When to go to Japan

There are pluses and minuses to any season in Japan, but there is always a lot to do whatever time you decide to come. Because Japan is such a long country from north to south, you don’t need to worry as much as for other countries.

Spring (March to May)

japan_seasons_springSpring is a great time to come to Japan. It’s sakura season (cherry blossoms) in Japan, and you will see beautiful pink and white trees everywhere. Before booking your hotels, make sure you check the cherry blossom blooming times. As there will still be snows on the mountains in the northern half of the country, head down south if you want to do some hiking.

Summer (June to August)

japan_seasons_summerSummer can get really hot! If you can’t take the heat so well, go north to places such as Nikko or the cooler Japanese Alps. Tokyo and Kyoto can get extremely hot, but as long as you relax in a convenience store (they are everywhere!) once in a while it’s not too bad.  The rest of the country is still very doable, but avoid the south if you are sensitive to the heat. There are also countless free festivals to enjoy in the summer.

Autumn (September to November)

japan_seasons_autummAutumn is also a very popular time to come because of the Autumn colours. Temperatures are much more comfortable across the whole country, but bring a jumper for the evening. Check out the Autumn colours guide to see which places are best during Autumn.

Winter (December to February)

japan_seasons_winterIt’s the skiing and snowboarding season in Japan, so it’s a great time to visit places such as Hakuba. The Christmas illuminations in Japan are some of the best in the world, and the main tourist attractions will be far less crowded than in other seasons. Unless you are really into skiing or snowboarding, avoid Hokkaido (the northern island) as transportation can be tricky due to the heavy snowfall.

Peak seasons to avoid

As Japanese people usually all have their holidays at the same time, there are some times when prices can skyrocket! It’s still possible to find bargains, but such places can get quickly booked up. Here are the times to avoid:

  • Golden Week (April 29th to May 5th)
  • Obon holidays (around August 13th to 16th)
  • Around New Years. Many shops and attractions are also closed, so check these beforehand.

Published by Matthew Baxter

Japan travel writer and onsen addict