When is the best time to visit Japan?

When you’re planning your dream trip to Japan, it’s natural to want to visit at the best time. For many people, that means visiting during cherry blossom season because the pink blossoms are such an iconic image of Japan. While it’s true that cherry blossom season is a great time to visit, there are other times of the year that offer a great experience too.

Looking to  reschedule?

You may have been planning to visit Japan during cherry blossom season this year, and decided to postpone because of coronavirus. That doesn’t mean you have to wait a whole year for your trip, as Japan is worth visiting at other times too. There will just be different, but equally interesting, attractions.

You may also need to plan around work and study commitments, leading to considering other possible times.

Here’s a summary of pros and cons for each month of the year.

Month

Pros

Cons

January

There’s snow - great for skiers!

Clear blue skies maximise the chances of getting a good view of Mt Fuji.

It’s cold!

New Year is a big public holiday and some places may be closed for a few days.

February

There’s still snow.

Plum blossoms start appearing.

It’s still cold, but signs of spring are starting.

March

Cherry blossom season starts.

It can still be a bit cold.

April

Cherry blossom season continues.

The weather is settled and pleasant.

It’s peak season for overseas visitors, and the Golden Week holiday at the end of April is a major domestic holiday.

May

Probably the best month for weather, warm but not hot.

Flowers such as wisteria and azaleas bloom.

The first few days are part of the Golden Week holiday.

June

Weather can be very good at the beginning of June.

Summer flower displays are everywhere, including irises and hydrangeas.

The rainy season starts and it gets hotter.

July

Hokkaido is cooler and dryer, and the lavender fields are blooming.

Mt Fuji climbing season starts.

The rainy season continues, and much of Japan is hot.

Typhoon season starts around this time.

August

Many summer festivals are held all over Japan.

Hot and humid.

Japanese school holidays

Typhoons most prevalent.

September

Foliage season starts in Hokkaido.

Mt Fuji climbing season ends.

Typhoons most prevalent.

October

Foliage season continues.

Temperatures are quite pleasant.

Typhoon season ends.

November

Foliage season continues.

Temperatures are still pleasant earlier in the month.

It’s getting cold.

December

Foliage season ends.

Winter illuminations take place throughout Japan.

It’s cold.

While cherry blossom season is the most popular time to visit, followed by the autumn foliage season, other months have their merits. I personally like May for the weather, and February for plum blossom season.

If you are only able to travel to Japan at certain times, don’t despair. Adjust your itinerary and activities to take account of the weather. Also check for special events which occur throughout the year. You can make your trip memorable no matter what time of year you travel.

Do you have any questions about travelling around Japan? Please feel free to contact me.

Would you like to receive my quarterly newsletter with the latest news for visitors, plus useful seasonal information? Receive a trip planning timeline when you sign up!

For further information, the ebook Japan Just for You is a practical step-by-step guide to planning your trip to Japan, starting with developing your own personal trip concept. It’s now available on Apple, Amazon and Kobo, and other stores.