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The Best Time to Visit Japan
Picture | February 11th, 2019 | Dayna Hannah
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“When should I go to Japan?”

I get this question at least once a week. I used to answer with a bunch of information about my favorite festivals, seasonal food and flowers, climate, and so on. But now, I counteract it with this question:

“What interests you about Japanese culture?”

No matter when you go, you’ll have more than enough options for things to see and do. Here, we’ve broken down the best things about Japan by season, month, annual events, and particular needs!

WINTER IN JAPAN

The northern and mountainous regions experience steep, powdery snowfalls making conditions perfect for winter sports. Besides ski resorts, check out these places and experiences!

December Musts

● Winter Illuminations
Nearly every city in Japan has some sort of LED light display celebrating the weeks leading up to Christmas.

● Chichibu Yomatsuri
Saitama's festival is considered among the top 3 in the country for floats.

● Celebrate the New Year
On New Year’s Day, Japanese people go to places like Asakusa Sensoji Temple and Meiji Shrine to pray for good fortune.


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in December
High: 12°C/53°F
Low: 4°C/39°F

Click Here for More About December

January Musts

● Sounkyo Ice Festival
Artists from all over the world go to Hokkaido to create a fantasyland of color, ice sculptures, and fireworks.

● Monkeys at Jigokudani Park
Nothing warms you up like a dip in a hot spring, but for extra fun check out where the snow monkeys bathe in Jigokudani Park’s pools!

● Gassho Houses in Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
These farmhouses’ thatched roofs aren’t secured with nails, and yet can stand the heavy snows of Gifu and Toyama Prefecture! Their sturdiness and longevity (some up to 250 years old) are what put them on the list of registered UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in January
High: 10°C/50°F
Low: 2°C/35°F

Click Here for More About January

February Musts

● Sapporo Snow Festival
Local and international artists gather every year in Sapporo to create giant snow and ice sculptures as big as buildings!

● Otaru Light Path
Near Sapporo, the small town of Otaru fights the dreariness of winter by building thousands of lanterns from snow along its canal and streets.

● Kawazu Cherry Blossoms
Yes, you can see cherry blossoms in Japan in winter! The Kawazu cherry blossom festival usually starts around mid-February.


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in February
High: 10°C/50°F
Low: 2°C/35°F

Click Here for More About February

SPRING IN JAPAN

The iconic cherry blossoms attract visitors from all over the world to gardens and parks making spring one of the busiest, but most beautiful, times of the year.

March Musts

● Plum Blossoms
Just before the cherry blossoms take over, the plum blossoms bloom in places like Kairakuen Garden in Ibaraki Prefecture.

● AnimeJapan Convention
If you love manga and anime, this is your month to go! The AnimeJapan Convention is one of the largest and most popular events of its kind.

● Omizutori Festival
Head to Todaiji Temple during March for this exciting festival. Monks swing large, fiery torches to keep evil spirits at bay.


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in March
High: 13°C/55°F
Low: 5°C/41°F

Click Here for More About March

April Musts

● Takayama Sanno Spring Festival
One of the most well-known festivals in Japan, it features wooden floats that have been maintained since the Edo Period.

● Miyako Odori
Geisha and their apprentices in Kyoto make a rare public appearance during the Miyako Odori dance performances at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater.

● Wisteria in Ashikaga Flower Park
Don’t worry, we’ll talk about cherry blossoms further down. First, let’s talk about the equally beautiful wisteria, and how you can see a 100-year-old tree dripping with magenta blooms in Tochigi Prefecture!


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in April
High: 19°C/66°F
Low: 10°C/50°F

Click Here for More About April

May Musts

● Shibazakura in Mt Fuji
The fields near Mt. Fuji get covered in 80,000 fuschia moss phlox flowers during this time of year. The bold colors against the backdrop of proud Fuji is a sight to behold!

● Go to Okinawa
There are fantastic beaches all over Japan, but if you want to see Okinawa, go in May! It’s the best month for the island weather-wise.

● Baby Blue Eyes
One of the newest flower displays takes place in Ibaraki Prefecture’s Hitachi Seaside Park. 4.5 million Baby Blue Eyes flowers blossom every year.


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in May
High: 23°C/73°F
Low: 15°C/59°F

Click Here for More About May

SUMMER IN JAPAN

The hot and humid summer months might not seem ideal to everyone, but don’t count out this season or you’ll miss these fantastic opportunities!

June Musts

● YOSAKOI Soran Bushi in Sapporo
YOSAKOI is a joyous dance that celebrates the return of warm weather, and no one does it better than the people of chilly Hokkaido! Sapporo explodes in a city-wide dance party every June.

● Hydrangea in Hakone
Hakone’s natural beauty intensifies as the Hydrangeas bloom in June. Enjoy the flowers, hot springs, and views of Mt. Fuji!

● Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
It’s still cold in this mountainous region in June. So cold, that snowdrifts on either side of the roads stretch up several meters high!


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in June
High: 26°C/78°F
Low: 19°C/66°F

Click Here for More About June

July Musts

● Lavender Fields in Furano
Walking through Farm Tomita's lavender field in Furano is like walking through an impressionist masterpiece.

● Kyoto Gion Festival
This grand and storied tradition dates back to the 8th century and features a solemn procession of 500 participants wearing Heian Era clothing.

● Sumida River Fireworks in Tokyo
Fireworks seem to happen every weekend in summer, but this one is Japan’s oldest and most exciting display!


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in July
High: 29°C/84°F
Low: 23°C/73°F

Click Here for More About July

August Musts

● Awa Odori Festival in Tōkushima City
Cheerful teams of dancers parade through the streets in traditional wear during this 400-year-old jubilee.

● The 3 Great Festivals of Tohoku
Summer festivals happen everywhere in Japan, but Aomori, Akita, and Sendai are home to the biggest and best!

● Indulge in seasonal food
Summer is the time to try Japanese treats like kakigori, square-shaped watermelons, rice topped with grilled eel and more.


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in August
High: 31°C/88°F
Low: 24°C/75°F

Click Here for More About August

AUTUMN IN JAPAN

The autumn foliage draws in nearly as many visitors as the cherry blossoms, but seeing the leaves changing colors isn’t the only thing to do.

September Musts

● Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri
Locals celebrate their neighborhood carpenters by racing 4-ton wooden floats for fun and bragging rights.

● Celebrate the Harvest
Many farms open for travelers to pick and eat fresh fruit. Grapes are especially delicious in September!

● See a Sumo Tournament
September is one of the few times of year you can catch a sumo tournament in Tokyo!


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in September
High: 27°C/80°F
Low: 21°C/69°F

Click Here for More About September

October Musts

● Takayama Hachiman Autumn Festival
Similar to the Sanno Spring Festival, antique floats are pulled through the historically preserved streets of this mountain town.

● Ride the Shimanami Kaido
If you’re a cycling enthusiast, check out this highway that connects Shikoku to Honshu in fall for the best weather.

● View the Autumn Leaves
Around mid-October, most Japanese gardens and national parks (like Nikko’s Lake Chuzenji) start turning fall colors.

*BONUS* Head to Shibuya Crossing on October 31st to celebrate Halloween!


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in October
High: 22°C/71°F
Low: 15°C/59°F

Click Here for More About October

November Musts

● Meiji Jingu Gaien Gingko Festival
The maples trees aren’t the only fall foliage to see. In November, the Gingkoes outside of Meiji Shrine in Tokyo become a brilliant shade of gold.

● Tori No Ichi
According to the lunar calendar, three days of November are the “Days of the Rooster.” Shrines and temples hold open-air markets for business owners and employees to pray for good fortune in their industries.

● Shichi Go San
Though it isn’t an "official" holiday, it’s undoubtedly the cutest! Children aged 7, 5, and 3 years old don kimono (some for the first time) and head to shrines for blessings by Shinto priests.


Average Temperatures in Tokyo in November
High: 17°C/63°F
Low: 9°C/48°F

Click Here for More About November

ANNUAL EVENTS IN JAPAN

When is the Best Time to Visit Japan for Cherry Blossoms?
Most sakura bloom from the last week of March to the first week of April, but depending on weather and location it’s possible to see them as early as February and as late as May.

Read More

When is the Best Time to Visit Japan for Autumn Leaves?
Northern Japan turns red and orange around the end of September or early October, and central and southern Japan’s season generally lasts from October to December.

Read More

When is the Best Time to Visit Japan for Festivals?
Most street, food, and fireworks festivals are held in summer, but every season is celebrated in its own, unique way.

Read More

When Is the Least Expensive Time to Visit Japan?
Short Answer: Avoid peak seasons like Golden Week (April 29-May 5), New Year’s (December 31-January 3), and other public holidays. Long Answer........↓

Read More


Check out these articles for the best information on where to go and what to do in Japan!


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