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Best Time to Visit Japan: When to Go & When to Avoid!

Home » Blog » Travel Tips » Best Time to Visit Japan: When to Go & When to Avoid!

Choosing the best time of year to visit Japan can be downright overwhelming. Each of Japan’s 4 distinct seasons has its draws and drawbacks (some more than others!). We’re going to break down exactly what to expect during winter, spring, summer, and fall so you can choose the best time to visit Japan based on your travel style and interests.

This is Japan in August… can you feel the humidity just by looking at the picture?! Because I sure can!

Japan has four distinct seasons: You’ve got the famed cherry blossoms in the spring, festivals in the summer, vibrant foliage in autumn, and powdery snow come wintertime.

So this begs the question: 

What time of year is best to visit Japan?

In short, you’ll have the best chance of comfortable weather and fewer crowds in early spring (March – early April) and in autumn (late October – November). Our personal pick would be to visit Japan during November; but more on that later…

Dotonbori neighborhood Osaka Japan

Let me backup… Truthfully there is no correct answer, as each season has its own unique draws (and drawbacks too).

But we’re not going to just leave ya there, hangin’.

We’re going to go over the pros and cons of visiting Japan during each season to help you decide which time of year is ideal for YOU.

Just staying in Tokyo? We have another article about the best time to visit Tokyo , specifically!

Answer these questions to get started:

  • Do you mind hot weather?
  • What about cold weather?
  • Are you easily bothered by crowds?
  • How much of your time do you want to spend outdoors?
  • Which would you rather see: cherry blossoms or colorful fall foliage?

Thinking about your answers to these questions is going to help you start to determine when to visit Japan.

Best time to visit Japan guide

Our experience, japan geography overview, weather in japan.

  • Rainy season in Japan
  • Typhoon season in Japan
  • Best time of year to view Mt. Fuji
  • Seasons in Japan
  • Holidays and festivals in Japan
  • Best time to travel based on activity
  • How many days to spend in Japan
  • What to pack for Japan

Overall BEST time to visit Japan

Want a quick recommendation? Jump down to see our personal advice for the best time to visit Japan. Plus, we’ll share what times of year we’d avoid visiting!

  • Our Recommendation…

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We visited Japan in summer, fall & winter

best Japanese cuisine

When: mid-August (2019) 

Our experience:

  • Very hot and humid in most places
  • Lots of Japanese tourists and international travelers in the popular places
  • We had a few days of typhoon weather
  • Mount Fuji wasn’t on our route, but she was only visible for a handful of days of our trip, due to clouds.
  • Felt too hot to be able to enjoy onsens as much as other times of the year

Would we recommend visiting Japan in August? 

It wouldn’t be my top recommendation, honestly. I found it very hot and muggy, and I would much prefer visiting when the temps are more comfortable.

Autumn in Japan momiji

When: mid-November (2023) 

  • Comfortable temperatures and no humidity
  • Colorful foliage in some areas (it differs quite a bit throughout the country)
  • During our 3-week trip, we had a little light rain , but not much
  • Clear views of Mount Fuji
  • Perfect weather for soaking in onsen
  • Crowds in popular areas for foliage viewing, but nothing overwhelming

Would we recommend visiting Japan in November? 

Absolutely! Autumn is perhaps my all time favorite time to travel anywhere — and Japan is no different. I think autumn will always be my favorite time to visit Japan!

Things To Do in Japan | Two Wandering Soles

When: early February (2015)

  • Mild winter temperatures (we’re used to very cold winters, and this wasn’t bad for us)
  • Snow in the mountains was magical
  • Even though winter is said to be the best time to view Mount Fuji , she was covered in fog when we visited
  • Onsens were very enjoyable (we had a private outdoor onsen while it was snowing, which was amazing!)
  • Obviously the cities are still busy (because they’re highly populated), but the amount of tourists was lower than other seasons
  • Good deals on accommodation since it was outside of peak season
  • We saw a few plum blossoms in Tokyo that were blooming early, which was a pleasant surprise!

Would we recommend visiting Japan in February?  Yes! I think winter is one of the best times to visit Japan and it’s very underrated. Next time we visit in the winter, I want to add more outdoor onsens and a snowboarding trip in the legendary Japanese powder!

Things to do in Japan Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

While not a large country exactly, Japan spreads more than 1,800 miles (2,900+ kilometers) north to south, from the island of Hokkaido in the northeast all the way down to the island of Okinawa in the southwest.

A distance that large means the weather from north to south varies quite a lot. Hokkaido can be freezing while the subtropical island of Okinawa can be experiencing a beach day.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll mostly be discussing the weather on the island of Honshu. 

Located in the middle of the country, Honshu is where Tokyo , Osaka and Kyoto are all located, and is where most international travelers will start and end their trip, especially if it is your first time in Japan .

Another thing to take into consideration is that Japan is a very mountainous country. Common sense tells us that when you venture to higher elevations, you’ll find colder temperatures.

Fun Example: We went up into the Japanese Alps in August and found a drastic temperature swing: 95°F (35°C) at sea level to 65°F (18°C) in the mountains. This same area has snow until as late as early July. Crazy, huh?!

Psst! If you’ll be traveling more throughout the country, be sure to check out our bucket list of crazy fun things to do in Japan !

Fun Facts about Japan Okunion Cemetery Koyasan

Let’s chat about the sun, the snow, the rain, and those dreaded typhoons. We’ll go over what type of weather you should expect throughout the year and describe our experience with a typhoon.

We’re also going over some important information if you are interested in viewing Mount Fuji.

Spoiler alert: You won’t be able to see this iconic mountain for much of the year.

Stats on Japan weather & seasons:

  • Hottest month in Japan: August (average 80°F/41°C)
  • Coldest month in Japan: January (41°F/5°C)
  • Rainiest months in Japan: June and September
  • Driest months in Japan: December and January
  • Most crowded month in Japan: late April – early May (aka “Golden Week”, explained in the section about Spring )
  • Least crowded months in Japan: January – early March are the least popular times to visit, which can mean cheaper prices and less crowds
Note: Again, these stats are for the central island of Honshu. If you are planning to visit the northernmost island of Hokkaido, or Okinawa in the very south, be sure to look up their specific weather, as they vary from the rest of the county.

Rainy season in Japan: Early Summer

Best Time to Visit Japan Rainy Season

The majority of the country experiences a rainy season from June through mid-July.

The good news is that during the rainy season, there’s a roughly 45% chance of precipitation each day (data from Tokyo), meaning you’ll have some dry days too! Some of those rainy days will be heavy, while others will be sunny before or after the rain.

Interesting Fact: Tokyo is one of the rainiest big cities on earth! In fact, it has more than double the amount of annual rainfall as London. Say whaaaat?!

Despite rain, you’ll find life goes on as usual in Japan, as locals are used to it. Do as the Japanese do and buy an umbrella to stay dry!

Typhoon season in Japan: Late Summer

Late May through October is known as typhoon season in Japan, with the majority of typhoons occurring in August and September. Data from the last 30 years show that an average of 11 typhoons approach the coast per year.

What is a typhoon?

A typhoon is a tropical cyclone. They are formed in the same way a hurricane forms, and the only real difference is the location at which they occur .

What is a typhoon like in Japan?

We visited Japan during the month of August, which as you now know is the peak of typhoon season. And one typhoon made landfall during our visit.

So how bad was it, really?

This was our experience: 

The entire day leading up to the typhoon was sunny with blue skies, and we both had this feeling that it wouldn’t be that bad.

But everyone was talking about it and how strong it would supposedly be. There was talk about trains shutting down, and we had a food tour cancel on us because restaurants were closing up shop.

But it’s beautiful outside, we thought naively. We put on rain jackets, grabbed our one umbrella and headed into town just as a drizzle began to start.

Soon, the winds increased and the rain started really coming down. But the trains still ran, and we decided to go catch a movie. By the time we got out of the show, the streets were mostly empty and the rain was really pounding, so despite our umbrella and rain jackets, we got completely soaked.

By the next morning, blue skies started peeking out from behind clouds and by the afternoon you would never know what had happened the previous night.

What to expect: Heavy rainfall and high winds, canceled and/or delayed trains, canceled tours. In some cases, it may only interrupt a day or two, and in others it might have longer-lasting effects. You should expect some plans to change since Japanese people take typhoons very seriously.

Best time of year to view Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji Japan

Many visitors to Japan will want to glimpse the country’s most famous mountain, and for good reason — it’s absolutely stunning, and seeing Mount Fuji in person will be one of the highlights of your trip. That is, if you see her .

One thing many first-time visitors to Japan may not realize (ourselves included) is that Mount Fuji is notoriously shy. This means there is much of the year where your chances of seeing her are rare. Instead, this shy mountain will stay cloaked behind clouds and haze, only occasionally peeking through.

So what time of year will you have the best chance of seeing Mount Fuji?

  • Best chances of seeing Mount Fuji: Based on data from years past, you will have the highest chance of seeing Mount Fuji between the months of November and February.
  • Worst chances of seeing Mount Fuji: Alternatively, between April and August, you will have a slim chance of glimpsing this iconic mountain.

That said, nothing is promised when it comes to weather. 

We visited Japan for the first time during early February, when we should have had a good chance of seeing Fuji. We spent the night in Hakone and bought the (not so cheap!) Hakone Day Pass to get close to the mountain, yet we only saw WHITE FRICKIN’ CLOUDS.

Best Time to Visit Japan Viewing Mount Fuji

And on the other hand, we’ve known people who have seen Fuji peek out during July and August, supposedly bad months for viewing the mountain.

But if you’re looking to get that iconic shot of a clear sky day and the mountain towering in the background in her famous symmetrical grandeur, late autumn through early spring will be your best bet at capturing this sight.

Psst! Check out our list of the most beautiful places in Japan you’ll have to see to believe!

Japan’s seasons at a glance

Japan has 4 distinct seasons: The winter is cold and the summer is hot. If either of those would bother you, it’s easy to eliminate a season right off the bat.

Spring is famously known for stunning displays of cherry blossoms around the country . But when we say famous, we mean it. Japan gets very busy this time of year with domestic and international travelers, so if crowds bother you, this is another easy elimination.

Fall comes with spectacular autumn foliage , and while not as crowded as cherry blossom season, it’s not an unpopular time to travel.

Jump to the season you’re interested in to read more about what to expect:

Winter in Japan

Spring in japan, summer in japan.

  • Autumn in Japan

We’re going to go over what to expect during each season in detail so you can better plan your trip to Japan.

But before we dive in…

Did you know there are 72 “seasons” in Japan?

The traditional Japanese calendar was split up into 24 sections, and each of those were further divided into 3 subsections, creating 72 “micro seasons” .

These micro-seasons last 5 days, and the names of some of them are poetic:

  • Frogs start singing (May 5th – 9th)
  • Great rains sometimes fall (August 3rd – 7th)
  • Dew glistens white on grass (September 8th – 12th)
  • Insects hole up underground (September 28th – October 2nd)
  • Maple leaves and ivy turn yellow (November 2nd – 6th)

While this isn’t necessarily something people go by in modern times, it’s a good reminder that the weather and atmosphere changes very often in Japan and it’s important to be prepared for it all.

Best Time to Visit Japan Winter in Japan

During the winter months, major cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto tend to enjoy mild temperatures, but you can find snow and colder temps in the mountains and on Hokkaido (the northernmost island in Japan).

Crowds tend to be fewer during the winter season, except for at the ski resorts where outdoor enthusiasts will be spoiled with some of the best powder in the world.

Winter comes with sunshine and blue skies that are statistically the clearest they’ll be all year long.

While winter may not be the first season you think of traveling, there’s actually a ton to do, and we think it is a great time to visit Japan .

  • When is winter in Japan?  December – February
  • Typical weather in Japan during the winter:  Dry, cold, & sunny
  • Average winter temperatures:  35 ° F – 55 ° F (Tokyo) (2 ° C – 13 ° C)
  • least crowded season, great for visiting Japan’s iconic landmarks
  • Japan has great snow for skiing and snowboarding
  • great time for onsens, snow monkeys and seeing scenic landscapes & villages dusted in snow
  • cold weather, averaging around 43°F (6°C)
  • some outdoor activities, like hiking and biking may be more difficult in the winter

Winter months at a glance

  • December:  Third coldest month of the year, lots of Bonenkai (“forget the year”) parties and celebrations. Ski season begins in Sapporo.
  • January:  Coldest month of the year, clear and sunny skies, snowy in the northern part of the country, best month for skiing and winter activities.
  • February:  Second coldest month of the year, still great for skiing in the mountains, yet you can start seeing spring plum blossoms further south in the country.

Best things to do in the winter in Japan

Best Time to Visit Japan Snow Monkey Hot Spring

We have a huge list of all the best things to do during winter in Japan , but here are some highlights:

  • Go skiing or snowboarding
  • Visit traditional villages like Shirakawa-go , which is stunning after a fresh show
  • Go to the Sapporo Snow Festival (held for one week in February)
  • Soak in an onsen (natural hot spring)
  • Fill your belly with hot ramen noodle soup
  • See “snow monkeys” at Jigokudani Monkey Park
  • View Mount Fuji
  • Photograph famous sights with a blanket of snow
  • Check out some of Tokyo’s best activities that take place indoors

Best times and places to ski in Japan

  • Sapporo:  December – March
  • Nagano:  January – February

Winter is the best season to travel to Japan if…

  • …you don’t mind colder temperatures
  • …you want to ski or snowboard
  • …you want to avoid the crowds
  • …you want to save money and travel during off-peak season

What to pack for winter in Japan

  • Lots of layers, including a versatile jacket, gloves and a hat
  • Warm and comfortable footwear and socks
  • Sunglasses (remember, this season has the sunniest days!)
  • Hand warmers (you can buy these pretty much everywhere in Japan)
  • Ski gear (if needed)

Nakasendo Japan

With stunning  sakura  (cherry blossoms) popping up all around the country and temperatures warming, it should come as no surprise that spring is a popular time to visit Japan. A  very  popular time, indeed.

If you travel to Japan in the spring, you’ll be rewarded with comfortable temperatures, beautiful blossoms, and  crowds .

  • When is spring in Japan?  From March – May
  • Typical weather in Japan during the spring:  Nice during the day, but chilly at night. Mostly sunny days with a more showers near the end of May.
  • Average spring temperatures:  40 ° F – 70 ° F (Tokyo) (4 ° C – 21 ° C)
  • comfortable temperatures
  • beautiful cherry blossoms
  • crowded (make travel plans far in advance!)
  • things may be more expensive since it is peak season

What is Golden Week in Japan?

“Golden Week” is a series of four national holidays that all fall within the same week from April 29th – May 5th every year.

  • April 29, Showa Day:  birthday of Emperor Showa, who ruled the country during World War II.
  • May 3, Constitution Day ( Kenpo kinenbi ):  called  ,  this is the celebration of the Japanese constitution ratification in 1947.
  • May 4, Green Day ( Midori no hi ):  similar to Earth Day, this holiday honors the environment.
  • Pssst! For everyone else out there wondering why they don’t include young girls in this, there is a “Girls’ Festival” (Hina Matsuri) on March 3rd.

Many Japanese people have holiday from work during this time, so it is a popular time to travel for both international and domestic visitors.

If your trip falls during these dates (or even a bit before and after), you’ll have the unique opportunity to see some celebrations and mingle with lots of Japanese travelers.

But be warned, you should start booking your accommodation well in advance because rooms sell out in popular places, like Kyoto, for example. You’ll also want to reserve seats on trains ahead of your trip, otherwise you’ll be out of luck.

Should you avoid visiting during Golden Week in Japan?

I’m going to be honest, I don’t think we would travel to Japan during Golden Week because of the insane crowds.

If you want to see Cherry Blossom but aren’t excited about the prospect of crowds, we’d urge you to avoid Golden Week, and instead travel to Japan during early March.

When and where can you see cherry blossoms?

Best Time to Visit Japan Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms are only in bloom for roughly one week per location. They bloom at different times throughout the country, so if you want to extend the length of time you can view them, it’s best to travel south to north so you can see them for a longer period of time.

We have an entire guide to how you can see the cherry blossoms during Spring in Japan , but in short, here are some of the best times to go:

  • Fukuoka: Late March – Early April
  • Hiroshima: Late March – Early April
  • Kyoto: First Week of April (very popular)
  • Osaka: First Week of April (very popular)
  • Tokyo: Late March – Early April (very popular)
  • Kanazawa: 1st – 2nd week in April
  • Matsumoto: 2nd- 3rd week in April
  • Sapporo: Late April – Early May

Spring months at a glance

Shirakawa-go Japan

  • March:  Temperatures are still cool, but it noticeably warms throughout the month. Skiing season in the mountains is starting to wind down, and toward the end of the month the first cherry blossoms start to reveal themselves.
  • April:  This is the prime month for cherry blossom viewing, though many Japanese people have a whole week off from work (Golden Week), so most major cherry blossom sites will be incredibly crowded.
  • May:  Very nice weather during the month of May — warm temperatures and sunny skies. Though it is technically the start of typhoon season, strong storms are very rare during the month of May.

Best things to do in the spring in Japan

  • Head to Kyoto to photograph sakura (aka cherry blossoms) of course!
  • Catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji
  • Try some interesting new foods in Japan
  • Take a day trip from Osaka to Hiroshima to check out some of the city’s super important historical sites

Spring is the best season to travel if…

  • …you don’t mind crowds
  • …you want comfortable temperatures (not too cold or too hot)
  • …you want to see the famous cherry blossoms
  • …you can make your bookings well in advance
  • …you don’t mind paying a bit more for hotels and tours during peak season

What to pack for spring in Japan

  • Thicker layers if traveling in March
  • Light jacket for April and May
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Hiking attire if you plan to hit the trails

Best Time to Visit Japan Summer in Japan Swimming

Summer in Japan is the time for festivals and celebrations. The summer spans from June to August, with August being the busiest travel month because school is out and many Japanese people travel over the Obon holiday (August 13-15).

(Unlucky for us, we unknowingly decided to visit Japan for our second time in August…whoops!)

Be prepare on ways to beat the humidity because it can get pretty sticky. Also it’s rainy season and the start of typhoon season, so don’t forget your rain jacket and umbrella

  • When is summer in Japan?  June – August
  • Typical weather in Japan during the summer:  Hot, humid, sticky, and rainy. But not as bad as everyone makes it out to be.
  • Average summer temperatures:  70 ° F – 90 ° F (Tokyo) (21 ° C – 32 ° C)
  • Festivals throughout the country during the summer months
  • Prime season for outdoor activities like hiking
  • great time to try scuba diving in Japan
  • can get very humid
  • rain is common at the beginning of summer (June – mid-July), and typhoons are common at the end of summer (August – September)

How bad is the heat in summer, really?

Best Time to Visit Japan Summer in Japan Hiking

Over the last few years, I’ve realized I don’t handle extreme heat very well. I get tired and crabby much more quickly in the heat. Needless to say, I was very nervous about traveling to Japan during August — the hottest month of the year!

So what was it like?

Well, it did get pretty hot, like 98°F hot (37°C). And it did rain on us a few times but typically it would only last for 20-30 minutes and the rain would stop.

Some days were worse than others. After a rain, for example, it was actually pretty comfortable.

We’ve heard that summer in Tokyo is similar to summer in NYC, hot and humid. And Osaka in summer is similar to Washington D.C. in the summer, which is even more hot and humid. 

Knowing what to expect is half the battle , and this way you can prepare yourself for it.

All of our accommodation (even in tiny villages) had strong AC, so we never had an issue with being comfortable at night.

Summer months at a glance

  • June:  The beginning of the month is quite nice, comparable to the weather in May. However,  tsuyu  (rainy season) starts around mid-June and last for about a month. It’s not rainy all day but there is a June gloom feeling that hangs around. Temperatures get warmer and the humidity increases as the month progresses.
  • July:  Starts out rainy because of  tsuyu  (rainy season), this only lasts until mid-July. Temperatures and humidity continue to rise as this is typically the second hottest month of the year. Great time to see festivals including Kyoto famous Gion Matsuri festival.
  • August:  The hottest month of the year in Japan. August is a good time to venture into the mountains to escape the heat. Many Japanese have August 13th-15th off because of Obon holiday, so try to avoid this time because it can get busy.

Best things to do in the summer in Japan

Best Time to Visit Japan Summer in Japan

We have another guide to things to do during summer in Japan , but here are some top recommendations:

  • Check out Tokyo’s digital art museum on a day that’s too hot or rainy to be outside
  • Enjoy festivals including Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and Osaka’s Tenjin Matsuri
  • Go hiking through the Japanese Alps or venture up to Hokkaido
  • Scuba diving (apparently the diving is actually really good in Japan!)
  • Head to the beach
  • Watch a baseball game
Ever thought of going  scuba diving in Japan ?  Being an island nation, the diving in Japan is actually quite good, and being an off the radar scuba destinations means less crowded dive sites! If you are visiting Japan in the summer time, you’ll have the best conditions for diving all over the country.

Summer is the best season to travel if…

  • …you don’t mind humidity and a bit of rain
  • …you like outdoor activities like hiking and biking
  • …you want to experience cultural festivals

What to pack for summer in Japan

  • Anti-chafing cream
  • Hand-held fan (you can buy these all over and they make a nice Japanese souvenir )
  • Deodorant, finding quality deodorant in Japan is very difficult (we switched to natural deodorant several years ago and will never go back!)
  • Light, loose clothing that wicks sweat
  • Umbrella for rain and shade

Fall in Japan

With typhoon season peaking at the beginning of September, the start of fall in Japan is typically rainy depending on where you are. However, the weather starts to clear up in October and by November the leaves are changing.

We visited Japan in November 2023 and put together this guide to autumn in Japan that’s full of useful info.

  • When is autumn in Japan?  September – November
  • Typical weather in Japan during the autumn:  Rainy in September and beginning of October because of typhoon season
  • Average autumn temperatures:  50 ° F – 80 ° F (Tokyo) (10 ° C – 27 ° C)
  • nice temperatures
  • beautiful fall foliage in countryside
  • September can be a pretty humid and rainy month, but it starts to get better in October

When can you see fall foliage in Japan?

The colorful leaves peak a bit later than other places in the Northern Hemisphere, like North America and Europe. The best display of autumn colors can typically be seen toward the end of November and even through the beginning of December.

You can find past and current reports of fall foliage here .

Autumn months at a glance

  • September:  peak of typhoon season in the southern prefectures, there can be airport and train delays. But it is the month with the least amount of visitors so it will be less busy.
  • October:  rainy in the beginning of the month but the temperatures start to drop making going outside more manageable.
  • November:  cool, crisp and dry time of year. Autumn foliage peaks near the end of November

Best things to do during the fall in Japan

Nara Japan

  • Hike the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail
  • Sneak some views of Mount Fuji
  • See the fall foliage on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
  • Eat sweet treats like deep fried maple leaves in Minoo Park
  • Travel to Osaka for leaf peeping in the parks

Autumn is the best season to travel if…

  • …you are seeking comfortable temperatures
  • …you would like to see (and photograph!) fall foliage
  • …you want to explore the major cities
  • …you like to avoid crowds
  • …you enjoy cool and crisp air

What to pack for fall  in Japan

  • Umbrella just in case it rains
  • Light jacket for November

Holidays & festivals in Japan

Where to stay in Tokyo | Asakusa Tokyo Japan

It’s a good idea to check the calendar before booking your flight to Japan, as there are many national holidays that can affect your travels.

Some of these festivals will be fun to observe, but they can also mean trains book up quickly and hotels mark up their rates for peak times.

Here are some of the (not all!) big holiday dates to know:

  • January 1:  New Year’s Day (people often travel on the days before and after)
  • February 11:  Foundation Day
  • Around March 20 – 21:  Vernal (Spring) Equinox Day
  • April 29 – May 5:  Golden Week
  • 3rd Monday in July:  Marine Day
  • August 11:  Mountain Day
  • August 13 – 15 : Obon
  • 3rd Monday in September:  Respect for the Aged Day
  • Around September 22 – 23:  Autumn Equinox Day 
  • October 1:  Citizens Day 
  • 2nd Monday in October:  Health and Sports Day
  • November 3:  Culture Day
  • November 23 : Labor Thanksgiving Day 
  • December 23:  Emperor’s Birthday

Festivals in Japan

In Japan, festivals are called  matsuri  and they take place all year long. This is a list of some of the more unique festivals in Japan.

  • Jan 15:  Nozawa Fire Festival , in Nagano, Japan
  • Feb 5-12:  Sapporo Yuki Matsuri  (Snow Festival), Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • Late March:  Sumo Wrestling Spring Basho , Osaka
  • Early June:  The Kaiko Kinenbi , Yokohama Port Opening Ceremony (Boat Races)
  • July:  Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri  (Star Festival), Hiratsuka
  • Late July:  Tenjin Matsuri  (Festival of the Gods), Osaka
  • October:  Warai Festival  (Laughing Festival), Wakayama

Best time of year to travel to Japan based on activity

Check the list below to find the activities you’re most interested in doing while in Japan. See what time of year is best to help you decide when to plan your trip.

  • Photography:  Spring or Fall
  • Beating the crowds:  Winter
  • Hiking:  Spring, Summer or Winter
  • Skiing/Snowboarding:  Winter
  • Onsens:  Winter, Spring or Fall
  • Scuba Diving:  Summer
  • Beach Hopping:  Summer
  • Spotting Mount Fuji:  Late Fall, Winter, early Spring
  • Festivals and Celebrations:  All year!

In our opinion…

Us wearing Yakata that was provided by our guesthouse.

We’ve traveled to Japan in both the summer and the wintertime, and each had its own pros and cons.

Summer was hot and humid—like really humid—so we found ourselves sweating through our shirts daily. But we’ve been in hot and humid climates before, so honestly, it wasn’t anything we hadn’t dealt with before. But still, it wasn’t all that pleasant, and it wouldn’t be our season of choice.

The wintertime was picturesque in the countryside where the snow stuck to the ground. And in the big cities, we actually got many sunny, blue sky days which was a surprise. The cold temperatures made it fun to pop into cozy noodle shops or soak in hot onsens, whereas those activities were not quite so pleasant in the August heat.

We preferred winter over summer, because the crowds were fewer and we’re accustomed to cold weather, so we found it to be quite mild actually.

However, if we were able to choose, we would without a doubt, travel to Japan in the fall: early November, specifically.

November has a smaller chance of rain than October, and more comfortable temperatures than December.

The temperatures will have cooled off from the crazy summer humidity, yet it wouldn’t be too cold for hiking. It wouldn’t have quite the same crazy crowds as cherry blossom season brings. And fall foliage in Japan is something we’ve been dreaming about seeing!

Alternatively, early March would offer the beginnings of cherry blossom season, comfortable weather, and less crowds than those you’ll find late April and early May during Golden Week.

How many days do you need in Japan?

couple holding hands in Japan

There’s so much to see and do in Japan that it can be overwhelming trying to decide how long your trip should be. Ideally, 2-3 weeks  will give you enough time to see iconic and lesser-known sights as well as recover from a long travel day and potentially a big time difference.

But the ideal duration for your trip depends on several factors, including destinations you want to visit and your travel style. Our guide to how many days to spend in Japan will help you figure out how much time you need based on what you want to do.

What to pack for traveling to Japan

Mt Fuji Japan autumn

We know it can be overwhelming packing for a trip to a new destination. That’s why we spent hours creating these super helpful guides full of  packing hacks and tips for traveling in Japan  that you won’t find anywhere else:

  • Our  Japan packing guide  lists all the essentials (many of which you might not think about), as well as what you should NOT pack for a trip to Japan.
  • This article on  what to wear in Japan  will help you create a perfect capsule wardrobe for every season and let you in on some cultural taboos so you can be sure to dress appropriately.
  • With this  FREE Japan packing list PDF download , we’ll send checklists straight to your inbox for everything from clothing and toiletries (for both women and men!) to what shoes to pack and extra stuff you may want to have on-hand just in case. Click the image below to get your free copy!

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More resources for traveling in Japan

We have TONS of resources on travel in Japan and destinations throughout the country. Check out our  Ultimate Japan Travel Guide  for all the answers to your most burning questions, or read some of our favorite articles below!

  • Japan Rail Pass: Where to Buy & Is It Worthwhile?
  • Trip to Japan Cost: Tips for Budget Travel in Japan
  • Japan Pocket Wifi vs. Japanese SIM Card: Review & Comparison
  • Best Japan Travel Apps
  • Expert Tips for Visiting Japan (Dos & Don’ts!)
  • Ultimate Japan Travel Guide: Everything You Need to Know for Your First Trip to Japan
  • Helpful Japanese Words & Phrases to Know for Traveling in Japan 

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Best Time to Visit Japan | Two Wandering Soles

We’d love to hear from you!

What season sounds best to you? Why? Do you have any more questions after reading this article? We’ll try our best to bet back to you!

Comments (11) on “ Best Time to Visit Japan: When to Go & When to Avoid! ”

Such a nice article. Thanks for sharing

Thanks, buddy, I really want to visit Japan, and your post makes me more excited about the Japan tour

Thank you so much!! Love the recommendations and help!! Will Use this to Plan my trip

It was a nice post. Pictures were overwhelming !!!!!!

I want to travels Japan

Thanks for sharing

Awesome tips! 👌 My question would be, is there any pro or cons going the last week in May to beginning of June. Looking at 2 weeks. Fukuoka & Tokyo. 😊 TIA!

Did you end up going during that time? We’re going this year in that exact time; late My early June for two weeks.

Want to visit Japan for a conducted tour of 15 days and am thinking of mid September to early October.

Very well article. Thank you very much. This is the first article I read for the trip we are planning. The details were amazing. 🙂

Where was the picture under “summer months at a glance” (with Katie walking up the steps) taken? It’s absolutely beautiful, and I’d love to go there when I visit!

At first, all your pictures are Wonderful. Nice interpretation?

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The Best, Worst, and Most Affordable Times to Visit Japan

Whether you want to see the cherry blossoms or avoid the crowds, these are the best times to visit Japan.

A snowy getaway in Hokkaido, a beach vacation in Okinawa, or a photography trip to capture cherry blossoms in Tokyo — the best time to visit Japan depends entirely on what you want to do when you arrive.

As a country with a seemingly endless amount of activities and festivals on offer throughout the year, there really isn't a bad time to visit. But if you're interested in shrine-hopping in Kyoto, seeing the pink hues of cherry blossoms, or gazing at fall foliage, you'll want to carefully time your visit. Here are the tourist seasons to be aware of when planning your trip.

  • High Season: March to May and September to November
  • Shoulder Seasons:  June to August and December
  • Low Season:  January to March

Use this guide to find the perfect time for your dream trip to Japan.

Best Times to Visit Japan for Smaller Crowds

Travelers from all over the world come to Japan to admire the cherry blossoms, so it should come as no surprise that sakura season (late March to April) marks the busiest time for tourism. Domestic travelers also take advantage of Golden Week (a series of four national holidays in Japan) from the end of April to the beginning of May. You'll want to avoid visiting during that time, unless you meticulously plan ahead, since trains, hotels, and sightseeing spots can often be overcrowded or booked out entirely. Stunning foliage tends to draw crowds in the autumn, especially when the leaves reach their colorful peak between mid-October and early November.

If you're looking to avoid the crowds, plan your visit during the rainy season, which typically begins in June and lasts until mid-July. Though this period tends to be humid and drizzly, it's one of the best times to enjoy the popular tourist spots without the crowds. Japan is also quieter between January and March, making it a perfect time to pair sightseeing with snow sports and onsen visits.

Best Times to Visit Japan for Good Weather

Japan, while not especially large, is surprisingly varied when it comes to weather. Frigid winters at the northernmost tip of Hokkaido make the subtropical islands of southern Okinawa seem worlds away. The rainy season typically runs from early June to mid-July throughout most of the country — Tokyo included — except in Okinawa where showers begin in early May. Meanwhile, in Hokkaido, summertime brings mild temperatures and blue skies.

If you aren't hitting the ski slopes, March to May and September to November are generally considered the best times to visit the country for pleasant weather. That's when travelers can find the iconic cherry blossoms that seem straight out of a postcard, or, on the other hand, vivid autumnal leaves. During these seasons, rainfall is minimal, skies are clear, and temperatures are mild, ranging from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit most days.

For those not averse to heat and humidity, summer brings a different tempo to Japan. It's a time of year perfect for exploring nature — ideally, somewhere cool up a mountain or as far north as possible. The lusciously cooler climes of Hokkaido are heaven in the summer, with rainbow-bright flower fields and countless outdoor activities, from hiking to horseback riding.

In the winter, the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido is undeniably the best place to ski or snowboard, but areas outside of Tokyo, such as Niigata, are only a Shinkansen ride away and boast great alpine resorts. Those who prefer the warmth would do best to fly south to Okinawa during the winter for a more subtropical climate.

Best Times to Visit Japan for Lower Prices

Japan has a reputation for being a pricey destination, but there are times of year when it's less expensive to visit. During the low season, between January and March, you may be able to find deals on airfare and hotel rooms. Prices tend to spike during the holiday season, especially around the New Year, so it's best to avoid the beginning of January if you're trying to save money.

Costs rise again in late March and April for the peak cherry blossom season and remain high throughout the spring and summer. For your best bet of scoring reasonably priced accommodations while also enjoying mild weather, aim to visit in September or October.

Best Times to Visit Tokyo Disneyland

Spring and autumn are generally the best, most temperate times of year to visit Tokyo Disneyland. It's worth avoiding weekends and national holidays — particularly Golden Week, which is one of the busiest periods at the theme park. The extreme heat in July and August can make it difficult to enjoy outdoor attractions. On the other hand, the temperatures rarely exceed 50 degrees in January and February, making those months less popular.

The period from mid-September through the beginning of December offers a combination of pleasant weather, thinner crowds, and seasonal entertainment. Spooky decorations and fall-themed events can be enjoyed in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Starting in November, the theme park celebrates the holiday season with its Christmas at Tokyo Disney Resort programming, which includes magical parades, characters in festive costumes, and heart-warming decorations that help offset the chill in the air.

Best Time to Visit Japan for Cherry Blossoms

If you're hoping to time your visit to Japan with the peak cherry blossom season, bear in mind that the bloom dates vary depending on the weather. The cherry blossom front — meticulously studied and broadcasted across the country — edges its way up, starting at the southernmost tip of Japan as early as January. The best times for cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Tokyo, and the surrounding regions are often from the last week of March to the first week of April. And for more northerly cities such as Sapporo? Don't expect to see any pink at least until May.

Best Times to Visit Japan for Food Lovers

Japan is a great destination for food lovers year-round — but it's also seasonal. So, if you have a favorite Japanese cuisine or ingredient, it's worth finding out when to visit to avoid missing out completely. Summertime treats include light, cool sōmen noodles, kakigōri shaved ice, and delicious unagi (eel); autumn is heaven for matsutake mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and sanma (Pacific saury); winter is all about warming nabe hot pots, citrus fruits, and kaki (persimmon); and spring goes hand in hand with sea bream, takenoko (bamboo shoots), and sakura mochi rice cakes.

Worst Times to Visit Japan

While there's no bad time to visit Japan, some months are worse than others, depending on your goals. If pleasant weather is a priority, avoid the rainy season, which typically runs from early June to mid-July throughout Japan (except in Okinawa, where it begins in May). This period is often preceded by extreme heat and humidity, with cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto being especially unbearable during the peak summer months of July and August.

Those looking to save money and avoid crowds should steer clear of Golden Week, which runs from the end of April to the beginning of May. This is when many domestic travelers take their holidays, so expect higher prices, less availability at hotels, and larger crowds.

The best times to visit Japan

Jordi Lippe-McGraw

Editor's Note

There are many reasons visitors flock to Japan , the Land of the Rising Sun.

Here, you can immerse yourself in ancient traditions intertwined with modern innovation while appreciating majestic temples that coexist with bustling city streets. Each season paints a different picturesque landscape, creating something new to admire with every visit.

Given all the unique aspects of this captivating country, deciding on the best time to visit Japan can seem daunting. Fortunately, there are several times that stand out, whether you wish to witness the magical cherry blossom season, visit Tokyo Disney Resort or take advantage of flight and accommodation deals .

Here's everything you need to know about the best times to visit Japan so you can plan a memorable trip based on your priorities.

When to go to Japan for good weather

peak time to travel to japan

Japan's weather pattern exhibits four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Each season offers its own unique attractions and experiences to enjoy.

Spring (March to May) is renowned for its cherry blossoms and comfortable temperatures. With most days hovering between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you'll generally find perfect conditions for outdoor activities like hiking and biking.

Japan's summer (June to August) can be hot and humid, often exceeding 80 degrees. Even with the heat, the season draws visitors keen on trekking the country's stunning mountains and lounging on its beaches. Also, summer's long daylight hours allow ample time to get outside and experience all the country has to offer, including numerous vibrant festivals.

Autumn (September to November) brings a refreshing break from summer's humidity. The temperatures range from 50 to 70 degrees, making it possible to comfortably enjoy various outdoor activities. The changing colors of fall foliage , known as koyo ("red leaves" in Japanese) or momiji (the Japanese word for the red-tinted maple leaves in the fall), transform Japan's landscapes into riotous red, orange and gold hues.

Lastly, winter (December to February) can be cold, especially in the northern regions with heavy snowfall. Despite the chilly conditions — average temperatures sit between 40 and 50 degrees — winter illuminations and opportunities for snow sports in Japan's world-class ski resorts make the season a worthwhile time to visit.

While temperatures vary widely from season to season, each time of year brings noteworthy opportunities. The best time to visit for superb weather ultimately depends on your interests and preferences.

Related: Reader success story: How this couple used travel rewards to cover an epic $50,000 anniversary trip to Asia

Best times to witness Japan's festivals

peak time to travel to japan

Japan's festivals, known as matsuri, are colorful, vibrant affairs that provide unique insights into the country's cultural and spiritual life.

One of Japan's most renowned festivals takes place every summer in Kyoto. Gion Matsuri, a monthlong celebration in July, features elaborate processions with traditional yama and hoko floats.

If you're a fan of lively dance, the Awa Odori festival, held every August in Tokushima on Shikoku Island, is a must-see. It's one of Japan's most prominent dance festivals and is part of the Obon season, a Buddhist event that honors the spirits of ancestors. Thousands of dancers fill the streets to perform the characteristic Awa dance while spectators cheer, creating infectious joy and excitement.

As autumn begins, visitors head to Osaka to attend the Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri. Held annually in Kishiwada, this September festival is among Japan's most thrilling. It is known for its danjiri (ornately decorated wooden floats), which local teams pull through the city streets at incredible speeds. This daring festival is a heart-stopping spectacle that symbolizes community strength and unity.

The Takayama Festival, a charming event in the mountainous city of Takayama, is another one you won't want to miss. Taking place twice a year in October and April, the festival showcases traditional Japanese puppet theater, mikoshi processions and stunning lantern displays.

For winter visits, time your arrival around the Sapporo Snow Festival in February. This spectacular event in Sapporo showcases massive snow and ice sculptures, attracting millions of visitors.

Or, end the year with a flourish by partaking in December's Chichibu Night Festival. A fantastic winter event in Chichibu, just 90 minutes northwest of Tokyo, this celebration is considered one of Japan's top festivals featuring floats — and for a good reason. The dazzling floats adorned with intricate woodwork, detailed tapestries and gilded decorations are a sight to behold. Additionally, the festival includes a spectacular fireworks display, adding a sparkling finale to the year.

Best time to see cherry blossoms in Japan

peak time to travel to japan

Japan's cherry blossom (or sakura) season is a treasured time when landscapes transform into romantic canvases splashed with delicate pink hues. Sakura season typically begins in late March and runs through early April, though the exact timing varies from year to year and from south to north.

Popular cherry blossom viewing spots include Ueno Park and Chidorigafuchi in Tokyo, Maruyama Park in Kyoto and Hirosaki Park in Aomori. Hanami parties, where people gather under blooming sakura trees for picnics and celebrations, frequently occur during this time of year and shouldn't be missed.

Flower-watching celebrations happen across Japan from mid-March through early May, though peak bloom dates vary slightly depending on location. For 2024, the earliest peak bloom dates are expected by March 26 in Kochi, with peak bloom estimated for March 30 in Tokyo and April 1 in Kyoto. For estimated dates for more than 1,000 viewing locations, see the Japan Meteorological Corporation's 2024 forecast.

Related: The best places to see cherry blossoms around the US

Best time for skiing in Japan

peak time to travel to japan

Japan's winter sports scene is internationally recognized thanks to its powdery snow, top-notch facilities and stunning mountain scenery. The onset of snowfall typically occurs in mid-November on the northern island of Hokkaido, resulting in the first ski resorts — usually Niseko, Rusutsu and Kiroro — beginning to open during the third week of that month.

Related: How (and why) to plan a ski trip to Niseko, Japan, with points and miles

The powder snow, renowned in Japan, is usually abundant from December to February. For those seeking optimal powder conditions, January and February are the recommended months to visit. On Honshu, Japan's main island, Nagano — the host of the 1998 Winter Olympics — also offers excellent skiing opportunities at resorts like Hakuba.

Related: Why it might be cheaper to fly abroad to ski

Best times to visit Tokyo Disney Resort

peak time to travel to japan

Visiting Tokyo Disney Resort, home of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, is a magical experience for all ages, with thrilling rides, enchanting parades and a chance to meet beloved Disney characters.

The parks are open throughout the year, but if you want to avoid the largest crowds, consider visiting between mid-January and mid-March or between mid-September and mid-November. The weather is generally comfortable during these periods, with fewer local and international tourists.

To truly bypass hordes of tourists, avoid visiting during Japan's major holiday periods, such as Golden Week (late April to early May) and Obon (mid-August), as these are peak times for domestic travel and can result in overcrowded conditions.

Related: A beginners guide to visiting Tokyo: Everything you need to eat, see and do

Cheapest times to visit Japan

peak time to travel to japan

For budget-conscious travelers, visiting Japan during the shoulder seasons — late May to early June and late November to early December — can be more economical. These times fall right after Golden Week in spring and autumn's koyo season but before the busy summer and winter holidays. You'll find fewer tourists, so flight prices can be significantly cheaper, costing up to 18% less than the average yearly prices, according to Skyscanner. Hotel rates also historically take a dip in these slower seasons.

In addition to the shoulder seasons, winter is an excellent time to visit when sticking to a tight budget. Japan becomes notably affordable once you steer clear of the holiday season. Moreover, from mid-January to mid-March, you can relish the added benefit of experiencing a less congested environment while out and about.

Related: The best ways to travel to Japan with points and miles

Bottom line

Ultimately, the best time to visit Japan depends on your interests and the experience you wish to have. Whether you want to view the ephemeral sakura, ski down powdery slopes, immerse yourself in vibrant festivals or witness the magic of Tokyo Disney Resort, Japan always has something to offer.

Each season and festival has its unique charm and allure, inviting you to uncover the multifaceted beauty of this incredible nation.

Related reading:

  • 2024 cherry blossom forecast announced for Japan
  • Peak bloom date announced: Best time to see DC's cherry blossoms in
  • The 11 best hotels in Tokyo for your next Japan getaway
  • Teppanyaki: Norwegian Cruise Line's take on the art of Japanese grilling (with menu)
  • The best ways to travel to Japan with points and miles

When is the best time to visit Japan?

David McElhinney

Mar 26, 2024 • 8 min read

peak time to travel to japan

Find out more about Japan's distinct seasons and when is the best time for you to visit © anek.soowannaphoom / Shutterstock

Japan may be small, but with its captivating blend of tradition and modernity – and bustling cities and stunning countryside – it offers a mighty experience to visitors. No matter when you choose to visit, you'll be on a trip of a lifetime in Japan .

In spring, the blossoming of the sakura (cherry blossom trees) creates a beautiful natural display that transforms the country into a vision in pink, luring travelers from all over the globe. Fall ushers in the resplendent koyo (autumn foliage) season, while summer opens the two-month window for summiting Mt Fuji. Winter is a great time for skiers, as Japan’s slopes are dusted with some of the finest powder on the planet. 

Whether you’re looking to dive into the crowded streets of downtown Tokyo or find zen-like peace amongst tree-cloaked mountains, there’s a season that’s right for you in Japan.

Here’s a guide to choosing the perfect time to visit Japan.

Cherry blossom trees in bloom with people taking photos at dusk

April and May is the time for cherry blossoms and art

The cherry blossom season from April to May is the peak travel period in Japan. Locals and tourists flock to parks, gardens, tree-lined brooks and castle moats to partake in hanami , the annual ritual of observing the spring blossom. Picnicking under a canopy of cherry blossoms is a top bucket-list experience, and popular seasonal foods range from cherry blossom-flavored desserts and pastries to burger buns and noodles infused with earthy cherry notes.

This is a popular time to visit Japan with good reason, but you should also weigh up the undeniable beauty with the drawback of the vast crowds and the increased prices.

The cherry blossoms arrive and depart over a two-week period, dictated by weather patterns and local geography, and the exact timing can be tricky to predict in advance . Along Japan's so-called “Golden Route” – a popular tourist trail running along the east coast in the center of the country – the flowers typically emerge between late March and early April, so April is a fairly reliable month to book a trip.

Save this guide to the best places for cherry blossom viewing in Japan.

As the last petals fall, there is little reprieve for crowd-weary travelers. Golden Week arrives in early May, with warm and sunny weather and a string of national holidays. Hotel and flight prices soar as the crowds surge into Japan's cities, and public transport, city streets, shrines, temples, museums and other tourist attractions are crammed with sightseers. 

In mountainous areas, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting and camping are popular activities, though high-altitude trails may not open until July. 

In the cities, it’s the season for exploring by bike, on parkland strolls or sitting out in rooftop beer gardens – the Omohara Forest on the 6th floor of Omotesando’s Tokyu Plaza mall is a recommended spot for a tipple.

Tokyo’s spring sumo tournament also takes place in May, as well as the explosion of culture that is the Roppongi Art Night.

Summer fireworks over the Sumida river at night in Tokyo Japan

June and July are great for alpine hikes and Tokyo fireworks

June and July are the best months for hiking in the Japanese Alps, and nature enthusiasts flock to the great outdoors. Mountain escapes are perfect for adventurous travelers looking to escape the cities as the summer heat brews. 

Early June is lovely, but by the end of the month, tsuyu (the rainy season) sets in. Many Japanese hikers will call off a day in the mountains at the slightest threat of rain, meaning hiking trails usually escape the mid-summer crowds. For the same reason, June is a good time to take advantage of cheaper hotel and flight prices.

The rainy season passes in July, though the damp weather can linger for the first couple of weeks, bringing gray and gloomy skies. Firework festivals are big business in Japan in July, launching tens of thousands of rockets into the night skies over major cities, while Tanabata, the festival of star-crossed lovers, sees locals don traditional kimono and yukata robes and head out in search of romance.  

Taking a yakatabune (riverboat) tour during the 300-year-old Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival in Tokyo is strongly recommended; it's well worth the high price tag to avoid the gargantuan crowds (which can reach up to one million people).

It gets very hot and humid as July draws to a close; savvy travelers head to cooler Hokkaidō or the Japanese Alps or hit the slopes of Mt Fuji, which opens to hikers in the middle of the month.

August can mean blistering temperatures in Japan

Mid-August is the start of the busy O-Bon (Festival of the Dead) season – the summer counterpart to Golden Week. National holidays, colorful festivals and blistering temperatures (over 38°C/100°F) keep sights crowded and accommodations expensive (and often fully booked). 

Many Japanese return to their hometowns or go on domestic vacations, so transport is hectic, and hotel prices soar. For a slightly calmer experience, head to the Okinawa Islands in the far southwest, where it's peak scuba diving season. The world's largest cosplay festival draws huge crowds to Nagoya City – book well in advance to secure accommodations.

Cooler mountain destinations are also popular in August, and Mt Fuji hosts hundreds of thousands of hikers during the mid-July to mid-September climbing season. Overnight summiteers should book mountain lodges well before starting the ascent. As August gives way to September, there's a brief lull before things pick up again during the fall foliage season.

Japanese family of father and mother in their 40’s and their 7 year old daughter are enjoying autumn foliage at the corridor of Hojo (the living quarters of head priest) of Tofuku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan..Tofuku-ji Temple, which was founded in 1236, is the head temple of the Tofuku-ji School of Rinzai Sect of Zen Buddhism

September to November is best for hiking through fall foliage

In September, days are still warm – hot even – but less humid. Though the odd typhoon rolls through at this time of year, major cities are well-equipped to deal with bad weather, and this is generally a great time to travel in Japan.

Coastal towns such as Kamakura and Shimoda on the Izu Peninsula provide the perfect combo of sunny afternoons, beachfront Airbnbs and temperate waters, making this a great time to hit the beach .

In late September, autumn colors start to paint the mountains and the north in vivid tones, and the wave of color moves slowly south across the country. The radiant foliage of deciduous trees, from golden ginkgos to vermillion Momiji trees, lures crowds to ancient gardens and well-worn mountain trails. Jazz music fills the streets of Sendai City and lures devoted fans during the  Jōzenji Street Jazz Festival .

Pleasantly warm days and cool evenings make October an excellent time to be in Japan. Fall foliage brings a blaze of color to the Japanese Alps, providing a stunning backdrop to its myriad mountain trails. Alternatively, stroll idly along Yokohama ’s fetching harbor before draining a few steins at the city’s annual Oktoberfest.

Late November is the most scenic time for hiking through the forests of Mt Takao and Mt Mitake on the outskirts of Tokyo, though early mornings and weekdays are recommended to avoid the weekend crush. The autumn leaves linger much longer than the cherry blossoms, so there’s less urgency among locals to charge up, and it's a quieter experience than the spring melee to view sakura .

In old daimyo (feudal lord) gardens, such as Rikugi-en in Tokyo and Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, the fiery leaves are illuminated after nightfall.

A small Japanese child sits playing in the snow on a ski slope

December to March is the best time for snow and winter festivities

In winter, most sights are uncrowded and accommodation is at its cheapest – except in Japan's ski resorts. Snow bunnies insist that Japan has some of the finest powder on the planet, particularly on the slopes of Hokkaidō in the far north. 

December brings blue skies and cold temperatures across most of Japan. Bonenkai (year-end parties) fill city bars and restaurants, commercial strips are decorated with seasonal illuminations, and small Christmas markets sell mulled wine and festive trinkets.

Stick to the cities for New Year – many Japanese businesses shut down from December 29/30 to between January 3 and 6, but temples get busy. Local celebrations include Toshikoshi Soba, where locals eat soba noodles to usher in the New Year, and Joya-no-kane, the ringing of New Year bells.

Japan comes to life again in the second week of January, after the lull of the New Year holidays. Snow blankets the mountains of Hokkaidō and the country’s northern reaches. Major resorts such as Hokkaidō’s Niseko and Hakuba in Nagano host Olympic-quality slopes and are well set up for non-Japanese-speaking tourists. Be sure to finish off the day with a rejuvenating dip in one of Japan’s many onsens (hot spring bathhouses). 

February is the coldest month of the year, and this is the time to warm your insides with hot sake and steaming bowls of ramen noodles. It's still high season on the ski slopes, but if you prefer admiring the snow to slaloming down it, head to Hokkaidō for the annual Sapporo Snow Festival (Yuki Matsuri) – where enormous, intricately crafted snow and ice sculptures are showcased throughout Sapporo City.

In central and southern parts of Japan,  ume (plum trees) start to blossom. Seek them out in gardens such as the legendary Kairaku-en in Mito.

Winter stumbles to a close in March. The month usually lives up to the old Japanese saying, sankan-shion – three days cold, four days warm. When the haru-ichiban (first spring wind) arrives, you can sense in the air that better days are just around the corner.

Meanwhile, the festival season gets into full swing from the Omizutori Fire Festival at Nara’s Tōdai-ji temple to the curiously translocated "I Love Ireland" Festival and St Patrick’s Day parade in Tokyo in mid-March.

Keep planning your trip to Japan:

Start writing your Japan bucket list with these the top things to do .  Plot your route around the best places to visit .  Find the best value options for getting around in Japan . Do you need a visa? Find out more with our simple to follow guide .  And don't accidentally put your foot in your mouth with this expert's  tips on local etiquette . 

This article was first published February 2021 and updated March 2024

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When Is the Best Time to Visit Japan?

By Amber Port

Shinjuku's Memory Lane Tokyo

When is the best time to visit Japan?

It depends on what type of trip you’re looking to take. However, spring and autumn tend to be the most beautiful weather-wise. We’d recommend a trip between March and May or September and November. If you’re looking to steer clear of crowds, then a trip in May after Golden Week is for you.

When is the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms?

Cherry blossom season is one of the most popular times to visit Japan . Crowds of people excitedly welcome spring with the blooming of the beautiful Sakuras, with various festivals popping up across the country to celebrate.

The blooming timeline does depend on what region of Japan you’re in. For example, the bloom time in southern Japan is slightly earlier than the other regions, while the middle of April is the peak month for Tokyo. We recommend checking out the cherry blossom forecast via the Japan Meteorological Corporation if you want more information on the regions you’ll visit.

Need more inspiration? We've rounded up all the best reasons to visit Japan in 2024 after it was voted the best country in the world in our 2023 Readers' Choice Awards .

Boats Tied Up On The Uji Canal In Kyoto City

When is the best time to visit Japan for good weather?

The weather is the most mild and sunny during the spring months between March and May or autumn from September to November. The summer months see higher, humid temperatures with increased rainfall.

What is the cheapest time to go to Japan?

It’s always cheapest to travel during the off-season, which would fall between mid-January and March. The winter months see a decrease in the number of tourists, meaning airlines and hotels are eager to greet visitors.

Aerial Tokyo City View with Tokyo Tower Minato Tokyo Japan.

When is the busiest time to visit Japan?

Cherry blossom season and Golden Week are the busiest times to visit Japan. The Sakura season sees many international tourists arrive, while Golden Week (a collection of four national holidays) at the beginning of May shows increased domestic tourism.

A version of this article originally appeared on Condé Nast Traveller .


Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

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  • Travel Tips
  • Climate & Seasons

When Is the Best and Cheapest Time to Visit Japan in 2023?

peak time to travel to japan

From skiing in Hokkaido to sunbathing in Okinawa, there's such a huge range of things to enjoy in Japan throughout the year. However, weather extremes and surges of tourists at certain times of the year can be seriously disruptive if you don’t plan ahead. This article will cover the best time to visit Japan to see highlights like cherry blossoms and autumn foliage, as well as specific dates to avoid and some budget travel tips for amazing experiences in the off seasons.

Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

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Understanding the Climate and Seasons of Japan

While Japan is not the largest country by area, it has an extremely varied climate. Its northern areas such as Hokkaido see long, snowy winters, while its southern Okinawa islands (shown as the "Ryukyu Islands" in the above photo) have sunny, subtropical climates. Popular tourist destinations like Tokyo, Osaka, and the Mt. Fuji area are located on the Pacific Ocean side of the country. These areas see four distinct seasons, with hot, humid summers and cold winters.

For visitors, this means it’s best to consider not just the season but the climate of the specific areas you plan to visit. A winter trip to snowy Hokkaido will be entirely different to a visit to the Okinawa islands. Your destination will also impact when you can see seasonal highlights like cherry blossoms or autumn foliage.

If you like to think ahead, we've prepared month-by-month guides to the climate and seasonal highlights for major tourist destinations in Japan. Check them out for info about exactly what to expect, what clothes to pack, and what to do to make the most of the season!

  • Guide to Hokkaido's Weather & Climate
  • Guide to Tokyo's Weather & Climate
  • Guide to Yokohama's Weather and Climate
  • G uide to Kyoto's Weather and Climate
  • Guide to Fukuoka's Weather & Climate
  • Guide to Okinawa's Weather and Climate  

What Are the Best Times to Visit Japan?

Cherry blossom season: march - april.

Spring in Japan is synonymous with cherry blossoms, which bloom all over the country around April each year. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful times to visit Japan, and the sight of Japan’s cities and parks tinted in shades of pink draws visitors from all over the world.

Cherry trees only bloom for around two weeks, with the much-anticipated full bloom period lasting as little as a few days. However, because of Japan's varied climate, the trees bloom in a wave through the country over the course of around a month. To ensure you’re timing your trip just right to see the trees in full bloom, it’s best to check our cherry blossom forecast  (yes, Japan forecasts the cherry blossoms!). Also be aware that popular tourist areas like Tokyo and Kyoto can get very busy during this period, so book your accommodation and other tickets well ahead if you can. To avoid the worst of the crowds, you can also check out our roundups of little-known cherry blossom spots in Tokyo and Kyoto .

If you can’t catch the cherry blossoms, spring in Japan has plenty of other flowers and scenery to offer. Plum blossoms are in bloom around February and March, while wisterias , tulips, roses, and nemophila bloom around April and May. While these flowers aren’t quite as prevalent as cherry blossoms, we're confident there will be more than enough  beautiful flower fields , gardens, and parks to satisfy you!

Festival Season: June - August

If you’re interested in Japan’s matsuri (festival) culture, summer is the best time to visit. Japan’s “big three” festivals are the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto (July), Kanda Festival in Tokyo (May), and Tenjin Festival in Osaka (July), but festivals are held throughout the country in the summer months. Japanese matsuri are important religious and cultural events, often with public performances like parades and dances to enjoy. The festive atmosphere, chance to dress up in summer robes called "yukata", and festival food and games are another highlight, particularly if you’re visiting with kids. To learn more about Japan's matsuri culture and when the dates fall, read our comprehensive  guide to festivals in all 47 of Japan's prefectures !

Summer is also an amazing time for fireworks! Many of Japan's top firework shows usually happen during the summer months, drawing in spectators from all over Japan and even abroad. Some are so popular that you need to reserve the best viewing spots well in advance! Food stalls will often be set up near popular spectating spots, so even if you choose not to attend a festival, you can always have your fill of Japanese festival food at a firework show.

Of course, since Japan is an island country, summer is also a great time to visit its many coastal resorts and islands. Visitors flock to Okinawa in the south and the Seto Inland Sea area in the summer to soak up some sun and scenery. In Japan, many beaches are closed for swimming and surfing outside the summer months, so if you’re dreaming of a beach getaway, check these dates in advance. For beach holiday inspiration, we've covered TripAdvisor's top 10 best beaches in Japan here !

Fall Color Season: October and November

For many people in Japan, the fall color season is just as an exciting time of year as the cherry blossom season. The change of the trees signals the end of a long, humid summer, and in October and November (and sometimes even December), people in Japan flock to parks and gardens to see stunning red maples and brilliant yellow ginko trees. Many shrines and temples hold special evening viewings on their grounds, and "otsukimi", or moon viewing festivals, are also a popular activity at this time of year.

An autumn trip to Japan has many benefits: while popular autumn color hotspots may be busy, the scenery is stunning, and the weather can be more comfortable than the winter and summer months, too. This milder weather makes it easier to enjoy all kinds of foods, including local autumn delicacies such as persimmons, grilled Pacific saury, and roasted sweet potatoes.

For more about fall foliage spots and dates for different parts of Japan, we highly recommend checking out our nationwide fall foliage forecast . Keep in mind that the Okinawa islands have a subtropical climate, so you won't find any fall foliage spots there.

Ski Season: December - April

Japan’s mountainous geography is paradise for fans of winter sports. The ski season in Japan falls around December to April, with major resorts clustered around the Nagano area in the Japanese Alps and the northern island of Hokkaido, which is particularly prized among ski fanatics for its high-quality powder snow. There are around 500 ski resorts big and small throughout the country, including world-class resorts like Niseko in Hokkaido and Hakuba in Nagano. For more information on these, we've put together a guide to some of the best resorts for powder snow in Japan .

One highlight of a ski trip to Japan is the abundance of natural hot springs, delicious food, and great sightseeing to round out your trip. Here are some fantastic open air hot springs in Hokkaido to get you inspired!

Do be aware that the winter season coincides with New Year's, which in Japan means a peak in domestic travel and scheduled holidays for many shops and attractions. Keep that in mind as you plan any activities from around December 29th to January 5th.

What Times Should You Avoid When Visiting Japan?

Public holidays: domestic travel peaks.

Just like Thanksgiving or Christmas in other countries, Japan has certain times of the year where domestic travel peaks as people travel home to celebrate the holidays with family. Japan’s work culture also means that many people plan their travel around certain clusters of public holidays, particularly Golden Week, where some 20 million people travel in Japan. If you’re planning a trip to Japan, it’s worth considering avoiding these four domestic travel peaks: 

  • Golden Week: April 29 - May 5
  • Bon Festival (Obon):  August 13 - 15
  • Silver Week: September 19 - 23 (Note: This occurs every couple of years when two public holidays in September align to form a five-day holiday)
  • New Year's:  December 29 - January 3 (Note: Japan doesn't have any official Christmas holidays, so this is actually like Christmas and New Year's combined)

*Please note that the exact dates of these holidays will vary from year to year.

If you do travel during these times, be prepared for very busy planes and bullet trains, traffic jams on highways, and peak pricing for accommodation (particularly true for Golden Week).

If you know your trip is going to coincide with these dates, book ahead where possible. If you can, staying within major cities and avoiding inter-city travel around the beginning and end of these periods will help minimize the hassle. When you're planning, refer to our up-to-date Japan Holiday Calendar for all the public holiday info you need to know.

Rainy Season

Japan’s rainy season, called "tsuyu" or "baiyu", typically falls between June to mid-July. While you may picture heavy monsoonal rain, Japan’s rainy period doesn’t mean you’ll be battling non-stop downpours every day. However, if you’re planning a lot of outdoor sightseeing, the rain and accompanying early-summer humidity can get in your way. Here are the average dates for the rainy season in Japan at popular spots, but keep in mind you can also expect some extra rainfall as the weather cools in September and October, too.

Okinawa: May 9th - June 23rd Fukuoka: June 5th - July 19th Kyoto/Osaka: June 7th - July 21st Tokyo: June 8th - July 21st Nagoya: June 8th - July 21st Sendai: June 12th - July 25th Hokkaido: Doesn't have a rainy season

For everything else you need to know about tsuyu before your trip, including sights in Japan that are actually best seen during this time, check out our  guide to Japan's rainy season !

Climatic Extremes: Mid-Summer, Mid-Winter

Another factor to keep in mind is climate. While internationally speaking, the Japanese climate does not typically go into extremes of heat or cold, spending your day sweating or shivering can impact how much fun you’re having. In the peak of summer, temperatures in cities like Tokyo and Osaka will reach the high 30s (80s in Fahrenheit), often with intense humidity that can make the days feel hotter. In winter, on the other hand, it can dip below zero (32°F).

Your tolerance for this will depend on the environment you were raised in. If you’re coming from a warm part of the world, Japan's winters can be tough to handle. You might have to factor in the cost of buying cold weather clothes that you don't need at home. On the other hand, even people from warm countries can find the hot and humid summers in Japan intense, so if you're from a cooler climate, you might find a spring or autumn visit a safer bet.

Typhoon Season

Typhoon season, which peaks in August and September, can also present issues for travelers. Japan's building codes and infrastructure are built to handle these types of storms, so there is no need to reconsider a summer trip simply because of them. However, if you are in Japan from May to October, be aware that public transport, shops, and attractions may temporarily close if a typhoon is predicted. In severe cases, power outages and other disruptions are possible. So that you're not caught out, we recommend installing the Safety Tips app  from the Japan Tourism Agency. This app gives early warning alerts in multiple languages for typhoons, earthquakes, tsunami, and other adverse weather events.

Lunar New Year

One element some overlook when planning a trip to Japan is the timing of other international holidays. For example, in 2019, a little over 50% of visitors to Japan came from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, all of whom celebrate Lunar New Year in late January or early February. While Japan doesn't celebrate the Lunar New Year, the holiday period means that sightseeing areas can be a bit more crowded with sightseers and tour groups taking advantage of the holiday.

Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

Cheapest Times to Visit Japan: Tips for Off-Peak Visits

Some of the most beautiful times in Japan, like the cherry blossom season, can mean dealing with crowds and paying a premium for flights and accommodation. On the flipside, while some people may consider a rainy day a vacation disaster, others don't mind the rainy season if it means seeing the hydrangea-dotted temples and brilliant green foliage without the crowds.

If you’re budget-conscious, paying attention to the high and low seasons in different parts of Japan can be a profitable exercise. For example, the ski season in the Japanese Alps is justifiably busy with winter sports fans, but a trip in the low season offers breathtaking scenery, hot springs, and stays at luxurious resorts at lower prices. In recent years, more and more ski resorts are offering activities like glamping or adventure sports to attract summer visitors, too.

Winter in Okinawa can also be a great escape if you need a break from the cold, and flights and accommodation will be cheaper to boot. While it might be a little chilly for swimming, you can indulge in fresh seafood, explore the fascinating Ryukyu Kingdom (the former name for Okinawa) culture, and enjoy your run of gorgeous ocean scenery, including Japan's earliest cherry blossoms! Check out our guide to 50 things to do in Okinawa  for more ideas.

Low seasons are the cheapest time of year to fly to Japan, so think outside the box to free up some extra funds for souvenirs!

Travel Smart and Enjoy Your Time in Japan!

Japan's culture and geography really does mean that there's something to enjoy whatever time of year you visit. When thinking about when to come, it's good to consider practical matters like your tolerance for heat or cold, and also what excites you about Japan. If it's gorgeous scenery, consider the cherry blossom or autumn foliage season. If you're interested in Japan's unique culture, a trip full of the music, dance, and local traditions of Japan's summer festivals might be the right pick for you. On the other hand, if you'd like a relaxed trip without crowds, maybe you'd prefer to visit Japan during an off-peak season instead.

Now that you have a sense of when the best time of year to visit Japan for you is, it's time to think about where to go! If you're still deciding, check out our comprehensive guides to some of Japan's most popular locations for inspiration:

  • The Ultimate Kyoto Travel Guide
  • The Ultimate Tokyo Travel Guide
  • The Ultimate Osaka Travel Guide
  • The Ultimate Mt. Fuji Travel Guide

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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peak time to travel to japan

The Best Time to Visit Japan

peak time to travel to japan

TripSavvy /  Elise Degarmo  

Weather changes, typhoon season, and busy festivals should all be taken into account while deciding when to go to Japan. The best time to visit Japan is during early spring when the short-lived cherry blossoms are blooming but before or after the busy stretch of Golden Week holidays.

Although avoiding lousy weather is usually the goal of vacations, consecutive sunny days draw bigger crowds to East Asia. You'll have to share transportation and attractions during high season. Hotels are already a bit pricey in Tokyo, but they skyrocket during some of Japan's busiest festivals.

The Weather in Japan

With an archipelago of close to 7,000 islands spread north to south in the Pacific, the weather in Japan can differ significantly between regions. Tokyo can be near freezing while people enjoy T-shirt weather just a little south.

Most of Japan enjoys four distinct seasons, with snow in the winter. However, Okinawa and the islands in the south stay warm throughout the year. Northern Japan often receives heavy snowfall that melts quickly in spring. Tokyo itself doesn't ordinarily receive much snow. The megalopolis got a dusting in 1962, and then snow made headlines again in 2014 and 2016. In January 2018, a massive snowstorm caused disruptions in Tokyo.

Rainy Season in Japan

Even when no typhoons are spinning nearby to mix things up, Japan is a relatively wet country with ample rainfall and high humidity.

The rainy season in Japan typically hits in the summer months , around the middle of June to the middle of July. In Tokyo, June is a stormy month. Historically, showers slack off just a bit in late July and August then return with force again in September.

Adding to the meteorological madness is the threat of typhoons. Typically, most typhoons cause trouble for Japan between May and October. As you can imagine, a typhoon in the area completely changes everything weather-related—and not usually for the better.

Dry Season in Japan

A better way to call the time of year most travelers visit Japan would be the "drier" or "less rainy" season. Rainy days are a thing throughout the year, so building too tight of a sunshine-based itinerary could lead to disappointment.

Fortunately, Japan has some exciting ways to spend time indoors during rainy afternoons.

The driest months in Japan are typically December, January, and February. November and March are "shoulder" months between the seasons—often an ideal time to visit any country to avoid peak-season prices and groups.

Typhoon Season in Japan

Typhoon season for the Pacific Ocean runs between May and October, although Mother Nature doesn't always go by the Gregorian calendar. Storms can arrive early or drag on later. August and September are usually the peak of typhoons in Japan.

Even if they don't threaten Japan, big typhoons in the area can cause severe delays and congestion for air traffic. Check the Japan Meteorological Agency website for current warnings before you plan to travel. Your ticket may be refundable if your travel insurance covers trip cancellation due to acts of nature.

Key Events & Festivals in Japan

Visiting Japan when big festivals are in progress is a great way to get in on the fun and see locals enjoying themselves. But on the other hand, you'll have to compete with crowds at popular sites and pay higher prices for accommodation. Either make a point to arrive early and enjoy the festival or avoid the area altogether until regular daily life resumes.

  • Christmas and New Year: Celebrations for Shogatsu (Japanese New Year) can get busy. From the week before Christmas until a few days into January, malls and public transportation are even more crowded. During the holiday season, the Japanese public gets a rare chance to see the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace. This happens on only two days a year: the Emperor's Birthday (December 23) and on January 2.
  • Obon : Temples and shrines get busy in the summer during the three-day Obon festival . Dates for Obon vary, depending upon the place in Japan. Obon, in Tokyo and eastern parts of Japan, is usually observed around July 15. Hachigatsu Bon, an even busier time, is celebrated around August 15. Although Obon, commonly just called Bon, is not an official holiday, many Japanese families take leave to pay homage to ancestors around that time of year.

When to Go to Kyoto

Kyoto is a favorite cultural destination for tourists in Japan . The busy season months here can become very crowded. Spring and fall are the busiest times in Kyoto; October and November are the peak months for tourism. Consider booking your trip to Kyoto in August when rain slacks off a little but crowds haven't surged yet. If cold weather doesn't scare you, January and February are good months to visit Kyoto. You'll certainly want to book accommodation in advance if visiting Kyoto in November.

January is winter across much of the country, although some areas like Okinawa remain semi-tropical year-round. This can be a much quieter time to visit, especially after the rush of the New Years holiday.

Events to check out:

  • Seijin no Hi (Coming-of-Age Day) is celebrated on the second Monday of January. This date is considered the collective birthday for all who have turned 20, the country's age of majority, in the past year. 
  • Shōgatsu is celebrated from January 1 through 3 each year. Many families gather together for meals and other celebrations.

February is generally Japan's coldest month, but if you like to ski, it's among the best times of year to visit. Many times, plum ( ume ) blossoms begin blooming toward the end of the month, signaling that spring is on its way. Temperatures in Tokyo typically average around 45 degrees Fahrenheit, while it can be as cold as 20 degrees up north in Sapporo.

  • More than two million visitors head to Yuki Matsuri in Sapporo. This annual snow festival includes an international snow sculpture contest, ice slides, and more.
  • February 3 marks the first day of spring on the traditional lunar calendar, and it's also celebrated in Japan as a day in which one must ward off evil. People often visit Buddhist temples and ward off the devil, while welcoming fortunes in.

Japan is extremely enjoyable to visit during the spring . Large crowds of people flock to local parks for picnics, parties, and to enjoy hanami —the deliberate viewing of cherry blossom and plum blossom flowers . Families, couples, and even entire offices get in on the fun. The timing of the blooms depends entirely upon the warming weather. The flowers begin in Okinawa and warmer parts of Japan around mid-March, then move north as the weather gets warmer until early May. Forecasters predict the timing as blooms appear from south to north.

  • Tokyo's international anime fair, AnimeJapan, is the world's largest anime festival, held each March.
  • By late March, Japan is in a full-blown cherry blossom craze. While it's hard to predict when exactly the season will fall, the last two weeks of March are typically a safe bet.

A tradition all over Japan, Hanami literally means viewing flowers. Picnic under the beautiful flowing trees in any public park during this special season. Usually lasting for only two weeks in March, the sakura (cherry blossom) schedule changes a bit every year, so it’s hard to nail down exactly when to come.

April gets extremely busy in Japan, as cherry blossoms are usually peaking. But why not join in on the fun? The weather is sunny, crisp, and clear. Beware, though: School holidays and Golden Week, at the end of the month, can cause crowds to swell.

  • Takayama hosts a famous spring festival each year in mid-April. It includes floats lit with lanterns and a festive lion dance.
  • Miyako Odori runs throughout April in Kyoto . This festival showcases geiko dances and music. Buy tickets in advance!

Golden week is the most significant, busiest holiday period of them all in Japan. It's the busiest time to travel in Japan; you'll have fun, but watch out! Golden Week starts up around the end of April and runs into the first week of May. Several consecutive national holidays fall within a seven-day stretch. Many Japanese families tack on a valuable week of vacation away from work, so transportation and accommodation fill up quickly on both ends of the holiday. Public parks will be busy.

  • Golden Week officially begins with Showa Day and concludes with Children's Day. However, many families take additional vacation days before and after. The impact of Golden Week stretches to around 10 to 14 days.
  • Sanja Matsuri is Tokyo's largest festival, bringing more than 1 million visitors to Asakusa. The highlight is an exciting parade of men and women in traditional dress.

Early June in Japan is quite nice, but tsuyu (rainy season) sets in later in the month. While it doesn't rain all day, the gloomy and wet weather is the norm. Despite this, there are still plenty of things to do in the rain: Hot springs and wooded mountain temples are still quite serene, rain or shine. Additionally, hiking season kicks off as the snow melts in the Alps.

  • In June, Osaka is home to a major rice-planting festival that dates back more than 1,700 years. During this celebration, 12 women plant rice seedlings in the paddy at Osaka's Sumiyoshi Shrine.
  • Yosakoi Soran Matsuri is an annual folk dance festival held in Sapporo. The event attracts almost 40,000 dancers from all over the country and even more visitors. Dancers perform all over the streets and throughout city parks.

Luckily, the rainy season in Japan is short-lived, and it's typically over by the end of July. The country is hot and humid this month, but abuzz with events and activities. This is a great time for a beach visit to Okinawa.

  • Mt. Fuji officially opens to climbers on July 1.
  • Gion Matsuri , one of Japan's most popular festivals, is held from July 17 to 24 in Kyoto. Intricate floats are pulled through the streets. This is a busy time to visit, so book well in advance.

August is also hot and humid and can be crowded as many school children, and their families take holidays within the country. Hokkaido is a popular destination in August since the weather is prime for outdoor activities.

  • Obon, in mid-August, spans three days of honoring the dead, whose spirits are said to return to the earth during this time. Graves are swept and presented with offerings, while lanterns are floated down the country's rivers.
  • Many Japanese cities host dramatic displays of fireworks in August. One of the best shows is the Lake Biwa Fireworks festival, held near Kyoto in early August.

September is still warm, but humidity begins to die down. This is the peak of typhoon season though, so Okinawa, Kyushu, and Shikoku are at risks of periods of extremely hard rain and high winds.

  • Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri is an interesting festival held in Osaka each year. Danjiri (festival floats) are released in the streets.
  • Seto is famous for its ceramics and commemorates the craft each year during the second week of September. The eponymous festival features pop-up stalls selling affordable pottery and other handicrafts. Around 500,000 people attend each year.

October is a fantastic month to visit, marked by bright, warm days, with little humidity. Fall foliage peaks in the Japanese Alps during this month.

  • Roppongi Art Night is held each year in mid- to late October. Arts venues stay open all night and host large-scale installations and performances throughout this exciting weekend.
  • Japan loves celebrating Halloween, and it's worth a visit to Tokyo's Shibuya district on October 31, if you want to see thousands of costumed revelers.

November has beautiful weather, with temperatures beginning to fall at higher elevations and further north in the country. Temperatures in Tokyo range from 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 65 degrees, while Sapporo is as cool as 35 degrees at night.

  • The Ohara Festival, held in the southern prefecture of Kagoshima, features a street parade of more than 20,000 dancers.
  • The Momiji Festival in Kyoto includes five incredible period-decorated boats that are meant to recreate the atmosphere of Japan's Heian court. Re-enactors play traditional instruments and recite noh and kyogen . (P.S. The best views of the event are from the Togetsu-kyo Bridge.)

If you are planning to visit Japan in December , avoid visiting during the last week of the month and the first week of January. While Christmas is not a celebrated national holiday, many people still take time off working during this period, which books up hotels and makes transportation more difficult. Many businesses close over the period leading up to New Year's Day.

  • On December 31, temple bells ring 108 times at midnight as part of Joya-no-kane , an annual purifying ritual.
  • Kyoto celebrates the unique Daikon radish during the Sanpoji Daikon Festival. The vegetable becomes available in late Autumn, but the festival takes place in mid-December. More than 10,000 people eat the hot radish, which is believed to have health benefits.

In March and April, you may be able to catch the cherry blossom season while enjoying crisp and sunny weather.

Japan's rainy season falls over the summer with June and July being the rainiest months. Late July and August tend to be a bit drier, but it gets rainy again in September.

Typhoon season typically lasts between May and October, reaching its peak in August and September.

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peak time to travel to japan


“When is the best time to go to Japan?” I get this question at least once a week. I used to answer with a bunch of information about my favorite festivals , food , seasonal flowers , and so on. But now, I counteract it with this question: “What interests you about Japanese culture?” No matter when or where you go , you’ll have more than enough options for things to see and do. Here, we’ve broken down the best things about Japan by season and month to help you start planning your trip!


Japan’s spring season lasts from mid-March to early May, depending on where you visit. Most parts experience fluctuating temperatures with chilly mornings and evenings and warm afternoons. Average temperatures in Tokyo range between 40°F to 79°F (4°C to 23°C). Check your destinations’ weather reports before you pack and bring multiple layers.

peak time to travel to japan

Things to Do in Japan in March

Atami Plum Festival; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours

Plum Blossoms

AnimeJapan Convention; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours

AnimeJapan Convention

Omizutori Festival; Todaiji Temple in Nara; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours

Fire and Light Festivals in Kansai

Things to do in japan in april.

Takayama Sanno Spring Festival; Takayama Gifu Prefecture; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours

Takayama Sanno Spring Festival

Ashikaga Flower Park; Wisteria; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours

Wisteria Bloom

Things to do in japan in may.

Mount Fuji Shibazakura Festival; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours

Mount Fuji Shibazakura Festival

Kyoto Aoi Matsuri; Best Time to Visit Japan; All Japan Tours

Kyoto Aoi Matsuri

Baby Blue Eyes Flowers in Hitachi Seaside Park; Ibaraki Prefecuture; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours

Baby Blue Eyes Festival

Ibaraki Prefecture’s newest claim to fame is the Baby Blue Eyes flower display in Hitachi Seaside Park. From mid-April to early May, 4.5 million flowers bloom on Miharashi no Oka Hill. Around the same time, you can also see thousands of tulips and some late-blooming cherry blossom trees. Average Temperatures in Tokyo in May High: 23°C/73°F Low: 15°C/59°F Click Here for More About May


Summer in japan.

There’s no getting around it. Many regions of Japan have subtropical climates, and they can get quite hot and humid. In Tokyo, the lowest average temperature in June is 66°F (19°C), and the highest in August is 88°F (31°C). That might not sound terrible to some, but take into account that the humidity level can reach 83%!

peak time to travel to japan

Things to Do in Japan in June

Yosakoi; Japanese Festival; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours; Japan Travel Blog

Yosakoi Soran Bushi in Sapporo

Hydrangea in Hakone; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours; Japan Travel Blog

Hydrangea in Hakone

Things to do in japan in july.

Furano Lavender Field; Hokkaido; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours; Japan Travel Blog

Lavender Fields in Furano and Biei

Gion Festival; Kyoto; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours; Japan Travel Blog

Kyoto Gion Matsuri

Yukata; Kimono; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours; Japan Travel Blog

Wear a Yukata

Things to do in japan in august.

Awa Odori Festival; Tokushima; Best Time to Visit Japan; All Japan Tours; Japan Travel Blog

Awa Odori Festival in Tokushima City

Akita Kanto Festival; Best Time to Go to Japan; All Japan Tours; Japan Travel Blog

Attend Tohoku’s Three Great Festivals

Around the same time in August, three of Japan’s biggest festivals take place in the Tohoku region. Aomori City holds the Nebuta Festival , where teams pull massive paper floats through the streets. During the Kanto Festival in Akita, performers balance several-meter-high poles with dangling lanterns on different parts of their bodies. You can also celebrate Tanabata in Sendai , where paper decorations and streamers cover every inch of the downtown area. Average Temperatures in Tokyo in August High: 31°C/88°F Low: 24°C/75°F Click Here for More About August


Autumn in japan.

Depending on where you go, you’ll start to feel the autumn chill at some time between September and early December. The temperate weather and fall foliage brings in almost as many visitors as cherry blossoms but is a little less overwhelming. The leaves’ brilliant colors stay around for about a month, which helps stagger the influx of crowds. Pack long sleeves and plenty of layers if you intend on racing around Japan’s rural areas.

peak time to travel to japan

Things to Do in Japan in September

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Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

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Takayama Hachiman Autumn Festival

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Ride the Shimanami Kaido

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Meiji Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival

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Shichi Go San

Though it isn’t an official holiday, it’s undoubtedly the cutest! In Japanese culture, seven, five, and three are lucky ages. Boys aged three and five and girls aged three and seven wear kimonos and receive blessings at shrines. This event takes place on the weekend closest to November 15th. Average Temperatures in Tokyo in November High: 17°C/63°F Low: 9°C/48°F Click Here for More About November


Winter in japan.

If you’ve ever been traipsing about in Tokyo in midsummer , it might be hard to believe that it can get cold in Japan! Depending on how far north or south you are, winter in Japan is from December to mid-March with average temperatures swinging between 35°F and 53°F (2°C and 12°C) in Tokyo. Bring warm clothes no matter where you go, and consider packing snow boots if you’re headed north.

peak time to travel to japan

Things to Do in Japan in December

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Winter Illuminations

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Chichibu Yomatsuri

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Celebrate the New Year

Things to do in japan in january.

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Snow Monkeys at Yudanaka Onsen

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Gassho Houses in Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

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Sapporo Snow Festival

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Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

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Kawazu Cherry Blossoms

Believe it or not, you can see cherry blossoms in winter! Kawazu is a small town near Tokyo where an unusual breed of sakura grows. These trees bloom earlier and at a slower rate than most cherry trees. The height of the festival usually happens around the last week of February and the first week of March. Average Temperatures in Tokyo in February High: 10°C/50°F Low: 2°C/35°F Click Here for More About February


When is the worst time to go to japan.

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Golden Week

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Lunar New Year

For China and other Eastern countries, the period before, after, and during the Lunar New Year is a peak period for travel. The annual dates generally fall in January or February. Not everyone goes to Japan, but it is a desirable destination because of its proximity. You can join in the fun in Yokohama , Nagasaki, and Kobe’s Chinatowns. Got a good idea of when you want to go to Japan?


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The Best Time of Year to Visit Japan

Choosing the best time to visit japan is personal to each traveler’s needs..

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A black walkway lined with red banners at Fushimi Inari Shrine

There are certain times of the year where places in Japan are less crowded.

Photo by Anna Mazurek

Japan is a sensory wonderland of sorts, from the glowing skyscrapers of Tokyo to the bubbling onsens in the southernmost part of Kyushu. Visitors are drawn to the country for both its buzzing cosmopolitan streets and relaxing natural wonders.

In general, the best time to visit Japan is between March and May, which offers the most temperate climate and blooming cherry trees—but that also means more crowds. This peak season time may not be ideal for those looking to grab hotel reservations or roam less-crowded streets. Weather and location also play a major role for those planning a trip: The northernmost part of the country, like Hokkaido, has long, snowy winters, while popular inland locations like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka have four seasons.

Read on for an overview of the best time to visit Japan, based on travel interests.

Best time to visit Japan for viewing cherry blossoms

  • Best month(s) : March–June

Once the chill of winter leaves most of Japan, the early spring and summer period sees a flurry of people looking to see major sights, including views from Tokyo Tower, the bamboo forests of Kyoto, and the hillside temples of Nikko.

The floral explosion of cherry blossom season in Japan, though, is worth the trip alone. From late March to early April, hillsides, parks, and city streets overflow with the glowing pastel pink of sakuras . In Tokyo, the Nakameguro Sakura Matsuri Festival in April brings with it some 800 trees that form a pink arch over the Meguro River. West of Tokyo and just under an hour’s train ride, Arakurayama Sengen Park blooms with over 600 trees in the springtime—with an added bonus of Mount Fuji as a backdrop.

Where to stay

  • Book now : Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto

The intimate, 39-room Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto , on the banks of Hozu River, gives front-row views of Arashiyama Hills’ kaleidoscopic colors in the springtime.

City street at night, bright neon signs displayed on buildings

Some places in Japan, like Shibuya Crossing, are known for the crowds.

Photo by Jezael Melgoza/Unsplash

Best time to visit Japan for avoiding the crowds

  • Best month(s) : May–June, November–December

Often considered the off-season, late May to early June and November through December in Japan are great times to visit most major attractions with fewer crowds. (To see the country in an efficient way, buy a Japan Rail Pass and ride the sleek shinkansen bullet train.) The colder, less-crowded winter months are a time to take advantage of soaking in an onsen in regions like Beppu, which is home to more than a thousand hot springs.

  • Book now : ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa

ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa offers guests an outdoor onsen, set against massive layered stones that cascade down a mountainside.

People walking by Japanese food stands in the snow

The Sapporo Snow Festival is held every February.

Photo by Denny Ryanto/Unsplash

Best time to visit Japan for festivals

  • Best month(s) : All year

Although most of Japan is known for festivals year-round, a key celebration to note during the summer months is the Gion Matsuri in July, when over 30 floats and crowds of people take over the streets of Kyoto for a huge party, complete with yukata robe dress, street food, and lots of beer. In the winter, the Sapporo Snow Festival takes place for seven days in February in the capital of Hokkaido. Drawing over 2 million people per year, the winter wonderland includes elaborate snow sculptures that light up at night; family friendly activities during the day include a snow rafting slope.

  • Book now: Shiguchi

Located in a secluded valley in Hokkaido, Shiguchi is a luxurious renovated farmhouse consisting of five villas and an open-air onsen.

People walking along the water on Miyakojima island in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

Miyakojima Island is the most populous island of Okinawa Prefecture’s Miyako Islands.

Photo by yuri-ss/Shutterstock

Best time to visit Japan for beach getaways

  • Best month(s) : July–August

Because Japan can be so hot and humid in cities like Tokyo and Kyoto in July and August, a coastal getaway is ideal during these months. When the urban hot spots become too hot, head south to the turquoise waters of Okinawa—which is home to over 100 beaches—or Naoshima, a remote island filled with impressive sculptures. For beaches closer to big cities like Tokyo, consider a train ride of one to two hours to Onjuku and Katase Higashihama Beach.

  • Book now : Halekulani Okinawa

With 360 guest rooms on the main island of Onna, Halekulani Okinawa faces a mile of sparkling turquoise waters steps away from Busena Marine Park —the only underwater observatory tower in Okinawa.

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JRailPass.com » Japan Travel Blog » When to go Japan? Best times of the year to visit

When to go Japan? Best times of the year to visit

June 15, 2022

peak time to travel to japan

When is the best time to visit Japan? This is a question without a simple answer. Japan is a year-round destination , with interesting activities, attractions, and festivities throughout the year.

Your decision will depend on several factors. First, do you wish to avoid the crowded, busy times, more expensive times, or hot, cold, or rainy weather? Second, what activities or events to do wish to enjoy ? Are they seasonal or available year-round?

You’ve been saving up, making plans, and dreaming of your Japan vacation. For many, visiting Japan is a once in a lifetime opportunity. But, what time of year should you visit in order to have the best vacation possible?

Consider this helpful guide to determine the best and worst times for your trip to Japan .

Read more : Is it safe to travel to Japan?

Japan season by season highlights

You can enjoy Japan’s natural beauty at any time of the year. Check out the following suggestions for the best attractions and experiences in every season .

Read more : Things to know before traveling to Japan


Spring in most of Japan takes place from mid-March through May . Temperatures then average 40 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (F), or 5 to 20 degrees Celsius (C). Weather can be unpredictable, so it is advisable to bring both warm weather and cold weather clothing .

peak time to travel to japan

Spring is one of the most popular times to visit Japan , largely due to the flowering trees of the ume plum blossom season and the sakura cherry blossom season. If traveling to witness these beautiful phenomena, keep in mind that the weather can alter the peak bloom times in any given year. Bloom times are also affected by geography, with blossoms opening earlier in southern regions and later in northern regions.

Golden Week, a series of national holidays, is also a busy time for travel in Japan . Many visitors avoid Golden Week due to the large crowds and crowded transportation.

Because both locals and international visitors travel in the spring, prices for travel and accommodations are often the highest during this season.

Cherry Blossom Viewing

Japan’s iconic sakura cherry blossoms are a draw for many travelers. Trees in the south begin to bloom in mid-March. The blossoms peak marches steadily north, concluding in the country’s northern reaches in May. Late March to early April is peak season throughout much of the country . The trees bloom for about a week in each location, so you can increase your viewing time by beginning your travels in the south and then moving north.

Cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan

Expect large crowds at parks and shrines featuring cherry trees and busy transportation stations at this time. Book your accommodations early , as they often sell out well in advance.

If your visit falls in late May when the cherry blossom season is over, you can still immerse yourself in beautiful foliage at one of Japan’s many flower parks . These include magical wisteria tunnels.

Golden Week

Golden Week is a series of public holidays from late April to mid-May . It is often considered one of the “worst” times for international travelers to visit Japan. Many residents use their time off work to travel domestically during this time, resulting in crowded attractions, accommodations, and train stations. Prices often peak at this time.

Summers in Japan take place during the months of June through September . Temperatures range from 70 to 90 F (21 to 32 C) throughout most of the country. Summers are mildest in Hokkaido due to its northern position.

Obon festival: floating lanterns (toro nagashi)

Summers in Japan are hot and humid across most of the country, but milder in mountainous regions. But summer is the perfect time for outdoor activities , from hiking to festivals.

Weatherwise, summer is Japan’s rainy season and typhoon season . Even during the rainest parts of June and July, torrential rain rarely affects travel . One exception to this is transportation between Okinawa and the mainland.

Japan’s summers are full of festivals, called matsuri . Many include elaborate fireworks displays.

Matsuris – Summer Festivals

Japan’s cultural, historical, and religious festivals are known the world over. They often feature spectacular parades, decorations, and fireworks.

Read more : 10 best Japanese summer festivals

Tenjin Matsuri

The Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka honors the god of scholarship on July 24 and 25 each year . The festival has been celebrated for over 1,000 years . It is a fireworks matsuri, concluding with a fireworks display over the Okawa River.

Tengu (heavenly dog) are a type of legendary creature found in Japanese folk religion

Gion Matsuri

The Gion Matsuri is Kyoto’s most important festival . The festival has been taking place for over 1,000 years. Main events include parades of enormous floats called yamaboko , the selection of a “sacred child,” and carrying a portable shrine through the town. Attendees dress in colorful yukata robes and enjoy delicious street foods.

Gion Matsuri, Kyoto

Festivities of the Gion Matsuri take place in Kyoto during the entire month of July .

Fireworks Matsuri

Hanabi or fireworks festivals take place throughout the summer. Displays often last two hours and are accompanied by traditional street foods .

Hanabi, the japanese fireworks

Some of the most popular include the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival (last Saturday in July), Nagaoka Fireworks Festival (early August), Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival (early August), Kumano Fireworks Festival (August 17), Omagari Fireworks Competition (late August), Miyajima Fireworks Festival (late August), Kachimai Fireworks Festival (late August), and the Tsuchiura Fireworks Competition (early October).

From Okinawa to the northern islands, Japan is ringed with popular and picturesque beaches . Escape from the big-city traffic of Tokyo and hit a nearby beach. View larger-than-life outdoor art on the island of Naoshima, or scuba dive in various locations.

Okinawa Island

Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Japan has spent years preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games , purported to be “the most innovative ever organized.” The opening ceremony of the Olympics will take place on July 24, 2021 , and the games will last until August 9. The Paralympic games will take place 15 days after the Olympics, from August 25 to September 6.

Forty-three venues across Tokyo will be used for the games.

Expect increased prices, limited vacancies at accommodations, road closures, and transportation delays during this time. Japan has been investing heavily in technology to eliminate congestion and delays during the Olympics . For example, single keycards can be used to access the train, your hotel room, and driverless taxis. Humanoid robots will be present at the Olympic Village to give directions. A new train station will also be in operation, providing access to Haneda Airport .

September through December are Japan’s fall or autumn months. Temperatures generally range from 50 to 70 F (10 to 21 C).

autumn japanese landscape

Locals and visitors will enjoy koyo , or autumn leaves viewing . Kyoto’s Arashiyama and the Japanese Alps are among the best locations for this type of excursion.

The mild weather, stunning foliage, and less intense crowds make autumn a favorite time for many travelers to Japan. Autumn crowds are largest in November , but can often be avoided by planning your visit in early December.

Fall Foliage

Japan is famous for koyo , or autumn leaf viewing , as the trees give way to reds and golds . The peak season for koyo is late November to early December . You can view autumn leaves almost anywhere in the country , but special train tours are available to give you the best views. Hiking is also a great way to see fall leaves. Consider the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail or Nakasendo trail and even taste a deep-fried maple leaf at Minoo Park!

Winter in Japan lasts from late December to mid-March with temperatures from 30 to 45 F (0 to 8 C). Winter is great for frugal travelers – if you avoid the holidays, winter is one of the cheapest times to visit Japan . After the holidays pass, mid-January to mid-March is also the least crowded time to visit. Is winter in Japan right for you?

Best Japanese Winter Illuminations

Winter is also an ideal season for visiting an onsen , or natural hot spring . A dip in an onsen is a perfect way to warm up and remedy sore muscles after winter sports. The traditional villages in which many onsen are located are picturesque after a dusting of snow.

Humans aren’t the only creatures that enjoy a dip in the hot springs. You can visit Japan’s famous snow monkeys in a snowy environment. The months of November through February are also the best times to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji , as it is less likely to be enveloped in clouds.

Snow, Skiing, and Snowboarding

Snow blankets northern Japan, and much of the rest of the country, each January and February . Resorts dot Japan’s mountainous areas, providing perfect powder for skiers and snowboarders . In fact, one mountain range goes by the name of the Japanese Alps in honor of its European counterpart.

Shiga Kogen Resort, Japan

Winter is, not surprisingly, Japan’s snow season and skiing season . Japan is home to many ski resorts in Hokkaido and the Honshu Alps. Stunning snowscapes and some of the best skiing in the world meet congested travel during the Christmas and New Years holidays .

Illuminations and snow festivals

If winter sports aren’t your thing, you can check out the Sapporo Snow Festival , or Yuki Matsuri. Stroll through a winter wonderland of twinkling lights and illuminated ice sculptures , or play the day away on a snow slide, in a snow maze, and at a snowman building area.

Nabana No Sato Winter Illuminations, near Nagoya

Read more : Best Winter Illuminations in Japan

Plum Blossom Viewing

Only slightly less famous than the sakura cherry blossom season is the ume or plum blossom season in Japan .

Plum trees begin blooming earlier than cherry trees , typically in mid-February . Some parks are blanketed with the fragrant flowers of over 3,000 trees. You can get a similar experience to cherry blossom viewing during plum blossom season, without the large crowds .

Plum blossom tree

Yes, February marks the beginning of the scuba diving season in Japan’s southern regions . This is an ideal time for viewing humpback whales, sea turtles, and even rare manatees.

Peak Seasons

The spring months of March through May and the autumn season of September through November are the times that many people choose for their Japan vacation. Temperatures and rainfall are generally mild during these times, and you can enjoy cherry blossom viewing or autumn leaf viewing , respectively. Japan’s northern ski resorts are popular during the winter .

Other peak seasons occur during the Christmas/New Year’s holidays in December and January , the Golden Week festivities in late April through early May , and the Obon Festival in August . Residents often have holidays from work during these times and travel domestically. Because of this, prices increase, rooms are harder to find, and transportation facilities and attractions are more crowded.

Japan month-by-month highlights

What is going on in Japan each month of the calendar year? Find out below.

  • Expect crowds following New Year’s Day .
  • Shogatsu is celebrated from January 1 to 3.
  • Coming of Age Day is celebrated on the second Monday of the month.
  • Sumo New Year Basho takes place in Tokyo.
  • Tsukiji Fish Market opens to tourists in early January.
  • Snow makes January a great time to visit the snow monkeys of Nagano or soak in a warm onsen .
  • Cherry blossom season begins in Okinawa.

Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma. Photo courtesy of EM7/Shutterstock.

  • The first day of spring is celebrated on February 3, often by visiting Buddhist temples to ward off evil.
  • The diving season begins, with the best chance of seeing humpback whales in February.
  • Plum blossom season begins in mid-march.
  • February is typically the country’s coldest month, making it the perfect time to visit an onsen , izakayas , or engage in winter sports .
  • The Sapporo Snow Festival takes place in February.
  • Plum blossom season comes to an end in mid-March.
  • Cherry blossom season begins in mid-March.
  • Crowds decrease in Okinawa.
  • The Sumo Spring Basho is held in Osaka.
  • AnimeJapan , the world’s largest anime festival, is held in March.

Ashikaga Flower Park wisteria tunnel

  • Ski season ends .
  • Cherry blossom season typically peaks in early April and comes to an end in mid-April.
  • Miyako Odori is held in Kyoto throughout the month.
  • Golden Week begins in late April.
  • Golden Week continues through the first week of May.
  • Flowers such as wisteria, iris, and azalea are in bloom , making flower parks and gardens a must-see.
  • The Sumo Summer Basho is held in Tokyo.
  • June is Japan’s rainiest month .
  • The Sumo Basho is held in Nagoya.
  • The Yosakoi Soran Matsuri folk dance festival is held in Sapporo.

peak time to travel to japan

  • The Mount Fuji climbing season begins on July 1.
  • The Tanabata star festival is held on July 7.
  • Obon festivals are held in Tokyo and eastern Japan around July 15.
  • The popular Gion Matsuri is held in Kyoto from July 17 to 24.
  • The Fuji Rock Festival , Japan’s largest music festival, is held during the last weekend in July at the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata.
  • The Tokyo 2020 Olympics begin on July 24.
  • The Tokyo 2020 Olympics continue through August 1.
  • The Obon holiday of Hachigatsu Bon , three days honoring the dead, takes place in mid-August.
  • Hanabi or fireworks festivals are held throughout the country. One of the best is the Lake Biwa festival near Kyoto.

Climbing mount Fuji

  • Mount Fuji’s trails close by the second week in September.
  • The Sumo Basho takes place in Tokyo.
  • The Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri is held in Osaka.
  • The Seto craft festival is held during the second week of September.
  • Fall foliage season begins.
  • Temperatures in Okinawa remain high enough to visit the beaches.
  • The Roppongi Art Night is held in mid- to late October.
  • As a curiosity, you can see thousands of costumes in Tokyo’s Shibuya district on October 31 ( Halloween! ).

peak time to travel to japan

  • A “shoulder” month when crowds are fewer and prices are lower .
  • The Ohara festival is held in Kagoshima.
  • The Momiji Festival is held in Kyoto.
  • Snowfall begins , and ski slopes open.
  • Travel in early December to avoid crowds.
  • The Sanpoji Daikon festival , celebrating the Daikon radish, is held in Kyoto.
  • Expect closures of restaurants, shops, and attractions between Christmas and New Year’s Day .
  • Tsukiji Fish Market closes to tourists in late December.

Shirakawa-go Winter Light-up

When is the best time to visit Japan? The short answer is, there is no bad time!  Plan your trip based on what you want to see – cherry blossoms, snow, or autumn leaves – and what you wish to avoid – heat, cold, high prices, or crowds.

In whichever season you choose to visit Japan, you will not be disappointed by its unique seasonal offerings . And if you’ve traveled to Japan in the past, visiting during a different season can bring new life to your travel experiences.

Related posts

Related tours & activities.

I would like to inquire if there is an available promo for the month of March 2018 provided to tourists by JR Lines. when I was in Fukuoka, were able to avail one 7-days pass using shinkanShein. We were able to visit Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto etc.

I will be glad to hear from you

Hi Elizabeth!

Sure – you have always available the Japan Rail Pass . The Japan Rail Pass is a multi-use all-you-can-ride discounted rail ticket. It gives you unlimited access to all Japan Rail National trains, as well as JR bus services, ferry services, and airport transfers. Enjoy to the fullest your discovery of Japan in the most economical travel option available.

Happy travels!

Comments are closed.

peak time to travel to japan

When is the Best Time to Visit Japan in 2024? Here’s When to Go & How to Dress For the Season

When is the best time to visit Japan? When is the best time to visit Tokyo? You have decided you want to visit Japan - great! But now comes the hard part: planning. Everyone says to visit during cherry blossom season , but is that really the best time to travel? The pictures you’ve seen of cherry blossom festivals look really crowded. From flower viewing in spring , festivals in summer , and skiing in winter , each season is a brand-new Japan! That’s why careful attention needs to be paid to the when, not just the where, when planning your Japan adventure! To help you with your planning, we’ve created the ultimate guide to Japan’s seasons , weather, and trends. Use this information to pick a time confidently and get the Japan you’ve dreamed of!

Here's the best time to visit Japan

Pros and cons of traveling in each month in japan, best season to travel in japan, the least crowded time to visit japan, the cheapest time to visit japan, list of annual events and japan national holidays 2024, what to pack for japan, check out ‘any wear, anywhere’ for smart travel to japan.

Calendar of when to expect crowds in Japan

The best times to visit Japan are the spring (March-May) and fall (September-November) seasons , with May and October-November being the optimal months to balance good weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices. The periods between March to May and October to November have the best weather. These times, which line up with spring and most of autumn , are filled with calm days and comfortable temperatures. Nature lovers will appreciate the blooming flowers of spring , including the famed cherry blossoms, along with the equally stunning foliage of late autumn . September-November are recommended as good alternatives to avoid the peak crowds and prices, while still enjoying pleasant weather and scenery. Finally, the winter months can also be a good time to visit, with fewer tourists (except for snow resort areas like Niseko in Hokkaido ) and lower prices, though the weather may be colder, especially in northern regions.

It all depends on you!

Japan is a beautiful country 365 days a year, and you won't regret your trip no matter when you go. However, depending on the season , you may see a very different Japan from the one you imagined. That's why it's essential to create a list of goals for your trip, then compare them against each month to find the Japan you want to see the most.

Pros and cons of traveling in each month in Japan

To help you choose the best time to visit Japan, we've broken down each month into a handy pros and cons list. After you've decided what you'd like to see and do, use this list to select the best time to go!

  • Pro: Fine powder snow - "Japow" - is everywhere in ski resorts. This makes it a fantastic time for skiing, especially in Hokkaido.
  • Pro: While chilly, the weather in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto is often clear and calm. It likely won't drop below freezing.
  • Pro: Stunning lights festivals, known as illuminations, are held all around.
  • Con: New Year, which spans the first week of January, is a Japanese national holiday . Shops, tourist destinations, transport, and temples are bustling during this time.
  • Con: Some places may close for New Year.
  • Con: The winter weather can turn sour at any moment. Northern Japan is prone to train cancellations and dangerous conditions.
  • Read More: Best Things to Do in Tokyo in January , What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in January
  • Pro: Ski conditions are now at their peak! The best time to visit Japan for skiers.
  • Pro: Snow Festivals, such as the Sapporo Snow Festival and the Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival , are in full swing. Many illumination festivals continue until mid-February or longer.
  • Pro: Early-blooming cherry blossoms can be seen in places like Atami, near Tokyo. Plum blossom season begins.
  • Con: The coldest month in Japan. Temperatures will often drop below freezing in some areas.
  • Con: Snow and ice can delay transport and make driving very dangerous.
  • Con: Depending on the date of Chinese New Year , which always falls between late January to mid-February, popular areas may see even more tourists from abroad than usual.
  • Read More: Best Things to Do in Tokyo in February , What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in January , Visiting Hokkaido in Winter , Enjoy Early-Blooming Sakura in February
  • Pro: Warmer and calmer weather will begin to show.
  • Pro: Cherry blossoms will bloom from Kyushu to Tokyo during late March.
  • Con: Famous cherry blossom spots are packed with people, particularly on weekends.
  • Con: Cold, wintery days will continue, especially north of Tokyo.
  • Pro: Gorgeous blue skies and pleasant temperatures are abundant.
  • Pro: Beautiful Japanese flowers , including roses, tulips, wisteria, and rapeseed, will bloom.
  • Pro: Cherry blossoms can still be enjoyed north of Tokyo - even as far back as late April in Hokkaido .
  • Con: April is still cold in Tohoku and Hokkaido, sometimes dropping below freezing.
  • Con: While not as intense as Tokyo, cherry blossoms can attract large crowds in the north.
  • Con: The Golden Week public holiday period can start in late April, resulting in busy accommodation and transport.
  • Read More: Best Things to Do in Tokyo in April , What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in April , Visiting Hokkaido in Spring
  • Pro: Fantastic weather will continue.
  • Pro: Wisteria flowers are in full bloom in early May. Dazzling wisteria tunnels are found across Japan.
  • Pro: Rice fields are flooded with water to prepare for planting. This spectacle makes for some great photos!
  • Pro: Several large festivals, including the popular Sanja Matsuri , are held.
  • Con: Golden Week, which occurs from late April to early May, is an extremely popular time for travel. Many accommodations will be booked out, and trains packed.
  • Read More: Best Things to Do in Tokyo in May , What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in May , Visiting Hokkaido in Spring , 5 Fun Tours & Activities for Golden Week in Osaka & Kyoto
  • Pro: Often there are no public holidays in June, making tourist attractions quiet.
  • Pro: The humid and wet weather will keep most people indoors, resulting in easier travel.
  • Pro: Temperatures are comfortable, with an average high of around 25°C (78°F) in Tokyo.
  • Pro: Hokkaido's weather is mild, without much of a rainy season.
  • Con: The rainy season begins for most of Japan. The weather will quickly become humid with heavy downpours.
  • Con: Famous scenery, including Mt. Fuji, is often obscured by clouds .
  • Read More: Best Things to Do in Tokyo in June , What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in June , Visiting Osaka in Summer , 25 Beautiful Traditional Festivals in Japan
  • Pro: The rainy season will begin to wind down towards the end of July.
  • Pro: Many summer festivals are in full swing, such as the Gion Festival in Kyoto and the Ise Shrine Fireworks Festival in Mie Prefecture.
  • Pro: Early July brings colorful decorations and tanzaku, paper on which to write a wish, covering parks and towns for Tanabata, the Star Festival .
  • Con: The rainy season will continue until around mid-July, causing the same problems as June.
  • Read More: Best Things to Do in Tokyo in July , What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in July , Visiting Osaka in Summer , Tokyo Fireworks Guide
  • Pro: Summer festivals are everywhere, including traditional parades, jaw-dropping fireworks, and lively music concerts like Fuji Rock . Something is happening across Japan every week!
  • Pro: Clear skies make a return - a great season to enjoy the beach!
  • Pro: Many Japanese return to their hometowns during the Obon public holiday week. Larger cities will become a little quieter.
  • Con: August is very hot, with temperatures exceeding 30°C (86°F).
  • Con: Typhoons can occur , resulting in hazardous conditions and canceled transport.
  • Con: Bugs, such as the infamously loud cicada, are everywhere.
  • Con: The homecoming trips during Obon can cause congested trains and highways.
  • Read More: Best Things to Do in Tokyo in August , What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in August , Annual Events & Festivals in Japan
  • Pro: The intense heat of August will begin to subside.
  • Pro: The unique 'Spider Lily' flower and cosmos will bloom in late September.
  • Pro: With the local summer holidays over, tourist attractions will quieten down.
  • Pro: The peak season for international tourism finishes.
  • Con: Sweltering heat can continue for much of September.
  • Con: Peak typhoon season.
  • Read More: Best Things to Do in Tokyo in September , What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in September
  • Pro: The forests of mainland Japan will slowly turn bright red as stunning autumn colors make an appearance.
  • Pro: Cooler weather will emerge, making October one of the most pleasant months to visit Japan.
  • Pro: Massive Halloween parties can be easily found, especially in places like Shibuya.
  • Con: Locals and tourists alike will flock to parks and mountains to see the autumn leaves, making these areas extremely busy.
  • Con: Streets and trains are flooded with party-goers during Halloween.
  • Con: Depending on the date of China's National Day (October 1) and the Mid-Autumn Festival, which tends to be in late September or early October, popular areas may see even more tourists from abroad than usual.
  • Read More: Best Things to Do in Tokyo in October , What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in October , Visiting Osaka in Autumn: What to Wear & Must-Visit Attractions , Autumn in Japan -Fall Foliage Forecast
  • Pro: Mostly comfortable weather on the cooler side.
  • Pro: Low rainfall across most of Japan.
  • Pro: Red, yellow, and brown autumn foliage is everywhere.
  • Con: Chilly weather, especially during evenings and at night, will emerge. Winter will begin in Hokkaido.
  • Con: Parks will be busy with autumn sightseers.
  • Read More: Best Things to Do in Tokyo in November , What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in November
  • Pro: The ski season begins, with excellent conditions in Hokkaido.
  • Pro: Beautiful Illumination festivals are set up across the country. Christmas markets are also a treat!
  • Pro: While cold, outdoor sightseeing is still a possibility in most places.
  • Pro: Clear, sunny days are common in Tokyo and Osaka.
  • Con: Cold weather returns to most of Japan.
  • Con: Many ski resorts lack enough snow to open yet.
  • Read More: Best Things to Do in Tokyo in December , What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in December , What's Christmas Like in Japan? , What to Do During New Year’s and New Year's Eve

Best season to travel in Japan

Japan has four seasons . Each begets a new set of activities, so you should first consider your objectives, then choose when to go. For example, if you want an outdoor adventure, such as hiking , then the cooler weather of spring and autumn is ideal. If beaches are your thing, then late June and August are perfect! If a ski holiday is on your mind, you should pack your bags for January, February, and March. Plan your activities first, then use this guide to find the season that will suit your needs best!

Visiting Japan in spring

Visiting Japan in spring

Why visit Japan in spring ? Spring in Japan brings delightful weather, vibrant blooms, and an array of activities. Following winter , the season breathes life back into the nation with the advent of the new academic and business year, and the celebrated cherry blossom festivals, enhancing Japan's charm. Spring weather in Japan Spring features serene, warm days and cool nights. Although rain is common, it typically clears quickly, and low humidity allows for enjoyable outdoor activities . In April, Tokyo experiences comfortable highs of 19°C (66°F) and lows of 10°C (51°F), while Sapporo remains cooler, with average highs of just 11°C (53°F) and lows of 3°C (37°F). Cherry blossoms The highlight of spring is mankai - the full bloom of the cherry blossoms. Participating in flower-viewing picnics under these blossoms is a popular springtime activity. Mid-March is the prime time for these blossoms, though it also draws large crowds. Major cities and popular spots will be bustling, with busy trains and accommodations, particularly on weekends during the blooming period.

  • In terms of clothes, bring both light clothes, along with a few jackets, sweaters and pants.
  • Be prepared for crowds, even before peak cherry blossom bloom, and try to get most of your sightseeing finished before rush hour, starting at around 6:00 pm.
  • If you’re allergic to pollen , spring may be a bad time to come to Japan.

Recommended spring clothing

Bottom Line In terms of weather, spring is one of the best times to visit Japan. However, choosing another season is recommended for those wanting to avoid crowds.

  • Japan Cherry Blossom Forecast: When & Where To See Sakura in Japan
  • Tokyo Sightseeing Done Right: What to Wear in Spring

Visiting Japan in summer

Visiting Japan in summer

Why visit Japan in summer ? Early summer , an off- season for domestic travel, offers a tranquil experience of Japan. Despite mugginess in June and July, the warm temperatures permit light attire day and night. By late summer , particularly in August, Japan brims with numerous vibrant festivals, many free to attend. The stunning beaches with resorts and beer gardens enhance the season 's appeal. Summer weather in Japan Summer 's humidity often leads to it being the least favored season in Japan. The intensity peaks in June and July during tsuyu , the rainy season . Although not significantly rainier than spring , the rainfall is usually heavy. Post-tsuyu, August presents a typically sunny and hot summer . Tokyo averages highs of 31°C (88°F) and lows of 24°C (75°F), while Hokkaido enjoys a milder August, averaging highs of 26°C (80°F).

  • You'll need plenty of light, breezy clothes to endure the heat.
  • If you’re planning on mountain climbing or visiting Hokkaido, then pack some jackets and pants.
  • The humidity will make you sweat a lot, so bringing or buying deodorant is also recommended.
  • The summer sun is very glary, especially on concrete streets, so decent sunglasses are necessary.
  • Buy a cheap plastic umbrella at a convenience store if you’re out on a rainy day.
  • Lastly, be careful of crowds at events, especially fireworks shows . Some of the larger ones will overburden trains for hours, and you may get stuck somewhere.

Recommended summer clothing

Bottom Line Despite its reputation, summer is a great season to spend in Japan. Through the huge array of local festivals, it is arguably when the roots of traditional Japan are felt most strongly. For those sensitive to humidity, perhaps wait for another time.

  • Complete Guide to Surviving Japan's Rainy Season
  • 18 Things to Know About Visiting Japan in Summer

Visiting Japan in autumn

Visiting Japan in autumn

Why visit Japan in autumn ? Autumn competes with spring for the best season to visit Japan. Offering respite from summer 's heat, it gently transitions into winter with cooler days. The period is renowned for momiji , vibrant red fall leaves visible across Japan. Unlike cherry blossoms, momiji persist for months, providing ample opportunity for enjoyment. As autumn also marks the start of the off- season for international travel, tourist hotspots are typically less crowded. Autumn weather in Japan Autumn presents variable weather, suggesting a need for both summer attire and jackets. By October, cities like Sapporo and Sendai become chilly, with lows averaging 7°C (45°F) and 11°C (52°F) respectively. Meanwhile, Tokyo maintains a warmer climate with highs averaging 22°C (72°F). Stay alert for typhoons, particularly in September, as these severe storms can disrupt travel and daily activities.

  • To beat the crowds, avoid foliage hotspots on weekends and public holidays. Aim to visit mid-week instead.
  • If a typhoon is predicted to hit your area, ensure you have accommodation and supplies for that period, and refrain from venturing outside. Keep an eye on the news for landslides or flood warnings, and ask your accommodation staff for information on evacuation points if the weather worsens significantly.

Recommended autumn clothing

Bottom line If you can successfully navigate around typhoons, you'll be rewarded with amazing scenery, fantastic weather, and quiet tourist attractions. Autumn is a strong contender for the best time to visit Japan.

  • Autumn in Japan: Autumn Leaves & Fall Foliage Forecast
  • Visiting Tokyo in Autumn: Travel & Weather Guide

Visiting Japan in winter

Visiting Japan in winter

Why visit Japan in winter ? Winter is a haven for skiers, with Hokkaido's slopes open by December. Cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto often have clear, dry, and sunny days, easing travel. Winter also brings splendid light shows , snow festivals, and charming Christmas markets. The season transforms Japan into a scenic wonderland and sees less tourism, making for peaceful exploration. Winter weather in Japan January's average lows hover around 5°C (41°F) in the south and 1°C (33°F) in Tokyo. Skiing destinations Niigata and Nagano frequently dip below freezing, and Sapporo averages lows of -8°C (17°F). While Tokyo and Osaka see little heavy snowfall, light dustings are not uncommon. Regions adjacent to the Sea of Japan and in Tohoku often experience significant snowfall leading to beautiful scenery but potential transport disruptions. Yamagata, not Hokkaido, claims the highest snowfall, with parts of the prefecture receiving a remarkable 11 meters of snow.

  • If you're planning on enjoying cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, or Hiroshima, simple winter clothing, such as sweaters, jackets, and scarves will suffice.
  • However, if you're heading to ski resorts, mountains, or snowy regions, specialized snow boots, puffer jackets, raincoats, and other winter protections are a necessity to survive the harsh conditions.
  • Train delays are common during heavy snowfall, along with heavy traffic on the road. Be prepared for your trip to be affected.
  • Be wary of New Years, known as oshogatsu , which is a public holiday week. While it is common for most Japanese to stay home, shops, restaurants, ski resorts, and other attractions are usually busy, and some may decide to close. Be sure to double-check the places on your itinerary before you go!

Recommended winter clothing

Bottom line While winter is not for everyone, most major cities enjoy mild and consistent weather. However, some prefectures are prone to harsh conditions, and care should be taken before traveling. Crowds will be thin and most attractions quiet outside New Years and public holidays. For skiers, there's no better time!

  • Complete Guide To Visiting Japan In Winter: Weather, What To See & Do
  • Complete Guide to Skiing in Japan: Best Time and Where to Go
  • Fun Things to Do in Winter: 12 Best Destinations to Enjoy Winter in Japan

The least crowded time to visit Japan

International tourists: As seen in the above chart, August to December is low on international tourists, with the quietest month being September. For those looking to beat the crowds, this is the best time! January and February are also scarce on European and North American travelers; however, mostly due to the Chinese New Year and summer holidays, thousands of additional tourists will flock from Asia and Oceania, making it not as ideal. Domestic tourists: To avoid crowds of local travelers, stay clear of these three periods! ・March – Very busy due to the good weather and cherry blossoms. ・Late April/early May – The week-long holiday of Golden Week occurs. ・Mid-August – The most popular time for Japanese to travel due to the Obon holiday period.

The cheapest time to visit Japan

Airfares to Japan often decrease from September as tourist numbers dwindle and flight prices adjust. Depending on your travel dates, you could find flights for less than US$1,000! For accommodation, winter , excluding ski resorts, is typically the least expensive period. Many hotels offer off-peak specials, including weekday discounts. However, note that hotel rates often increase during public holidays, so check the calendar to prevent unexpected costs.

List of Annual Events and Japan National Holidays

Following are Japan's national holidays . Particularly around the row of holidays in May (known as Golden Week ), you can expect sightseeing areas, attractions, and major cities to be more crowded. If you plan on traveling around these dates, be sure to make hotel , train, and activity reservations in advance to avoid inconvenience. You may also wish to consider booking tables at popular restaurants as well.

  • January 1 - New Year
  • January 2-3 New Year (Obs.)
  • February 12 - National Foundation Day (Obs.)
  • February 23 - Emperor's Birthday
  • March 20 - Spring Equinox
  • April 29 - Showa Day
  • May 3 - Constitution Memorial Day
  • May 4 - Greenery Day
  • May 6 - Children's Day (Obs.)
  • June 15 - Sea Day
  • August 12 - Mountain Day (Obs.)
  • September 16 - Respect for the Aged Day
  • September 23 - Autumn Equinox
  • October 14 - Sports Day
  • November 4 - Culture Day (Obs.)
  • November 23 - Labor Thanksgiving Day

Other days of interest in Japan

February 14 - Valentine's Day Not a national holiday but celebrated in Japan, women present chocolates to men, including male colleagues, on Valentine's Day. March 3 - Doll's Festival ( Hina Matsuri ) Families with girls observe this day for their happiness and success, displaying special hina dolls at home and participating in community events. March 14 - White Day This day mirrors Valentine's Day, with men giving chocolates or sweets to women. July/August 7 - Star Festival ( Tanabata ) This festival period, rather than a national holiday, commemorates the meeting of deities Orihime and Hikoboshi. Notable celebrations occur in Hiratsuka in July and Sendai in August. Mid-August - Obon From approximately August 13-15, this Buddhist event honors ancestral spirits and is a period for family reunions. November 15 - Seven-Five-Three Day ( Shichi-Go-San ) This day marks a traditional rite of passage where families visit shrines and temples to pray for their children's well-being and growth, according to customs established over 800 years ago. December 25 - Christmas Christmas, not a national holiday in Japan, brings festive decorations and intimate celebrations, often involving a chicken dinner with loved ones or seeing Christmas illuminations . December 31 - New Year's Eve ( Omisoka ) Despite not being a national holiday, many businesses close early in preparation for New Year celebrations.

peak time to travel to japan

With Japan’s four distinct seasons and subtle climate changes, travelers often question what clothes to pack. But bringing extra clothes “just in case” can make for one crammed suitcase!

peak time to travel to japan

Travelers in Japan are increasingly using clothing-sharing services like Any Wear, Anywhere to minimize luggage. This service lets you rent clothes for your travels in Japan, promoting eco-friendliness by using surplus and used garments. Teaming up with Japan Airlines, it aims to reduce luggage weight and carbon emissions for passengers visiting Japan.

peak time to travel to japan

Using ‘Any Wear, Anywhere’ is easy. Simply access the official website from your PC or smartphone and reserve your wardrobe before traveling to Japan.

peak time to travel to japan

When you arrive in Japan, simply pick up your stylish rental clothes at your hotel . After use, return the clothes to your hotel without the need for cleaning.

peak time to travel to japan

Clothing sizes range from S to XL, in a total of 36 patterns. Clients can choose from a combination of styles (for men or women), season ( spring / autumn , summer / winter ), usage scenario (casual, smart casual, or a mix of both), and number of clothing items included in the set (basic or variety pack). The basic set includes three tops and two bottoms, while the variety set includes five tops and three bottoms, with the option of adding outerwear as needed. Prices during the trial period are very reasonable, starting at 4,000 yen (under US$40) for up to two weeks rental.

Take a look at these examples of seasonal garments for rent

Next, let’s look at some of the menswear and womenswear rental clothes in three different seasonal styles: spring / autumn , summer , and winter !

peak time to travel to japan

First up is clothing for spring and autumn . In Japan, spring and autumn are both mild with daytime temperatures of around 20°C (68°F). However, it often gets chilly during the evenings and overnight, and there’ll occasionally be an uncharacteristically hot or cold day, making clothing selection particularly tricky at these times of year. ‘Any Wear, Anywhere’ boasts a line-up of shirts and T-shirts that can be easily layered to cope with temperature differences.

peak time to travel to japan

Summer in Japan is hot, humid, and sunny. If you reserve rental clothes during your summer travels, you’ll receive light and airy items such as T-shirts and sleeveless tops to help you stay comfortable while sightseeing under the hot summer sun. Heavy rainstorms and typhoons can be expected between July and September, so short-length pants can alleviate any worries about wet legs and feet in the event of sudden showers.

peak time to travel to japan

Warm clothes are essential for winter in Japan. It can get so cold that the temperature drops below freezing in some areas! The ‘Any Wear, Anywhere’ winter line-up also includes down jackets and other outerwear to protect against the cold. Winter jackets are bulky and take up luggage space, so renting one at your destination makes life so much easier. Popular rental clothing items to wear underneath your jacket include sweaters, long-sleeved tops, and other clothes that’ll help you stay warm. *All accessories belong to the stylist.

‘Any Wear, Anywhere’ is an innovative service that allows you to rent clothes for travel in an easy, eco-friendly way. Enjoy a wide variety of stylish clothes for all seasons and most sizes – and lighten your load while exploring Japan! Register and apply before your Japan trip!

No matter when you visit Japan, you'll have a good time! Japan is a country that celebrates each season accordingly, making for year-round fun! However, if you have a specific activity or interest, choosing the best time to visit Japan for you is extremely important. Balancing this with crowds and costs will also help you get the most out of your Japan trip. By reading this guide, you'll have all the information you need to enjoy Japan's wonders to their fullest extent!

peak time to travel to japan

  • Category Other Sightseeing
  • How To: Sightseeing

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Zooming Japan

When is Peak Travel Season in Japan?

Peak Travel Season in Japan

People often ask me about the ideal time to travel to Japan . While there are many things you should consider, one of them is certainly the peak travel seasons in Japan.

High travel season means that prices for flights and accommodation will skyrocket and everything is booked out far in advance. However, some of these seasons you just don’t want to miss, so after reading this article it’s up to you whether you want to avoid them or not.

1. Cherry Blossom Season / Spring Vacation (late March – early April)

Needless to say that cherry blossom season in spring is one of the most favorite travel seasons in Japan. Additionally, schools close for spring vacation, so it does get crowded, especially at the most popular tourist attraction (e.g. Kyoto, Miyajima, Tokyo).

peak travel season in japan

Cherry blossoms usually only last for about a week . But there’s something called the “ cherry blossom front ” wandering from southwest to northeast. If you follow that and travel around, you can enjoy the sakura for much longer. It’s one of the most beautiful sights, so you shouldn’t avoid it . Definitely plan ahead of time. Especially in and around Kyoto it’s almost impossible to find rooms if you don’t book far in advance.

Consider less known cherry blossom spots instead. You can enjoy sakura everywhere in Japan. It’s impressive no matter where you go.

Here are just a few examples to avoid the massive crowds and yet enjoy cherry blossoms:

  • Hyogo Prefecture: Izushi (castle town and soba noodles)
  • Shiga Prefecture: Miidera Temple , Ishiyamadera
  • Shizuoka Prefecture: Hamamatsu , Kakegawa , Atami (nice castles)
  • Kyoto: Shoryuji Castle
  • Chiba Prefecture: Tateyama Castle

2. Golden Week (late April – early May)

If you can, please try to avoid Golden Week at all costs.

It’s the most crowded time of the year in Japan. There are four different national holidays (April 29, May 3-5) and most companies let the people take off the days in between as well – resulting in one of the very few occasions to take a longer vacation in Japan.

Below you’ll find the exact dates for the upcoming years.

  • Golden Week 2018 : April 28-30 + May 3-6
  • Golden Week 2019 : April 27-29 + May 3-6

That being said, it’s a nice season to visit, because you can still catch cherry blossoms in Tohoku and Hokkaido or enjoy other flower such as azaleas, wisteria or “ shibazakura ”. Simply go a few days before or after Golden Week and you’ll be fine.

peak travel season in japan

Especially the well-known spots will be insanely crowded. There are less crowded, hidden gems, but those might not be the first choice for first-time visitors. Also, prices tend to be much higher during high season in Japan, so simply just avoid it if you can.

As I used to live in Japan, I had no other choice but to travel during Golden Week. That’s when we all get our time off. If you’re interested, you can read about my Golden Week 2013 and Golden Week 2014 .

3. Obon and Summer Vacation (middle of August)

Summer is extremely hot and humid in Japan and comes with a lot of monster insects . It might not sound like it, but it’s still a good time to visit. Only then can you climb Mt. Fuji and a lot of great summer festivals take place – including fireworks !

There’s a short time span in August called “ obon ” where people usually travel back home. It can also become crowded, but in my experience it’s not as bad as during other seasons.

In 2018 the peak is to be expected during Aug 11 – 19 .

peak travel season in japan

There are certain destinations that are extremely popular among Japanese people in summer such as Hokkaido or Okinawa . It will be crowded there and prices will also skyrocket during that time, so you might want to avoid these destinations from late July to mid August.

4. Silver Week (end of September)

“Silver Week” is a rather new term in Japan and is derived from the more popular “Golden Week”. The term became popular in 2009 when 3 national holidays followed a weekend, resulting in a really long vacation for many people.

Unless such a rare occurrence happens again, “Silver Week” is usually not a big deal at all.

In 2018, the only national holidays in September are both on a Monday, namely Sep 17 and 24 . So, some people will certainly travel during those extended weekends, but it’s nothing to worry about if you consider visiting Japan during that time.

The reason I mention “Silver Week” here is because the term has gained popularity and some people are worried if they should come to Japan during that time.

5. Autumn Foliage Season (esp. end of November)

Almost as popular as cherry blossom season is autumn when the leaves change colors. For the main tourist regions (Hiroshima, Kyoto or Tokyo ) that peak is usually from the end of November to the beginning of December . Other parts of Japan get autumn colors as early as September. Tohoku, for example, is thus quite popular in October.

You also don’t want to miss the peak of the foliage, so make sure to check the status, e.g. by following the japan-guide autumn color reports .

Certain spots can be crowded, hotels might be booked out way in advance and prices might be higher than usually.

peak travel season in japan

Don’t avoid this season! It’s the most beautiful time of the year. But try to at least avoid visiting popular sights during the weekend. Don’t even think about going to Kyoto during that season on a weekend! Be aware that because of a public holiday in November , there’s sometimes an extended weekend at the end of November – which you should avoid at all costs! In 2018 that’s Nov 23 – 25 .

Again you can avoid the crowds by going to less known places.

6. Nenmatsu (= time around New Year’s Eve / Day)

Most Japanese get days off from Dec 29 to Jan 4 . That’s another travel peak time. The majority of people spend their time with their families, but some also use that time to travel within the country.

It’s usually not that crowded, but be aware of “ Hatsumode ” (the first visit of a shrine in the new year on the first few days of January). Shrines might be insanely crowded. It’s a nice experience, but not if you wanted to enjoy the shrine itself and take photos there.

If you decide to come to Japan during that time, it’s a good chance to experience Japanese New Year’s Eve . Just don’t expect loud parties and fireworks.

It’s also a great time for discount shopping ! In the first few days of January many department stores will sell “ lucky bags ” (fukubukuro). People will line up to grab these from early in the morning. So it does get very crowded in many department stores and shops.

Also, keep in mind that a lot of sightseeing spots , especially museums, will be closed during that time (~ Dec 29 – Jan 4), so plan your trip accordingly.

How to Survive Peak Travel Season in Japan?

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you have to book everything you need far in advance (accommodation, rental car, domestic flights etc.). This is especially true if you want to visit the most popular tourist regions (e.g. Kyoto, Hiroshima).

For Kyoto in particular travel experts suggest to book up to 6 months in advance for cherry blossom and autumn foliage season! Otherwise you’ll only find hotels far, far away. You’ll only lose money and time that way.

As for train reservations (Shinkansen), I wouldn’t worry too much. Usually you always get a seat. I’ve rarely experienced any issues – and I never reserved a seat.

Please consider that post offices and banks will be closed during public holidays, so you won’t be able to withdraw money at ATMs . Especially during Golden Week with so many consecutive public holidays, this could become a problem. So make sure to plan accordingly.

This is all I can think of based on my personal experience.

Don’t be shy and share your experience with travelling during high season in Japan!

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Thank you for this great article. However, even on peak season you can get money from ATMs at 7-Eleven stores. ;) Best Wishes from Tokyo Tessa

Yes, of course. :) It’s difficult during public holidays, especially if there are consecutive public holidays like during Golden Week.

In spring 2016, I travelled Japan from March to late May, so of course the Golden Week was included. As a fan of matsuri, I wouldn’t want to miss Golden Week, because it features a large number of spectacular events all over the country, and this allows the masses to spread out somewhat. However, due to travel plans, I spent the earlier park of Golden Week in a remote spot of Hokkaido (Shiretoko-Shari) and hardly noticed anything unusual up there. The night from 2nd to 3rd May, which is probably oine of the most busy nights,I didn’t spend in a regular hotel but in a 24h sauna/spa named “Aomori Kenkô Land” in Shin-Aomori which is – or was – a rather remote location (I write “or was” – in 2016, with the extension of the Shinkansen to Hakodate-Hokuto, Shin-Aomori became a through station instead of a terminal, and a lot of building activity was in progress so I guess that sparked development of this area). For Golden Week, the sauna doubled the overnight surcharge but it was still quite affordable at 2740 Yen total. On May 3rd, I went to the Uesugi Kenshin samurai battle re-enactment in Yonezawa, and it was a fabulous experience. Actually, on May 3rd I would have liked the ability to split myself and attend multiple events, this is the day when the highlight of many Golden Week festivals takes place all over Japan. In a future trip in spring, I would deliberately include Golden Week to witness some other matsuri. As a single traveller I consider it fairly easy to find some sort of accomodation, but I totally understand that a tour group will avoid that week like the plague.

That’s exactly my experience. I’ve been to more remote places during Golden Week and it wasn’t crowded at all. However, first-time visitors don’t know about Golden Week and usually head to Kyoto, Tokyo, Hiroshima where it can get very crowded indeed.

The festivals during that time are nice indded. Good point. :)

Thanks for sharing your experience.

hokkaido is never crowded except for getting convenient hotel rooms for June “dancing in the street” and February snow festival. it is not hot in summer and offers beer festivals and so many other festivals. peak seasons there are normally not an issue

I remember Lake Kussharo was quite crowded. The tour to Rishiri and Rebun was crowded as well. When a typhoon hit Hokkaido and the streets where closed down and the trains weren’t running up to Wakkanai, I was forced to re-schedule and couldn’t find a hotel in Asahikawa. I had to call over 30 different accommodations. All of that was in August. Lake Toya also was kind of busy and Mt. Hakodate at night as well. :) (August and Golden Week)

It doesn’t get at crowded as other places, but that’s mainly because it’s luckily so spacious. :)

going to Furano during lavender season is busy as are other places during high season-crowded is Sapporo Ramen Festival, Sapporo Bier Festival in Odori Park but the term crowded means longer lines or wait for a yable to open up–i was recently in a typhoon in Hakodate. we got on the last bus leaving for Sapporo at 11:30 at night- the bus was full (does not mean it was crowded)—i’m sure the ski areas are “crowded” in peak season—-you don’t build extra hotels to take care of a few times a year the demand exceeds the supply

That’s true. The only thing I didn’t like about my vacation in Hokkaido during peak season were the expensive prices. The rental car and the domestic flights were really pricey.

there are many, many complaints on the cost of domestic flights within Japan. this has been going on for years. there are some discounts (10,000 yen) flights that are offered. the super railroad is not any cheaper. i am not familiar with rental companies. two considerations– the route corridor between Chitose and Tokyo is the busiest in the world and the cost of Hokkaido hotels is not expensive at all

I have a question. Everyone says that Kyoto is more expensive in peak season. I’m still thinking of going in early November. How much more expensive is accommodation then 30% more? Or higher? I need to do a budget for my friends. thanks.

Actually I don’t think early November will be too expensive, but why don’t you just have a look at hotel prices right now? A lot of hotels allow reservations up to 6 months in advance. I’d recommend to also look outside of Kyoto (e.g. Otsu) because it tends to be cheaper there and yet you’re at Kyoto Station in just a few minutes.

I also enjoyed spring season in japan lots of times and every time get great experience there.

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Best Time To Visit Japan

Cherry blossoms along walking path at Kawaguchiko Lake during Hanami festival, Japan

Japan in spring is a sight to behold

Pleasant temperatures and clear blue skies make late spring, which runs from March to May, and late autumn, which is from September to November, the best seasons to visit Japan. Peak season:  Spring – March to May – the cherry trees of Japan are in full bloom in late April Autumn:  September to November – cool, mild weather with some possibility of typhoons Off-season:  Summer – June to August – expect a lot of rain, with hot and humid weather in July and August Winter : December to February – cool and chilly, with snowfall in the mountainous regions and sometimes, also in the cities

Read on to know more about the ideal time to enjoy a  luxury private tour of Japan .

Best Time To Visit

We recommend.

  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawa-go, truly breathtaking in winter
  • Enjoy a cup of warm sake and take a dip in an onsen – the perfect antidote for cold evenings
  • Experience the Sapporo Snow Festival with ice and snow sculptures galore
  • Hit the slopes at one of the many top-class ski resorts in Northern Japan
  • Drop by and say hello to the snow monkeys of Nagano
  • Attend a cooking class in Kyoto
  • Explore electrifying Tokyo in super fast trains
  • Visit Nagasaki and get an insight into the city’s moving past through its many museums and installations
  • Picnic under the alluring cover of the cherry blossom trees in Tokyo
  • Take part in the Takayama Matsuri, one of the most beautiful festivals in Japan
  • Cherry blossom can still be experienced in northern cities like Hakodate and Sapporo
  • Delight in the sights and sounds of the Sanja Matsuri, a festival that takes place in Asakusa in Tokyo
  • Stay in a hot spring ryokan in Hakone
  • Explore hiking trails in Hokkaido
  • Visit a Japanese garden, green and alive after the rains
  • Hike up Mt. Fuji
  • Cool off at one of the beaches of Okinawa Island
  • Marvel at the impressive floats of the Kyoto Matsuri festival
  • Witness one of the many firework shows or attend a weekend concert in Tokyo
  • Escape the heat and head to Hokkaido for some nature therapy
  • Witness an exciting Sumo wrestling match at the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo stadium in Tokyo
  • Hike the trails of Nagano
  • Enjoy sunny days in Hiroshima
  • Visit the Daisetsuzan National Park for Koyo (fall color) viewing
  • Sit under a colorful fall canopy in one of Tokyo’s many parks
  • View the temples of Kyoto against a backdrop of multi-hued fall leaves – a sight to behold!
  • Get into the festive spirit as Tokyo lights up for Christmas
  • Get your fix of outdoor adventure as you ski down the mountains in Sapporo

Weather in Japanese Cities

An archipelago stretching over 3,000 km from north to south, Japan experiences major variations in the weather by region. Find out the best time to visit Japan by city.

  • Tokyo  – is a great year-round destination but the best times to visit the city are from March – May and September – November which coincide with the cherry blossom and fall season.
  • Kyoto –  is simply spectacular in autumn and equally alluring in spring.
  • Hokkaido – is a winter wonderland and best experienced from December to February at one of its many world-class ski resorts.
  • Osaka  – is best visited in spring and fall.
  • Hakone  – This tranquil, lakeside town is best experienced during springtime.
  • Nagano  – The ‘Roof of Japan’ sees the most tourists during the months of March to May.
  • Fukuoka  – Sitting in the southern part of Japan, the city is best visited from May until October.
  • Mt.Fuji  – Hike this symbol of Japan during the months of July to mid-September.
  • Okinawa Islands  – The beaches of Okinawa are at its most beautiful in summer, from June to October.

Japan in cherry blossom season - best time to visit Japan

Japan Travel Tips

What is the best time to visit japan for cherry blossoms.

The delicate pinks of the sakura or cherry blossoms are in full bloom and dress up the streets of Tokyo and Kyoto towards the end of March and the first week of April. Expectedly, you will also see huge crowds and if experiencing this stunning sight is on your bucket list, you need to plan your visit six months to a year in advance. But if jostling with the crowds is not quite your style, you could head to Sapporo which sees cherry blossoms in all its ethereal glory only in early May.

After you have admired Japan’s cherry blossoms, we highly recommend extending your journey to experience the fascinating history and culture of the country. Our experts have listed the  top 10 things to do in Japan , which can make your trip a truly enchanting one.

When is rainy season and typhoon season in Japan?

Early summer is rainy, but July and August are hot and humid except in Hokkaido, with temperatures in Tokyo reaching up to 88 °F. While autumns are cool, there is a possibility of typhoons, especially in Kyushu and Shikoku Islands, located in the South Western part of Japan, during the months of August and September.

When should I visit Japan to see fall colors?

The months of September to November see a color burst of a different kind with autumn leaves in deep reds, browns, yellows and golds framing the spectacular scenery of the country.

When is winter season in Japan?

Winter in Japan, which can be quite chilly, runs from December to February. Heavy snowfall is, however, mostly limited to the mountainous regions.

best time to visit Japan

What to Pack for Japan

Lighter clothing in the summer is recommended, but jackets are necessary if you plan to explore the Alpine regions. If you are visiting in the spring then bring some warmer clothes as the temperature drops considerably at night. There is plenty of walking involved in any trip to Japan so pack your most comfortable footwear.

As a rule, the Japanese people are always meticulously dressed and you will be judged and sometimes treated based on how you dress. While Japan is less strict than other Asian countries about dress codes when visiting temples, it is always polite to cover shoulders and be dressed conservatively. Easy to slip on/slip off shoes are more practical when visiting temples, or staying in ryokans etc.

How to Dress by Season in Japan

Spring:  This is one the best season to visit Japan. If you are visiting Japan in spring, layering is the key as there are considerable variations in temperature from day to night. It is wise to bring a light jacket as temperatures can drop significantly at night.

Summer:  The country gets quite hot in summer so it is best to pack light clothes, cottons, breezy linens and garments in breathable fabrics along with sunglasses and hats. It is also when the country gets the most rainfall so don’t forget to pack an umbrella and rain jacket.

Fall:  Pack layers. You will need sweaters and light jackets too.

Winter:  Fill your suitcase with winter clothing including heavy coats/jackets, gloves, hats and scarves.

Japanese girl in Yukata with red umbrella at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Japan - best time to visit Japan

Popular Trips to Japan

Japan onsen tour

Japan's Onsen Traditions

Get the perfect introduction to Japan’s age-old traditions! Focused on onsen or hot spring bathing rituals, this private tour takes you to the mountain town of Kinosaki, set between Kyoto and Osaka, which is famed for its onsen bathhouses, ryokans (inn) and gorgeous scenery. While staying in a typical ryokan, you can also sample authentic…

Samurai session in Kyoto

Japan's Samurai History, Culture and Cuisine

Uncover Japan’s famous Samurai culture, heritage and cuisine as you explore some of its best-loved destinations. Admire the iconic landmarks of Tokyo on a personalized tour, see Sumo wrestlers in action and go on a gourmet food exploration with an expert. At Kanazawa, stroll through beautiful 17th century gardens and participate in an authentic tea…

Best Time to Visit Japan

Best of Japan

Discover the diversity of Japan on this comprehensive tour from the north to the south. Explore classic cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka at your own pace on privately guided tours with local experts. Take in sights such as the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo and the magnificent gardens of Kyoto and Okayama. Fuel up…

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Japan's Hidden Treasures

Discover classics as well as hidden gems on this comprehensive Japan cultural tour. Start your journey in Tokyo, soaking in all the sights and sounds of this futuristic metropolis on private guided tours – from the traditional neighborhood of Asakusa to the foodie central Ramen Street! Continue on to Hakone, where you can relax and…

Enchanting Travels Japan Tours Colorful Autumn Season and Mountain Fuji with morning fog and red leaves at lake Kawaguchiko is one of the best places in Japan

Japan for Beginners: Tokyo, Kyoto and Mount Fuji

Experience the absolute highlights of Japan at your own pace on this classic tour of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Mount Fuji. Beginning in the dazzling capital city, discover the Sensoji Temple and the Meiji Shrine with an experienced local guide by your side. Leave the bustle of the big city behind and enjoy a climb up…

Best Places To Visit

Best Time to Visit Japan

Tokyo is a city like no other! Defined by cutting-edge design, quirky creativity and its own unique ancient culture, the city defines the best of both worlds.

Best Time to Visit Japan

Kyoto is to be seen to be believed. With no less than 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the city encapsulates traditional Japanese culture and tradition.

Best Time to Visit Japan

Hiroshima evokes powerful images and emotions attached to its war-torn past. Yet today, Hiroshima has emerged as a symbol of peace, beauty, and hope.

Best Time to Visit Japan

Kanazawa is perhaps best known for its 17th century castle garden Kenroku-en. It is equally well known as the neighbor of the quintessential Japanese feudal fortress, Kanazawa Castle.

Best Time to Visit Japan

Osaka is third largest city of Japan and has been the home of traders and merchants. It is also well-known for Japan’s oldest temple, the Shinto Sumiyoshi-taisha, and the majestic 16th century Osaka Castle.

Best Time to Visit Japan

Hakone defines the iconic image of Japan— with the majestic backdrop of Mount Fujiyama as it rises out of coniferous forest covered mountainsides, lakes and hot springs (onsen).

Things To Do

From warm baths in natural hot springs to authentic cooking classes and trips to an enchanted forest – discover the top ten highlights of Japan tours from our Enchanting Travels destination experts.

Travel Guide

Japan boasts lush green spaces, vast open landscapes and charming rural villages. The country is also considered to be one of the safest destinations in the world! Here are the top Japan travel tips from our destination experts.

Traditional yet wildly innovative, the cuisine in Japan is among the best in the world and listed as UNESCO Intangible World Heritage! Eat your way through Japan with the top food tips from our experts.

From the Blog

Top 10 temples in Japan - Women in traditional japanese kimonos walking at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Japan

Top 10 Temples in Japan

Deciding on the top temples, shrines and monasteries worth a visit in Japan, a country with many thousands to choose from, is no small task. Discover our top 10 picks, from the most popular Shinto shrines to the best Japanese monasteries and Buddhist temples.

Enchanting Travels Japan Tours Himeji castle with sakura cherry blossom festival in Japan

Experience the Magical Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan

Plan your Japan vacation to coincide with the magical cherry blossom festival in Spring for a truly unique experience.

What Our Guests Say

Best Time to Visit Japan

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Autumn in Kyoto

When is the best time to visit Japan?

  • Month-by-month

The best time to visit Japan is during spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). This is when Japan is at its most vibrant, with delicate cherry blossom or bright red leaves adding contrast to the scenery. Remember, it can also be very crowded at this time.

The summer months (June to August) offer ideal conditions for hikers and lovers of the outdoors, but only in the mountains of the Japanese Alps and Hokkaido’s wild national parks. Elsewhere, the weather is hot and humid. Rainy season occurs from the end of May until the middle of June or July.

For a very different experience, head to the north of Japan in winter (December to February). It’s snowy, but the people brighten the dark days with a variety of festivals and events.

It’s a good idea to take Japan’s national holidays into account, too. Shogatsu (Japanese New Year), Obon (in mid-August or mid-July, depending on the area), and the Golden Week (between April 29 and May 5) are busy times for residents.

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Month-by-month guide for traveling in Japan

Winter Onsen

Visiting Japan in January

The weather is usually cool, dry and sunny during January and sites are much less crowded than later in the year. In northern Japan there is heavy snowfall making conditions good for skiing.

Shirakawago in the snow

Visiting Japan in February

February is the peak of the ski season in northern Japan. Across the country days are generally cool, dry and sunny and many attractions are less busy than at other times of the year.

Events & Festivals

  • For one week in early February, Sapporo is overrun with enormous ice and snow sculptures, built in the central Odori Park as part of the Sapporo Snow Festival.

Cherry Blossom in Kyoto

Visiting Japan in March

The weather starts to get milder in March and blossom on the plum trees marks the beginning of spring. Toward the end of March the cherry blossom begins to emerge in the south of the country, which is celebrated by the Japanese with picnics in local parks. As this season is a popular time to visit Japan, the country gets very busy toward the end of the month.

  • The cherry blossom spreads north through mainland Japan.

Kawaguchi-ko near Mount Fuji in Japan

Visiting Japan in April

This is the peak viewing time for the cherry blossom as the trees start to bloom further north. The blossom during this time is beautiful and provides a magical experience, but if you travel during this time you have to expect everywhere to be very busy, and hotel rates escalate too.

  • Known as one of Japan’s top three most beautiful festivals, the Takayama Matsuri is held in the old town of Takayama where floats and shrines are paraded through the streets.

Temple pond and bridge, Kyoto

Visiting Japan in May

The weather in May is pleasantly warm and usually dry, and the vegetation is green and vibrant. Cherry blossom only reaches the northern parts of Hokkaido by this month, while in Okinawa , May is the rainy season. The first week of May is Golden Week, a national holiday and one of the busiest weeks of the year for domestic travelers.

  • Asakusa in Tokyo is the center for the Sanja Matsuri, held on the third full weekend in May. Colorful floats and shrines, accompanied by musicians and dancers in traditional Edo period costumes parade between Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine.

Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa

Visiting Japan in June

This time of year is hot and humid and there is typically rain in most parts of Japan. This means that the trees and plants are at their most vibrant, and Japan’s gardens are particularly beautiful.

Mount Fuji

Visiting Japan in July

There are numerous festivals held all over Japan in July, making it a lively time to visit. The rainy season generally ends across most of Japan by the end of the first half of the month, but the humidity continues. July is also one of the best months to climb Mount Fuji , a hike which is only possible during the more favorable conditions of the warmer months. This is the peak season for domestic tourism and also sees the highest levels of rain and threat of high winds in Okinawa.

  • Japan’s most famous festival, the Kyoto Matsuri, is held in Kyoto and dates back to the 9th century when it began as a religious ceremony to appease the gods. Enormous floats are marched through the streets throughout the month, although they are most impressive on July 17th.
  • In the 7th lunar month, as part of the Obon Festival to honor the dead, the Awa Odori is held in Tokushima on Shikoku Island. Musicians and dancers flood the streets in vibrant costumes.

Showa Shinzan, Toya, Hokkaido

Visiting Japan in August

Festivals continue across Japan during August and this is a busy domestic travel period as it is the school vacations. The weather is generally hot and humid across the country, with Hokkaido  being cooler and more comfortable.

Sunset over Miyajima

Visiting Japan in September

The domestic crowds associated with August have usually dissipated by September and skies are often clear and blue, although the weather can still be hot and humid. In late September the leaves start to change color in Hokkaido , a process which makes its way south over the next few weeks. Toward the end of September there is a five-day national holiday known as Silver Week, during which prices increase dramatically as the Japanese travel about the country. Silver Week only occurs every few years.

Sagano-Arashiyama bridge

Visiting Japan in October

This is the start of the fall season for mainland Japan and brings striking red and gold hues to the landscape. The weather begins to cool down from the heat of the summer, making October a pleasant time to visit.

Matsumoto Castle, Japan

Visiting Japan in November

This is the peak time to see the colorful leaves in mainland Japan. Traveling around tends to be much quieter during this month, and the weather is pleasantly cool and mild.

Japanese snow monkeys, Yudanaka Onsen

Visiting Japan in December

The weather is cool and typically dry in December, and the country isn’t busy for the first couple of weeks which makes it a good time to visit if you don’t mind the chilly temperatures. Ryokan properties don’t tend to have much in the way of heating so staying here can be cold. However, outdoor onsens can be really special experiences during the winter months, particularly in the north of Japan where you can be bathing in natural thermal hot springs yet surrounded by snow. Towards the end of December it gets busier as the school vacations start, and some attractions close in the run-up to the New Year.

Japan Climate Guide

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Tokyo   Travel Guide

peak time to travel to japan

Best Times To Visit Tokyo

The best time to visit Tokyo is between March and April and September and November. Autumn ushers in colorful foliage and comfortable temperatures. Spring brings in much of the same, but instead of vibrant fall hues, the foliage you'll see here are cherry blossom trees in full bloom, making it peak tourist season. Summer, on the other hand, is oppressively hot, but less crowded than the spring. What's more, parts of June and July can usher in lots of rainy days. On the opposite extreme, winter weather is chilly (with highs in the 50s and 60s and lows in the mid-30s), but still manageable; however, you will not be able to experience the full potential of Tokyo's parks at this time of year.

Weather in Tokyo

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

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Popular Times to Visit Tokyo

Tourism volume is estimated based on in-market destination search query interest from Google and on travel.usnews.com in 2015-2016. Hotel prices are sourced from a sample of U.S. News Best Hotels rates through 2015-2016.

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When to travel

The tables below list average daytime high and nighttime low temperatures and average percentages of sunny and rainy days for selected cities. A rainy day is defined as a day on which at least 1 mm of rain falls, while a sunny day is a day on which the sun shines at least 40% of the daytime.

(Source: Japan Meteorological Agency )

New Year is one of Japan's three major travel seasons with intensive domestic and international travel activity. Many shops, restaurants and attractions are closed for at least one day between December 29 and January 4. Read more about visiting Japan during New Year .

The remainder of January is a good time for visiting Japan, as the weather is usually sunny and dry and sightseeing spots are not very crowded (except possibly around Chinese New Year). Only in northern Japan and along the Sea of Japan coast, there is lots of snowfall , and conditions are good for winter sports . The downside of a visit in winter are the relatively short days (sunset is around 5pm in Tokyo) and the vegetation's barren state.

Like January, February is a good time for visiting Japan as the weather is usually sunny and dry and sightseeing spots are not very crowded (except possibly around Chinese New Year). The downside of a visit in winter are the relatively short days (sunset is around 5:30pm in Tokyo) and the vegetation's barren state.

Northern Japan and the Sea of Japan coast receive lots of snowfall . At the peak of winter, February tends to be the best time for winter sports and viewing winter sceneries, such as the drift ice off Hokkaido and the snow-covered farm houses of Shirakawago .

Early flowering plants and trees, such as plum trees , deliver the first signs of spring, while the weather is getting noticeably milder. Towards the end of March the cherry blossom season starts in certain regions, while in northern Japan conditions are still good for winter sports . Domestic travel activity increases in the second half of March due to spring school holidays.

Besides autumn, April is often considered the best time to visit Japan because the cherry blossom are in bloom and the weather is pleasantly mild. Domestic travel activity is increased in early April due to spring school holidays, in late April due to the start of the Golden Week and during most of the rest of the month due the cherry blossom season.

Golden Week , one of Japan's busiest travel seasons, takes place in the end of April and beginning of May and can be the cause of various travel-related concerns.

However, the remainder of May is one of the best times for visiting Japan, as the vegetation has become lush, the temperatures are still comfortable and tourists spots tend to be relatively uncrowded. In Hokkaido , the progress of spring is delayed by about one month compared to Tokyo . At the other end of the country, in Okinawa , the rainy season (tsuyu) typically lasts from early May to mid June.

From the beginning of June, the rainy season (tsuyu) visits most parts of Japan except Hokkaido . While it does not rain every day, the weather tends to be overcast and dreary. The duration and intensity of the rainy season can vary quite strongly from year to year.

Hot spring resorts like Hakone and the wooded temple mountain Koyasan are some places that can be quite attractive in rainy weather. Hokkaido is an attractive destination in June as it is least affected by the rainy season. Also, the weather in Okinawa takes a dramatic turn to the better after the end of the rainy season there in late June.

The rainy season (tsuyu) typically ends in the first half of July. It is hot and humid in most of Japan, and just standing outdoors can make you sweat. The conditions are more comfortable in higher elevations and in Hokkaido , a highly popular destination among outdoor lovers during the summer months.

Many local festivals and fireworks are held. Mount Fuji is opened for climbing . Cormorant fishing can be observed. It is also a very good time of the year for beach holidays in Okinawa . With the summer school holidays from late July through August, domestic travel activity increases considerably.

August is hot and humid in most of Japan. The conditions are more comfortable in higher elevations and in Hokkaido , a highly popular destination among outdoor lovers during the summer months. Many local festivals and fireworks are held in August. Travel activity is high during the entire month due to summer school holidays, but it is especially intensive during the Obon week in mid August.

The typhoon season reaches its peak in August and September. Typhoons usually hit the coasts of Okinawa , Kyushu and Shikoku and cause strong rain and wind in wide parts or all of Japan for about two days. Luckily, typhoons are often followed by very good weather. The weather in September can still be hot and humid, but tourist spots have become less crowded.

October is one of the most pleasant months for traveling in Japan as the weather remains warm, but is not hot and humid anymore. Trees begin turning colors in the northern regions and higher elevations.

November is one of the best times to visit Japan, as the weather is relatively dry and mild, and the autumn colors are spectacular in many parts of the country. Travel activity tends to be low except around popular autumn leaf spots .

December is a good month for traveling thanks to generally dry weather conditions. Domestic travel activity remains low during the first half of December until the beginning of winter school holidays towards the end of the month. The downsides of a visit in winter are the relatively short days (sunset is around 4:30pm in Tokyo) and the barren state of the vegetation. From around December 29 some tourist attractions close down for the New Year holidays . The ski season gets fully underway in December.

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10 Apr 2024 - 4 min read

Best Times to Explore Japan: Ideal Months for Traveling

Japan, which is known as the Land of the Rising Sun, invites travelers around the world with its unique charm throughout the year. Then, when is the best month to visit Japan? Each season offers its distinct character, from the ethereal cherry blossoms of spring to the colorful autumn leaves.

Japan's diverse landscape undergoes stunning transformations throughout the year, offering experiences that are always different. Whether you're drawn to the serene tranquility of winter snow scenes or the vibrant energy of summer festivals, each season in Japan unfolds with its own unique allure, promising unforgettable adventures and unforgettable memories.

Traveloka has summarized various activities that can be done in the best months to visit Japan according to your preferences. Take note of the summary below!

Spring (March-May)

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Spring in Japan is all about the delicate beauty of cherry blossoms. Witness the magical sight of delicate pink blossoms covering parks, gardens, and streets. Take a stroll under the blossoming trees at iconic locations such as Ueno Park in Tokyo, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, or Maruyama Park in Kyoto. Enjoy a traditional hanami picnic under the cherry blossoms with your friends or loved ones, a cultural experience that is highly valued by the Japanese.

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[Minimum 2 Participants] Kyoto Day Tour: Arashiyama・Sanzenin Temple・Bamboo Forest Path・Sagano|Sagano Romantic Train Tickets Available for Purchase in Spring (Depart from Osaka/Kyoto)

Spring is also an ideal time for outdoor enthusiasts, offering comfortable temperatures and vibrant scenery. Explore the majestic Mount Fuji, a national symbol, and watch its snow-capped peak contrast with the cherry blossoms. Hike through the lush forests of Nikko National Park , or follow the scenic hiking trails of the Japanese Alps, enjoying the fresh mountain air and stunning views.

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Nikko Pass All Area

Spring comes alive with festivals that showcase Japan's rich cultural heritage. Witness Tokyo's Sanja Matsuri festival, a lively street parade with floats and traditional costumes. Experience the Takayama Spring Festival, famous for its magnificent floats decorated with intricate carvings and puppets. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere and appreciate the dedication to preserving cultural traditions.

Summer (June-August)

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As temperatures rise, Japan's stunning coastline becomes a major attraction. Relax on the pristine beaches of Okinawa, a subtropical paradise famous for its turquoise waters and renowned as one of the world's most coral-rich regions. While snorkeling, you can see more than 200 species of coral reefs on Okinawa's seabed.

Alternatively, explore the beautiful islands of the Seto Inland Sea, kayak through hidden coves, or simply splash around near the beach. Enjoy a refreshing dip in a waterfall such as Nachi no Otaki, a majestic waterfall surrounded by lush greenery.

Summer festivals offer a unique glimpse into Japanese culture. Catch Kyoto's Gion Festival in July, a centuries-old tradition featuring lively parades and beautifully decorated floats. Or the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, famous for its large, illuminated floats depicting mythical creatures and historical figures. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere, lively music, and joy of cultural celebration.

Summer evenings transform Japan's cities into bustling centers of activity. Enjoy rooftop bars with stunning views of the city, explore vibrant night markets full of delicious street food, or catch an outdoor film screening under the stars. Take a stroll along Osaka's Dotonbori district, famous for its neon lights and vibrant restaurants, or explore the vibrant nightlife in Tokyo's Roppongi.

Autumn (September-November)

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Autumn in Japan is a season of warm colors, with vibrant reds, golden yellows and warm browns dotting the landscape. Take scenic train journeys such as the Hokuriku Shinkansen, which offers panoramic views of the vibrant autumn leaves. Hike in the Japanese Alps or explore the quiet trails of Mount Takao, enjoying the crisp autumn air and breathtaking views. Enjoy a traditional "momijigari" picnic under the colorful leaves, while taking in the beauty of nature's transformation.

As the weather cools down, warm yourself up in a deeply relaxing experience at an onsen, a traditional Japanese hot spring. Visit Hakone, a popular onsen resort town surrounded by beautiful mountains. Explore a wide selection of onsen, ranging from simple outdoor baths to luxurious indoor facilities, and soak in the natural mineral-rich waters renowned for their healing properties.

Autumn offers delicious seasonal dishes, enriching the culinary experience in Japan. Savor delicious dishes featuring matsutake mushrooms, sweet potatoes and chestnuts. Treat yourself to freshly caught seafood, or warm up with a bowl of nabemono, a Japanese hot pot dish. Explore local food markets, sample street food, and enjoy the diverse and delicious flavors of each season.

Winter (December-February)

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Winter turns Japan into a wonderland for snow enthusiasts. Ski or snowboard on the slopes of famous ski resorts such as Rusutsu, Niseko and Hakuba, famous for their snow and stunning scenery. Experience the thrill of winter sports, from ice skating on frozen lakes to snowshoeing through beautiful landscapes.

As the days grow shorter, cities come alive with dazzling winter illuminations. Check out Midtown Tokyo's Hibiya Christmas Market, a festive event featuring twinkling lights, charming stalls and delicious food. Explore Kobe Luminarie, a show of millions of lights that transforms the city into a magical landscape. Step into the festive atmosphere and enjoy the warmth of the holiday season.

Winter offers unique cultural experiences. Witness the Kamakura Festival, where snow huts are built and illuminated, creating a unique winter wonderland. Participate in the traditional "yugake" ceremony, which involves pouring hot water to warm yourself on a cold day. Explore the village of Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and marvel at the traditional gassho-style farmhouses blanketed in snow.

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The best time to visit Japan has been covered by Traveloka. Spring, especially during cherry blossom season, and autumn when the leaves start to bloom, are the most visited times. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during the other seasons, namely spring before the cherry blossoms bloom or autumn after the leaves turn red.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Japan depends on your personal preference. Whether you're interested in the natural beauty of each season, lively festivals, or cultural experiences, this charming country is sure to leave a lasting impression. Start your Japan trips whenever the season is with Traveloka to get the best prices!

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  • When is peak travel season?

The difference between the peak and off-peak travel seasons in Japan is severe.

If you have a flexible schedule, try to avoid these particular time periods when prices skyrocket and transportation and hotels tend to be fully booked.

New Year?: December 27 to January 4 and adjacent weekends.

Golden Week?: April 29 to May 5 and adjacent weekends.

The Summer Bon Holiday?: The week centering on August 15.

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The Worst Times to Travel in Japan

Touristic peak seasons and congestion in the archipelago.

When planning a first trip to Japan, the first natural move is to decide on when traveling in Japan. We already provided a long and detailed answer in our article “the best season to go to Japan”. It summarized important seasonal thematics in Japan ( spring , summer , autumn and winter ), as well as visits recommendations month by month (foreign tourists favorites being April , July , August and October ).

peak time to travel to japan

As a matter of fact, there are three inescapable factors that narrow choice for prospective travelers in Japan:

  • School holidays : when traveling in family, and especially with kids , following the school calendar is unavoidable,
  • The possibility to take leave from work , that can be limited due the employer or the type of job,
  • The stereotypes about Japan , conveying the idea that one must visit the country in April or possibly in October (we will explain below why these stereotypes should be disregarded).

These constraints, combined with a strong growth of tourists attendance in Japan since 2011, became so prominent over the recent years that it impacts the capacity of foreign tourists to enjoy their travel. The contrast can be overwhelming depending on the time of the year they choose to visit the archipelago.

Why avoid specific touristic seasons in Japan?

We gradually noticed that some seasons are to be avoided when traveling in the archipelago . Japan in general is of course under no threat of overtourism, as the country received in 2019 only a third of the number of travelers coming to France, the first touristic destination in the world. However, what was not even imaginable until the end of the 2000s requires now a special attention (and Kyoto ’s inhabitants are painfully aware of the problem) and led us to write this article.

The situation is simple: mass tourism is the source of unavoidable difficulties, starting from the law of supply and demand that rules tourism market. Therefore, when traveling during times we don’t recommend, tourists will face the two following main issues.

Extremely high prices

The yield management system makes prices skyrocket:

  • Some flights  ✈️ have their price doubled in the very high season, compared to the low season (except for promotions, an economy direct roundtrip flight costs about $1.500USD in April, that is to say, more expensive than a Premium Eco flight in low season!)
  • It is even worse for accommodations , with prices that increase threefold, sometimes fourfold depending on the demand’s pressure.
  • The other touristic services follow the same trend, so it is also true for transportation (with the notable exception of JR Pass , whose price is fixed), private guides, Pocket Wi-Fi rental, various entrance tickets, etc.

Tourists gather in mass at the same places and at the same times

The tourists crowd generates unpleasant constraints, such as:

  • Waiting lines to access some events, museums , or temples (it has become more frequent to be denied access to a site during flowers blooming peak, and almost impossible to discover the Moss Temple or a Sumo tournament during very high season).
  • A less comfortable travel for the tourist, and a pressure put on locals, who, although usually patient, tend to get irritated.
  • The unpleasant closeness with other people that makes it difficult to take pictures not showing a dense crowd at the foreground of an object or a moment.

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Visiting Japan off-season 日本でオフシーズンに旅行する

  • Published on : 30/08/2018
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Golden Pavilion

Here are the reasons to travel to Japan during off-peak season

Visiting the Japanese archipelago off-season can be a great idea, with many advantages compared with traveling at the most popular times. Discover another side of Japan...

The peak tourist seasons of Japan are mainly during the periods of hanami (cherry blossoms) and koyo (red maple leaves), occurring respectively from early March to mid-May, and from early October to late November. The low Japanese seasons are the two months of summer, and particularly the months of December, January and February. Winter is undoubtedly the least-visited season of the year for tourists.

So, what are some of the benefits of visiting Japan off-season?

Raisonnable prices

This is definitely worth taking into account! In low season, many prices are lower. This will help with the two biggest expenses of any trip, namely the flights and accommodation . With far more affordable prices at off-peak times, this can, for example, give you the opportunity to afford a stay at a very nice ryokan (traditional inn), complete with meals, which might have been impossible during high season when availability is low and prices soar! Not only that, but by booking in advance you can make even better savings.

Our guide : Visting Japan on a budget

Alone in the world

It may not seem like a big deal at first, but when you're traveling at a less popular time, you'll avoid the crowds . It's admittedly not ideal to walk around Nikko , explore the foot of Mount Fuji or wander through picturesque Gion among hordes of tourists... In January or February, you can visit the most popular tourist places in complete tranquility and get that picture-perfect shot. There will also be shorter queues at entrances to museums and temples. Do yourself a favor and avoid the extra stress!

Enjoy winter-specific activities

Visiting in January and February gives you the chance to see Japan in a whole new light. The landscapes are beautiful and appear completely different in winter, sometimes even under a layer of snow, which creates a magical atmosphere . In addition, the weather, although cold, remains pleasant during the Japanese winter, which tends to be rather dry and sunny.

A lesser known event than the hanami can also make your winter trip special: the flowering of the ume , Japanese plum trees. They bloom as early as February in Tokyo and Kansai (Kyoto and Osaka region), and their intense pink flowers appear in parks and temples all over.

  • 5 reasons to visit Japan in winter
  • 5 Japanese winter drinks
  • Best places to visit during winter

Winter is also the best time to admire Mount Fuji , its summit covered with snow, as there are usually fewer clouds in winter. It is also the ideal time to enjoy an  onsen , especially outdoors (rotenburo) . What could be better than enjoying the steaming hot waters surrounded by charming snow-dusted landscapes?

See : 5 onsen with a view

Winter can also be an opportunity to try skiing , as well as to discover what Hokkaido has to offer, including the impressive Sapporo Snow Festival .

And in summer?

Of course, the summer also has much to offer visitors! Certainly, the heat and humidity of the Japanese summer is not for everyone. However, Japan has some beautiful beaches to cool off at, so this season can be an opportunity to relax, and perhaps even enjoy the incredible beaches of the islands of Okinawa .

Read : Visiting Japan in summer

In addition, summer is the period of matsuri , traditional annual festivals. In Kyoto especially, the streets come alive in the evening, and some events shouldn't be missed, like Gion Matsuri and its parades of floats, or Motomiya festival at Fushimi Inari shrine, where temples and the tunnels of  torii gates are adorned with thousands of red lanterns... Finally, July and August are also the time of year for fireworks displays   (hanabi) , which the Japanese take to a whole new level!


  • Events and festivals in Japan
  • 5 of the best summer fireworks displays
  • Beaches in Japan
  • Five summer festivals not to be missed

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The Best Time to Travel on Shinkansen: Peak, Regular and Off-season

There are infamous crazy travel seasons in Japan as shown below, based on the official calendar provided by the Shinkansen operator Japan Rail Way (JR).

peak time to travel to japan

If you plan on traveling on Shinkansen during peak periods, around national holidays or weekends, we strongly recommend booking "reserved seats" in advance.

It's standard cultural behavior for Japanese locals to book their transportation a long time in advance to secure seats. Please expect ultra-long lines and uncomfortable standing train rides without your reservation! If you would like to travel like local pros, plan, and reserve ahead, which our booking specialists can help you with.

If you are still in your planning stage for your travel to Japan, choose off-season or standard period for a relaxing Shinkansen rides. During peak times, tourist destinations and hotels could also be packed.

Please keep it in your mind that the idea of "crowded train" in Japanese people's mind might look like "trains from hell" for your visitors from abroad! It could also be considered a pure crazy cultural entertainment for traveling in Japan if you are really into that sort of thing.

Peak Seasons (Hanbou-ki, 繁忙期)

These are the times Japanese citizens travel like crazy! We recommend riding Shinkansen bullet trains with unreserved seats in peak season if nightmarish wait in line to secure your seats is not your idea of fun! Make sure to buy Shinkansen tickets online from us in advance. JR, the shinkansen operator, publishes the official calendar to show you when the trains are crowded. It’s much more difficult and expensive to book hotel rooms too during these periods. Shinkansen tickets are a little more expensive during peak seasons, but we at Shinkansen Ticket online shop do not change ticket prices.

  • Spring break period (March 21 to April 5) Japanese business and school year starts in April with cherry blossoms. There’s a spring break between the end and start of the year.
  • Golden Week  (April 28 to May 6) The entire country moves during the Golden Week with many national holidays.
  • Summer holiday  period (July 21 to August 31) It's vacation time like many other countries. It’s especially busy in mid-August during traditional “Obon” period when people head to home towns away from big cities for spiritual traditional ceremonies. 
  • New Year period (December 25 to January 10) Entire Japan shuts down at the end of the year and during New Year days. It’s a very quiet, spiritual and beautiful winter season of Japan. But the trains are really packed. Everybody heads back to their home town or for vacation by train, air, car, and bus. The craziest peak travel season in Japan.

Off-Season Period (Kansan-ki, 閑散期)

Japan Rail Way defines periods below as “off-season.” If you plan on traveling on Shinkansen often, it may be wise to choose offseason for your travel, not just to secure your seats, but also for your peace of mind.

  • January 16 to 30
  • Entire February
  • Entire June
  • Entire September
  • Entire November
  • December 1 to 20  

*Fridays, weekends and national holidays are considered Normal Period.

Normal Period (Tsujou-ki, 通常期)  

Any period other than peak and off-season is considered Normal Period by Japan Rail Ways.

Other Factors to Consider

Time of the day.

Shinkansen is generally more crowded in early morning and evening when people move to other cities after work and sightseeing.

The days of the week

Shinkansen is a lot more crowded during weekends and around national holidays.

Seasonal Events for Major Tourist Destinations

For example, a lot of Japanese people visit Kyoto in autumn for beautiful red and yellow leaves, and in spring for Sakura. During these times, trains and accommodations are very crowded and hard to book them.

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Shinkansen seats are available in four levels depending on the comfort and services your require.

Ordinary Seat

Regular seats used on Reserved cars and Unreserved cars of Shinkansen. Consider it as "economy class" seat.

Better seats with more space than ordinary seats. All Green Seats are reserved only. Consider it as "business class" seats.

Reserved Seat (Ordinary Reserved Seat)

Your seat is reserved and secured when you book your tickets. Head to the station with a peace of mind. Seats are the same as Ordinary Seat.

Green Reserved Seat

Better seats and free blankets. Popular among Japanese business persons, executives and people who values comfortable travel. Consider it as "business class" seats.

GranClass Seat

Know as "First Class" of Shinkansen seats. Only available on Hokuriku and Tohoku Shinkansen lines. Gran Class seats comes with airline-like amenities and meals . The most expensive of all.

Unreserved Seat

You can take any open seats in unreserved cars of any train on the departure date. (No departure time will be indicated on your tickets.) The best seat type if your priority is the cost and are traveling during less-crowded season/time.

For further information and photos, please visit official page at http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/ticket/types.html 

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Golden Week travel plans near pre-pandemic levels as overseas bookings surge

The international departure lobby at Haneda Aiport in Tokyo on April 29, 2023, at the start of the Golden Week holidays.

An estimated 23.3 million people in Japan are expected to travel during the Golden Week holidays, marking a robust resurgence to 90% of pre-pandemic levels, according to survey results from travel agency JTB.

Conducted online in early March, JTB's preliminary survey reached 10,000 respondents nationwide, spanning ages 15 to 79.

Among the findings, 2,060 respondents expressed an intent to travel, with a total of 23.32 million people traveling for stays of one night or longer between April 25 and May 5 either domestically or internationally, a 1.8% increase from the same period a year before.

Overseas travel is poised to witness a surge, with an estimated 520,000 travelers, reflecting a 67.7% increase from 2023. JTB reports international travel bookings soaring to 225% of 2023 figures.

Proximity plays a pivotal role for international traveler’s destination choices, with South Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia seeing heightened popularity. JTB attributes this pattern to the yen's depreciation.

The average cost of overseas travel stands at ¥269,000, marking a 4.7% increase from 2023. Exchange rate anxieties were voiced by 44% of international travelers.

A total of 22.8 million individuals are expected to travel domestically, mirroring figures from the prior year. Travel destination preferences were more varied compared to 2023, with a rise in rail and air travel. Nonetheless, 55.3% of respondents cited their primary mode of transport for their trip to be their own car, indicating a penchant for more local travel spots.

Rising prices have cast a shadow over domestic travel expenses, with the average planned expenditure at ¥36,100, marking a 3.7% upturn from 2023. Concerns over high prices were voiced by 36.1% of respondents, while 31.8%, particularly among older demographics, expressed apprehension toward overcrowding of tourist areas, fueled by an influx of overseas visitors.

For many respondents, Golden Week journeys symbolize opportunities for family time (31.7%), relaxation (28.9%), and culinary exploration (28.5%).

For those against traveling during Golden Week, 47.2% of respondents cited overcrowding, a 4.7-point surge from 2023. Economic concerns were also highlighted in the survey, with 33.7% deeming Golden Week travel too expensive, while 24% faced constraints due to family budgets.

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This is the best time to visit Japan

W hen it comes to choosing the best time to visit Japan , it's hard to go wrong as there's an array of natural events, active experiences and cultural goings on that take place throughout the year.


Travellers planning a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Japan, however, will want to choose the right month to tick off that all-important bucket list experience you've always dreamed about.

If you wish to visit the Asian hotspot but haven't decided on the best time of year to visit Japan, our guide to the season's top delights will help you decide. Here's where to go and the best time to visit Japan...

How many days is enough to visit Japan?

When you’re thinking about how many days is enough to explore Japan properly, it’s worth remembering that it takes around 14 hours to fly non-stop from London to Tokyo. You might want to factor in a day or two to acclimatise and recover at the start of your trip and adjust to the new time zone — Japan is nine hours ahead of the UK.

Japan is an incredible country to explore, and if you’re only planning on visiting once, you’ll want to make the most of your time there and factor in plenty of time to see the highlights. That will include Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka as an absolute minimum for most people. To make exploring simple, a Japan cruise can be an excellent way to travel effortlessly around the country, but be sure to choose an itinerary that allows you to experience a ride on a bullet train and catch the view from Mount Fuji.

The exact number of days you’ll need in Japan depends on what you want to do and see. We recommend around 10 days to ensure you have enough time to explore Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Mount Fuji, and some of the other fascinating sights in between.

When is the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossom season?

The most popular areas for cherry blossom viewing experience the bloom in March and April. If you travel around this time of year, you should have a good chance of seeing the powder-pink display, particularly if your itinerary takes you to different parts of Japan. The cherry blossom usually emerges in the south of the country first at the end of March and spreads north over the following weeks.


Cherry blossoms only bloom for around a week or two, appearing at slightly different times in different locations. Add to the equation that there are different varieties of sakura, and you can see why the exact dates are tricky to pin down. To add to the complexity of viewing the blossom in full bloom, a scientific study found that human-induced climate change is bringing the flowering forwards.

By 2100, researchers from the Met Office and Osaka Metropolitan University expect the date of peak blossom will be a full 17 days earlier. For now, visit in March or April for the best chance of seeing this unforgettable floral spectacle.

When is the cheapest month to visit Japan?

The cherry blossom season is one of the most popular times to visit Japan, and the prices of holidays over this time tend to reflect this demand. Booking ahead can help spread the cost of a holiday to Japan, and you can already book your spot on a 2025 Japan cruise with Good Housekeeping.


If cherry blossom viewing isn’t top of your Japan wish list, then you might want to consider visiting Japan at a cheaper time of the year. Except for New Year, the off-peak season in Japan is late autumn to early spring. It’s cooler, drier, and quieter, which can suit some travellers better.

Visiting Japan in spring (March to May)

With its mild weather and blossoming trees, spring is a wonderful time of year to explore Japan in bloom. It's the most popular season among visitors who travel far and wide to witness the Japanese cherry blossom. Celebrated everywhere, from Tokyo to Hiroshima, it's when you can see nature's fleeting beauty and visit various locations for hanami (cherry blossom viewing).

Try Kyoto's Botanical Garden, Philosopher's Path and Maruyama Park. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, Yoyogi Park, the Nakameguro neighbourhood, Shinjuku Gyoen, the Meguro River and Chidorigafuchi Moat make for terrific cherry blossom viewing.

Elsewhere, Mount Yoshino in the Nara Prefecture is the most famous sakura (cherry blossom) site and has around 30,000 cherry trees covering the mountain. Spring is also an excellent time to see the magical wisteria tunnel at Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Fukuoka.


Visiting Japan in summer (June to August)

Summer brings hot and humid conditions to Japan, making it the perfect time to escape to the mountains. If you're looking to get active, July to mid-September is Mount Fuji's climbing season. You'll find many people hiking up and down the volcano in the summer months, but if you wish to get away from the crowds you might want to head to the north of Japan to the main island of Hokkaido.

Known for its natural hot springs and national parks, Hokkaido offers mild summer weather. It's during this season that you can enjoy the bright carpet of flowers covering the hills and mountains. Some of the flower types are only found in Hokkaido thanks to its peculiar climate and you'll also witness rows upon rows of tulips, lavender and sunflowers in a beautiful display.


Visiting Japan in autumn (September to November)

Autumn in Japan offers the opportunity to experience leaf peeping at its very best. Vibrant red and orange leaves fall from the trees and it's a chance to get out and about to see nature's beauty. Kyoto is a popular place for autumn holidays, with Nanzen-ji Temple, the mountain village of Takao and Imperial Palace Park known as some of the picturesque spots to see the changing colours of the leaves.

Other leaf-peeping highlights around Japan include Tokyo's Rikugien Garden and Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue, where the ginkgo trees turn bright yellow in autumn. Hiroshima's maple trees are also putting on a magnificent display, and in Kagawa, the Ritsurin Garden Autumn Illumination is a three-day light event showing the autumn colours at night.

Visiting Japan in winter (December to March)

This is the time to get active and head for the ski slopes in Japan. The winter ski season runs from the end of November to the end of March and you'll find top-quality snow in the resorts of Appi Kogen, Niseko, Furano and Hakuba. Wildlife lovers will also love the winter months as they're when you can spot snow monkeys at the Jigokudani Monkey Park (December to March), whooper swans in Hokkaido (October to March) and Steller's sea eagles in Hokkaido (first two weeks of February).

If you prefer hotter climes, you can bask in the winter sun of Okinawa, located between mainland Japan and Taiwan. The island offers a tropical climate, white sand beaches and the bluest of waters, with highs of 21 degrees in December.

The best time to visit Tokyo

Planning a city break and want to head straight for Tokyo? The best time to visit is between March and April or September and November while avoiding the capital during the height of summer. During spring and autumn, the weather is milder and less humid, plus there's little rainfall, so weather-wise, it's a dream.

For the most beautiful scenes, March and April are your best bet if you want to marvel at Tokyo's cherry blossom displays and even though it's popular among visitors, you'll avoid the school holiday crowds.

Is there a worst time to visit Japan?

We all love different things on holiday – what one person loves, another will want to steer clear of! So, if you’re wondering if there’s a worse time to visit Japan, consider your own likes and dislikes. For instance, if you love clear and sunny skies, you’ll want to avoid the rainy season, typically between June and July. If you can’t bear intense humidity and soaring mercury, you may want to avoid the height of the summer – July and August – particularly in cities like Tokyo and Kyoto.

Those who like to explore sights without crowds should note when Golden Week is. Golden Week is a major Japanese holiday period, so there’s lots of domestic travel during this time. In 2024 and 2025, Golden Week is between 29 April and 5 May. However, many find that Tokyo can be quieter over Golden Week when Tokyo residents escape the city.

Want to experience Japan during the cherry blossom season? Read about our cruise holiday in 2025 and book a space on this dream escape.


Looking for inspiration for your next holiday? Grab a cuppa and browse our brochure packed with unique escapes.


The best time to visit Japan for an unforgettable holiday. Here's the ultimate guide to the best time of year to visit Japan.

Wapiti Travel

How Much Does A Trip To Japan Cost?

By: Author Sylvia

Posted on Last updated: April 14, 2024

Planning a trip to Japan can be an exhilarating experience. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene temples of Kyoto, there’s no shortage of adventure waiting to be discovered. But before you embark on your journey, it’s crucial to crack the code of budget travel in this vibrant country.

Wondering how much a trip to Japan cost? In this blog post, we’ll dissect the key factors that influence your expenses and unveil strategies to make the most of your dollars.

peak time to travel to japan

Timing Is Everything

The first rule of thumb for savvy travelers is to master the art of timing.

When Should You Book Flights?

When should you book your flights to snag the best deals? From our experience, if you’re visiting during the low season aim to secure your flights between 6 and 4 months in advance.

We consider low season:

  • The winter months from November to March before the Sakura kicks in
  • The short period that follows the cherry blossoms, until the summer holidays
  • Early autumn before the colorful fall foliage starts to show

This window typically offers the most competitive fares.

During the high season, which usually falls in April (during cherry blossom season), and during the fall foliage, it’s advisable to book your flights even further in advance, ideally between 8 and 6 months before your trip. This timeframe allows you to secure seats at more reasonable prices before they’re snapped up by other travelers eager to experience Japan’s peak attractions.

Check out our comprehensive guide on how to find cheap flights. 

peak time to travel to japan

Booking Accommodations

Accommodation costs in Japan can fluctuate significantly depending on the season and location.

For a budget-friendly room with private facilities, anticipate spending approximately $90-$110 per night.

If you’re inclined towards luxury, 4-star hotels typically range around $200 per night.

During shoulder seasons, it’s wise to budget an additional $60 per night for accommodations.

It’s worth noting that accommodation expenses, especially for luxury options, can soar during peak seasons. Rates as high as $880 per night are not uncommon in the luxury segment.

While other hotels follow this upward trend, their rates tend to be slightly less extravagant. If you’re planning to visit Japan during the peak season, it’s advisable to book your accommodations well in advance.

In the peak season

Drawing from personal experience, we booked our accommodations approximately 4 months ahead of our trip, visiting during both the Sakura and Golden Week periods. That was back in 2018. Since then Japan has become even more popular. That’s why we recommend booking at least 6 months out. Better yet would be to book your hotels flexibly as far as 1 year out, monitor the prices, and rebook when you find a better deal.

In the low season

Last year we visited Japan during the low season. On average, we paid around $125 per night for a 2-person room. Our stays included ryokans, a temple stay, and various 3- or 4-star hotels. We were relatively late to book our hotels this time.

Though occasionally we had to search for options, and booking even earlier would have been beneficial, all accommodations were impeccably clean and well worth their price.

In summary, here’s a rough breakdown of accommodation price ranges:

  • Low budget: $90-$110/night per room
  • Comfortable: $120-$170/night per room
  • Luxury: Starting from $200/night per room

These prices are for rooms with private facilities. Dormitories and capsule hotels can be found cheaper. Prices haven’t risen much in recent years, but with inflation starting to take hold in Japan, this could change in the future.

peak time to travel to japan

Our Best Tips For Finding Affordable Accommodations

Finding affordable accommodations in Japan can be a challenge, especially in popular tourist destinations. Here are 5 tips to help you secure budget-friendly lodging during your stay:

  • Book Early : As mentioned earlier, booking your accommodations well in advance can often result in lower prices.
  • Consider Alternative Accommodation Options : While hotels are the most common choice for travelers, consider alternative options such as guesthouses, hostels, capsule hotels, or Airbnb rentals. These options are often more budget-friendly and can provide unique experiences, especially for solo travelers or those on a tight budget.
  • Explore Less Touristy Areas : Accommodation prices tend to be higher in popular tourist destinations like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Consider staying in less touristy areas or nearby cities where prices may be more affordable. Not only will you save money on lodging, but you’ll also have the opportunity to experience local culture and hospitality away from the crowds. Thanks to Japan’s efficient train network, you can stay just outside the hot spots without losing too much time. During our first trip in 2018 we chose to stay at Lake Biwa instead of in Kyoto. This is only a 25-minute train ride away, but considerably cheaper.
  • Utilize Online Booking Platforms and Discounts : Take advantage of online booking platforms like Booking.com and Agoda to compare prices and find the best deals. These platforms often offer discounts, especially for early bookings or last-minute deals. We often find good deals on Agoda for accommodations in Japan. Additionally, consider joining loyalty programs or using discount codes to save even more on your accommodation expenses.
  • Stay Flexible : Flexibility is key when it comes to finding cheap accommodations. Consider adjusting your travel dates to take advantage of lower prices during off-peak seasons or weekdays. Be open to staying in different types of accommodations or sharing rooms with other travelers to further reduce costs. Additionally, and especially if you book long in advance, consider booking refundable accommodations that allow you to cancel or modify your reservation without penalty in case better deals come up later.

Even in the more affordable hotels in Japan, you can enjoy the unparalleled hospitality of the country. Cheaper hotels need not compromise on comfort and service. The main difference is usually in the size of the room. Additionally, more affordable rooms tend to be slightly less soundproof.

Here you can find lots of accommodation guides:

  • Best Ryokan’s in Tokyo
  • Best Ryokan’s in Tokyo With Private Onsen
  • Best Airbnb’s in Tokyo
  • Best Airbnb’s in Tokyo For Families
  • Best Onsen Hotels in Tokyo
  • Where to Stay in Tokyo For the First Time
  • Coolest Hotels in Tokyo
  • Best Ryokan’s in Kyoto
  • Best Ryokan’s in Kyoto With Private Onsen
  • Best Kyoto Onsen Hotels
  • Where To Stay in Kyoto
  • How to Find The Best Airbnb in Kyoto
  • Coolest Hotels in Kyoto
  • Marriott Lake Biwa: A Good Alternative For Expensive Hotels in Kyoto
  • Best Osaka Hotels With Onsen
  • Best Osaka Capsule Hotels
  • Best Ryokans in Osaka
  • Best Osaka Ryokans With Private Onsen
  • Where To Stay in Osaka
  • How To Find The Best Airbnb In Osaka

Mt Fuji Area

  • Best Hakone Ryokans
  • Best Ryokan In Hakone With Private Onsen
  • Best Mt Fuji Hotels With Private Onsen
  • Best Ryokans in Mt. Fuji
  • Best Airbnbs In Hakone

peak time to travel to japan

How Much Should You Budget For Food?

One of the highlights of any trip to Japan is undoubtedly the food. Fortunately, indulging in the country’s culinary delights doesn’t have to break the bank. For just $20 per day, you can enjoy a satisfying array of meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For this price you can eat quite well without having to resort to unhealthy fast food. You can savor delicious noodle soups or satisfying okonomiyaki at those small typical Japanese eateries.

These prices are so low that you don’t really need to budget much for this.

Now, if you want to dine in the more charming restaurants in the evenings, you’ll want to double that budget. And if you really want to treat yourself to a luxurious Kaiseki meal – that’s the high-end, multi-course Japanese haute cuisine – then you’ll need to dig a bit deeper into your wallet. But even then, the prices are quite reasonable. We’ve paid around $75 one time, and up to $105 another. That was both in 2023. In return, you get this beautifully presented, multi-course feast served in all those intricate little bowls and plates – it’s a true delight for the senses.

The most expensive meal we had in Japan in 2023 was at a Kappo restaurant, where we indulged in a 12-course Kobe beef tasting menu. That one set us back $170 per person. Kappo is a variation on Kaiseki, where you often sit at the counter and can interact with the chef, who can then adjust the courses to your preferences.

In summary, for food we would recommend to budget:

  • Low budget: $20-$25/day/person (when eating at small eateries during lunch and dinner or when stopping at the French bakeries or convenience stores for lunch)
  • Normal budget: $40-$50/day/person (when dining at regular restaurants)

Tip : Opt for local eateries serving up delicious noodle soups or savory okonomiyaki for an authentic dining experience.

Okonomiyaki Japan food

How To Find Affordable Food

Finding affordable food in Japan doesn’t mean sacrificing taste or quality. Here are 4 tips to help you enjoy delicious meals without breaking the bank:

  • Explore Local Eateries and Street Food : Some of the best and most affordable meals in Japan can be found at local eateries and street food stalls. Look for izakayas (Japanese pubs), ramen shops, sushi bars, and yakitori stalls where you can enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine at reasonable prices. Don’t hesitate to wander off the beaten path and explore side streets and alleys where hidden gems await.
  • Try Set Meals and Lunch Specials : Many restaurants in Japan offer set meals or lunch specials at discounted prices during lunchtime. These meals often include a main dish, rice, miso soup, and side dishes at a fixed price, making them a great value for money. Look for signs advertising “lunch sets” or “lunch specials” outside restaurants, especially in business districts and shopping areas.
  • Visit Supermarkets and Convenience Stores : Supermarkets and convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Lawson, and FamilyMart are ubiquitous in Japan and offer a wide range of fresh and ready-to-eat meals at affordable prices. You can find bento boxes, onigiri (rice balls), sandwiches, salads, and snacks that are perfect for budget travelers on the go. Additionally, supermarkets often discount their prepared foods towards the end of the day, so consider visiting before closing time to snag bargains. We almost always buy some Onigiri, Japanese rice balls, in the convenience stores so we have a snack in case we get hungry. You find them in every convenience store and we particularly like the ones with Pickled Plum.
  • Take Advantage of Food Markets and Food Halls : Food markets and department store food halls (depachika) are treasure troves of affordable and delicious food options. Explore local markets like Tsukiji Market in Tokyo or Nishiki Market in Kyoto, where you can sample a variety of street food and snacks at reasonable prices. In department stores, head to the basement floor to find an array of gourmet food stalls offering everything from sushi and tempura to sweets and desserts.

Healthy Japanese Food

peak time to travel to japan

Navigating Public Transportation

Efficient and punctual, Japan’s public transportation system is the lifeline of travel within the country. While intra-city transit fares remain reasonable, inter-city travel, particularly via the renowned Shinkansen bullet trains, can be more costly.

Prior to the price increase of the national JR Pass, it was almost a guarantee that you would save money by using this pass. However, the situation has changed. Nevertheless, there are still many ways to save on costs.

Research JR’s regional passes and the many tourist discount passes to maximize savings on transportation expenses.

We have compiled an overview of the most useful passes that can be used as an alternative for the national pass. Depending on your itinerary, flying between cities may also present a viable alternative to rail travel.

Japan taxi

Here Are Our Best Tips For Navigating Public Transport Cost-Effective

Navigating public transportation in Japan can be efficient and cost-effective with the right strategies.

Here are 4 tips to help you travel around Japan for a low price:

  • Invest in Discount Passes : Consider purchasing discounted transportation passes tailored to your travel needs. For instance, cities like Tokyo offer subway and bus passes that provide unlimited rides within a specified timeframe at a flat rate, saving you money compared to purchasing individual tickets. Additionally, the Japan Rail Pass can still offer value if you travel long distances on the Shinkansen. The JR Hokuriku Arch Pass can be a good alternative for those who visit Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka. These are just 2 examples, there are much more passes .
  • Utilize Local Transport Options : Take advantage of local transport options like buses , trams, and municipal subway systems, which are often more affordable than tourist-oriented services. Research the most economical routes for your journey and opt for local trains instead of express or shinkansen (bullet trains) whenever possible to save on transportation costs.
  • Plan Efficient Routes : Plan your routes to minimize travel expenses. Use online route planners or smartphone apps to map out the most efficient and cost-effective routes for your journey. Look for direct routes and avoid unnecessary transfers or detours whenever possible to save time and money.
  • Explore Walking : Take advantage of Japan’s pedestrian-friendly cities and scenery to explore your surroundings without relying solely on public transportation. Walking short distances between nearby attractions can also help you save on transportation costs while immersing yourself in the local culture and ambiance.
  • Is the Japan Rail Pass Worth It?
  • How To Use Tokyo’s Public Transport
  • Is the Hakone Freepass Worth It?

peak time to travel to japan

Embracing Flexibility and Research

Ultimately, the key to budget travel in Japan lies in flexibility and thorough research. Keep an eye on fluctuating prices, explore alternative transportation options, and be open to adjusting your itinerary to optimize savings. Whether you’re immersing yourself in the vibrant energy of Tokyo or savoring the tranquility of Hakone, adopting a strategic approach to budgeting will ensure a memorable and wallet-friendly journey through the Land of the Rising Sun.

In conclusion, with careful planning and resourcefulness, exploring Japan on a budget is not only achievable but also immensely rewarding. By leveraging insider tips and staying adaptable, you can uncover the wonders of this captivating destination without breaking the bank. So pack your bags, prepare your dollars, and embark on an unforgettable adventure that seamlessly blends affordability with unparalleled experiences.

Weak yen may actually deter Bank of Japan from hiking rates soon

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Illustration picture of Japanese yen banknote

  • BOJ seen raising price f'cast but cutting growth projection
  • Weak-yen pain on households, retailers may weigh on growth
  • Small firms' wages, service-price moves key to rate hike timing
  • BOJ may need until autumn to scrutinise wage-price cycle


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Asian shares slide on US rate cut rethink, Middle East worries

Asian stocks sank and the dollar climbed to more than five-month highs on Tuesday as stronger-than-expected U.S. retail sales for March further reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to be in a rush to cut interest rates this year.

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What's expected at Japanese PM Kishida's US visit? A major upgrade in defense ties

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is making an official visit to the United States this week

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is making an official visit to the United States this week. He will hold a summit with President Joe Biden that's meant to achieve a major upgrading of their defense alliance.

He will also join a first-ever summit of the U.S., Japan ese and Philippine leaders in Washington to showcase their cooperation in the face of an increasingly assertive China .

The Associated Press explains the significance of Kishida’s visit and the two summits.

The biggest event during the weeklong trip is his summit with Biden on Wednesday. Kishida hopes to further strengthen the alliance as China's influence grows in the Indo-Pacific.

Kishida is also reaching out to the American public to showcase Japan’s contribution to the U.S. economy and ensure stable relations regardless of who wins the U.S. presidential election later this year.

Kishida, who has pushed sweeping changes fortifying Japan’s defense capabilities since taking office in 2021, will emphasize that Japan and the U.S. are now global partners working to maintain a rules-based international order, and that Japan is willing to take on a greater international role in security, economy and space to help Washington.

Expanding arms equipment and technology cooperation between the two countries and other like-minded partners is also highly important, Kishida on Friday told selected media, including AP.

Kishida, stung by a corruption scandal, needs a successful U.S. visit to shore up low support ratings at home.

As a state guest, Kishida will be welcomed in a White House arrival ceremony on the South Lawn, a formal state dinner and other official events. He is the fifth state guest of Biden, who has also hosted leaders of India, Australia , South Korea and France, underscoring America’s focus on Indo-Pacific security partnerships.

Kishida is the first Japanese leader to make a state visit since Shinzo Abe in 2015. Abe made a major revision to the interpretation of Japan’s pacifist Constitution, allowing its self-defense-only principle to also cover its ally, the United States.

Defense tops the agenda because of growing worries about threats from China, North Korea and Russia. Chinese coast guard ships regularly approach disputed Japanese-controlled East China Sea islands near Taiwan. Beijing says Taiwan is part of its territory and will be brought under control by force if necessary.

There are also worries about North Korean nuclear and missile threats and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Kishida has warned that the war in Europe could lead to conflict in East Asia, suggesting that a lax attitude to Russia emboldens China.

“While we maintain the Japan-U.S. alliance as a cornerstone, we believe it is important to cooperate with like-minded countries, including the Philippines,” Kishida said.

Biden and Kishida are expected to agree on a plan to modernize their military command structures so they can better operate together. America stations 50,000 troops in Japan. The Japanese Self Defense Force is preparing to restructure so it has a unified command for ground, air and naval forces by March 2025.

Also expected are new initiatives for defense industry cooperation, including co-production of weapons, possibly a new missile, and the repair and maintenance of American warships and other equipment in Japan to help U.S. operations in the western Pacific.

Japan’s possible participation in a U.S.-U.K.-Australia security partnership to develop and share advanced military capabilities, including artificial intelligence , electronic warfare and hypersonics, may also come up.

Kishida and Biden are also expected to confirm Japan’s participation in NASA’s Artemis moon program and its contribution of a moon rover developed by Toyota Motor Corp. and the inclusion of a Japanese astronaut. The rover, which comes at a roughly $2 billion cost, is the most expensive contribution to the mission by a non-U.S. partner to date, a U.S. official said.

Since adopting a more expansive national security strategy in 2022, Kishida’s government has taken bold steps to accelerate Japan’s military buildup. He hopes to show Tokyo is capable of elevating its security cooperation with the U.S. Kishida has pledged to double defense spending and boost deterrence against China, which Japan considers a top security threat.

Japan, working to acquire what it calls a “counterstrike” capability, has purchased 400 U.S. Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles. After prohibiting almost all weapons transfers, it has relaxed export guidelines twice in recent months, allowing the sale of lethal weapons to countries from which they were licensed and the overseas sales of a fighter jet it’s co-developing with the U.K. and Italy. The changes have allowed Japan to ship Japanese-made PAC-3 missiles to the U.S. to help replace those contributed by Washington to Ukraine.

The first-ever trilateral summit between Biden, Kishida and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. comes as the Philippines faces escalating maritime tension with China over their contested South China Sea claims.

Biden wants to show that the three maritime democracies are unified as they face aggressive Chinese action against the Philippine coast guard and its supply vessels off the disputed Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, according to a senior Biden administration official.

Japan has sold coastal radars to the Philippines and is now negotiating a defense agreement that would allow their troops to visit each other’s turf for joint military exercises.

The trilateral comes eight months after Biden hosted a meeting with leaders from Japan and South Korea at Camp David.

“Cooperation among our three countries are extremely important in maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and in defending a free and open international order based on the rules of law,” Kishida said Monday before leaving for Washington.

Kishida also wants to highlight Japan’s economic contributions in the U.S. There is growing uncertainty in Tokyo about U.S. elections, reflected by questions about what happens if former President Donald Trump wins, though experts say there is a bipartisan consensus on a stronger U.S.-Japan alliance.

Kishida will meet with business leaders and visit Toyota’s electric vehicle battery factory under construction for a planned launch in 2025, and Honda’s business jet subsidiary in North Carolina. He will also meet students at North Carolina State University on Friday.

In his congressional speech on Thursday, Kishida said he plans to convey “what Japan and the United States want to hand down to future generations and what we need to do for them.”

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    Cherry blossom season and Golden Week are the busiest times to visit Japan. The Sakura season sees many international tourists arrive, while Golden Week (a collection of four national holidays) at ...

  7. When Is the Best and Cheapest Time to Visit Japan in 2023?

    Festival Season: June - August. If you're interested in Japan's matsuri (festival) culture, summer is the best time to visit. Japan's "big three" festivals are the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto (July), Kanda Festival in Tokyo (May), and Tenjin Festival in Osaka (July), but festivals are held throughout the country in the summer months.

  8. The Best Time to Visit Japan: A Complete Guide

    Tokyo: Average temperatures for summer see lows of 19°C (66°F), going up to 31°C (88°F) by the end of August. Kyoto: Lows of 19°C (66°F) and highs of 33°C (91°F) in August. Sapporo: Lows are around 13°C (55°F) while the highest temperatures peak at a pleasant 26°C (79°F). Warmer temperatures are common in the south.

  9. The Best Time to Visit Japan

    Spring and fall are the busiest times in Kyoto; October and November are the peak months for tourism. Consider booking your trip to Kyoto in August when rain slacks off a little but crowds haven't surged yet. If cold weather doesn't scare you, January and February are good months to visit Kyoto.


    SPRING IN JAPAN. Japan's spring season lasts from mid-March to early May, depending on where you visit. Most parts experience fluctuating temperatures with chilly mornings and evenings and warm afternoons. Average temperatures in Tokyo range between 40°F to 79°F (4°C to 23°C).

  11. When's The Best Time of Year to Visit Japan?

    In general, the best time to visit Japan is between March and May, which offers the most temperate climate and blooming cherry trees—but that also means more crowds. This peak season time may not be ideal for those looking to grab hotel reservations or roam less-crowded streets. Weather and location also play a major role for those planning a ...

  12. When to Visit Japan? Bests Times and 2024 Travel Tips

    Winter. Winter in Japan lasts from late December to mid-March with temperatures from 30 to 45 F (0 to 8 C). Winter is great for frugal travelers - if you avoid the holidays, winter is one of the cheapest times to visit Japan. After the holidays pass, mid-January to mid-March is also the least crowded time to visit.

  13. Here's the best time to visit Japan

    Pro: Ski conditions are now at their peak! The best time to visit Japan for skiers. Pro: Snow Festivals, such as the Sapporo Snow Festival and the Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival, are in full swing.Many illumination festivals continue until mid-February or longer.; Pro: Early-blooming cherry blossoms can be seen in places like Atami, near Tokyo. Plum blossom season begins.

  14. When is Peak Travel Season in Japan? » Zooming Japan

    5. Autumn Foliage Season (esp. end of November) Almost as popular as cherry blossom season is autumn when the leaves change colors. For the main tourist regions (Hiroshima, Kyoto or Tokyo) that peak is usually from the end of November to the beginning of December. Other parts of Japan get autumn colors as early as September.

  15. Best Time to Visit Japan

    Japan in spring is a sight to behold. Pleasant temperatures and clear blue skies make late spring, which runs from March to May, and late autumn, which is from September to November, the best seasons to visit Japan. Peak season: Spring - March to May - the cherry trees of Japan are in full bloom in late April.

  16. Best Time to Visit Japan

    Visiting Japan in March. The weather starts to get milder in March and blossom on the plum trees marks the beginning of spring. Toward the end of March the cherry blossom begins to emerge in the south of the country, which is celebrated by the Japanese with picnics in local parks. As this season is a popular time to visit Japan, the country gets very busy toward the end of the month.

  17. Best Times to Visit Tokyo

    When is the best time to visit Tokyo, Japan? Find out from U.S. News Travel, a trusted source of travel information and rankings. Learn about the weather, festivals, and attractions in different ...

  18. When to travel to Japan

    New Year is one of Japan's three major travel seasons with intensive domestic and international travel activity. Many shops, restaurants and attractions are closed for at least one day between December 29 and January 4. Read more about visiting Japan during New Year.. The remainder of January is a good time for visiting Japan, as the weather is usually sunny and dry and sightseeing spots are ...

  19. Best Times to Explore Japan: Ideal Months for Traveling

    The best time to visit Japan has been covered by Traveloka. Spring, especially during cherry blossom season, and autumn when the leaves start to bloom, are the most visited times. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during the other seasons, namely spring before the cherry blossoms bloom or autumn after the leaves turn red.

  20. When is peak travel season?

    When is peak travel season? The difference between the peak and off-peak travel seasons in Japan is severe. If you have a flexible schedule, try to avoid these particular time periods when prices skyrocket and transportation and hotels tend to be fully booked. New Year?: December 27 to January 4 and adjacent weekends. Golden Week?:

  21. The Worst Times to Travel in Japan

    As a matter of fact, there are three inescapable factors that narrow choice for prospective travelers in Japan: School holidays: when traveling in family, and especially with kids, following the school calendar is unavoidable, ; The possibility to take leave from work, that can be limited due the employer or the type of job,; The stereotypes about Japan, conveying the idea that one must visit ...

  22. What's the best time of the year to visit Japan (In your ...

    There is no single best time. November is arguably the most beautiful, but it's also among the most crowded. Late-December to early January has tons of fun things going on for New Year's, but it's cold. Mid-February to mid-March has plum blossoms and is much less crowded than cherry blossom season, but is still cold.

  23. Visiting Japan off-season

    The peak tourist seasons of Japan are mainly during the periods of hanami (cherry blossoms) and koyo (red maple leaves), occurring respectively from early March to mid-May, and from early October to late November. The low Japanese seasons are the two months of summer, and particularly the months of December, January and February.

  24. The Best Time to Travel on Shinkansen: Peak, Regular and Off-season

    The craziest peak travel season in Japan. Off-Season Period (Kansan-ki, 閑散期) Japan Rail Way defines periods below as "off-season." If you plan on traveling on Shinkansen often, it may be wise to choose offseason for your travel, not just to secure your seats, but also for your peace of mind. January 16 to 30; Entire February; Entire June

  25. Golden Week travel plans near pre-pandemic levels as ...

    An estimated 23.3 million people in Japan are expected to travel during the Golden Week holidays, marking a robust resurgence to 90% of pre-pandemic levels, according to survey results from travel ...

  26. What's your single best tip for traveling in Japan? Here's what

    4. Bring fun socks. "Bare feet in Japan is a big no-no. Travelers should expect to remove their shoes often in Japan and should always have socks on when they do so. The removal of shoes might ...

  27. This is the best time to visit Japan

    When is the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossom season? ... Except for New Year, the off-peak season in Japan is late autumn to early spring. It's cooler, drier, and quieter, which can ...

  28. How Much Does A Trip To Japan Cost?

    If you're planning to visit Japan during the peak season, it's advisable to book your accommodations well in advance. Drawing from personal experience, we booked our accommodations approximately 4 months ahead of our trip, visiting during both the Sakura and Golden Week periods. On average, we paid around $125 per night for a 2-person room ...

  29. Weak yen may actually deter Bank of Japan from hiking rates soon

    TOKYO, April 11 (Reuters) - The yen's fresh slide to a 34-year low complicates the Bank of Japan's deliberations on the timing of a next interest rate hike, as a resulting rise in import costs ...

  30. What's expected at Japanese PM Kishida's US visit? A major upgrade in

    Kishida, who has pushed sweeping changes fortifying Japan's defense capabilities since taking office in 2021, will emphasize that Japan and the U.S. are now global partners working to maintain a ...