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Best Time and Season to Visit Japan: Complete Guide

Team AckoJan 25, 2023

Japan is one of the most visited destinations in Asia, if not the world. It is filled with many wonderful experiences that are so uniquely Japanese in nature that you won't be able to find them anywhere else. You can sample delicious dishes that some restaurants have spent multiple generations perfecting or visit convenience stores filled with quality delights that you will only find here. Whatever your reason for visiting the country, you must know a few details that could help you determine the best time to visit Japan so that you make the most of your stay there.

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When is the best time to visit Japan? 

The best time to visit Japan can be between March and May, and September and November; overall, it depends on what you want to experience. Japan enjoys four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter, plus a typhoon season where rain comes down in sheets during the summer months.

  • If you intend to visit Japan when the country is awash with pretty pink cherry blossoms (Sakura) in spring, consider visiting between March and May. 

  • If you want to see the vibrant colours of autumn foliage, September to November is the best time to visit Japan. 

  • In winter, you can head to the northern ski resorts in Hokkaido or take a relaxing dip in the wonderful hot springs called Onsen. 

  • Summer is the time for festivals if you can brave the heat. 

When is the best season to visit Japan?

The best seasons to visit Japan are spring and fall. Read ahead for details.

Peak season

Japan experiences two peak seasons for tourists. Spring, which falls between March and May, is the first peak season of the year, as this is Sakura season when tourists and locals hit the parks and gardens to view the delicate cherry blossoms. The second peak season is between September and November, which is fall when the weather is pleasant, and you can check out the lovely autumn colours.

Shoulder season

June to July, which is summer, can be Japan’s shoulder season. The heat can be too much for some other tourists to bear. So this is a good season to pick up some discounts on your trip to Japan.

Off-season

Although winter is a low season with its powdery snow, it still provides entertainment for visitors who can tolerate the colder temperatures. Ski season and the festivities related to Christmas and the New Year can be a draw, along with low prices.

A month-by-month guide to travel in Japan

Here’s a month-wise break-up highlighting Japan’s travel-related details. 

Japan in January

Japan’s ski season continues this month, with the northern parts of the country, like Hokkaido, experiencing snowfall. The rest of the country remains dry and sunny. The number of tourists comes down in the second half of this month, post-new year, so you will be able to travel to Japan on a budget during this time due to the dropping prices.

Temperature range to expect: -8 Degrees Celsius to 19 Degrees Celsius

Events: Ski season, New Year

Japan in February

Winter reaches its zenith in Japan in February. This is the coldest month in Japan’s calendar. Ski season is also in full swing around this time of the year. Sapporo city comes alive with snow sculptures as a part of the Sapporo Snow Festival. Plum blossoms start blooming in the central and southern parts of the country to indicate that spring is on its way. February is still Japan’s low season, making it a good time to visit Japan to avoid the tourist traffic and score good deals on flights and accommodations.

Temperature range to expect: -8 Degrees Celsius to 19 Degrees Celsius

Events: Ski season, Sapporo Snow Festival

Japan in March

Spring has sprung, and so has peak tourist season. The beginning of the month may still see some colder weather, but the temperature gets warmer and more pleasant towards the end of the month. Northern Japan can still be a good ski destination this month. Spring ushers in bursts of the beautiful and famous cherry blossoms. This is the best time to visit Japan from India if you want to witness these pink delights. But since most tourists come to Japan starting this month with the same intention, you will have to put up with large crowds and an increase in prices. Japanese schools also take a spring break, so expect local transportation to be packed.

Temperature range to expect: 3 Degrees Celsius to 26 Degrees Celsius

Events: Cherry blossom season, Hina Matsuri

Japan in April

This month is the best time of year to visit Japan, as the cherry blossoms take centre stage. April is the best time to view cherry blossoms, and you would be expected to pay a premium on transportation and hotels because of this. The weather is mild and pleasant, providing tourists with more reasons to visit Japan in April. Cities are bustling and busy this time of the year. Golden Week (April 29th to May 5th), when the Japanese get a week off along with the spring school holidays, can make Japan busier than ever, so make sure to book your travel and accommodations well in advance. What can make up for this are the delightful Sakura-based delicacies you get to sample during this season.

Temperature range to expect: 3 Degrees Celsius to 26 Degrees Celsius

Events: Takayama Matsuri, Cherry blossom season, Golden Week

Japan in May

A bit of the Golden Week falls in the first week of May, so be prepared to brave the hordes. This is the last spring month in Japan, so you can still view cherry blossoms, especially if you move towards the northern regions. Lush greenery is also taking over the country, and outdoor activities such as camping and mountain biking can be added to your itinerary. The weather is warm and sunny, though some showers may be on the way towards the end of the month, especially in the southern parts of the country.

Temperature range to expect: 3 Degrees Celsius to 26 Degrees Celsius

Events: Sanja Matsuri

Japan in June

June is a hot and wet month, though early June escapes this strange combination. The humidity levels are also picking up, making most of June a not-so-great month weatherwise for most of the country. But the northern parts of the country, such as Hokkaido, stay sheltered from the rain. Okinawa is also another destination to head to for good weather, especially in late June. June can be the cheapest time to visit Japan, as this is the beginning of the shoulder season due to the weather, but you can still expect some dry days.

Tip: The rains are not all bad news, as this is a great opportunity to visit traditional gardens that are soaking up the rains and looking particularly gorgeous and vibrant

Temperature range to expect: 12 Degrees Celsius to 31 Degrees Celsius

Events: Hyakumangoku Matsuri

Japan in July

The rainy season comes to a close in the first part of the month. It is still a hot and humid month, but it is littered with festivities that usher in the summer, and the skies are lit up with sparkling fireworks. The legendary Mount Fuji hiking season begins in July when the temperatures are more accommodating for a trek. If you want a more relaxing holiday, then head to the beaches in Okinawa to escape the heat or the colder temperatures of Hokkaido. The later part of the month is when Japanese schools head towards the summer holidays, so locals will be on the move.

Temperature range to expect: 3 Degrees Celsius to 26 Degrees Celsius

Events: Mount Fuji hiking season, Kyoto Matsuri, Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival, Peiron Dragon-Boat Races, Osaka Matsuri, Kamakura Fireworks Festival

Japan in August

The heat and humidity continue into August, and the month also marks the beginning of typhoon season. But summer festivals can make this month worthwhile as a tourist. Another busy month for domestic travellers who are flocking towards beaches and colder climates. Obon Festival, an occasion to pay respects to the dead held in mid-August, sees domestic travel levels shoot up along with prices for accommodations, making August quite possibly the worst time to visit Japan.

Temperature range to expect: 3 Degrees Celsius to 26 Degrees Celsius

Events: Obon Festival, Nebuta Matsuri, Kanto Matsuri, Awa Odori

Japan in September

Autumn begins this month, with the Japanese landscape slowly taking up the vivid colours of fall. This month also falls in the country’s typhoon season, so you may have to work around it. September is considerably less crowded when compared to August. Though it is still hot, the humidity levels start dropping, and towards the end of this month, the temperature itself starts falling.

Temperature range to expect: 1 Degree Celsius to 30 Degrees Celsius

Events: Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

Japan in October

October is the best month to visit Japan, as the weather is quite pleasant. Japan also turns very scenic, with autumn painting the northern reaches of the country with brilliant shades of red and yellow.

Temperature range to expect: 1 Degree Celsius to 30 Degrees Celsius

Events: Nagasaki Kunchi, Jidai Matsuri, Oktoberfest, Halloween

Japan in November

November is also a good time to visit Japan, as the weather is cool and pleasant. Autumn leaves are still a huge attraction this month. With not much travel happening in November, you can take in the bright colours of fall at your own pace.

Temperature range to expect: 1 Degree Celsius to 30 Degrees Celsius

Events: Shichi Go San

Japan in December

This is the month to experience the mineral-filled hot springs in the north of the country. The weather is cold and dry, with clear blue skies. Christmas markets and year-end celebrations bring the last month of the year to a festive end. Some tourist attractions and businesses may be closed starting December 29th. Locals head to temples to ring in the new year, so delay a temple visit by a few days if possible. Ski season begins this month.

Temperature range to expect: -8 to 19 Degrees Celsius

Events: Joya-no-kane

When is the cheapest time to visit Japan?

January to mid-March can be considered the cheapest time to visit Japan. The cold keeps most travellers away. So this is a good time to travel around Japan in a more affordable manner. June to July, which is Japan’s shoulder season, can also be another relatively pocket-friendly time to visit Japan. You may not be able to witness cherry blossoms or autumn leaves, but summer festivals and ski season can make up for this.

When is the best season for diving in Japan?

Okinawa, which has a subtropical climate, offers great opportunities to dive. Here, April to November is the best time to go on a dive, with the temperature of the water being just right for it, though diving can take place throughout the year, barring when there’s a storm. Hokkaido, which is colder due to its location in the country's north, is famous for ice diving, which can only be done during the deep winter months. So diving all around the year is possible in Japan due to the varying temperatures that the country witnesses in different regions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions and answers related to the best time to visit Japan.

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What is the best time to visit Mount Fuji?

One of Japan’s most well-known tourist hotspots is Mount Fuji. It is possible to go hiking here, but only for three months in a year, usually between early July and early September, though this time frame may vary from year to year. Summer is the ideal time to go to Japan if you want to climb this mountain.

When is the best time for moon viewing in Japan?

Autumn offers great views of the moon in Japan. This is between September and October. Moon-viewing parties are an ancient tradition and happen to this date.

What should you avoid doing in Japan?

Japanese society places a lot of emphasis on good manners and etiquette. So here are some things to keep in mind when you are visiting Japan so that you don’t end up offending anyone. You will have to be quiet when taking public transportation. Also, try not to take calls there or do so discreetly in other public places. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Don’t eat while walking; instead, stand and eat. Use your entire hand to point towards things instead of a finger, which is considered a threatening gesture. Avoid tipping, as it is considered rude.

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Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet, and is subject to changes.

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