When to visit
Japan is a land of vastly different climates. At certain points of the year, the mountainous far north can be snowing while the tropical southern islands are warm and perfect for swimming. Many activities are however more suitable at certain times of year, and of course it’s best to know when the rainy season is so you can plan to enjoy any outdoor activities! Japan is world renowned for its skiing in winter whilst the summertime is perfect for visiting the relaxing mountain resorts for a swim.
Spring (March to May):
According to many, the best time to visit Japan is in the spring. As the mountain snows begin to recede and the bare trees start producing leaves, an exciting sense of tension takes over cities and towns across the country. By late March, the Japanese flock outside to reign in the season with the incoming cherry blossom. During this period, most of Japan rests at a pleasant 12°C, meaning you can travel comfortably in light outerwear and sweaters. Moving into the mountains and up the northern island of Hokkaido, you'll find chillier weather, and many Hokkaido ski resorts remain open well past March.
Summer (June to August):
Across much of Japan, the summer is characterized by hot and humid weather. Taking refuge from the heat, many locals opt for cooler climates near the ocean or up in the mountains. As the heat begins to wane in the evenings, people partake in regional fireworks displays, traditional song and dance, and centuries-old festivals. June is usually the rainy season (tsuyu) for most of the country.
Autumn (September to November):
As summer transitions to autumn, Japan begins to cool down, offering temperate weather that's perfect for outdoor walks. From mid-November to early December, the trees turn vivid hues of red, orange, and yellow. It's this combination of cool weather and striking sights that make fall one of the most popular seasons for traveling to Japan. Most of Honshu and Kyushu rest around a pleasant 16°C in October and November. As you move further up north, temperatures begin to cool down, and for most of the season, the island of Hokkaido is cold enough to require a winter jacket.
Winter (December to February):
As winter approaches, a frigid chill engulfs the whole of Japan, and while it rarely snows in most of the country's metropolitan areas, the surrounding mountains and northern regions are regularly covered by fresh blankets of powder. Pack plenty of warm clothes, then bundle up and head outside to enjoy snow festivals, skiing, and snowboarding, and relaxing onsen resorts.
Learn more about the different regions of Japan: