As with everywhere, the best time to visit Japan depends on what you want to do.
If you’re going for the cherry blossoms, then end of March to mid-April is the time to go. Mid-May to end of June sees fewer tourists and has great weather with very little rain.
The colourful autumn leaves can be seen in central Japan from mid-November until early December. December is the best time to go for enjoying the snow crab harvest, which is a must for foodies. It’s best to avoid travel to Japan during the Golden Week (usually end of April to mid-May and the last week of December).
From the end of April to about mid-May is Golden Week, a national holiday in Japan. Domestic travel is at it’s peak, so we recommend avoiding travel at this time, as things get quite busy.
After 10 May til about the end of June, temperatures start to rise and flowers other than the cherry blossom start to bloom. The country is truly beautiful to see at this time of year. It’s a quiet time of year to visit, as well.
Japan is a tropical country, so summers can be hot and humid. In early to mid July, the summer rains start, but they are sporadic and ephemeral, so it can still be a nice time to visit. Everything in Japan is air conditioned, so the heat is manageable. It’s also a quieter time to visit. We recommend avoiding travel to Japan in mid-August – there are quite a few domestic holidays around this time, so things can get extremely busy.
The beginning of autumn in Japan is still very warm – the temperature hovers around 30 degrees most days and there is the occasional tropical storm, but they usually don’t last too long. Visiting Japan during this time is great to enjoy many of the indoor activities with fewer people around – spectacular museums, workshops and world-class spas, to name a few.
Snow crabbing season usually begins around November or early December. Known as Echizen in Japan, the giant crabs are considered to be a delicacy, and can fetch quite high prices at the fish markets. It’s a great time to go if you’re a foodie and want to get a taste of this famous crab – it’s usually made in various forms around the country, from soups to sushi.
One of the most famous times to go to Japan is during the spring to catch the cherry blossoms, also known as “sakura season”. The best time to catch a glimpse of this beautiful sight is from the end of March to mid-April, but it can vary from year to year depending on temperature. Kyoto is by far the most popular place to visit at this time. It’s also peak season, so it can get quite busy and hotels get booked up months in advance. We recommend booking as far in advance as possible if you want to travel at this time.
A visit to Japan during the autumn, when the leaves are changing colour, is spectacular. Thankfully, unlike the cherry blossoms - which can only be seen for a few weeks a year at most - the autumn leaves tend to stick around for a bit longer. By late September, the leaves start changing in the north around the mountains and they make their way down to the central and southern cities (Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo) by mid-November and remain colourful into early December. It’s the second busiest time of year to visit Japan, so it’s best to book this far in advance.
People have been travelling to Japan's hot springs for hundreds of years to experience their therapeutic qualities. The collection of towns in the area - known as Kaga onsen - each have their own traditional public bath, which are all well worth a visit. You can visit these towns throughout the year, except for during the national public holidays.
“Kate and others at Jacada listened when we told them what we wanted to do in Japan. Many of the requests were unusual. Kate made sure we knew what we were asking for and then planned a trip to accomplish it. Listening is not always something travel planners do. The execution of the trip was flawless. Each guide was not only knowledgeable but went to great lengths to make sure we were doing and seeing the things we wanted. We have already planned our next trip with Jacada!”
Arthur, 5 Stars
Whatever you want from your trip to Japan, our team of expert travel designers are ready to help.