There are many different factors that might influence the time of year you decide to visit Japan. You might be interested in a particular automotive event that’s happening at a certain time of year, your job might only allow for you to travel during certain dates, or perhaps you want to ski or snowboard or you’re wanting to see Japan’s famous cherry blossoms.
In this blog post I’m going to talk about the different seasons in Japan and their pros and cons, plus other things you should take into consideration before choosing when you should book your trip to Japan!
Spring (March – May).
Spring – ‘Haru‘ in Japanese – is generally considered to be the best time of year to visit Japan. The temperature is nice and cool, and most importantly the cherry blossoms start opening all over the country – at different times! The only downside is that this time of year tends to be the most hectic, and in late April one of Japan’s busiest travel seasons takes place. Golden Week runs from the end of April through to the start of May, so if you’re looking at travelling around Japan or visiting tourist attractions during this time, you should keep this in mind. This week is also generally very popular for car events in Japan!
Booking accommodation well in advance for this period would be strongly recommended, plus it’s also worth noting that quite a lot of businesses actually close down during Golden Week too. Despite the craziness, Spring still has to be our favourite time of year in Japan, purely because the cherry blossoms make everything so beautiful and exciting.
Tip: If you’re wanting to see cherry blossoms, do some Googling before booking your flights and check out the ‘cherry blossom’ forecast – yes, that’s a real thing. It varies slightly year by year, and they usually come out in Tokyo from the last week of March to the first week of April.
Summer (June – August).
Before you book your Japan holiday during summer – ‘natsu‘ – there are two very important things you need to know. The first is that Japan does have a rainy season, which tends to take place during June up until the start of July. Having personally endured a very rainy season back in the summer of 2014, we can tell you that the rainy season is REAL and it can be a real pain in the ass! However, even though the chances of rain are higher at this time of year, it still shouldn’t put you off visiting Japan at this time.
Japan’s weather changes very quickly – we’ve also had some killer sunburn during June too! Which brings us to the second important thing: It gets really hot in Japan. Like really, unbearably hot. It’s not Dubai-during-summer hot, but Japan does have a very humid climate during the summer months, so if you’re heading there in July or August, pack some light clothing options (we’d even go as far to suggest sportswear with light, breathable fabric) because getting sweaty is simply unavoidable at this time of year!
August is particularly busy too, as summer school holidays take place during this time, and the annual ‘Obon Week’ causes havoc in mid-August too. However, if you’re not travelling anywhere and staying in the central city, you might find it to be quieter than usual, as a lot of people escape the more central areas in favour of more holiday-orientated destinations.
Photo from lucky-japan.blogspot.hk
Autumn (September – November).
If you’re the sort of person that struggles to cope with hordes of tourists and crowded spaces, your best bet is visiting Japan in Autumn/Fall – ‘aki‘. By October, the intense heat and humidity has gone along with the huge influxes of extra visitors, although your chances of ever being able to enjoy any main tourist attractions ‘to yourself’ are still relatively non-existent. Still, Autumn has the best temperatures and not to mention beautiful scenery. Japan has some stunning Autumn colours on display generally from the end of October and throughout November, although some of the more popular viewing spots can get a bit busy during the peak of the season.
Tip: The months of May, June, July, August and September were the busiest months for automotive events in our Event Calendar last year.
Winter (December – February).
It’s important to remember that in Winter – ‘fuyu‘ – it snows in Japan, but unless you’re further up north or in a mountainous region, you might not experience it. Tokyo often only receives a small amount of snow – bigger snowfalls are uncommon in the city, but they can cause delays with public transport and flights. December and January are the driest months of the year, and due to the cold climate everything is usually less crowded, so it’s a good time for touristy stuff. The days are much shorter at this time of year though as the sun sets earlier (around 5pm) and there’s a distinct lack of greenery at this time too, so everything just tends to not look as nice.
Towards Christmas and around the New Year Period is another peak season for travel and tourism, and again, some shops and tourist attractions close down (generally at some time between the 29th of December and the 4th of January). Trains, expressways and airports can often get super busy during this time. The upside is that many car events are held around the Christmas period too, especially on Christmas day!
February is the peak season for those interested in winter activities like skiing and snowboarding, and Japan’s many onsen (hot spring) resorts can be enjoyed during this time too – as long as the mountain roads leading to them aren’t snowed under.