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Best times to travel to Japan

The best time to travel to Japan varies depending on what activities you want to do. Here you will learn about the best times to travel to Japan and the benefits those times have. For example, if you want to see the cherry blossoms, you don’t want to visit at a time when they have all fallen off. The guide will go through the months throughout the year and tell you what you can do during them if you visit Japan. 

Winter in Japan

December 

December is when the temperature starts to become colder, however, it is still a decent time to travel to Japan. Although, it does start becoming much colder towards the end of the month, so try avoiding visiting at that time. 

  • Winter Illuminations These are held all over Japan and they are a spectacular site to see. 
  • Christmas Markets There are various Christmas markets that you can visit during this time of year. They offer many kinds of food, decorations, and more. 
  • Ice Skating Since the weather starts getting cold again, you can ice skate in an outdoor ice skating rinks. 

January 

During this time of the year it is still winter. It is dry and temperatures are low. During this time, there aren’t many tourists compared to other months. However, even in January you can experience more mild temperatures if you travel to Southern Japan. 

There are many different kinds of activities that you can take part in during the winter in Japan. Some of these activities are listed below: 

  • Skiing You can visit Hokkaido to ski and snowboard as it has several great ski resorts. 
  • Open–Air Onsen An Onsen is a Japanese hot spring, and it creates a much better experience when it’s cold outside. You can visit Northern Japan to see the amazing scenery while bathing. 
  • Watch Sumo Wrestling You can watch the first sumo wrestling tournament of the year in January and it happens in Tokyo. 
If you travel north with the Japan Rail Pass, take advantage and relax in one of its Onsen

February 

This month is very similar to January. It is still winter during this time and many of the activities that you can perform during January can be performed now. The temperature starts increasing towards the end of the month, showing that winter is coming to an end. Some of the activities that can be performed are listed below: 

  • Sapporo Snow Festival – This is Japan’s biggest winter festival. It is held in the capital of Hokkaido which is Sapporo City. 
  • Japanese Valentine’s Day – Japan has various different customs during valentines day that you can experience. 
  • Setsubun Mantoro – This is an event that involves the lighting of Kasuga Taisha’s 3000 stone and bronze lanterns. This event takes place in Nara. 
  • Skiing – This is the last month where the conditions are ideal to visit ski resorts in Japan. 
Traveling in the middle of winter to Japan has the advantage of being able to see the Yiki Matsuri and their sculptures.

Spring in Japan

March 

This is the first month of Spring in Japan. One of the highlights of Spring in Japan are the cherry blossoms, they bloom all around Japan around this time of year and they are an incredible sight. Some of the activities that can be performed in March are listed below: 

  • Hina Matsuri – This is a special day in Japan, and it is also known as Doll’s day or Girl’s day. This day is celebrated every year on the 3rd of March. 
  • Sumo Spring Basho – You can watch the only sumo tournament in Osaka during March. 
  • White Day – This is a Valentine’s day custom. On February 14th, women buy chocolates for men and on White day, which takes place on March 14th, men reciprocate this.
  • Saint Patrick’s Day – Japans largest Saint Patrick’s Day event which is held in Tokyo. 

April 

This is one of the busiest times in Japan due to various different reasons. April is when cherry blossoms are in their peak and they are a sight to behold. The temperature increase and the sun is out. 

  • Golden Week – This consists of four holidays within a period of one week. This is one of the busiest times in Japan. 
  • Miyako Odori – This is a Geisha performance which takes place in Tokyo every year.
  • Inuyama Festival – A parade which features 13 historic floats which are paraded through the town of Matsuri.
  • Earth Day – Japans biggest Earth day event takes place during April and consists of many different activities such as musical performances. This event is held in Tokyo. 
The spring dances of the Geishas are a show to enjoy in April in Kyoto.

May 

In May, the temperature continues to increase, which means visiting Japan in May will be one of the best times to go out and experience Japan. The beginning of the month is busy because Golden Week is still taking place, but after that it starts to calm down. 

  • Golden Week Golden Week is still ongoing during the start of May. This is a very busy time as many people take a week off and because this is Japans biggest holiday. 
  • Sanja Matsuri This is a large festival held in Tokyo. It is held in celebration for the three founders of the Sensoji Temple. 
  • Sumo Summer Basho Another one of the three sumo tournaments which are held in Tokyo each year. 
The Sanja Matsuri is the opportunity to see true Yakuzas of Japan.

Summer in Japan

June 

June is when rain season begin, this takes place further into the month of June, so early June is still nice, warm, and sunny. Even so, there are many different activities that you can take part in, some of them are listed below: 

  • Yosakoi Soran Festival This is a Yosakoi dance festical which consists of 300 teams and 30,000 dancers. People from all over Japan take part and compete in this festival. 
  • Sanno Festival – This festival is one of Tokyo’s three greatest festivals. It takes place at the Hie Shrine. 
  • Visit Sapporo, Hokkaido Hokkaido isn’t affected by the rainy season, which makes it a great place to visit in Japan during the month of June. There are also plenty of things to do here. 

July 

July is when the rainy season is finally coming to an end. The temperatures start to rise, and it can be very hot and humid. Due to the weather, there are many activities available, these can be seen listed below: 

  • Kyoto Gion Festival One of the biggest festival in Japan that is held in Kyoto. This festival lasts throughout the entirety of July and includes massive floats being paraded around. 
  • Sumida River Fireworks The biggest fireworks festival in the country. This festival is held on the last Saturday of July every year. 
  • Mt Fuji Climbing On July 1st, Mt Fuji is opened up for climbing. 
  • Fuji Rock Festival The biggest outdoor music festival in Japan. It is held on the last weekend of July. 
If you are a climber, don't miss the opportunity to reach the top of Mount Fuji in Japan.

August 

August just like July is very hot and humid. Travelling is made more difficult due to this weather and typhoon season begins towards the end of this month. If you want to visit Japan, travelling there during this time of year isn’t the best idea. 

  • Nebuta This is a large summer festival which is held during the beginning of August. 
  • Summer Sonic This is another one of Japan’s music festivals and its lasts for 2 days and is held in Tokyo and Osaka. 
  • Visit the Beach Since the weather is hot and humid, it is one of the best times to visit the beach. 
Agosto es la mejor oprtunidad de bañarte en las playas de Japón y refrescarte

Autumn in Japan

September 

The weather in September is still warm but the humidity isn’t as bad as it is in August. This time of year is when typhoon season is at its peak. So, there is heavy rain and high winds to take into consideration during this time. 

  • Ultra-Japan This is the biggest EDM festival in Japan and it takes place in Tokyo. 
  • First of the Autumn Leaves In Hokkaido, you get to see the first of the Autumn leaves and they are an amazing sight. 
  • Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri A festival held in Osaka during the third week of September. It involves floats, some of which weight more than 3000kg. 
Ultra is the biggest EDM festival in Japan and it takes place in Tokyo.

October 

This weather conditions become much more comfortable due to the decrease in heat and humidity. This makes it much easier to travel and enjoy the outdoors. This is a great time to go out and explore Japan as much as you want. 

  • Hiking This is a great time of the year to go out and hike in Japan due to the suitable weather for these kinds of activities. The Autumn leaves can also be seen which makes the scenery great to look at and enjoy. 
  • Hokkaido Food Festival This even is held for 4 days in Yoyogi park in Tokyo. There are a huge number of vendors and many different types of food to try. 
  • Halloween Halloween is a big event in Japan and provides you with many different activities to take part in. 

November 

This month has great weather as well if you are looking to travel to Japan. The leaves have all changes colours and are an incredible sight. It isn’t that busy during this time of year, so you can experience Japan at your own pace. 

  • Visit Kyoto – You can visit Kyoto’s historic sites and be blown away by the scenery of the leaves which have now completely changed and provide so much colour and vibrance. 
  • Sumo Grand Tournament: Fukuoka Basho – This takes place in Fukuoka City during November and it is a spectacular event to witness. 
  • Meiji Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival – This is Tokyo’s most popular Autumn leaves festival and it takes place every year. 
In autumn, take advantage of your Japan Rail Pass to visit Kyoto and enjoy a scenery of colors due to the change of color of the leaves.

If you want to visit Japan but you want to know when the best time to visit is, then you need to first ask yourself what you are looking for. Japan has many different activities and events that take place all year round, and some might interest you while others don’t. You need to first figure out what you are looking for, then you will be able to find the best time to visit Japan. 

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