seasons. Hokkaido is famous for its winter sports due to the impressive snowfall in the region during winter. Spring brings sunny days and cherry blossoms in May and the summer comes shortly after Summer is pleasant with warm and sunny weather, avoiding the typhoons that affect the south. Autumn welcomes crisp and dry days, with Hokkaido experiencing the famous autumn colors in mid-September.

Linked to Honshu in the southern region, Kyushu boasts climatic conditions akin to southern Honshu, encompassing temperatures from 5°C in winter to slightly above 30°C during summer. The arrival of cherry blossoms in April heralds the onset of spring. Spring and summer offer delightful weather with agreeable temperatures and sunlit days. June might witness tropical downpours, and there's a possibility of typhoons later in summer and early autumn. Once the typhoon season subsides, autumn graces the area with clear skies and pleasant temperatures.

The southernmost regions, including Okinawa, experience a subtropical climate where temperatures seldom dip below 20°C. Winters bring gentle temperatures, yet the ocean remains refreshingly cool. Spring is renowned for its eagerly awaited cherry blossoms, while May and June provide excellent diving conditions despite sporadic tropical rainfall. As summer arrives, it ushers in high temperatures and sun-drenched days, creating an ideal setting for beach enthusiasts. However, it also marks the peak of the typhoon season, which spans August and September. Autumn brings the conclusion of the typhoon season, delivering warm and arid days.

Each month and each area in Japan offers unique experiences, from cherry blossom viewing to winter wonderlands and vibrant festivals. Your ideal time to visit depends on your preferences, whether it's enjoying the sakura bloom, savoring autumn foliage, or experiencing cultural festivals.

Torii gates Sapporo Hokkaido Japan Canva Pro


January welcomes visitors to Japan with a winter wonderland. While northern regions like Hokkaido are blanketed in snow, Tokyo and Kyoto experience chilly but clear days. It's an ideal time for winter sports in Nagano and Hokkaido. In Kyoto, don't miss Hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the year, and warm up with hot sake.

Skilifts Nagano Japan min


February continues the winter charm, offering perfect conditions for skiing and snowboarding. The Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido showcases stunning ice sculptures. Kyoto hosts Setsubun, a bean-throwing ceremony to drive away evil spirits. Nagasaki's Lantern Festival is a mesmerizing event with thousands of glowing lanterns. The plum blossoms start to bloom in warmer regions like Kyoto and Tokyo.

Kenrokuen Gardens Tokyo Japan


March marks the arrival of spring, with cherry blossoms starting to bloom in southern regions. Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima offer picturesque views of sakura. The annual Hina Matsuri, or Doll Festival, is celebrated with ornate doll displays in households. Springtime hiking in Yoshino's cherry blossom-covered hills is a must-do.

Sakru Meguro River Matsuno Japan min


April is the peak of cherry blossom season, with hanami (blossom-viewing) picnics happening nationwide. Tokyo's Ueno Park and Kyoto's Maruyama Park are vibrant with pink hues. Golden Week, a series of holidays, falls in late April to early May, creating a festive atmosphere across Japan. The Sumo Spring Grand Tournament is a major sports event in Tokyo.

Young couple in yukata at matsuri parade Japan canva pro


May sees pleasant weather, making it a great time for outdoor activities. Golden Week continues with parades and events. The Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo showcases grand processions. In Kyoto, Aoi Matsuri features a historic costume parade. Hakodate in Hokkaido is known for its early cherry blossoms.

Kyoto Imperial Palace Garden Kyoto Japan min


June is the start of the rainy season, known as tsuyu, which lasts until mid-July. While it's a wet period, the countryside becomes lush and green. Explore Kyoto's temples and gardens amid light crowds. Early summer festivals like the Sanno Matsuri in Tokyo and the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto offer a glimpse of Japanese traditions.

Lavender field Furano Hokkaido Japan min


July continues the rainy season, but festivals like Tanabata, the Star Festival, brighten the skies with colourful decorations. Gion Matsuri in Kyoto features grand floats. Hokkaido sees the Lavender Festival, with fields covered in purple blooms.

Pagoda and lake Nara Japan min


August marks summer, with festivals and fireworks across Japan. The Obon Festival celebrates the spirits of ancestors, with colourful lanterns and folk dances. Tokyo's Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival is a highlight. Hokkaido offers summer flower festivals, and it's a great time for hiking.

Naoshima Kagawa Japan


September brings pleasant weather with comfortable temperatures. Nagasaki's Kunchi Festival is a must-see, featuring dynamic dances and parades. Hokkaido hosts the Sapporo Autumn Festival with delicious local cuisine. It's a great time to explore Tokyo and Kyoto with fewer tourists. Head to Okinawa to soak up some sun before the rainy season hits in the islands.

Usui Lake Matsuidamachi Gunma Japan min


October offers stunning autumn foliage, especially in Kyoto and Nikko. Tokyo's Meiji Shrine holds the Meiji Jingu Festival with traditional performances. Oktoberfest celebrations are popular in major cities. The pleasant climate is perfect for hiking and outdoor adventures.

Tenryu ji Temple Kyoto Japan


Kyoto is stunning with its vibrant red and yellow foliage, particularly at Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion) and Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Tokyo, too, offers delightful autumn scenery, especially in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Don't miss the cultural festivals like Shichi-Go-San, celebrating children's growth, and the Chrysanthemum Exhibition. Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park is a poignant place to reflect on history. Lastly, Hokkaido is perfect for early winter activities. In November, Japan's culinary scene is rich with seasonal delicacies, like the famous matsutake mushrooms.

Torii gates Sapporo Hokkaido Japan Canva Pro


December welcomes winter, with holiday decorations and illuminations brightening cities. Christmas is celebrated with festive lights and decorations. Hokkaido's Sapporo Snow Festival is a must-visit, featuring impressive ice sculptures. Ski resorts in Nagano and Hokkaido open for winter sports enthusiasts.

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