Picking the perfect time to visit Japan is absolutely key for your once in a lifetime vacation. National holidays, peak travel times, weather, and what things you want to experience in Japan should all be taken into consideration. Since much of this relies on specific seasons, we broke down what you can expect in Japan all year long. Learn when is the best time to visit Japan.
Spring is one of the most popular seasons to visit Japan, thanks to warmer temperatures and the start of cherry blossom season in central Japan. Since blooms start randomly and only last around 2 weeks, it’s almost impossible to plan your visit around hanami (flowering viewing).
If Okinawa is on your bucket list, spring is a great time to visit since most travelers will be in the central and northern part of the country to experience the cherry blossoms. The trees are likely to have finished blooming by March in Okinawa, so travelers can focus on visiting famous sites and experiencing the local culture. ProTip: We recommend planning your vacation around “Golden Week”, which is the last Sunday in April through the first week of May. Most of Japan takes off work and lots businesses are shut down during this compensatory vacation week.
With average temperatures in the low 90s, summer is perfect for travelers who prefer to visit during warmer weather. Be sure to pack a rain jacket, June and July are known for their showers.
For those active travelers who are looking for a chance to climb Mount Fiji, summer is when the mountain opens back up for climbers. Most hikers visit between July and August for the best weather and climbing conditions. Even though it’s summer, temperatures at the summit reach freezing levels!
Although summer can be hot and humid in most parts of Japan, it is a lively season with many events. The massive Japanese holiday of Obon lands in the middle of August. Obon is a Buddhist tradition where the Japanese pay tribute to their ancestors, which makes it a fun and vibrant time to visit Japan. Expect streets to be blocked off with festivals, tons of dancing, and limited hotel space.
Nature puts on a breathtaking show with its vast expanses of autumn colors. Japan’s fall foliage season begins and leafs beautifully turn red, orange and yellow. Set all this against the wonderful pristine landscapes of the impeccable Japanese gardens and fall is at the top of many traveler’s list.
Unlike the cherry blossoms which last for only a week or two, autumn foliage can usually be enjoyed over a couple of weeks. November brings relatively dry and sunny weather and is generally a pleasant time to visit Japan.
Winter in Japan can be a wonderland of white snow. If you want to see snow covered temples, soak in a steamy onsen, or really enjoy a piping hot bowl of ramen or udon, winter is the perfect time to visit. The warmest temperature is usually around 30 degrees so make sure you pack warm layers and bundle up. Tourist season is usually coming to a close which gives you a much more personal experience at Japan’s famous sites.
For active travelers, January is a great time to hit the slopes in northern Japan. Down in Okinawa, if you’re lucky, cherry blossom season is starting and you might get to see trees beginning to bloom.
In February, the famous Sapporo Snow festival takes place where 250 ice and snow sculptures take over the streets. Visitors can enjoy concerts, delicious food and watch ice sculpture competitions.
Japan is made up of a long string of thousands of island that vary greatly from north to south. Because Japan is one of the most popular travel destinations, you likely can’t go wrong visiting any time of year! Remember, If you’re planning on making this adventure a once in your life time trip, make sure you pick the best time to visit Japan.