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One of the first things that come to mind when planning a trip to Japan is: When is
the best time to travel there?
Stretching over 3000 kilometers from north to south, the islands of Japan span multiple
climate zones and offer beautiful natural sights across the country throughout the year:
from floating ice in the seas off Hokkaido up north, to jungles in the southern islands
of Okinawa, and a wide range in between.
With beautiful cherry blossoms each spring, fireworks during the heat of summer, fall
foliage in autumn and snow festivals during winter, Japan loves celebrating each of its
four distinct seasons, not to mention the plethora of festivals that take place year-round.
With so much worthwhile to experience across the calendar, here is a general month-by-month
overview to help you decide “When to travel to Japan”.
January
January is generally a pleasant month to visit Japan thanks to sunny, dry weather along the
Pacific coast and lots of powder snow along the Sea of Japan coast.
However, days are short and vegetation is barren.
The most prominent holiday in January is New Year, when many people make the year's first
visit to a shrine or temple.
Two inconveniences with the New Year holiday are that many shops, restaurants and tourist
attractions close for one or a few days, and that there is a big increase in traffic, which
can be frustrating.
However, the rest of the month comes with relatively small crowds or tourists.
February
Temperatures and weather conditions in February are very similar to those in January, and
travel activity remains relatively low throughout the month, making it quite a pleasant month
to visit the country.
This month also marks the peak of the wintersport season, offering large volumes of high-quality
powder snow in the mountains along the Sea of Japan coast and in northern Japan.
The season starts in the higher mountains in November and lasts in many resorts until
early May.
However, the best conditions for skiing are found from January to early March.
Aside from winter sports, February also brings about many majestic winter scenes in places
such as the Shirakawago farm houses, snow monsters in Zao, the drift ice off Hokkaido
of course the internationally famous Snow Festival in Sapporo which is held for one
week each year in Hokkaido's capital city.
March
In March the areas in the north are still cold, but we see the first signs of spring
in the southern half of the country, with plum blossoms offering nice natural spectacles.
By the end of the month, the renowned cherry blossom season usually has started in warmer
parts of the main islands, such as southern Shikoku and Kyushu..
One inconvenience is that domestic travel tends to increase in the second half of the
month, mostly due to spring school holidays.
April
April is one of the best months to travel in Japan.
Temperatures are comfortable throughout the country, it is relatively sunny and it is
the peak of the famous cherry blossoms.
In the average year the blossoms move from the south to the north during the entire month.
There cherry blossoms come with an increase in domestic travel, and some popular sightseeing
spots get flooded with crowds of domestic and foreign tourists.
May
May is another favorite month to travel in Japan.
Temperatures hover around 20 degrees throughout most of Honshu and vegetation has started
to develop as well.
One of Japan's most popular holidays, known as Golden Week, takes place from late April
to early May.
It is a collection of four national holidays during a week, which causes a very high increase
in domestic travellers.
If you are travelling during Golden Week, we recommend booking your accommodations and
making train reservations well in advance to ensure yourself of a stress-free trip.
The rest of the month though is one of the best to travel, with lush vegetation and nice
temperatures in most parts of the country.
June
The weather in June gets heavily affected by the rainy season.
Temperatures continue to increase but the percentage of sunny days starts to decrease
as many days are either cloudy or rainy.
Hokkaido up north gets less affected by the rainy season and other places such as Hakone
or Mount Koya can be very atmospheric and scenic to visit on a rainy day.
The rainy season in Okinawa down south usually lasts from early May to late June
July
Once the rainy season ends around mid July, weather conditions are very hot and humid.
The humidity level is so high it can make you sweat even by just standing outside.
If you are looking to escape the heat, Hokkaido is again a very nice destination to enjoy
some cooler temperatures and a drier atmosphere.
July to September is the best time for beach holidays in Okinawa.
July also marks the opening of the Mt Fuji climbing season, which lasts until the beginning
of September.
August
August is the hottest and most humid month which can make sightseeing very tiring.
On the other hand, a great thing about summer in Japan is its high number of festivals and
fireworks.
They usually attract large crowds of people wearing traditional yukata and make for a
great opportunity to mingle with the locals.
It is important to note that due to the school holidays from late July to end of August,
there is a considerable increase in domestic travel activity.
It gets especially intense in mid August during the week of Obon, a nationwide annual Buddhist
event when people visit their home town to commemorate their ancestors.
September
September sees a fair amount of rainy and cloudy days, while temperatures and humidity
levels remain high.
Alongside August it is also the peak of the typhoon season, with an average of around
one per month hitting the main islands.
Typhoons cause heavy rain and strong winds in wide parts or in all of Japan for one or
two days.
A positive thing is that they are often followed by very sunny weather.
Popular sightseeing spots are less crowded in September, as August crowds have mostly
disappeared.
October
Thanks to generally comfortable weather conditions, October is one of the most pleasant months
to travel in Japan.
Autumn colors have started appearing in Japan's northern regions and higher elevations.
November
With mild and pleasant weather conditions throughout the month, November is one of the
best months to travel in Japan.
The autumn colors are at their peak in many regions of the country, offering spectacular
sceneries of vivid red orange and yellow colors.
Except around popular autumn leaf spots, the travel activity is generally rather low.
December
Winter is starting in December with temperatures falling to cooler levels and vegetation turning
barren.
Generally dry and sunny weather conditions along the Pacific coast and low domestic travel
activity make it a good month to visit Japan.
Throughout the season, illuminations of various shapes and sizes are held in many cities.
Do keep in mind that in winter the sun only shines for around 10 hours each day and scenic
landscapes may not look their best due to the barren state of vegetation.
At the end of the month, travel activity sharply increases due to the New Year holidays.
Hopefully this video has given you some helpful insight into where to visit in Japan depending
on the time of year.
For more information or to watch another video, click the links on the screen now, or head
over to Japan-Guide.com, your comprehensive up-to-date travel guide, first hand from Japan.
Thanks for watching, be sure to subscribe and click the notification bell for more videos
about Japan.
Happy travels.
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When to Travel to Japan | japan-guide.com

208 Folder Collection
Sophie published on January 30, 2020
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