Japan is a unique destination for many reasons, including its vast mountainous countryside, varying climate and dynamic culture. This country has something to please everyone, whether you’re into skiing, sunbathing, hiking up a mountain, shopping or learning about the local culture. Due to its varied weather conditions, finding the right time to go is essential so you can make the most of your trip.
Spring (March – May)
Spring time is a very popular time to visit Japan due to the famous cherry blossoms. They start to bud and flower in the south islands and then work their way up to the northern island of Hokkaido. This time of year becomes very busy with transport and accommodation, so booking a tour early gives you the best chance of securing the holiday you want. The best place to see the Cherry blossoms is in Hirosaki Park high in the north of the island, as well as Shinjuku Gyo-En National Garden in Tokyo.
Summer in Japan can be very hot and humid, especially in the cities. But it’s also the time of year where some of the biggest and best festivals take place. Most festivals have ancient history and a spiritual significance behind them, which educates and entertains their audience. If Mount Fuji is on your list of things to do, then this is the time of year to visit as the mountain is only open to climb from July to early September. The best time to climb is from July to late August due to its relatively stable weather conditions. Travel down to Okinawa to enjoy the white sandy beaches and clear blue sea to soak up some sun after your packed tour around Japan.
Autumn (September – November)
Japan is still pleasant in Autumn as the weather holds out and there are less crowds. The Autumn colours come out from late October to early November. The Maple and Ginkgo trees turn a lush red, orange and yellow, making for picture-perfect scenery. The Meiji Jingu Gaien Ginko festival takes place around this time of year and lasts for two weeks. Here you’ll find plenty of vendors serving local street food and products. If one of the things you want to tick off your list for Japan is Sumo wrestling, then you’re in luck as they hold the Sumo Grand Tournament around this time which can be booked before you go.
Winter (December – February)
Highlands and northern parts of Japan invite a large amount of snowfall, providing the perfect location for skiers and snowboarders. Nagano and Hokkaido are renowned for their winter ski resorts. One of the most unique and unusual festival takes place this time of year – the BBQ Winter Festival which is held every year in February. Be sure to take your hats and scarves as temperatures can drop to -15! Another festival you won’t want to miss is the Sapporo Snow Festival, dating back to the 1950s and the largest winter wonderland event on the island. The centrepiece event is the International Snow Sculpture Contest, in which teams of competitors from around the world descend to build enormous snow monuments. If you’re hoping to take to the huge shopping malls and niche markets in Japan, then mid-December to mid- January is the best time to go, as many shops have huge savings.