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Best (& Worst) Times to Visit Japan in 2023/2024

Best (& Worst) Times to Visit Japan in 2023/2024

By RitaUpdated Mar. 24, 2023

Japan is a year-round destination with four distinct seasons. Spring (March to May) is the best time (also the peak time) to visit most of Japan for pleasant weather and cherry blossom, typically in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.

The rainy season usually lasts from June to mid-July, when you can find the lowest prices and smaller crowds.

Read on for more about Japan's best/worst times, the rainy season, and monthly weather/travel summaries...

Best Times to Visit Japan

Generally speaking, the best time to visit Japan is spring, followed by autumn (September to November). With comfortable weather, you could appreciate stunning natural beauty: the iconic cherry blossom in spring and colorful leaves in autumn.

If you're willing to risk possible rainy days and hot weather (around 31°C/86°F), summer (June to August) is a perfect time to have a taste of exotic Japanese festivals and enjoy plenty of firework displays.

Winter (December to February) is ideal for seeing snow monkeys, enjoying a hot spring dip, and going skiing.

Get your family to the heart of Japan's beauty.

The Best Time to Visit Japan for Cherry Blossom: Mainly in April

An emblem of Japan, its stunning cherry blossom, can be best appreciated from late March to early May. Cherry flowers are usually in full bloom in April. If your trip is not scheduled for those months, you could still experience it as early as January in Okinawa and as late as May in Hokkaido.

Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are the most popular cities for admiring the beautiful blossom. To escape the crowds and selfie sticks, take a boat trip along the Meguro River in Tokyo for a different perspective of the flowering trees.

Get more ideas about planning a cherry blossom tour to Japan>>>

Cherry Blossom Tour to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka at US$3,699 Per Person

Best Time for Atmospheric Festivals: July to August

Although festivals occur all year round in Japan, July to August is Japan's festival season. If you're travelling with school-age children, head to Japan during this period to meet locals in traditional clothing, see grand parades, and enjoy dazzling fireworks!

Learn more family-friendly activities in How to Plan an Incredible Family Trip to Japan >>>

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Best Time for Lowest Prices and Least Crowding: Mid-January to February

From mid-January to February, the cold and dry winter weather means that most attractions (except for ski resorts) are at their least crowded. With that comes good deals on airfares and hotels.

Cultural and historical cities, like Tokyo and Kyoto, are less affected by the weather. Thus, visiting Japan between mid-January to February could still be very worthwhile, depending on your interests.

Check more details about planning your trip to Japan>>>

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Best Time for Avoiding Earthquakes in Japan

Traditional Farmhouses in Shirakawa-go Traditional Farmhouses in Shirakawa-go

Earthquakes are quite common in Japan, with around 1,500 a year, but only a few of them are felt in popular areas or cause damage. Thus, your trip is unlikely to be affected by earthquakes

Severe earthquakes, historically, come in waves, corresponding to the cycle of tectonic shifts following pressure build-ups. Japan’s most recent large quakes were near Fukushima in 2022 and 2021, meaning 2023 may be a quieter year for Japan, with quakes so far only up to 6.0 on the Richter scale (not much structural damage). Only 2 earthquakes in the last 10 years caused the deaths of more than 5 people in Japan.

Japan has a well-developed earthquake early warning system and well-designed buildings. So, you’ll have some time to seek shelter if there is an earthquake where you stay.

Travelling with us, your AH travel expert and local guide would contact you and be on standby for any help needed once getting first-hand information of an earthquake situation. Our private tours help to create a worry-free experience. As locals, your guide and driver would be experienced in dealing with such emergencies and keeping you safe.

Suggested reading: How Long Should You Spend in Japan >>>

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Worst Times to Visit Japan

Considering the weather, the worst time to visit Japan is probably the rainy season (June to Mid-July) and typhoon season (mainly in September).

For families with school-age children, you might have to travel during the rainy season. You can expect less rainfall and cooler weather in early June. Meanwhile, these “worst times” bring benefits: lower crowding and reasonable prices. A flexible itinerary and indoor activities would make your trip more comfortable as well.

If crowds are a big problem for you, you'd better avoid cherry blossom season (late March to early May) and public holidays such as Japan's Golden Week (April 29 to May 5) and Obon (mid-August, August 13 to 16 in 2023).

So book at least half a year in advance and prepare for the crowds if you plan to travel during these periods. To beat the crowds, you could also visit Japan early or late in these high seasons. Taking a private tour would make your trip easier and more worry-free at any time, but is especially helpful in the bad weather months.

For a worry-free booking with us, you enjoy 100% refund of any payments made to Asia Highlights prior to 3 weeks before departure (see more on our booking policy). 

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Rainy Season in Japan: June to Mid-July

Summer Japan Summer Japan

The rainy season usually lasts from June to mid-July in most of Japan (Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo). Owing to Japan's long north-south extent, Okinawa receives rainfall one month earlier, while Hokkaido is less affected by the rainy season.

As it often doesn't rain for long, you can usually enjoy most of the day without much inconvenience, even in the rainy months.

With fewer travelers, you could have the attractions to yourself. You could also escape the rainfall by planning some indoor activities, like sushi-making and tea ceremonies, to do when it's pouring outside.

Check more details about the rainy season in Japan>>>

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Japan Weather in January: The Coldest Month

Snow Monkeys are bathing in a hot spring. Snow Monkeys are bathing in a hot spring.

January is the coldest month in Japan, with temperatures averaging 9°C (48°F). The Japanese Alps and Hokkaido average freezing or below, which makes them ideal skiing places with powder snow.

Hot springs and skiing top the bucket list for a Japan winter trip. If you're celebrating New Year in Japan, don't miss the midnight fireworks, join in the midnight countdown, and ring in the new year with a temple bell.

During the New Year holiday, travelling in the major cities (Tokyo and Kyoto) is better than in rural areas. From December 29 to January 3, some attractions, shops, and restaurants might be closed.

Suggested reading: How Much Is a Trip to Japan>>>

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Japan Weather in February: Good for Winter Activities

The winter weather continues in February: it's still dry, sunny, and cold. The average temperature is similar at 10°C (50°F).

Travelling in February, the Snow Festival in Hokkaido (February 4–11, 2023) is a must. Go skiing, admire elaborate ice sculptures, and then relax in the hot springs...

Take a Winter Tour with Us

Japan Weather in March: Arrival of Spring

Taking sightseeing train to admire cherry flowers in Japan Take a sightseeing train to admire cherry flowers in Japan

March signals the arrival of spring in southern Japan (Okinawa) and central Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto), averaging 13°C (55°F). The famous skiing paradise of Hokkaido is still freezing though, with an average temperature of 3°C (37°F).

In late March, flower season begins: cherry blossom, plum flowers, and peach blossom can be seen. Shutterbugs, you should have plenty of photo opportunities in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and Hiroshima. Check more info about How to Plan a Japan Cherry Blossom Trip>>>

Japan Weather in April: Flower Season

Daikaku-Ji Temple Daikaku-Ji Temple in Kyoto in April

Japan's average temperature goes up to 19°C (66°F) in April, so you can indulge in visiting the flowers and shrines in warm and dry weather.

The fully-blooming flowers make Japan romantic and dreamlike. If you're celebrating your anniversary or a second honeymoon, the stunning scenery won't disappoint you.

However, prices reach their highest, and walk-ins are not to be found in April. You're suggested to book your April tour at least half a year before. With us, you enjoy 100% refund of any payments made to Asia Highlights prior to 3 weeks before departure (detail⇒).

Japan Weather in May: Sunny and Warm

Yummy Sushi in Osaka Yummy Sushi in Osaka

May is in the tail end of spring, when sunny and warm weather prevails. The average temperature is around 23°C (73°F). You'll have the best chance to enjoy outdoor activities.

The first week of May is in the peak period for domestic travel. Trains, hotels, shops, and restaurants are very busy. Contact us for an early booking!

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Japan Weather in June: Wettest Month

The rainy season hits its peak in Japan in June with moderate/high rainfall of around 200 mm (8 inches). Compared with other areas, northern Japan (Hokkaido) is less affected by the rainy season.

June is the best month for a summer trip to Japan, especially for families with school-age kids. You could avoid large crowds during Japan’s school holidays (July and August). Besides, you could enjoy favorable prices on flights and hotels, and the coolest weather in the summer months.  

Check more details about weather, costs, and crowds in June in Japan>>>

Japan Weather in July: Rainy Season Wanes

Seeing Mt.Fuji from Hakone Seeing Mt.Fuji from Hakone

The summer heat can be felt throughout Japan in July, averaging 26°C (78°F). The heaviest rainfall gradually fades away after mid-July.

If you like mountain hiking, you could climb Mt. Fuji, which is only available from early July to early September.

July is also the time for summer festivals, such as Gion Matsuri, with their magnificent fireworks.

Read more about planning a family trip to Japan and get to know more weather details about July in Japan>>>

Japan Weather in August: The Hottest but Driest Summer Month

Blooming flowers in Hokkaido Blooming flowers in Hokkaido

Daily temperatures peak at around 31°C (88°F) in August. Travelling in August, it's best to do outdoor activities in the early mornings and late afternoons.

After touring, a cold bottle of beer (or your choice of beverage) in a private air-conditioned car (as offered in our private tour) will help you cool down.

In August, you can view the impressive fireworks throughout Japan, enjoy the traditional Obon Festival, and see flowers in full bloom in Hokkaido...

Looking for further details about travelling to Japan in August? Check Japan Weather in August>>>

Japan Weather in September: Cooler but Wet

Meet deer in Nara Park Meet deer in Nara Park

Japan's average temperature in September is cooler by quite a bit at around 26°C (79°F). From late September, autumn begins in Japan. You can expect some autumn foliage in Hokkaido.

High rainfall comes back on the east coast due to the occasional typhoon. If you are travelling in September, keep your itinerary flexible in case of flight delays or cancellations.

Japan Weather in October: Drier and Warm

Most areas of Japan are significantly drier than in September and the temperature drops to 22°C (72°F). October is regarded as one of the best times to catch the autumn colors in northern Japan (Hokkaido).

On sunny days, head to the Fuji Five Lakes (Fuji-go-ko) or Hakone areas for the best chances of views of Mt. Fuji.

Get to know more details about travelling in October>>>

Witness the Highlights of Mountain and Sea in West Japan

Japan Weather in November: Autumn Colors

In November, the weather in Japan is dry and mild. The average temperature throughout the country is 17°C (63°F).

In November, the whole country will explode with colors. An autumn journey is not complete without leaf-viewing outings.

Wear kimonos, stroll the bustling streets, or find a tranquil corner in a century-old temple for cultural photos that match the natural splendor of fall in Japan...

Japan Weather in December: Winter Starts

Snow-covered Temple Snow-covered Temple

Winter brings cold and dry weather to Japan in December, with an average temperature of 12°C (54°F). Soaking in an onsen (hot spring) is the best thing to do in December.

Christmas and New Year holidays bring Japan into another peak season for travel around the country. Being the holiday season, hotels in Japan are usually fully booked. So, make sure you book a December tour at least 6 months in advance. With us, you enjoy 100% refund of any payments made to Asia Highlights prior to 3 weeks before departure (see more on our booking policy).

Visit Japan with Asia Highlights

Japan is truly a year-round destination. Contact us to create a customized itinerary based on your interest and time. We'll make the process as fun and effortless as possible, so you can simply relax and savor every moment of your experience. Or get inspiration from the below sample itineraries:

Why Travel with Asia Highlights During the Pandemic

  • Tailor-made experience: All of your ideas/needs will be carefully considered to create your ideal trip.
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At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.

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