Japan by Month: The Best Time to Visit Japan
Month by Month Japan Guide
Are you wondering “When is the best time to visit Japan?” or “Which month/season should I visit Japan?”
Japan has four distinct seasons: Spring (March to May), Summer (June to August), Autumn (September to November) and Winter (December to February), and each season offers great tourist attractions such as cherry blossoms, traditional Japanese festivals, autumn leaves and snow festivals. So the best time to visit Japan is very much depending on what you want to see.
In this article, I’d like to share the best things to do in Japan in each month, so you can find out when the best time to visit Japan is for you! Check out our Month by Month Japan Guide with the best attractions in Japan in each month!
January is the middle of winter and the coldest month in Japan. The average temperature in Tokyo is around 8–10 ℃ high and 1–3℃ low, and it drops below minus in northern part of the country with heavy snow fall. Snow activities are the top attraction of the country including skiing and snowboarding at popular snow resorts in Hokkaido and Nagano. The unique sight like the Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani Monkey Park attracts a lot of visitors this month.
January is also an important month in Japan as the 1st January is a New Years Day and the period of New Years Holiday from the end of December to the beginning of January when families gather, people visit shrines for Hatsumode and enjoy the festive atmosphere. During the New Years Holiday period, some of shops and restaurants might be closed.
The new year sales are also the big event if you love shopping, which usually take places from 1–3 January with massive discounts.
The weather stays cold and dry in February, and it’s the best season for snow activities, and some of spectacular snow festivals (Yuki Matsuri) are held in this month including the famous Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido and Kamakura Snow Festival in Yokote City, Akita. Skiers and snowboarders may enjoy the best quality of the powder snow in February.
The season of Japanese strawberries also starts in January/February, and there are numbers of hotels holding all-you-can-eat strawberry dessert buffets, which is a must-visit event for sweets lovers! Strawberry picking is also available many greenhouse farms in Japan.
It’s the end of Japanese winter, and you may enjoy some hints of spring in February such as early cherry blossoms at Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival and plum blossoms at Suzuka Forest Garden and Inabe Plum Grove.
March welcomes Japanese spring. In the beginning of the month, it’s still chilly but the temperatures warm up gradually. From mid to late March is one of the busiest periods in Japan for tourism as the cherry blossoms season starts by late March and continues for about 1–2 weeks till early April. Popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo, Kyoto and Mt Fuji are extremely busy, yet cherry blossoms are simply the best scenery to see in Japan. Along with beautiful blossoms, there are cherry blossom festivals (Sakura Matsuri) held with food vendors and special events.
Although it’s the beginning of spring, it’s still cold in the north and mountains in Japan, and most of ski resorts are open till end of March.
Some of the most historical events are also held in this month such as Omizutori at Todaiji Temple in Nara and Higashiyama Hanatouro in Kyoto.