When Is the Best Time to Visit Japan?

best time to visit japan

The best time to visit Japan is a subjective opinion, as it depends on what exactly the traveler is looking to get out of their trip, whether they are seeking to visit during the cheapest and less-crowded time of the year, explore specific festivities, or to experience some of the world-famous Japanese winter sports resorts.

Each season in Japan has its own special matsuri (festivals), with perhaps the most famous being the Cherry Blossom festival during Spring. However, these celebrations tend to draw the biggest crowds of the year and may not be the best option for those seeking a more laid-back experience in Japan.

Before deciding on the best month to go to Japan, travelers should first check whether they need a visa to enter Japan, as a number of nationalities are able to travel to the country without a visa for short stays of up to 90 days. Those who need a visa to travel to Japan are currently required to apply for a travel document from a Japanese embassy or consulate.

However, this will change when the upcoming Japan tourist eVisa is introduced. Expected to be implemented by April 2020, the electronic visa for Japan will allow eligible citizens to apply exclusively online, eliminating the need to apply from an embassy.

Which Is the Best Month to Go to Japan?

In recent years, most foreign visitors to Japan have chosen to visit Tokyo in spring during the peak of the Cherry Blossom festival, when the city is completely coated in beautiful bright pink blooms. However, this means that the biggest crowds are present in Japan during the festival, which runs from mid-March to mid-April, and so it is not ideal for those seeking to beat long queues for the most iconic attractions.

Those seeking to travel to Japan during relatively quiet times for tourism should consider visiting from mid-May to Mid-July, or from mid September to mid-November. Fall in Japan also offers visitors the chance to see some spectacular colour in the local foliage, much like during the Cherry Blossom festival, but with far less crowds.

Those who wish to visit Japan to take in as many of the colourful matsuri festivals as possible should consider visiting in summer, when they are most numerous. If you choose to visit Japan in summer 2020, you’ll be in the country just in time to experience the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which take place from July 24th until August 9th. Summer is also an excellent time to undertake a hike in Japan, as the cooler mountain temperatures in higher elevations can offer respite from the heat found in other parts of the country.

Travelers dying to check out Japan’s renowned skiing pistes in the winter should consider visiting during February, the best time for winter sports. The month with the best powder snow for skiing and snowboarding, it’s also a great time to experience winter activities such as a dip in one of the many onsen hot springs, the Hokkaido ice drift, or the winter wonderland village of Shirakawago.

What is the Cheapest Time of Year to Fly to Japan?

best month to travel to japan

Apart from the Cherry Blossom festival, there is another period of festivities that travelers may want to avoid in order to beat crowds and the resulting higher prices for flights and accommodation: Golden week in Japan, which begins at the end of April and runs through the first week of May. A week of local public holidays, this period of year tends to be the time when Japanese people travel the most, and so transportation can be incredibly busy and more expensive than in other seasons.

However, the remainder of May after Golden week has passed is a great time to visit Japan. Alongside comfortable temperatures and lush vegetation, tourist numbers tend to be quite low and so prices for flights and accommodation are significantly lower. Additionally, relatively cheap flights for Japan can also be found during the Fall from mid-September to mid-November.

Does Japan Have a Rainy Season?

Japan does have a rainy season, and it tends to last from the beginning of June until mid July, although the islands of Okinawa tend to be affected around a month earlier. However, it does not rain every day during the season, and the rains do not tend to be torrential as in many other Asian nations.

The regions of Japan that are less affected by the rainy season are the Ogasawara islands and Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island, which can be a popular destination in June for this very reason. Those who do choose to visit during the rainy season may want to consider taking on rain-friendly activities, such as visiting a hot spring resort like Hakone near Mount Fuji or the unique temple settlement at Mount Kōya.

What Months Are Typhoon Season in Japan?

Japan experiences typhoons from May to October every year, when torrential rain and strong winds tend to batter the country. The worst storms hit during August and September, which is peak typhoon season.

Although many parts of Japan can be hit by a typhoon, the Okinawa islands and southwestern Japan are particularly vulnerable. It’s not uncommon for typhoons to affect travel plans and transport routes in late summer in these regions, although this tends to happen less in other parts of Japan.

What Is the Coldest Month in Japan?

January and February tend to be the coldest months in Japan, although weather and temperatures vary wildly across regions. Due to its close proximity to Siberia, Hokkaido experiences longer and more severe winters than the rest of Japan. Areas of high elevation, such as the Japanese Alps, tend to be colder as well.

The warmest temperatures in Japan tend to be found on the Okinawa islands, which experience long summers and relatively balmy temperatures year-round. Japan’s main island of Honshu tends to experience a more even spread of temperatures, with locations to the south and west such as Kyoto and Tokyo experiencing warmer weather than cities in the north or in the east.

Temperatures in Japan by Month

when is the best time to visit japan

Find below the average temperatures for Tokyo and Sapporo, the main population centers on both of Japan’s main islands, Honshu and Hokkaido:

Average Temperatures in Tokyo by Month

MonthMinimum (°F)Maximum (°F)Minimum (°C)Maximum (°C)
January3450110
February3650210
March3957414
April4866919
May57731423
June64791826
July72842229
August73882331
September68812027
October57721422
November4661816
December3954412

 

Average temperatures in Sapporo by Month

MonthMinimum (°F)Maximum (°F)Minimum (°C)Maximum (°C)
January1930-7-1
February1932-70
March2739-34
April3754312
May4663817
June55721322
July63771725
August66791926
September57721422
October4661816
November344618
December2536-42