Best Time To Visit Japan
Japan is one of the most unique countries in the world. Its present is shaped by a past rooted deep in traditions along with a futuristic outlook that makes it one of the technologically advanced nations. Its distinctive culture is kept alive by its people, who take immense pride in their nationality. Blessed with natural beauty and the wonders of technology, Japan will sneak into your heart like a ninja and carve out a special place for itself.
A holiday in Japan is a veritable kaleidoscope of experiences that range from amazing to downright stupefying. The multi-layered Japanese culture needs to be unwrapped, one layer at a time, to gaze into its heart. Kyoto, Japan’s capital for over a thousand years, is a city steeped in history and is home to no less than 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Tokyo, on the other hand, can easily pass off as a city of future with its robot cafes and neon-lit squares.
Osaka is fondly referred to as the ‘nation’s kitchen/stomach’. Take a trip to here to sample the rich Japanese cuisine and catch a Bunraku performance, a form of puppet theatre. If history interests you, visit the 14th-century Himeji Castle, the largest one in Japan, to get a glimpse into the ancient Samurai culture. If you want to get away from it all, head to Hakone for its serene environs and a beautiful view of Mount Fuji.
There are a number of amazing experiences waiting for you in Japan. But you need to be there at the right time to enjoy them. Here’s a look at the best time to visit Japan for the best holiday ever.
Spring, between March and May; and Autumn, from September to November are considered to be the peak seasons of Japan. The weather is cool and pleasant, and you can explore Japan without any interruptions.
Summer is not a busy time in Japan. Between its high temperature, humidity and the rains, your sightseeing plans may be hampered by the weather. The end of summer also sees the beginning of Typhoon season which batters the coastal areas.
Winter, between December and February, sees the lowest visitor turnout in Japan. Though Japan has some good skiing and other winter activities, the extreme low temperatures keeps most travellers away.
|Spring||3 - 26°C||Cool and pleasant|
|Summer||12 - 31°C||Hot and humid, with rains|
|Autumn||1 - 30°C||Cool and pleasant|
|Winter||-8 - 19 °C||Cold, with snowfall|
Temperature - Japan sees temperatures ranging between 3 - 26°C around the country. The start of the season may see temperature as low as -4°C, but it climbs higher as the season progresses.
Weather - The crisp spring air gets nippy in the mornings. The day gets warmer but remains pleasant throughout. The north of the country remains cool while the south sees a balmy warmth that steadily increases until summer hits in June.
Significance - Spring is Sakura season and perhaps the best time to visit Japan. The entire country is in bloom and covered with plum and cherry blossoms. This is a great time to take leisurely walks around Japan’s blooming gardens.
Why you should visit now - The mild spring is the best season to explore the delights of Japan. With a zoo, temples and museums, Tokyo’s Ueno Park is a delight to explore. It has over 1000 cherry trees lining its pathways and is the perfect picnic spot for a Hanami picnic. You can also catch the cherry blossoms framed against the majestic Mount Fuji at Lake Kawaguchi. Spring also sees a number of festivals such as Sanja Matsuri, Takayama Spring Festival and Aoi Matsuri, which is the oldest continuously running festival in the world.
Things to know before the visit - Spring in Japan is a busy season as locals take advantage of the Golden Week. Expect most tourist spots to be crowded and hotel bookings will be difficult to come by. So, book your stays well in advance.
Tips - A lightweight jacket or a thin sweater will be enough protection for most. But a visit to the northern parts would require heavier protection of a fleece jacket or heavy woollens.
Temperature - Summer is a hot and sticky time in Japan. While 31°C may not be too hot, the humidity makes it unbearable. However, the end of summer sees temperatures drop to 12°C in the north.
Weather - Summer is an interesting combination of heat and rain in Japan. June is the wettest month of the year but is only a precursor to the heat that follows. You will find some respite in the mountain areas. The end of summer also heralds the typhoon season.
Significance - Even though it is hot in summer, it is also the time of some of Japan’s top festivals. You will find country’s popular tourist spots, free from the usual crowds. You can make the most of your holiday without any distractions.
Why you should visit now - In summer, you can be a part of some amazing local festivals. Japan honours its ancestral spirits during the Obon Festival. People beat the heat with a big water fight in the Fukugawa Hachiman Festival. Catch the tunes at the Fuji Rock Festival and take a walk amidst history at the Hiroshima Lantern Festival. Be amazed at the float parades of Aomori Nebuta Dastori Festival and enjoy the fireworks show at the end.
Things to know before the visit - Summer is a great time to go on treks in the mountains, especially Mount Fuji. Hunt for bargains while making your travel and accommodation bookings as this is a low tourist season.
Tips - Pack plenty of light clothes and carry enough rain protection. Take a light jacket along for those cool mountain treks and remember to stay hydrated.
Temperature - Autumn sees the temperatures begin to drop down. September is still hot as temperatures stay around 30°C. But towards the end, the mercury dips as low as 1°C.
Weather - From the extreme heat of the summer, Autumn smoothly transitions the weather into the extreme cold of winter. The days can be windy, which adds to the chill factor making it seem cooler. September is the full-fledged typhoon season and sees extreme temperature variations.
Significance - Autumn is a beautiful time to be in Japan. Markedly different from the beauty of the Sakura, the trees explode in varying hues of yellows and oranges. The mellow shades provide perhaps the last vestiges of warmth before winter takes over at the end.
Why you should visit now - Japan exudes a different kind of charm during Autumn. Events like the Meiji Jingu Gaien gingko Festival celebrate the autumn leaves. Halloween is also gaining popularity with special horror events like Shibuya Halloween at Universal Studios Japan. Autumn is also the time of special food events like Hokkaido Food Festival and Tokyo Wagyu Show. You can also catch a Sumo Grand Tournament at the Tokyo Basho.
Things to know before the visit - Like in spring, you will find more tourists around Japan. The pleasant weather is one of the big draws of the season. That, coupled with the many festivals and events, makes Autumn a busy tourist season in Japan.
Tips - Pack regular clothes and carry a light jacket. Dress in layers so as to adjust easily as the day goes on. If you’re in Japan towards the end of Autumn, carry heavy woollens and thick jackets.
Temperature - The cold winter of Japan sees temperatures drop down to -8°C during the peak of the season. The temperatures climb back up to around 19°C as spring approaches.
Weather - While the northern alpine regions experience snowfall, the south remains dry. However, the temperatures remain low all over with a crisp, clear weather. It is the perfect weather to get some sightseeing done.
Significance - The north of Japan has some great ski slopes comparable to their European counterparts. Despite that, Japan remains quiet during winter as travellers choose to stay away. Which means you won’t find any crowds at Japan’s iconic tourist spots.
Why you should visit now - The Jigokundani Snow Monkey Park is a snowy wonderland in winter. The big attraction here, thoigh, are the monkeys that lounge about in the natural hot water springs in the area. The Sapporo Snow Festival is a celebration of winter and attracts some amazing talent from across the country. If you’re seeking winter adventures, go skiing with the snow monsters at Zao Onsen or hit the slopes at Yuzawa in the Japanese Alps. Do catch the Winter Illuminations across Japan, where cities and gardens are decked up with lights.
Things to know before the visit - You can enjoy some peace and quiet in Japan during winter. With lesser crowds, you can explore to your heart’s content without distractions. Take advantage of great offers and discounts that you will get on your travel and hotel stays.
Tips - If you’re headed north, make sure you carry your heavy woollens. Pack a sturdy pair of shoes that will keep the snow out. Protect your eyes from the snow’s glare with a pair of good sunglasses and always keep a water bottle handy.
Japan is a wonderful holiday destination that will welcome you with open arms. Explore this beautiful country with carefully curated holiday packages from Thomas Cook. Let us help you design your dream holiday. Drop in to your nearest Thomas Cook branch or simply book your holidays online.