Best Time to Visit Japan – Japan is a very special country and if you’ve ever been there, I’m sure you’ll remember it for the rest of your life. Japan is another world, really… or dare I say another planet? I was lucky enough to have a working holiday visa and to be able to spend 2017 there but I’ve been to Japan before that and have visited it at different times of the year. And just like you, I wondered : when’s the best time to visit Japan?
I can answer you right now and tell you that if you’re planning to travel to Japan, it’s best to do it during spring or autumn. Let me tell you why.
Best Time to Visit Japan – Spring and the Cherry Blossom Season
The best time to visit Japan is during spring season. The weather is ideal, temperatures are mild and there is very little rain. You can’t expect better than that.
But spring season in Japan is also cherry blossom season. There are many cherry trees all over Japan’s parks and green spaces in general, and most of the time we don’t even notice them. But as soon as spring comes and over a period of two weeks, those cherry trees transform into the country’s main attraction. Here’s a short video I took early April 2016 at Shinjuku Gyoen Park in Tokyo during cherry blossom season.
Cherry blossom season starts at different times of the year depending on where you are in Japan , so here’s a map of all the 2019 cherry blossom time periods across Japan so you get a clearer idea of what I’m talking about.
Flowering usually lasts two weeks. In Tokyo, these two weeks correspond to the first two weeks of April, more or less. But what if you miss sakura season, when should you travel to Japan? I’d say in autumn! Here’s why.
Best Time to Visit Japan – Autumn and The Momiji
Momiji are the maple leaves that turn red in autumn, making Japan look like a bright and colorful pastel painting. I wasn’t very excited to spend last autumn in Japan but when I finally did, I was blown away. Here’s what the Gotokuji temple in my neighborhood looks like in autumn:
Just like cherry trees, momiji change color at different times of the years depending on where you are in Japan. In Tokyo, that would be in November but in Nikko (Tochigi Prefecture) for example, it would be mid-October. Here’s a map that shows autumn foliage periods by area:
Best Time to Visit Japan – February or March ?
You can also travel to Japan towards the end of winter. I personally enjoy this time of year because temperatures tend to be milder and the weather is mostly dry. Ume matsuri is plum blossom season! Plum blossoms have a deep pink color and I think they are just as beautiful as sakura. What do you think? 🙂
Best Time to Visit Japan – When Not to Visit
If you’re traveling to Japan, the rainy season is the period you should avoid. The Japanese call this period tsuyu which literally means “plum rain”. It generally lasts six weeks, from June to mid-July. It doesn’t rain every day but it rains rather frequently.
Now, I’m sure you know exactly when to visit Japan now! If you found this blog post useful, please leave a comment down below and share it with your friends!
By the way, as you might have guessed, spring and autumn are Japan’s tourist high seasons so don’t forget to book your hotel room in advance to avoid overpaying for accommodation in Japan. I’ve been there quite often so here are a few links to city guides where you will find my recommended hostels and hotels:
- Tokyo Hostels, Capsule Hotel Tokyo or Ryokan Tokyo
- Nara or Ryokan Nara
- Hakone or Ryokan Hakone
- Osaka or Ryokan Osaka
- Kyoto or Ryokan Kyoto
See you around,
PS: For more detailed information about each season in Japan, check out these articles: Japan Seasons.