When to go

With such a diversity of climates, scenery and events to enjoy, Japan is a destination that has year-round appeal. From cherry blossoms and hot springs to ski fields and festivals, each of Japan's four distinctive seasons has something special to offer.

See the
Events section of this site to find out more about what will be happening while you are in Japan.

The Seasons of Japan

  • Spring
    March, April, May
    Springtime in Japan means flowers. Peach and plum blossoms are the first to appear in early March but it is the flowering of the cherry or 'Sakura' tree from early April to May that truly signals the arrival of Spring in Japan. Spring is also a time of parties and festivals. The Girl's Festival takes place on March 3 and the Boy's Festival is held on May 5. The Boy's Festival is famous for colourful Koinobori (carp streamers) that can be seen rippling in the Spring breeze.

    Clothing* :
    Mid-weight clothing - trousers/jeans, long sleeves, jackets, sweaters.

  • Summer
    June, July, August
    Summer begins somewhat coolly with a rainy season but when this ends in late June, much of the country is characterised by hot, humid days. Balmy evenings can be spent enjoying the numerous fireworks displays that light up the summer skies across Japan. The most famous display takes place in Tokyo on the banks of the Sumida River. Summer is the time for rice planting, an activity that is celebrated in many festivals around the country. It is also the best season for hikers and climbers to explore the mountains and forests of Japan. Climbing Mt Fuji to watch a spectacular sunrise is a popular summertime activity. The climbing season runs from July 1 to August 31.

    Clothing* :
    Light-weight clothing - short sleeves, shorts, trousers, sun dresses. Warmer clothing for mountain areas.

  • Autumn
    September, October, November
    Autumn's cooling breezes signal the end of summer and the beginning of harvest season. In rural areas, the many rice fields turn golden, and the grain is soon cut and stacked in neat upright bales in even rows. Swirls of changing leaves paint the hills and mountainsides in a kaleidoscope of colour. Silhouetted against this backdrop, the shrines and temples of old Japan are arguably at their most charming. Popular festivals of the season include Shichi-Go-San (Children's Shrine Visiting Day), held throughout the country and the Festival of the Eras or 'Jidai Matsuri', held at the Heian Shrine in Kyoto.

    Clothing* :
    Mid-weight clothing - trousers/jeans, long sleeves, jackets, sweaters.

  • Winter
    December, January, February
    Except in the far north of the country, winter in Japan is not very severe, and is usually tempered by sunshine and blue skies. In northern and central Japan, visitors can enjoy the full range of winter sports. Well-developed resorts and some of the best skiing & snow boarding conditions in the world await the enthusiast. Away from the slopes, the winter months are the perfect time to relax in one of the thousands 'Onsen' or Hot Spring Resorts located in mountain towns throughout Japan. In February, on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, the annual Sapporo Snow Festival attracts visitors with its elaborate displays of snow and ice sculpture.

    Heavy-weight clothing - trousers/jeans, extra warm jackets and sweaters, woollen skirts and tights. Thick, woolly socks are a must for keeping your feet warm when visiting temples and shrines in winter.
    *The clothing you will need to take with you will depend greatly on where you are planning to travel in Japan.

    Peak Travel Seasons

    Try to avoid travelling during the traditional holiday seasons listed below.

    Transportation and accommodation are always heavily booked over these periods as Japanese travellers visit friends and family across the country. Many shops and businesses are also closed. If you cannot adjust your schedule, be sure to make your arrangements well in advance.

    New Year Holiday Season

    December 27-January 4 and the adjacent weekends

    "Golden Week" Holiday Season

    April 29-May 5 and the adjacent weekends

    "Bon" Festival Season

    A week centring around August 15

    Advance bookings are also recommended around
    School and National Holidays
    , over weekends, and for special events.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.


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