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Autumn in Kyoto

When is the best time to visit Japan?

The best time to visit Japan is during spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). This is when Japan is at its most vibrant, with delicate cherry blossom or bright red leaves adding contrast to the scenery. Remember, it can also be very crowded at this time.

The summer months (June to August) offer ideal conditions for hikers and lovers of the outdoors, but only in the mountains of the Japanese Alps and Hokkaido’s wild national parks. Elsewhere, the weather is hot and humid. Rainy season occurs from the end of May until the middle of June or July.

For a very different experience, head to the north of Japan in winter (December to February). It’s snowy, but the people brighten the dark days with a variety of festivals and events.

It’s a good idea to take Japan’s national holidays into account, too. Shogatsu (Japanese New Year), Obon (in mid-August or mid-July, depending on the area), and the Golden Week (between April 29 and May 5) are busy times for residents.

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My favorite 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 48°F 2" 50°F 3" 55°F 4" 64°F 6" 73°F 6" 79°F 10" 86°F 9" 90°F 5" 82°F 8" 73°F 4" 63°F 3" 54°F 2"
Kanazawa 43°F 11" 45°F 8" 52°F 6" 63°F 6" 72°F 6" 77°F 8" 84°F 10" 88°F 7" 81°F 10" 70°F 8" 59°F 9" 50°F 12"
Kyoto 46°F 3" 48°F 3" 54°F 5" 66°F 6" 75°F 6" 81°F 9" 88°F 10" 90°F 7" 82°F 8" 72°F 5" 61°F 3" 52°F 3"
Miyajima Island 45°F 3" 46°F 3" 54°F 5" 63°F 7" 70°F 7" 77°F 11" 84°F 10" 86°F 5" 79°F 8" 70°F 4" 61°F 3" 50°F 2"
Okinawa 66°F 4" 66°F 5" 70°F 6" 75°F 7" 79°F 10" 84°F 11" 88°F 8" 88°F 10" 86°F 7" 81°F 6" 75°F 5" 70°F 5"
Osaka 48°F 3" 48°F 3" 55°F 4" 66°F 5" 73°F 5" 81°F 8" 88°F 7" 90°F 4" 82°F 7" 72°F 5" 63°F 3" 54°F 3"
Tokyo 50°F 2" 50°F 2" 55°F 4" 66°F 5" 73°F 5" 77°F 7" 84°F 5" 88°F 6" 81°F 7" 70°F 7" 61°F 4" 54°F 2"
Tsumago 39°F 2" 43°F 3" 50°F 5" 61°F 6" 70°F 7" 75°F 11" 81°F 10" 84°F 8" 75°F 10" 64°F 6" 55°F 3" 45°F 2"

Month-by-month guide to traveling 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