Sightseeing in japan
When to travel
The tables below list average daytime high and nighttime low temperatures and average percentages of sunny and rainy days for selected cities. A rainy day is defined as a day on which at least 1 mm of rain falls, while a sunny day is defined as a day on which the sun shines at least 40 percent during daytime.
(Source: Japan Meteorological Agency)
New Year is one of Japan’s three major travel seasons with intensive domestic and international travel activity. Many shops, restaurants and tourist attractions are closed for at least one day between December 29 and January 4. Read more about visiting Japan during New Year.
The remainder of January is a good time for visiting Japan, as the weather is usually sunny and dry and sightseeing spots are not very crowded (except possibly around Chinese New Year). Only in northern Japan and along the Sea of Japan coast, there is lots of snowfall, and conditions are good for winter sports. The downside of a visit in winter are the relatively short days (sunset is around 5pm in Tokyo) and the vegetation’s barren state.
Like January, February is a good time for visiting Japan as the weather is usually sunny and dry and sightseeing spots are not very crowded (except possibly around Chinese New Year). The downside of a visit in winter are the relatively short days (sunset is around 5:30pm in Tokyo) and the vegetation’s barren state.
Northern Japan and the Sea of Japan coast receive lots of snowfall. At the peak of winter, February tends to be the best time for winter sports and viewing winter sceneries, such as the drift ice off Hokkaido and the snow-covered farm houses of Shirakawago.
Early flowering plants and trees, such as plum trees, deliver the first signs of spring, while the weather is getting noticeably milder. Towards the end of March the cherry blossom season starts in certain regions, while in northern Japan conditions are still good for winter sports. Domestic travel activity increases in the second half of March due to spring school holidays.
Besides autumn, April is often considered the best time to visit Japan because the cherry blossom season takes place in most regions of the country and the weather is pleasantly mild. Domestic travel activity is increased in early April due to spring school holidays, in late April due to the start of the Golden Week and during most of the rest of the month due the cherry blossom season.
Golden Week, one of Japan’s busiest travel seasons, takes place in the end of April and beginning of May and can be the cause of various travel related concerns.
However, the remainder of May is one of the best times for visiting Japan, as the vegetation has become lush, the temperatures are still comfortable and tourists spots tend to be pleasantly uncrowded. In Hokkaido, the progress of spring is delayed by about one month compared to Tokyo. At the other end of the country, in Okinawa, the rainy season (tsuyu) typically lasts from early May to mid June.
From the beginning of June, the rainy season (tsuyu) visits most parts of Japan except Hokkaido. While it does not rain every day, the weather tends to be overcast and dreary. The duration and intensity of the rainy season can vary quite strongly from year to year.
Hot spring resorts like Hakone and the wooded temple mountain Koyasan are some places that can be quite attractive in rainy weather. Hokkaido is an attractive destination in June as it is least affected by the rainy season. Also, the weather in Okinawa takes a dramatic turn to the better after the end of the rainy season there in late June.
The rainy season (tsuyu) typically ends in the first half of July. It is hot and humid in most of Japan, and just standing outdoors can make you sweat. The conditions are more comfortable in higher elevations and in Hokkaido, a highly popular destination among outdoor lovers during the summer months.
Many local festivals and fireworks are held. Mount Fuji is opened for climbing. Cormorant fishing can be observed. It is also a very good time of the year for beach holidays in Okinawa. With the summer school holidays from late July through August, domestic travel activity increases considerably.
August is hot and humid in most of Japan. The conditions are more comfortable in higher elevations and in Hokkaido, a highly popular destination among outdoor lovers during the summer months. Many local festivals and fireworks are held in August. Travel activity is high during the entire month due to summer school holidays, but is especially intensive during the Obon week in mid August.
The typhoon season reaches its peak in August and September. Typhoons usually hit the coasts of Okinawa, Kyushu and Shikoku and cause strong rain and wind in wide parts or all of Japan for about two days. Luckily, typhoons are often followed by perfectly clear weather. The weather in September can still be quite hot and humid, but the crowds of August have mostly disappeared.
October is one of the most pleasant months for traveling in Japan as the weather remains warm, but is not hot and humid anymore. Trees begin turning colors in the northern regions and higher elevations.
December is a good month for traveling thanks to generally dry weather conditions. Domestic travel activity remains low during the first half of December until the beginning of winter school holidays around December 23. The downsides of a visit in winter are the relatively short days (sunset is around 4:30pm in Tokyo) and the barren state of the vegetation. From around December 29 some tourist attractions close down for the New Year holidays. The ski season starts in December.