Millions of domestic and international visitors flock to Tokyo to experience the mesh of high-tech modernity with traditional Japanese culture.
Whether you’re more interested in seeing Studio Ghibli or the Imperial Palace, exploring Tokyo is a great way to spend a vacation. There are many things to see and do in the city, but when is the best time to visit Tokyo?
The answer depends greatly on how you want to spend your vacation. If museums are the first thing on your list, consider a winter trip to save money and avoid crowds. Spring draws visitors to Tokyo to watch the cherry blossoms.
However you choose to spend it, Tokyo is a beautiful city to visit any time. If you’re looking for advice on how to spend your trip, check out these tips to help make your decision.
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Why You Should Visit Tokyo
Tokyo ranks as one of the largest cities in the world. What this means for travelers is there are tons of things to see and do here. Stadiums, restaurants, and museums top the must-see lists for this city.
Sports fans should check out the numerous stadiums and other infrastructure created when Tokyo hosted the Olympics. Tokyo is a fantastic city for sports! Consider heading to a baseball or soccer game while visiting the city.
The most well-known Japanese sport is sumo; if you want to see iconic sumo wrestlers in action, buy tickets ahead of time since matches only occur at certain times of the year.
From Michelin-rated restaurants to street food, Tokyo is a hub for food tourism. Get to know this city through its food! There’s more than just sushi and ramen, though Tokyo is a great place to get both dishes.
Monjayaki, a savory pancake, is one of Tokyo’s specialties and something you’ll want to try when eating in this city. The museums and gallery scene in Tokyo is extensive.
One of the best has to be the Ghibli Museum, which is where you can look at how some of Japan’s most treasured films were created. You’ll find a museum or gallery that fits almost any niche in this city.
Overall Best Time to Visit Tokyo
The best time to visit Tokyo is from late March to early April. During this time, visitors experience the stunningly beautiful blooming of cherry blossoms.
Travelers from across the country and globe come to Japanese parks to see the pink and white flowering trees. Spring offers the best weather in the country, with comfortable temperatures and less rain than other months.
The mild climate, and the cherry blossoms, mean the number of visitors during this time will be high. Even if you’re not interested in cherry blossoms, spring provides a great time to experience Tokyo’s many parks.
Despite the city’s modern reputation and depiction in media, Tokyo houses lots of green spaces to explore within the city.
Travelers who want to enjoy blooms without the crowds can still visit in spring. Consider visiting later in spring to see other flowers like wisteria, azaleas, and hydrangeas.
Cheapest Time to Visit Tokyo
Winter is the cheapest time to visit Tokyo, but seeing this city can be expensive all year. Watch for flights during the middle of the week for the best chance at low prices.
Traditional hotels in Tokyo rarely fluctuate in price, but there are ways to save money on vacation to the city. Avoid the peak season for the best chance at low prices. Spring, especially when cherry blossoms bloom, and fall are usually busy and more expensive.
The type of accommodations you choose can save you money. Tokyo has many cheap options in capsule hotels, business hotels, and hostels.
Keep your vacation costs low and utilize Japan’s expansive public transportation system to move throughout the city. Shopping at grocery stores saves more money than eating out, but there are lots of cheap options in Tokyo.
Check out lunch specials at restaurants, street food, and Japanese fast food. When you eat out in Japan, remember tipping isn’t customary, which will save you a few dollars compared to eating in the United States.
Japan isn’t the least expensive city to visit, but it isn’t the most costly. In cities with large populations like Tokyo, you should be able to find options in every price range.
Least Busy Time to Visit Tokyo
Winter is the least busy time to visit Tokyo. The weather gets chilly but rarely below freezing. Winter could be a good travel option if you’re interested in museums and indoor activities.
Avoid New Year’s Day and other holidays, as travel picks up around this time. However, if you’re hoping to avoid crowds in Tokyo, you’re out of luck.
Millions of people live in the area, and by most metrics, Tokyo is the largest city in the world. The only city rivaling its population is a rapidly expanding megacity in China consisting of several smaller cities on the Pearl Delta.
Like most places, summer is the busiest time for tourism in Japan. Prices increase, and so do wait times for popular destinations. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, consider traveling outside the city.
Small towns offer a different perspective of life in Japan with fewer crowds. Spring and fall may bring fewer visitors to Tokyo. But there are still lots of people coming to the city at these times.
Most people stop in Tokyo for the flowering blooms and fall foliage during these times, so it might be a good time to visit some of the city’s museums since many people will be spending their time outdoors.
Worst Time to Visit Tokyo
For some visitors, the worst time to visit Tokyo may be summer. Like the best time to visit Tokyo, the worst time to visit the city is subjective to a traveler’s taste.
People may want to avoid traveling during the hotter summer months. Summer brings heat to the city along with rain. The weather stays consistently warm during the rainy weather, creating humid summer temperatures.
Despite the weather, summer is a popular visiting time for the city. Expect crowds and hot temperatures during this time. Winter sees a slight respite of tourists in the country. The temperatures are cool and drop below freezing at night.
If you’re hoping to avoid the humid weather and the worst crowds, a winter trip might be the best time to visit Tokyo.
Despite some hot weather and crowds, which will always be present in a city as large as Tokyo, the city is a great place to visit any time of the year. Pick the timing that works best for your budget and preferences for the best Tokyo vacation.
Things to Consider
Many factors play a part in deciding the best time to visit Tokyo for you. Do you want to explore the great outdoors or spend time touring museums?
There are so many options here, so we’re providing some great lists of things to consider before journeying to the land of the rising sun.
If you’ve already decided on Tokyo for your next vacation, have you thought about how you’ll be traveling through the city? Driving can be challenging for visitors in this country, especially if they can’t understand the signs. Taking public transportation is an excellent option in this city.
Tokyo Subway System
Nearly three hundred subway stations across the city allow for access to almost anywhere you need to go in Tokyo. Subways here provide fast, efficient service across the city.
Japan Rail East covers Tokyo, and Japanese Rail Passes are available for sightseers. Consider picking one of these passes up for your trip. There are options for city passes or ones that allow you to travel around the country.
Shinkansen, or bullet trains, are the best option for travel from city to city. Book tickets in advance to experience this speedy mode of transportation around the country.
Buses in Tokyo are primarily used for transportation outside the city and to head to less-frequented locations. You may want to consider transportation by bus if you want to avoid crowded train stations.
Tokyo Parks and Gardens
Many visitors and residents flock to Tokyo parks to witness the beauty of the cherry blossoms, but you don’t need to visit in spring to enjoy these parks.
Travel from the fast-paced modern city to four nearby national parks or explore one of the many options of parks within the city to witness the contrast between nature and metropolis in this city. These are a few of our favorites to consider on your trip to the city.
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
This expansive national park outside Tokyo covers a vast area where visitors find hot springs, mountains, and lakes along the coastline.
Several volcanic islands are included in this national park, but the park’s highlight must be Mount Fuji. See the volcano up close and stop off at some waterfalls along the way.
Meiji Shrine and Outer Garden
One of the best places to see brightly colored ginkgo trees in fall, the Meiji Shrine and Outer Garden showcase different garden styles. The outer garden follows a more western style, while the interior has a more traditional Japanese aesthetic.
The interior of this shrine to one of Japan’s emperors covers a vast area and houses many sporting facilities as well as a picture gallery.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
This garden was once home to members of Japan’s elite social class during the Edo period. Today, the garden has been converted into a gorgeous green area anyone can visit.
The garden has three distinct regions showcasing different garden types, including French, English, and traditional Japanese.
Tokyo Museums and Galleries
Whether you’re interested in fashion or science, there are plenty of museums and galleries in Tokyo. These are just a few highlights you may want to consider for your trip.
Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Tour this museum to experience Japanese architecture throughout the centuries. Walk through the area to tour famous houses that once belonged to prominent historical figures.
In this open-air museum, you’ll see everything from an Edo-era farmhouse to a modern-style home featuring window glass in the Japanese style.
Japanese Sword Museum
The Japanese Sword Museum is dedicated to preserving the art of sword making. Nearly two hundred traditional Japanese swords are held here. If you’re interested in katanas, you’ll want to take the time to visit this small museum.
Though simply referred to as Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation gives a glimpse of scientific progress in the country. Exhibits change yearly, but you can always watch seismological readings here and learn more about earthquakes and why they occur.
Tokyo National Museum
One of Tokyo’s most famous and oldest art museums, Tokyo National Museum houses excellent works of art and archaeological treasure. Most of the objects and art you will see here are from Japan or other nearby countries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have questions about traveling to Tokyo? Check out these answers to some of your frequently asked questions!
When should you not go to Japan?
Japan boasts a low crime rate and is safe for travel at all times of the year. The only time you may not want to go to Japan is when the country is experiencing natural disasters.
Japan has systems to track typhoons, volcanic activity, and other risks. Check with the Japan Meteorological Agency for up-to-date information about dangers in the country.
How many days do you need in Tokyo?
Visitors could spend weeks in Tokyo and still not see everything the city has to offer. For short trips, try spending at least four days in the city to hit the major areas you want to see.
Is Japan expensive to visit?
Flights make up a great deal of the cost of traveling to Japan. The price of transportation varies based on far you’re flying. Once travelers arrive in Japan, they’ll find prices are higher than in places like the United States. The increase is noticeable but not excessive.
Should I visit Tokyo or Osaka?
If you’re hoping to avoid crowds, consider staying in Osaka, a Japanese city with a little less traffic. Plenty of tourists flock to Osaka to experience Japanese culture. Tokyo has more to see and offers more of the modern aesthetic associated with Japan. Both are great options for trips.
What is the best area of Tokyo to stay in?
The Ginza neighborhood is considered one of the most luxurious places to stay. The best area for your trip might not be the fanciest. Planning to stay somewhere within your budget or close to the attractions you’re planning on seeing might be the best place to stay for you.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Tokyo?
The best time to visit Tokyo is the last weeks of March to the first weeks of April. The weather combined with the blooming of the cherry blossoms makes it an unforgettable experience!
Of course, with plenty of parks and museums to explore, delicious food, one of the world’s most efficient public transportation systems, and a little bit of something for everyone, this city provides a great place to visit any time!