When is the Best Time to Visit Japan?

The best time to visit Japan, season by season.

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Best time to visit

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 of year to visit Japan and can help you plan the perfect trip based on what you want to see and do.

Typically, spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) are good times to visit 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 appearing everywhere you go. If you’re hoping to see 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 but we can give tips on how to get off the beaten track and avoid the crowds. Read on for more insider knowledge on when to travel to Japan.

Our Experts Say...

While there are so many different climates in Japan, I think November is the best time of year to visit the “main” island of Honshu. Japan celebrates every season to its fullest, and autumn is no exception! The heat and humidity of summer are fully behind you, and there are not quite as many tourists as there would be in spring. To top it off, Japanese maple trees put on a breathtaking show of colors this time of year. Meanwhile, you can still enjoy some beach time down in Okinawa or skiing up north in Hokkaido.

Corey Weiss, Asia Specialist

Monthly Climate Guide for Japan

, Japan

Average temperatures (Fahrenheit) and rainfall (mm)

Jan
52°F 2mm
Feb
56°F 4mm
Mar
67°F 9mm
Apr
74°F 14mm
May
84°F 8mm
Jun
88°F 14mm
Jul
93°F 16mm
Aug
97°F 18mm
Sep
85°F 18mm
Oct
78°F 13mm
Nov
67°F 7mm
Dec
57°F 4mm
Jan
60°F 5mm
Feb
65°F 7mm
Mar
70°F 16mm
Apr
75°F 26mm
May
83°F 9mm
Jun
87°F 19mm
Jul
90°F 22mm
Aug
95°F 18mm
Sep
90°F 23mm
Oct
84°F 19mm
Nov
71°F 10mm
Dec
65°F 6mm
Jan
59°F 7mm
Feb
62°F 8mm
Mar
69°F 10mm
Apr
74°F 14mm
May
81°F 10mm
Jun
87°F 19mm
Jul
90°F 19mm
Aug
96°F 12mm
Sep
89°F 21mm
Oct
84°F 9mm
Nov
72°F 7mm
Dec
63°F 9mm
Jan
59°F 9mm
Feb
60°F 7mm
Mar
71°F 10mm
Apr
76°F 13mm
May
86°F 8mm
Jun
88°F 9mm
Jul
96°F 12mm
Aug
99°F 12mm
Sep
93°F 14mm
Oct
84°F 12mm
Nov
73°F 12mm
Dec
65°F 14mm
Jan
59°F 10mm
Feb
61°F 8mm
Mar
67°F 12mm
Apr
73°F 14mm
May
81°F 11mm
Jun
87°F 18mm
Jul
91°F 20mm
Aug
95°F 18mm
Sep
89°F 24mm
Oct
83°F 18mm
Nov
72°F 10mm
Dec
64°F 13mm
Jan
57°F 10mm
Feb
62°F 9mm
Mar
69°F 15mm
Apr
77°F 16mm
May
85°F 11mm
Jun
90°F 18mm
Jul
94°F 24mm
Aug
99°F 19mm
Sep
92°F 21mm
Oct
85°F 14mm
Nov
72°F 9mm
Dec
63°F 10mm
Jan
61°F 6mm
Feb
65°F 56mm
Mar
70°F 23mm
Apr
74°F 29mm
May
83°F 17mm
Jun
85°F 32mm
Jul
89°F 38mm
Aug
94°F 30mm
Sep
88°F 34mm
Oct
80°F 17mm
Nov
70°F 9mm
Dec
63°F 8mm
Jan
46°F 4mm
Feb
48°F 4mm
Mar
58°F 7mm
Apr
69°F 10mm
May
81°F 8mm
Jun
82°F 8mm
Jul
87°F 10mm
Aug
90°F 13mm
Sep
84°F 11mm
Oct
74°F 11mm
Nov
64°F 10mm
Dec
54°F 7mm
Jan
58°F 11mm
Feb
61°F 9mm
Mar
68°F 13mm
Apr
76°F 15mm
May
84°F 11mm
Jun
89°F 19mm
Jul
93°F 21mm
Aug
97°F 21mm
Sep
91°F 22mm
Oct
84°F 15mm
Nov
72°F 11mm
Dec
64°F 13mm
Jan
62°F 6mm
Feb
65°F 8mm
Mar
70°F 17mm
Apr
77°F 20mm
May
81°F 13mm
Jun
84°F 20mm
Jul
89°F 24mm
Aug
93°F 22mm
Sep
89°F 25mm
Oct
83°F 16mm
Nov
75°F 9mm
Dec
67°F 8mm
Jan
57°F 8mm
Feb
60°F 7mm
Mar
69°F 10mm
Apr
74°F 14mm
May
82°F 9mm
Jun
88°F 14mm
Jul
91°F 13mm
Aug
97°F 13mm
Sep
91°F 18mm
Oct
82°F 15mm
Nov
70°F 7mm
Dec
62°F 7mm
Jan
61°F 6mm
Feb
65°F 6mm
Mar
71°F 12mm
Apr
76°F 16mm
May
84°F 11mm
Jun
88°F 20mm
Jul
92°F 18mm
Aug
97°F 19mm
Sep
91°F 24mm
Oct
84°F 22mm
Nov
71°F 12mm
Dec
65°F 6mm

Spring, the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms, runs from March to May and brings with it average temperatures between about 65°F and 82°F depending on where you are in the country. The mountainous areas of Northern Honshu are the coldest, but also driest. You might see a bit of rainfall, particularly in April around Hakone and Mount Fuji but mostly it will be crisp blue skies.

Summers, from June to August, in Japan are hot and humid. You’ll have average temperatures that range from 86°F to 98°F. This is also the rainy season for Japan, although it varies across the country. The general rule of thumb is the further west you go the more rain there is. The wettest regions are Hakone and Mount Fuji, Kyoto, Kyushu and Tokyo in July.

Along with spring, fall is the best time to visit Japan. The weather stays in the 80s and high 60s throughout September and October, some parts see a little bit of rain but it’s mostly sunshine. Temperatures drop gradually as winter arrives in December, with most of Japan being around 59°F at the coldest time of year in January and February. Again, the Honshu Mountains see the coolest days, which can be between 46°F and 51°F depending on altitude.

The Best Time to Go to Japan

Navigating the seasons of Japan is like stepping into a series of vividly distinct worlds, each with its own set of wonders, flavors, and festivities. Whether you're chasing the serene beauty of cherry blossoms, reveling in the vibrant summer festivals, soaking in the fiery hues of autumn, or enjoying the snowy silences of winter, there’s always a good time to visit Japan.

Best time to visit Japan for…

Cherry Blossoms

Heralding the start of spring, Japan’s cherry blossoms (known as sakura) are of huge cultural significance. Symbolising the transient nature of life and the beauty that can be found in it, this treasured flower is also a reminder of Japan’s changing seasons. Cherry blossom season in Japan doesn’t last long; it’s only a couple of weeks from when they’re in full bloom to when they drop to the floor. However, not everywhere flowers at once, the phenomenon sweeps from south to north, meaning you can see the pink beauties in different parts of the country for a few months.

The best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms is March and April. The first sighting usually takes place in January or February in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, and from here the blooms gradually move north, arriving around Tokyo and Kyoto between late March and early April.

People take picnics, drink sake, and celebrate the blossoms with friends and family, so parks and gardens can become very busy. You will need to book flights and accommodation at least a year in advance too if you’d like to visit Japan in spring.

Some of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan include:

  • Osaka Castle, Osaka
  • Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto
  • Maruyama-koen Park, Kyoto
  • Imperial Palace Park, Kyoto
  • Kamo-gawa River, Kyoto
  • Hakone National Park, Hakone
  • Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Tokyo
  • Chidorigafuchi Moat of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo
  • Yoyogi Park and Rikugien Garden, Tokyo
  • Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa

Foodie Experiences

Japan is a foodie's dream, offering a smorgasbord of flavors that change with the seasons. Whether chasing Japan’s festivals or seeking the best time to go for its seasonal offerings, every visit is a chance to explore this gastronomic wonderland.

Seasonal delicacies in Japan are a big deal, reflecting the country's deep respect for nature's rhythm. Spring dazzles with the delicate flavors of cherry blossoms and fresh bamboo shoots—yes, you can eat cherry blossoms, and they're divine. Summer cools things down with zesty cold noodles and shaved ice, perfect for beating the heat. Come autumn, get ready for a mushroom hunt, not literally, but dishes abound with mushrooms, chestnuts, and persimmons. Winter warms the soul with steaming hot pots and the rich flavors of seasonal seafood like snow crabs and oysters. Truly, there's no single best time to visit Japan for food—it's fabulous year-round.

The festival scene here? A feast for the senses. Foodies, mark your calendars for October's Takayama Fall Festival, which is a must for traditional sweets and snacks. For seafood lovers, Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is your year-round pilgrimage site for the freshest catch.

For a deep dive into Japan's culinary heart, join a food tour or indulge in a culinary experience. Imagine learning the art of sushi making in Tokyo or savoring the subtleties of sake in Kyoto. And for an unforgettable stay, book a night at a ryokan where kaiseki dinners—multi-course meals showcasing seasonal ingredients and exquisite presentation—will leave you spellbound.

For smaller crowds

Choosing the best time of year to visit Japan for smaller crowds means enjoying a more authentic experience, whether by meandering through historic streets, indulging in local cuisine, or soaking up Japan's natural wonders. With a bit of planning, your Japanese adventure can be as peaceful as it is unforgettable.

For those of you who don’t want to travel with the masses and avoid the crowds or queues, the best time to go to Japan is between February and March, after the New Year rush and before the cherry blossom season begins; late spring (May), after the cherry blossom season, but before the start of the Golden Week vacations, which is from the end of April to early May; June, before the rain sets in and in September/October.

There are some parts of Japan, which are off-the-beaten-track and attract fewer crowds, such as Aomori in Northern Honshu, which is full of stunning landscapes and cultural experiences with fewer tourists compared to popular destinations like Tokyo or Kyoto. Shikoku Island, which is known for its pilgrimage trails, scenic coastline, and tranquil atmosphere, is quieter than the likes of the other major islands of Honshu and Kyushu. Places like Kumamoto, Kagoshima, and Miyazaki within Kyushu allow you to experience rich history, hot springs, and delicious cuisine in relative peace compared to the more popular Fukuoka and Nagasaki.

There is, of course, a reason that the popular sites are popular and if you don’t want to miss out on seeing key attractions but still want to travel at the best time to see Japan, you can visit them very early in the morning or late at night. Mid-week will be quieter than weekends and public vacations, and for the best restaurants, consider eating later or earlier than the usual rush. Our travel experts will plan your itinerary to best suit your taste, so if you’d like to avoid the crowds, they’ll help you do exactly that.

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Best Time to Visit Japan FAQs

  • How far in advance should I book my trip to Japan?

    You should book your trip to Japan at least a year in advance to catch the cherry blossoms or enjoy autumn colors.

  • How many days in Japan is enough?

    A trip of 10 to 14 days is enough to explore the highlights of Japan. This will allow you enough time to travel around and see quite a bit of the country. It has excellent transport links, including the bullet train, which will take you from north to south at 200 miles per hour.

  • When is the best time to visit Japan for autumn colors?

    The best time to visit Japan for the autumn colors, also known as koyo, is from late September to November. The red, orange, and yellow landscape begins in northern Japan, followed by Tokyo and Kyoto in November before decorating Kyushu and Shikoku later in November.

  • When is the best time to visit Japan and China?

    The best time to visit Japan and China is during spring, from March to May – before it gets too hot and humid in the summer in both countries – and autumn when the summer heat and risk of typhoons have lifted.

  • When is the best time to visit Japan and South Korea?

    The best time to visit Japan and South Korea is during spring (March to May) or fall (September to November), aligning with both countries' pleasant weather and scenic beauty.

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