Japan is an undeniably beautiful country. Visited by millions of tourists from around the world every year, Japan’s picturesque landscapes, bustling cities and delicious food make it a top vacation spot.
When looking to travel in Japan, one of the first considerations is the time of year you should visit. There are so many wonderful events throughout the year that it’s often difficult to decide which season is best. It also depends on whether you’re wanting to visit Japan in the heat of the summer or when the climate is colder.
For example, July and August tend to be both the hottest and the most humid months. Some might not like visiting Japan and sightseeing when it’s very humid. Others might not want to visit Japan when it’s cold (the coldest month is January when the temperature drops to around 5 degrees celsius).
So if you’re looking for temperature that’s in the middle, then spring or autumn is likely to be the best months to visit Japan. Although something to consider about visiting in these times, is that because of the weather, it’s likely to be a little busier. But it’s all about weighing up what type of climate you want to visit in, and whether the events throughout the seasons/activities you can do will also sway your decision.
To help with this, we’ve created a list of the top things to do in each season; so that choosing the best time of year to visit Japan doesn’t feel like such a minefield.
Now, it probably comes as no surprise, but the most popular time of year to visit Japan is in the spring. Beloved for the cherry blossoms that burst from the trees, there’s no denying that it’s a breath-taking time to visit the country. Filling the streets of Japan between March and May, the pink petals look like something out of a movie.
Despite the humidity, summer is a popular season to visit due to the vast number of festivals held across the country. From the Takayama Matsuri (held throughout April and October) to the Hakata Gion Yamakasa (held in July) and Gion Matsuri (also held in July), there are so many fabulous events to enjoy throughout your trip. With dozens of floats, scrumptious food and a buzzing atmosphere, it truly is a fantastic time to stay in Japan.
Autumn is another popular time to visit due to the crisp autumn leaves, that are particularly stunning in Kyoto across its numerous historic landmarks. It’s also said to be popular because of the cooler climate; making it perfect for hiking. In particular, Hokkaido and Nagano are delightful to explore at this time of year. Halloween is rapidly also becoming big in Japan, so why not visit Japan in October and delight in the extraordinary decorations and tasty treats?
Photo by Samuel Berner on UnsplashAlternatively, you might want to visit Japan in the winter. Whether you want to relax in one of Japan’s onsens, discover the beauty of Mount Fuji or take delight in the Sapporo Snow Festival that’s held every year, there is so much to see and do throughout this magical season. You could even visit Jigokundani Snow Monkey Park to spend time with the incredible animals.
An important thing to consider when choosing a season
There is another important element to remember when choosing which season in which to visit. And that is, Japan is a huge country. This means that the temperature can vary from place to place. So make sure before you head off to Japan that you research thoroughly into what the average temperature is in the region you’re looking to stay in.
There’s nothing worse than travelling across the world only to find out that the weather isn’t how you like it. So ahead of time, look into where you are staying and whether you’re prepared for the climate it has in store! For example, the south and the west of the country tend to be warmer, whereas the north and east are cooler!
What are the busiest times of year in Japan?
Now, the same as every country, Japan has its peak seasons. However, unlike certain countries (e.g the United States), this isn’t limited to school holidays. Several times of the year are busier and more expensive to travel in.
Firstly, December tends to be busier due to New Year’s celebrations. Secondly the cherry blossom season. You also have Obon (a holiday in August) and Golden Week in March/April). And lastly, as previously mentioned national holidays. Japan has several throughout the year, from National Foundation Day (February 11th) to the Emperor’s Birthday (February 23rd).
So what is the best time of year to visit Japan?
Overall, it’s up to you when you visit Japan. As aforementioned there are so many things to keep you busy throughout the months. From the cherry blossom season in the spring to the festivals throughout the summer and the beautiful autumnal leaves, you won’t be lost for things to add to your list. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Japanese interrailing adventure now!