The Best Time of Year to Visit Japan
Discover the best ways to enjoy Japan throughout the seasons…
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 to enjoy. At Scott Dunn, our travel experts know the best times to visit Japan for a range of experiences 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 the best times of year to go to Japan, since this is when the country’s naturally breathtaking scenery comes alive. Spring marks the anticipated cherry blossom season, with beautiful pink and red blooms appearing everywhere you go. If you are planning 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?
If you’re wondering when is the best time to go to Japan, it all 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 customized itinerary that combines the best experiences for each of Japan’s seasons - so just sit back, relax and focus on making the most of your luxury Japan vacation.
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 Shizuoka, Japan’s green tea capital.
If you’re looking for the best time of year to visit Japan for cherry blossoms, spring is the perfect time to travel. From the vast countryside to city parks, magical blossoms will appear across the northern parts of the country between March and May and are a truly unforgettable sight. Just 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 the mountainous region of Northern Honshu to take in the beautiful natural scenery, clear lakes and national parks.
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 travelers. The small resort of Kawayu provides a range of outdoor activities and open-air bathing spots, making it an ideal summer destination.
Fall in Japan
Fall 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, fall is a great time to visit cities like Kyoto, a fascinating place full of history. Visit 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, fall is the time to do so, with the climbing season coming to a close at the end of September.
For something a little different, we recommend a trip to Shikoku Island to make the most of the beautiful red and gold hues that sweep across Japan during this time. A relatively undiscovered gem, Shikoku is perfect for observing the mesmerising seasonal colors that paint Japan’s forests and mountains during the fall.
Winter in Japan
If you’re keen to avoid tourists and hot weather, a winter visit to Japan may be the thing for you - as long as you don’t mind the cold! With temperatures in the 50s and 60s 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 the crowds, 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 traveling with kids, going to Yudanaka to see the famous snow monkeys is a must. Why not combine your visit with a trip to the historic Shibu Onsen? This traditional outdoor hot spring is an unmissable attraction when traveling in central Honshu and is a great way to warm up in the cold weather.
- Spring in Japan
- Summer in Japan
- Fall in Japan
- Winter in 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
Climate guide for Japan
Average temperatures (Fahrenheit) and rainfall (mm)