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The Best Time of Year to Travel to Japan

By Yann, published on 28/06/2019 We Love Prof > Languages > Japanese > Travelling to Japan: Finding the Ideal Time

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” -Danny Kaye

According to a recent survey conducted by the Japanese National Tourism Organization or Board, visiting the cultural and touristic sites is not what primarily attracts individuals to Japan. Indeed, shopping at unique Japanese shops and savouring Japan’s most tasty dishes passes well in front of the most stunning monuments.

Between visits to Buddhist temples and bamboo forests, visitors always find time to eat something good! 

Nevertheless, as is the case with any country, visiting during peak season is never pleasant. So, when is the best time to visit Japan and enjoy the traditional culture at its finest? Factors such as the bloom of cherry blossoms, comfortable temperatures, and few tourists must be considered when determining the best time to visit the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima. Superprof will analyse the best times to visit the Japanese country.

Planning a Trip to Japan According to the Japanese Climate

The best time to visit Japan is when its convenient for you. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of celebrating New Year’s in Tokyo or skiing the powdered slopes of Sapporo during wintertime; the choice is up to you!

Also, depending on many people’s holidays, summer may be the only convenient time to visit Japan to discover its mix of modernity with ancient traditions. 

Nevertheless, it is essential to state that some times are more advisable than others. In Japan, as in many touristic countries, the seasons and temperatures dramatically affect the influx of tourism. The land of the rising sun may be overflowing with foreign visitors during a specific time of the year while on the other hand experience a drought of visitors throughout different periods.

Since Japan is a vast country, there are two distinct climates: warmth in the south and temperate conditions in the north. Depending on what time of year you visit, there can be significant temperature changes from one place to the next.

For example, in the north of Japan on the island of Hokkaido, major cities such as Sapporo can experience temperatures as low as -6 ° C in the winter while during the same period, the south can enjoy springlike conditions of 16 ° C. However, it is essential to state that the southern regions are more prone to moisture.

If you want to experience world class skiing conditions visit northern Japan in the winter! 

Spring is hands down the best time to visit Japan and is the perfect season in terms of weather conditions. Even if the average temperatures are not that high, the days are predominantly sunny. The beautiful sun makes it enjoyable to visit Japan’s most noteworthy sites, such as the bamboo forest in Kyoto and Mount Fuji outside of Tokyo.

Nevertheless, it is essential to mention that temperatures can make a significant difference between the north and the south. From 8-10 ° C in the north and around 20° C in the south; these are average temperatures, visitors should never forget warm clothes to avoid being too called while strolling through the streets.

Planning a Trip to Japan During the Best Season: Springtime

Japan in the spring Cherry blossoms, an iconic symbol of Japanese culture, can be observed during the spring. (Source: Unsplash)

Whether you’re going to seek advice from a travel agency, read a travel guide, or ask friends you have already visited Japan in the past, the answer will always be the same: visit the land of the rising sun during spring.

From the beginning of March to the end of May, the weather is ideal since it is almost always sunny. Moreover, it is during springtime that Japan’s natural wonders are at their most magnificent. Sakura, the cherry trees that Japan is best known for, are in full bloom and the landscapes of Japan become an intoxicating rose colour.

The weather is cold, but the sun is continuously present, making long days more endurable. Also, since the days progressively get longer during the spring into the summer, there is a lot more time to explore!

Nevertheless, since spring is the ideal period to visit Japan, there are loads of tourists. 

Indeed, it is during springtime that most travellers can be observed all over the land of the rising sun. Trains, accommodations, and tourist attractions are crowded with people, and airfare prices are higher during this period. Therefore, it is imperative to organise your trip to a Japanese city such as Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo ahead of time if you are planning of visiting during this time.

Also, it is essential to state that from March to May, not only international tourists but also Japanese visitors from other parts of Japan can be observed since it is a touristy time with many school and public holidays. 

If visitors decide to visit Japan during the spring, it is highly recommended to thoroughly research and ensure that your trip does not coincide with the Golden Week: a series of four national holidays that occur on the same week at the end of April and beginning of May.

During the Golden Week, the Japanese are on holiday, and everything is crowded, making it quite difficult to find lodging, affordable plane tickets, or rental car availabilities. Therefore, it would be wise to spend time enjoying the cherry blossoms before or after the Golden Week. Nevertheless, since spring is so popular among international travellers, there is bound to be plenty of people.

Want to acquire more information about past Japanese emperors?

Summer: the Right Time to Visit Japan?

Even though spring remains the overwhelming favourite season to visit Japan, that does not mean that summer should be forgotten. Many tourists from around the world are mostly available during the summer season since this is the time they ask for holidays.

Nevertheless, it is essential to state that if you consider travelling to Japan during the summer holidays, avoid the period from mid-June to mid-July. At this time of year, it can be boiling, humid, and rainy.

Therefore, it would be better to plan a trip to the land of the rising sun after the 15 of July to the end of August to thoroughly enjoy touring Japan without being too hot and uncomfortable. Also, during this period, Japanese schoolchildren are on vacation with their family in various popular Japanese locations: the mountains and coast have always been the Japanese’s favourite summer destinations.

During the summertime months, many festivals are enjoyed by all Japanese residents and tourists all over the country. 

Is it Worth Visiting Japan in Autumn?

autumn in Japan The bamboo forest in Kyoto is best visited in the autumn. (Source: pixabay)

Just like the spring, autumn is a fantastic time to visit all the beautiful wonders of Japan. Temperatures are less drastic than in the summer, and the number of tourists is a lot less making visiting landmarks more enjoyable.

Of course, it is essential to mention that during autumn, the spectacular cherry blossoms of spring cannot be observed. However, the tranquillity of tourist places, temples, and shrines are incomparable.

Kyoto’s bamboo forest is a must see during the autumn season. 

Visiting Japan in the autumn is the last opportunity to enjoy sunny days before the winter season begins. Also, from September to November, it is far easier to find cheap airline tickets, accommodations, and guided tours since many holidayers have returned to work.

The autumn season is also a fantastic time to observe the farmers who harvest the rice; Japanese rice fields are an integral part of the culture and should not be missed when travelling to Japan.

Is it Possible to Tour Japan in the Winter?

winter in Japan Visiting the land of the rising sun during the winter months can be a fantastic experience enjoyed by all! (Source: pixabay)

During the cold months of winter, many UK-based travellers prefer to go to warm countries to enjoy the hot sun and work on their tan. That’s why Japan can easily be visited during the winter without having to fight with the swarms of tourists.

To avoid negative temperatures and enjoy a rather mild climate during the winter months, consider visiting the south of Japan from December to end of February since it is still possible to enjoy an average temperature of around 16 ° C.

In contrast, when travelling through central and north Japan during the winter expect some negative temperatures and snow. Nevertheless, this climate appeals to all winter lovers and becomes a paradise for skiers; why not plan a ski trip to some of the world’s best trails?

Japan, is set to host the 2020 Olympic Summer Games; however, it has also had experience hosting the Olympic Winter Games on two occasions: Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998. 

The ski resorts in both Nagano and Sapporo welcome visitors from all over the world. 

Apart from the significant skiing destinations, the land of the rising sun is deserted of tourists during the winter months making a perfect solution to stay away from the crowds. Just don’t forget your winter jacket!

How long should my Japanese adventure last?

The Worst Times to Visit Japan

Although spring is considered by many to be the best time to visit Japan, it is a nightmare for travellers who do not like crowds. Therefore, everyone must choose a time of year that best suits them. Nevertheless, there are specific periods that should be avoided entirely.

As briefly explained in a previous subheading, visiting Japan from mid-June to mid-July is a period that needs to be avoided; unless you want to spend your trip completely soaked!

Nevertheless, the rainy season is not the only period to avoid. For example, the holiday season of Christmas and New Year’s is very crowded and can be overwhelming for some; not to mention the fact that prices are astronomical during vacation times. Also, many of the museums and tourist attractions are closed to allow workers time to spend with their family.

What about you? When would be your perfect time to leave? 

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