Climate & Weather Guide: When to Travel to Japan

Japan boasts having four distinct seasons and each has something wonderful to offer. Here’s a brief overview of seasonal variations, including weather and temperature you might expect on your trip, along with potential attractions during that season:

Winter:
December – February

(Photo: www.en-aomori.com)

Blankets of white snow cover the landscape during winter, especially true of the northern regions such as Tohoku and Hokkaido. If winter sports are your thing, then this is the best time to visit. Ski resorts, snowboarding, and snow tubing are popular. And although temperatures in Tokyo don’t usually drop below 0°C, it’s a good idea to bring thick coat and warm clothes if you’re traveling.

If the cold is manageable, you’ll find that the winter is actually quite dry and there are often sunny days. Thanks to the early darkness, many illumination displays are set up for visitors to enjoy. Note that many shops are closed over the New Year holidays from 29 December to 4 January.

Expected winter temperatures in Japan

°C
Area High Low
Tokyo 10°
Osaka 10°
Sapporo -6°
Fukuoka 11°
Naha 20° 14°

Top 3 spots to visit in winter

  1. Hakuba, Nagano
  2. Sapporo, Hokkaido
  3. Zao, Miyagi

Spring:
March – May

(Photo: www.en-aomori.com)

Life returns to nature as the early plum blossoms bloom, but perhaps most popular is the beautiful sight of blooming cherry blossom trees. The trees bloom as early as January in Okinawa, and until as late as May in Hokkaido. Plum and cherry blossoms aren’t the only flowers coming back to life—be sure to see all that nature has to offer.

This is one of the most popular times to visit Japan thanks largely to the blooms and mild weather. Travel times peak during Golden Week, which lasts from late April to early May, when increased domestic travel may add to the bustle of Japan. On average, temperatures are a cool 21°C and a light coat should suffice.

Expected spring temperatures in Japan

°C
Area High Low
Tokyo 18° 10°
Osaka 19° 10°
Sapporo 10°
Fukuoka 19° 10°
Naha 24° 19°

Top 3 spots to visit in spring

  1. Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo
  2. Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki
  3. Fuji Five Lakes, Yamanashi

Summer:
June – August

(Photo: www.en-aomori.com)

The start of summer is Japan is brought in by the rainy season in June. Most of July—and perhaps a little of August—is characterized by hot and humid days. Japan’s coastal resorts experience a huge boom of visitors as everyone heads to the beach to cool off. The same is true of the more northern areas with their milder weather. In spite of the hot weather, summer is beloved for its festivals, fireworks shows, and other lively events—best enjoyed in yukata.

Expected summer temperatures in Japan

°C
Area High Low
Tokyo 28° 22°
Osaka 31° 23°
Sapporo 24° 16°
Fukuoka 30° 22°
Naha 30° 26°

Top 3 spots to visit in summer

  1. Akita City, Akita
  2. Kyoto City, Kyoto
  3. Tokushima City, Tokushima

Autumn:
September – November

(Photo: www.en-aomori.com)

The Japanese landscape is dyed a myriad of colors during this brief respite from summer’s heat. The beautiful autumn leaves and cooling weather make August and September a popular time for visiting. Unfortunately, it can also be when typhoons are blown to Japan, along with heavy rains. As the last foliage drops, Japan once again prepares for winter.

Expected autumn temperatures in Japan

°C
Area High Low
Tokyo 22° 15°
Osaka 23° 15°
Sapporo 15°
Fukuoka 23° 14°
Naha 27° 22°

Top 3 spots to visit in autumn

  1. Nikko, Tochigi
  2. Naruko Gorge, Miyagi
  3. Chichibu, Saitama

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