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Weather in Japan – The Best Seasons to Travel

So you decided to venture in Japan and experience its culture, there are things that need to be considered in order to make your venture easier, smoother, and less confusing when visiting a country thats different from yours and cannot communicate due to a language barrier. This article will cover mostly the weather.

Weather

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Japan enjoys all 4 seasons throughout the year and each season is distinctive, each has their own flavor, events, celebrations or holidays. These things can affect your trip greatly if stumbling on cultural celebrations commonly known as Matsuri (祭り) and of course each region, city or town are different or have their own. So it's recommended to take these events into consideration when planning your trip.

With seasons, one must also consider the weather and what can be tolerated during your visit. For example, April is the best known period to visit Japan due to Sakura blooming and the weather is nice as its spring time, but it might be expensive and most places will be packed with people. Alternatively, summer can be quite nice if you don't mind the humid climate.

Let's discuss the months in a bit of detail so you can decide which is suitable; Tokyo will be used as a temperature reference, for the other cities please check the source link provided.

January and February

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As in most places around the world, New Year holiday is celebrated also in Japan which means at the beginning of January most shops and tourist attractions are closed for the first week or less, normally till the 4th of Jan. But, for most of January and February, on average, expectations is the weather is usually sunny and dry, nonetheless cold as its winter time and, mainly in the north, there is plenty of snowfall which is great for winter activities. Add to that, daytime is usually short. For example in Tokyo, sunsets approximately at 4:39 PM and rises around 7 AM with temperatures on average high of 10°C to a low of 2°C. But, as it’s sunny and dry during these months, Tokyo enjoys the most sunshine period of the year surprisingly in January.

Since its winter, ski locations and resorts are highly recommended during this month. Hokkaido is on the top in the list since they also hold Sapporo Snow Festival which is renowned worldwide.

March

The climate starts to slightly warm up to an average high of 13.6°C and low 4.4°C in Tokyo. In this month first some signs of spring can be seen in some areas of Japan, the North on average should still be covered with snow and viable for winter sports.

April

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One of the best times to visit Japan, with temperatures on an average high of 18°C and low of 11°C in Tokyo. In addition, in this month the cherry blossoms or commonly known as sakura Japan’s famous flower, fully blossom for a few days and there are many different types of cherry trees in Japan.

In this month spring school holidays starts, and near the end of the month the famous Golden Week (ゴ ールデンウィーク) holiday starts, so yes expect foreign and local tourism traffic.

May

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The weather here is comfortable with a high of 22.9°C and low of 14°C in Tokyo as the nation is nearing summer season.

The Golden Week ends in early May during the first week, so the rest of the month, the local tourism activity drops significantly which makes it ideal for overseas tourists. Moreover, in Hokkaido normally, spring comes later than the rest of Japan so in this month it’s a very good destination for tourists to enjoy spring.

June

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In this month think rain. Rainy season (Tsuyu 梅雨) is this month.

This could really make you miserable as it rains heavily if not everyday. Also, it slowly gets warmer with temperatures on average high of 25°C and a low of 19°C in Tokyo. As a tourist, most of the commuting will be done on foot, but during the Tsuyu, most if not all, outdoor attractions are either closing or you won’t really enjoy them. In my opinion, the best places to go to during this month are hot spring resorts which can be quite nice during the rain.

July and August

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The heat picks up in Tokyo to an average high of 30.8°C and low of 23°C; humidity is at its peak during this month with relative humidity of 77% in Tokyo and rainy season will end roughly in the second week. Just standing outside will make you sweat; imagine walking or riding the trains to reach your destination. However, high elevation is the best answer like Hokkaido which is very popular during this month or Japan’s famous Mount Fuji which is also open for climbing. You can also take the humidity head on and fly to Okinawa’s lovely beaches.

Many festivals in Japan are held during this month, some may include fireworks. For example, Tanabata Matsuri in Shounan City, which annually attracts around 3 million people, is a good place to add to your list. Note that summer school holidays are in August, which means intense local travel activity so planning and booking ahead is essential.

September

Temperatures start to cool a bit in this month we are exiting summer and heading into autumn, an average high of 26.9°C and low of 19.7°C is expected. On the other hand, typhoon season reaches its peak and they usually hit the coastal areas, as for the other areas, its normally strong wind and rain. The best part about typhoons is after they hit, it’s a prefect, clear and nice weather the day after which is something to look up to afterword.

October

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Temperature continues to fall down to an average high of 22°C and a low of 15°C which makes it very enjoyable when going out and about for tourist activities. As its autumn season, in some areas of Japan trees starts to change colors specially on high elevations which makes for a great view.

November

Temperature continues to fall down to an average high of 16.3°C and a low of 8.3°C which makes this month, temperature-wise, one of the best to travel to Japan. In addition, local tourism activity is low.

During the first week of this month a lot of small festivals are held like Ohara Festival in Kagoshima, Karatsu Kunchi in western Kyushu, Betchya Festival in Onomichi, Hiroshima which makes for a great side project during your planning.

December

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Temperature continues to fall down to an average high of 11.9°C and a low of 3.5°C. The weather in this month is normally pleasant as the nation is entering winter; it'll mostly be sunny and dry after the first week. Daytime will gradually become shorter which might not be in the favor of tourists.

The 23rd of this month, school holiday starts, so until then local travel activity will be low. And after the 29th most tourist locations will be closed due to New Year holidays, so keep that in mind.

As we have covered the weather year around in Japan, I hope this provides you with much needed information to choose a suitable time for you to go to Japan and help plan your trip. As this is an important note, I’ll repeat it here; Tokyo was taken as a reference when citing temperature, humidity and sunshine period. Please check other cities from the source link as different cities and locations vary.

Thanks for reading and wish you a pleasant time in Japan.

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