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During spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) Japan is at its most vibrant, this is the best time to travel if you want to see the delicate cherry blossom or bright red leaves which add contrast to the scenery. For hikers and lovers of the outdoors, the summer months offer ideal conditions in the mountains of the Japanese Alps and Hokkaido’s wild national parks, although elsewhere the weather is hot and humid. For a very different experience, in winter (December to February) the people of the snowy north brighten the dark days with a host of festivals and events. Okinawa can be visited all year round but, for the best weather, the best time to visit is May and October.

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Audley Travel specialist Tim

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My favourite time of year to travel to Japan is in May after the cherry blossom season and Golden Week crowds die down. The weather warms up and the heat is dry and the countryside of Japan becomes lush with beautiful green foliage. Not only that, but this is the only time of year to view the wisteria flowers in full bloom in Japan. One of the largest festivals and parades in Tokyo, Sanja Matsuri, happens around this time of the year as well (May 16-21). Over a hundred shrines are paraded through the streets of Asakusa alongside geisha and other people dressed in traditional costume.

Alice, Japan Specialist

Japan Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Hiroshima 9°C 56mm 10°C 68mm 13°C 109mm 18°C 158mm 23°C 150mm 26°C 252mm 30°C 237mm 32°C 116mm 28°C 192mm 23°C 105mm 17°C 72mm 12°C 48mm
Kanazawa 6°C 292mm 7°C 193mm 11°C 159mm 17°C 148mm 22°C 149mm 25°C 204mm 29°C 246mm 31°C 173mm 27°C 249mm 21°C 192mm 15°C 235mm 10°C 305mm
Kyoto 8°C 76mm 9°C 81mm 12°C 118mm 19°C 146mm 24°C 159mm 27°C 240mm 31°C 242mm 32°C 179mm 28°C 208mm 22°C 123mm 16°C 86mm 11°C 67mm
Miyajima Island 7°C 66mm 8°C 82mm 12°C 122mm 17°C 170mm 21°C 169mm 25°C 278mm 29°C 259mm 30°C 133mm 26°C 211mm 21°C 109mm 16°C 75mm 10°C 53mm
Okinawa 19°C 109mm 19°C 115mm 21°C 142mm 24°C 168mm 26°C 245mm 29°C 286mm 31°C 192mm 31°C 264mm 30°C 170mm 27°C 142mm 24°C 132mm 21°C 115mm
Osaka 9°C 68mm 9°C 73mm 13°C 105mm 19°C 132mm 23°C 131mm 27°C 197mm 31°C 168mm 32°C 110mm 28°C 185mm 22°C 127mm 17°C 87mm 12°C 66mm
Tokyo 10°C 47mm 10°C 62mm 13°C 101mm 19°C 122mm 23°C 138mm 25°C 184mm 29°C 132mm 31°C 147mm 27°C 185mm 21°C 174mm 16°C 90mm 12°C 50mm
Tsumago 4°C 63mm 6°C 74mm 10°C 127mm 16°C 163mm 21°C 166mm 24°C 268mm 27°C 251mm 29°C 214mm 24°C 244mm 18°C 149mm 13°C 86mm 7°C 63mm

Month-by-month guide to travelling in Japan

Winter Onsen

Visiting Japan in January

The weather is usually cool, dry and sunny during January and sites are much less crowded than later in the year. In northern Japan there is heavy snowfall making conditions good for skiing.

Why travel with Audley?

Trip ideas and travel guides to exploring Japan