Best Time to Visit Japan

Mt. Fuji, Japan in Spring from Shizuoka Prefecture

Mt. Fuji, Japan in Spring from Shizuoka Prefecture

The best time to visit Japan depends on the goals of your trip. Whether you are looking to see the blooming cherry blossoms, enjoy the celebrated cuisine and experience cultural heritage, or stepping out into the rural areas, each season brings different charms and highlights. Use this guide below to see why Japan has become a great year-round destination.

Best Time for Sightseeing

Wooden bridge with autumn foliage at Daigo-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan

Wooden bridge with autumn foliage at Daigo-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan

Best Months: March | April | May | October | November

The spring and autumn will give you Japan’s best weather and the most diverse possible experiences. Depending on where you travel, crowds may be prevalent because of the cherry blossoms but marks one of the most authentic cultural experiences you can have when in Japan. The great weather and changing colors of the countryside in spring and autumn make for fantastic scenery and give you excellent opportunities to sample the seasonal cuisine of Tokyo, wander the colorful lanes of historic Kyoto, or visit the countless museums and heritage villages across the country in comfort.

Best Time for Cherry Blossoms

Himeji Castle with beautiful cherry blossom during spring season in Osaka, Japan

Himeji Castle with beautiful cherry blossom during spring season in Osaka, Japan

Best Months: March | April | May

The best time to see cherry blossoms in Japan in March, April, and May but wholly depends on where you plan on seeing the annual seasonal event. The cherry blossoms bloom for a certain amount of time, bringing huge crowds to places like Fukuoka and Hiroshima. The most popular destinations like Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo, usually experience their blossoms in April.

Best Time for Lavender Fields

Flower Gardens Shikisai hill in Hokkaido, Japan

Flower Gardens Shikisai hill in Hokkaido, Japan

Best Months: July | August

Peak summer in July and August is the best time to view Japan’s lavender fields, which thrive in the cooler districts around places like Nagano and Hokkaido. An annual herb festival takes place around their blossoming near Mount Fuji to celebrate the different types of flowering lavender in the area. The bloom reaches its peak around mid-July but lasts until mid-August, especially with late-blooming varieties of lavender.

Best Time for Festivals

Otokunchi Fire Festival in Hiroshima Japan.  Photo © Hiroshima Prefecture/JNTO

Otokunchi Fire Festival in Hiroshima Japan. Photo © Hiroshima Prefecture/JNTO

Best Months: June | July | August

The summer in Japan has the most festivals and offers a fantastic picture of the country through diverse celebrations in June, July, and August. Summer is an active time, especially in August, when schools are out. The high humidity and heavy rainfall of typhoon season may not feel ideal, but captivating festivals abound in events like the Gion Matsuri festival in Kyoto or Osaka’s Tenjin Matsuri festival highlighting the country’s deep cultural connections.

Best Time with Family Travel

The aquarium in Okinawa, Japan

The aquarium in Okinawa, Japan

Best Months: March | April | May | October | November

Spring and Autumn are the best times to visit Japan with your family. The mild weather makes it easier to travel with children of all ages, and the changing scenery makes it a majestic experience whether you wish to view the cherry blossoms or partake in harvest festivals. Family-friendly excursions can reveal the diversity of the culture and activities with stunning hikes, onsen visits, or even scuba diving adventures. The entire family will enjoy the celebrated cuisine of Tokyo and the heritage of Kyoto, in addition to trekking destinations like Mount Ishikawa.

Best Time for Couples

Jozankei Onsen in Hokkaido, Japan

Jozankei Onsen in Hokkaido, Japan

Best Months: March | April | May | October | November

Spring and fall are the best times for couples to visit Japan. The mild temperatures and changing landscape bring hints of romance to the air, whether in secluded traditional ryokans at the heart of Tokyo. Spring pays homage to the famous cherry blossoms while autumn sees active hiking across the country, remarkable seasonal dishes, and changing leaves captured in the Kochia Carnival when the renowned bushes turn red around Hitachi Seaside Park.

Best Time for Sumo

Sumo wrestling match in Tokyo, Japan

Sumo wrestling match in Tokyo, Japan

Best Months: January | May | September | November

In Japan, sumo tournaments are held in odd months and celebrate the ancient sport, its traditions, and the cultural experience in and of itself. The dates of the tournament changes with the cities with Tokyo hosting in January, May, and September, and Fukuoka hosting in November. For a unique experience, you can choose to sit in the Japanese-style seating, either box or ringside.

Spring and Summer Activities

Trekking in Hakusan National Park in the Chūbu region of Honshū, Japan

Trekking in Hakusan National Park in the Chūbu region of Honshū, Japan

Best Months: March | April | May

March to May is the best time to visit Japan for spring and summer activities. Certain activities, like visiting museums or a heritage village can take place year-round while other activities can be weather-dependent. March, April, and May give you the best weather to enjoy seasonal possibilities, from particular cuisine to festivals, as well as the famous scenery resulting in activities like:

  • Trekking
  • Cherry Blossoms
  • Cycling the countryside and Mountains
  • Green Tea Plantations
  • Miyako Odori Festival

Fall and Winter Activities

Snowboarding in Hakuba, Japan

Snowboarding in Hakuba, Japan

Best Months: October | January

October and January offer incredibly different experiences but are the best times to visit Japan during fall and winter. In the autumn, the changing temperatures result in fantastic colors spreading across Japan’s countryside for a historical and natural view of the world. While cold, January is a great time to enjoy Japan from a different perspective for things like winter festivals and snow sports. Museums and historic sites are open year-round, but fall and winter are great for activities like:

  • Visit Onsen hot springs
  • Snowboarding
  • Skiing
  • Snow Festival
  • Sumo Grand Tournament

More Travel Information & Tips

There are countless opportunities that Japan offers year-round. The best time to visit varies according to your ideal experience, and so do the must-see destinations and travel considerations. Dive deeper into what this country has to offer with the Japan Travel Guide, and when you are feeling inspired to learn all the details, submit a Trip Request or contact us at 1-888-265-9707, and get the perfect trip planned just for you.