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.
of this site to find out more about what will be happening while you
are in Japan.
The Seasons of Japan
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,
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
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.
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.
Clothing*: 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
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
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
and National Holidays, over
weekends, and for special events.