The Best Time of Year to Visit Japan
Discover the best ways to enjoy Japan all year round…
In a country as wonderfully diverse as Japan, it doesn’t matter what time of year you choose to travel, there will always be plenty of fantastic activities and experiences to be enjoyed. At Scott Dunn, our travel experts know the best times to travel to Japan and can help you plan the perfect trip based on what you want to see and do.
Typically, spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the best times to go to Japan, since this is when the country’s naturally breathtaking scenery comes alive. Spring marks the anticipated cherry blossom season in Japan, with beautiful pink and red blooms making for a wonderful backdrop everywhere you go. If you’re hoping to take in the blossoms, it’s worth noting that spring is the busiest time of year to visit, with tourists flocking to destinations across the country to see it.
What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Japan?
The ideal time to go to Japan depends on the kinds of experiences you’re looking for.
During the summer months, Japan’s northern national parks and mountainous regions are ideal for hiking, biking and exploring, while the south becomes hot and humid. Alternatively, if you’re a fan of skiing, winter is no doubt the best time of year to visit Japan, offering fresh white powder piled high and plenty of stunning routes both on and off-piste.
No matter when you’d like to travel, our experts will gladly plan you a tailor-made itinerary that combines the best experiences for each of Japan’s seasons, so you can just sit back, relax and focus on making the most of your luxury Japan holiday.
Spring in Japan
With warm temperatures across the country, spring is one of the best times of year to visit most parts of Japan. Wander through the streets of Tokyo before the summer heat sets in or take a trip to lesser-known locations like Kumano Kodo and Miyajima to see some of Japan’s most beautiful shrines and cultural sites.
If you’re looking to catch cherry blossom season in Japan, spring is the perfect time to visit. From Hokkaido to the parks of Tokyo, magical blossoms will appear across the northern parts of the country from March to May and are an unforgettable sight. However, you should be aware that this is a popular time to travel so attractions will be busy and hotels may be more expensive than at other times of the year.
Summer in Japan
Summer in Japan is hot and humid, with heavy rainfall across most of the country. This rainfall means that Japan’s gardens and forests are at their most vibrant, making this a great time to visit destinations across Northern Honshu and take in the beautiful natural scenery, clear lakes and impressive mountains.
Looking to escape the heat? Destinations outside of the cities can be slightly cooler during the summer months and are a popular option for most travellers. An hour from Tokyo, the mountain resort of Karuizawa provides cool air and a range of outdoor activities, making it an ideal summer destination.
Autumn in Japan
Autumn is one the best times of year to visit Japan to enjoy both its bustling cities and breathtaking natural landscapes. As temperatures and crowds begin to die down, autumn is a great time to visit cities like Kyoto, a fascinating place full of history. Take in the UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle Garden or learn about geisha life and attend a traditional tea ceremony to immerse yourself in Japan’s rich culture. For those looking to hike Mount Fuji without the summer crowds and high temperatures, autumn is also the time to do so, with the climbing season coming to a close at the end of September.
Alternatively, to make the most of the beautiful red and gold hues that sweep across Japan during this time, we recommend a trip to Shikoku Island. A relatively undiscovered gem, Shikoku is perfect for observing the breathtaking seasonal colours that paint Japan’s forests and mountains during the autumn months.
Winter in Japan
If you’d like to avoid the tourists, a winter visit to Japan may be the thing for you - as long as you don’t mind the cold! With temperatures in the mid-teens and dry weather, winter is a good time to visit popular sites and attractions without worrying about long queues or large crowds.
However, if you don’t mind tourists, January and February are the height of Japan’s skiing season and are ideal times to visit the peaks of Niseko and enjoy the fresh powder as you glide down the mountain.
If you’re travelling with little ones, we also recommend visiting Yudanaka to see the famous snow monkeys. Why not combine your visit with a trip to the historic Shibu Onsen? This traditional outdoor hot spring is a must-visit attraction when travelling in Yudanaka and is a great way to warm up in the cold weather.
- Spring in Japan
- Summer in Japan
- Autumn in Japan
- Winter in Japan
Our Experts Say...
"The best times to visit Japan are from early-March to late May and from early October to early December. The Cherry Blossom season typically falls between the last week of March and the first week of April. The autumn leaves typically come into full colour towards the end of October and last through to the end of November. Cherry Blossom and autumn can both be very busy and particularly expensive times to travel. To avoid the crowds, consider travelling in early March or between mid-April and late May. Early December is also a great time to travel. Summer can be very hot and humid in Japan, especially in August and September when there's a greater risk of typhoons. If you have to travel during the summer months, Japan is very equipped for extreme weather and most trips go without a hitch! Christmas and New Year as well as Golden Week in mid-May and Obon in mid-August are the only periods to really avoid a Japan trip due to bigger crowds and some facilities closing for the holidays."
Rikki Poynton, Asia Specialist
Climate guide for Japan
Average temperatures (Celcious) and rainfall (mm)