Weather Conditions in Japan
As a country that has four properly demarcated seasons, Japan is a joy to visitors no matter which time of the year they visit. With its diverse geography and climate, every season brings something delightful and unmissable. It’s not very easy to pinpoint the best time to visit Japan because the summer experience is vastly different from the winter or any other season’s experience. Nevertheless, each season has its own allure, and everyone has their own opinion about which is the best season to go to Japan and with good reason too. Here’s a season-wise look at what to expect in each season in Japan.
Think of Japan and one immediately thinks of the delicate pink cherry blossoms that carpet entire avenues and leave one wonderstruck with its quiet and perfect beauty. Spring is the time when cherry blossoms light up trees and cover the ground in pink and white sakura petals. It’s common to see people come together for hanami picnics which are entirely dedicated just to blossom viewing. Often, these become a good enough excuse to have food and drink under the beautiful trees and feel that all is right with the world.
The Japan National Tourism Organisation offers a bloom tracker which you can use to see when the cherry blossoms will reach full bloom each year as the date changes based on weather and location. For most people, the cherry blossoms are reason enough to make it the best time to go to Japan. In Japan, spring often falls between March and May and weather can be quite cold. In fact, in the first half of spring, there can even be some snow. If you want to travel to Japan during the time of the Sakura bloom, then make sure you check the tracker beforehand.
Summer in Japan can tend to be rather hot and humid. Although it might not tick all the boxes when it comes to being the best time to visit Japan, it certainly has its own merits. For one, there are some amazing festivals that take place during this time, right on the streets. Like the Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri, one of the biggest festivals in Tokyo where processions are taken down the streets on palanquins and observers throw water on the procession. It can get wet and noisy soon enough!
Summer is also the time when there are gorgeous fireworks displays every week and often in different locations, confusing people with too many choices. Nevertheless, this is the time to enjoy cold beer or some flavoured shaved ice and sit back to enjoy the amazing pyrotechnics. Japan’s summer is from June to August.
Autumn is another beautiful time to visit Japan, when trees turn red and gold and all shades of russet from September to November. Prepare to rub your eyes in disbelief when you visit Nara, Kyoto or Nikko where you can enjoy all these beautiful colours and freeze them in your mind forever. Certainly, many will agree that this is the best time to visit Japan, especially because of the many cultural events that take place too.
Autumn is when people go on hikes in the mountainside and come back feeling ravenous. It’s something in the air after all. Settle down for some delicious sanma fish or enjoy chestnuts and if you’re willing to splurge, try the Shokuyoku no aki which uses matsutake mushrooms, the most expensive mushrooms in the world. Autumn is the best time to try the famed kaiseki cuisine, so it’s probably the best time to go to Japan.
From December to March, Japan can get quite cold. Most places get a lot of snow and if you can’t tolerate cold climes very well, then it’s probably not the best time to travel to Japan. But if snow doesn’t bother you, you could possibly enjoy this season very much! For one, there’s so much skiing to be done, especially in the north’s Hokkaido. Japan’s snow has the elusive powdery quality that skiing enthusiasts love and this in itself is a reason why winter is the best time to visit Japan for many people. If winter sports do not excite you, you can visit a hot spring resort and stay at a traditional Japanese inn known as ryokan.
Here are some of the seasons you should avoid visiting Japan:
Japan’s rainy season is from June to mid-July and it’s the time when most of Japan’s annual rainfall takes place. The weather is cloudy and overcast and a little depressing as well. The humidity is also high, making it rather uncomfortable. Most people avoid travelling to Japan for a holiday during this time.
Japan sees typhoons with heavy winds and rains at the end of August and in September. It’s advisable not to travel to Japan at this time because tours as well as outdoor events such as festivals get cancelled and you’ll feel cheated of all the wonderful holiday experiences.
In Japan, New Year’s Eve is not a big party with fireworks and a loud countdown like it is in most celebrated metropolises like Sydney or New York. Often, people like to spend it with their families at small private parties and most shops are even closed or shut early during this time, right until early January.
If you’ve made up your mind about the best time to travel to Japan, then do remember to check the SOTC’s Japan Tour Packages website for exciting offers and packages before you book your Japan trip.