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Best Time to Visit Japan | When to Go & Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit Japan | When to Go & Travel Tips

Whether you’re dreaming of visiting Japan one day or there is a trip right around the corner, there are many factors you may want to consider before your visit. 

With Japan’s tourism trends steadily growing, you may find it valuable to pick the least busy time of year to explore this extraordinary country. Or perhaps you want to catch a cherry tree in full bloom during the month of spring when it blossoms.

Whatever sights you want to see or annoyances you’d rather avoid, we have all the essential suggestions to get you on your way to Japan at just the right time.

Why You Should Visit Japan

Geisha in a kimono holding a red umbrella walking down the path in the Bamboo Forest for a piece on the best time to visit Japan

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Though a relatively small island off the coast of the Pacific ocean, Japan offers a unique blend of cultural traditions, natural wonders, and modern innovations unlike any other place in the world.

For anyone interested in the rich heritage of East Asia, Japan with its many popular sites is an exceedingly worthwhile destination.

With bustling cities dotting this island, the ambitious traveler will love to participate in the lively modern culture of Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Sapporo, or Nagasaki. 

In these larger cities, global culture and customary practices converge to create epicenters for innovation, learning, entertainment, art, and cuisine. Whether you like shopping, tasting, touring, or admiring, there is a little bit of everything in these tremendous Japanese cities.

Sightseers who love sacred and historic sites will find beautiful temples and shrines in almost any community within Japan. As a central part of Japanese culture, these Buddhist and Shinto practices dedicate space to meditation, contemplation, and worship. 

Participating in the peaceful rituals of these religions is one of the best ways to experience long-standing Japanese traditions that value land, peace, and transcendence. 

These places of introspective worship are a critical part of Japanese tradition, you can find numerous historical locations in big cities and small towns offering a slow and quiet respite from the bustle of modern life.

There is no shortage of natural beauty in Japan with lush farmland, parks, tree groves, mountains, coastlands, and waterfalls. The healing properties of natural hot springs are a must-see stop for tourists to soak in and enjoy.

The most active tourists can follow the many beautiful hiking trails in Nagano city, Nikko, or Hakone. In mountainous regions, popular activities include skiing, canoeing, or paragliding.

Beaches and rivers also provide ample opportunities for exploration. Stick around to find out which season can offer you the best chance to see these amazing places.

Overall Best Time to Visit Japan

Two thin Japanese women walking under blooming cherry trees in front of a palace during the best time to go to Japan

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The best time to enjoy Japan’s pleasant weather and beautiful scenery is April through May or mid-October through November.

One of the best parts about visiting during these months is the beautiful transitions of foliage and flowers during the spring and autumn. Though flights to Japan will be more expensive during this peak period, you can find connection flights or secondary airports with more economical prices.

You will find springtime weather in Japan to be the most temperate out of the whole year, with highs reaching the low 60s and low 70s throughout most of the country.

Though southern regions of Japan may also face rainy weather in the spring, there is a higher chance of dry, pleasant weather than in the most humid months of the summer.

If you are looking forward to seeing the beautiful blossoms of cherry trees, schedule your visit to Japan in April to catch the full bloom. Cherry trees in Southern Japan will reach full bloom in early April while Northern regions see blossoms in mid-April.

Since this beautiful sight lasts about one to two weeks, you can count on seeing the beautiful blooms during your stay in April. On the other side of the sticky summers, autumn offers less heat and a greater likelihood of dry weather.

You can expect temperatures in the 50s and 60s between October and November with the chill of winter not yet fully advancing. Though typhoon season is concluding in these fall months, you can expect less of a threat of extreme weather as the temperatures become colder.

The deep red hues of deciduous trees are also especially beautiful in Japan. To catch the stunning Japanese Maples, wax trees, and burning bush in their fiery shades of red, schedule your visit in October.

You won’t have to worry about these trees shedding their leaves too soon, so early fall is a great season to anticipate beautiful views of nature.

Cheapest Time to Visit Japan

Gorgeous lady walking over a bridge in Autumn during the best time to visit Japan

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If you want to see the beauty of Japan on a budget, the winter months of December through February will be your best bet.

Though Japan is no less scenic during the winter season, you can avoid the popular tourist waves of spring and fall by traveling during the cold.

Since Japan has a great deal of diversity among the eight regions, you can still find a climate that is comfortable for you during this time. You can also expect to see more sunny weather in the winter months to help warm your skin against any wind chill.

As long as you stay bundled up in your winter gear, you can see the wonders of Japan with fewer crowds and less cost. Big cities are just as lively in the winter, and you may find better deals on flights around the coldest months.

In northern Japan, temperatures can regularly reach the low 30s in January. However, the climate of the South remains milder during the coldest months, hovering at around the mid-40s and 50s. 

With less rainfall during the chilly months, you can count on less humidity in the northern regions to make for a clear and refreshing visit.

By avoiding the rush of sightseers during the other peak times of blossoming or wildlife activity, you can still enjoy the same places while not fighting for space or over-priced tickets. If you can stick out the colder weather, you will reap the benefits of a smoother and cheaper trip.

Least Busy Time to Visit Japan

Woman walking down the street in a kimonon at Yasaka Pagoda and Sannen Zaka Street in Kyoto during the least busy time to visit Japan

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Due to the unique climate of East Asia, the rainy, tsuyu, weather of late May through June and August through September make for Japan’s least busy times of the year. 

Since central Japan can see annual rainfall exceeding 80 inches, many tourists avoid Japan during the wettest months of summer.

However, a wise traveler may find plenty of compelling reasons to travel during tsuyu while also benefiting from fewer crowds and congestion. The reason some may have for avoiding Japan during this season is the mixture of heat and humidity that the rain brings.

During these months, most regions face a daily forecast of a 50% chance of rain. On top of this, the temperature levels of the 70s and 80s can create muggy and sticky conditions that may make for an unpleasant stay.

You may notice that tsuyu covers most of the summer, except July. This is because the greatest chances of rain occur on the cusp of summer’s transition to and from the colder weather.

This means that though July still bears some risk of rainfall, it can be a pleasant time to travel with other tourists fearing tsuyu conditions through the whole summer.

Though some tourists may dislike traveling or walking in the rain, many other benefits may make it worthwhile. The overcast and foggy days during the rainy season can add even more beauty and mystery to your sightseeing activities. 

Though it may frequently rain, there are many afternoons and full days of clear skies and drier air. During these moments without rain, you can expect the air to feel fresher with a purifying rain having left the landscape with a sense of cleanliness and calm.

Worst Time to Visit Japan

People walking down the street in the rain during the worst time to visit Japan

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Due to the highest threat of typhoons, the worst time to visit Japan is August through mid-October.

Though it is difficult to predict extreme weather with much precision, Japan’s typhoon season remains constant every year due to a few climate factors. 

The island of Japan lies between a high-pressure area off the coast of Russia and a low-pressure area off the coast of the Philippines.

Accompanied by heavy rainfall and rising temperatures, the frequency of typhoons has increased in Japan over recent years. In one year, an average of 10.3 typhoons approach Japan closer than 300 kilometers to the coast.

Though only 3 of those typhoons usually reach land, this yearly threat can quickly become a serious matter. However, Japan’s improved flood-prevention strategies have greatly improved the survival rate of extreme typhoons since WWII.

Tourists that may choose to brave the threats of typhoons during this season can find confidence in Japan’s sophisticated helicopter rescue system and tidal prediction methods. 

Visiting Japan during this time can yield both sunny and rainy days, with temperatures usually falling around the 60s and 70s.

Things to Consider

Rice paddy terrace pictured with a sunrise in the distance during the best time to visit Japan

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If you have found the perfect interval to visit Japan, you’re almost ready to set out. Here are just a few more tips to make your trip go smoothly:

  • Pack for every type of weather. Because of the coastal conditions, any time of year in Japan can bring rainfall and wet weather. Even if you choose to go when the chance of rain is the lowest, you may still encounter a few showers during your trip. So, play it safe and bring waterproof gear!
  • Look out for flight deals. If you need to fly into Japan, be cautious of expensive Japanese flights. Though the area has a large presence of business travel, there are still ways you can get the cheapest option for yourself. Consider flying into a less populated city like Nagoya, or save up on airline miles to bypass the extra costs.
  • Seek out cross-cultural resources. Whether you decide to pick up a Japanese dictionary or a local tour guide, you can interact with residents and landmarks much easier this way. Though it is usually possible to find visitor-centered services at popular Japanese sites, you can learn more about Japanese culture by diving into all that the area has to offer!
  • Say yes to a variety of activities. While this does not mean that you should overbook your trip or rush through a large list of sites, this practice is a great way to broaden your horizons. Instead of limiting your destinations to only the most popular or exciting places, stop by local recommendations like authentic restaurants, natural parks and springs, temples, and other sources of local pride to get a taste of the most immersive cultural experience. 
  • Investigate local customs. For tourists who have limited experience with the cultural practices of East Asia, it may be very enlightening to learn about the distinct code of politeness found in Japan. From greeting strangers respectfully to slurping noodles, there can be many ways to show consideration in Japan that may be new to you.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Various tourists sitting in the Shinjuku district during the least busy time to visit Japan

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You have almost everything you need to know about your trip to Japan. See below for other common questions about the best time to visit Japan:

When Should You Not Go to Japan?

The main occasion travelers avoid Japan is during the rainy months of typhoon season. This part of the year usually falls between August and October.

Is Japan Expensive to Visit?

Japan can be moderately expensive to visit with many opportunities to purchase goods and experiences in the cities. However, with ample amounts of public attractions throughout the country, it is very possible to keep a low budget during your visit to Japan.

What Is the Best Month to See Cherry Blossoms in Japan?

Cherry trees will reach full bloom in Japan during the springtime, so April is the overall best month to see these delicate flowers. It takes the pink cherry blossoms about one week to reach full bloom and they will remain on the tree for one more week.

How Many Days Is Enough to See Japan?

If you want to see more than just one city in Japan, you will need at least one week to visit popular locations throughout the country. The system of bullet trains allows high-speed travel between many major locations.

Where Should I Go in Japan for the First Time?

Many people opt for touring the most popular Japanese cities of Tokyo, Sapporo, Kyoto, and Osaka which contain historical and modern points of interest. However, other less populated areas like Nagano, Kamakura, Miyazaki and many other cities offer attractions in nature, sports, and history.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Japan?

The overall best time to visit Japan is during spring or autumn to witness the beautiful cycles of foliage. This season is a popular time to go, and for good reason!

With all of the modern and historical attractions throughout Japan, it is no surprise that the weather and landscapes are equally as diverse.

Considering periods of rainfall, cold, and heat all within this country, there may be reasons to visit Japan year-round for an unforgettable experience!