March is the start of spring for southern and central Japan with an average temperature of 10°C (50°F). In the north of Japan, however, the weather is still cold with an average temperature of 5°C (41°F).
Japan has a big climate range from the north to the south, making the activities in March vary from winter sports to admiring flower blossoms.
March Weather Quick Facts
- The weather in March is cool and damp.
- Tokyo temperatures: 5°C (41°F) to 12°C (53.6°F)
- The average rainfall: 100 mm (3.9 inches)
- Hokkaido temperatures: 5°C (41°F) to 10°C (50°F)
- Clothing in March: T-shirts and a jacket, a parka, or a thin coat
- Tourism highlights: cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, spring snow sports, and festivals
Why You Should Visit Japan in March
March is considered to be the best time for traveling to Japan because of the warm spring weather and blooming flowers. Below are the top things to do there in March.
March average temperature
March average rainfall
March is the start of the cherry blossom season in many regions of Japan due to the fresh spring climate. You can expect to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo in the last week of March and at a similar time in other big cities, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, and Hiroshima.
Cherry blossom viewing – known as hanami – is the most popular activity in Japan. Typical hanami spots include city parks, landscape gardens, castle grounds, and along riverbanks. During hanami, you can enjoy the amazing view of cherry blossoms with delicious food and drinks as well as seeing the scenery lit-up at night.
The cherry blossom season is very short, only lasting for about 2 weeks. Usually, the full blooms have been reached within one week after the opening of the first buds.
It can be very busy as many people visit Japan during March to see the cherry blossoms so be prepared and book at least 3 months in advance.
Plum blossoms are considered to be a sign of the start of spring and they will last from mid-February to the end of March. During this time, many events are celebrated and the plum festivals (ume matsuri) are the most popular ones. You can experience the celebrations in parks, temples, and shrines.
The Bunkyo Plum Blossom Festival is the most famous one, taking place at Yushima Tenjin. It is an annual event from February 8th to March 8th. The festival is more like a local community event so the highlight is not just admiring the plum blossoms but also drum performances, tea ceremony demonstrations, dancing, and so on.
Spring Snow Sports in the North
The winter sports season is still very much alive in some of Japan's more northern reaches (particularly Hokkaido). You can still have the opportunity to hit the slopes with warmer temperatures and relatively empty slopes compared with winter.
Niseko is the most famous resort internationally, with pillow-soft powdery snow, a wide range of slopes, and reputable off-piste skiing options. You'll be glad to know that the ski season there lasts until early May.
Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort lies on the outskirts of the city by the same name and provides a good option for a short ski trip if you're staying in Sapporo. This resort has plenty of activities to keep you occupied for a day or two of fun on the slopes. This resort will stay open until May 10th.
Tokyo Weather and Travel in March
Tokyo gets warmer in March with temperatures between 5°C (41°F) and 12°C (54°F) including about 6 hours of sunshine per day. The rainfall can reach 77 mm (3 inches) on average and it rains for 11 days, making it wet.
In the Tokyo area, it is common to enjoy the flowers at places near train stations. Areas like parks, riverbanks, and gardens will be crowded with people on the weekends.
Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the best places in Tokyo to see cherry blossoms. It has more than 1,000 cherry trees of over a dozen varieties. The park is very calm and peaceful so you can relax and have a picnic there. Please note that alcohol is not allowed, nor are music, pets, and ball games.
Yoyogi Park is another popular viewing point around the Shibuya, Harajuku, and Shinjuku areas. There are over 700 cherry trees. As a city park, it attracts lots of people who go there for a picnic, especially at weekends. If your time in Tokyo is flexible, it is better to avoid going there at weekends.
Clothing: The weather in spring can be quite unpredictable. Take a warm jacket in case it gets a bit chilly and an umbrella in case it rains.
Osaka Weather and Travel in March
Osaka warms up in March. The average high temperature is 14°C (57°F) and the average low temperature is 5°C (41°F) with 159 hours of sun. The amount of rainfall is high with an average of 104 mm (4 inches) falling in 10 days.
Osaka is one of Japan's best cities to view cherry blossoms (hanami). Osaka Castle Park is an ideal photography spot during this time — there are over 4,000 cherry trees and you can put blankets and tarps down to have a picnic or a hanami party under the delicate pink trees.
Osaka Castle Park
Kema Sakuranomiya Park stretches for 4.2 kilometers on both sides of the Okawa River and it is known as the most famous sakura viewing area in Osaka. There are over 5,000 cherry trees and you can enjoy the beautiful riverside scenery as well as a sakura viewing cruise on the Okawa River.
Clothing: When traveling to Osaka, you should take a waterproof rain jacket since there will be occasional rain. Plan on layering your clothes. On some days or for parts of the day, it will be nice and warm while it can be a bit chilly at other times.
Kyoto Weather and Travel in March
Kyoto warms up in March with an average high temperature of 13°C (55°F) and an average low temperature of 4°C (39°F). The average precipitation in March is 113 mm (4.5 inches), falling on 12 days. There are 145 hours of sunshine with typically wet weather.
The ancient city of Kyoto bustles with tourist activity during the cherry blossom season. Maruyama Park is the most popular place for locals to go. There are 680 cherry blossom trees and they are illuminated from mid-March to mid-April, from sunset until midnight. During the day, the place is quite crowded so we suggest you take a walk during the evening when the crowds have gone and the trees are illuminated.
Clothing: The temperature difference between the daytime and nighttime is substantial. You'll need a jacket or a light coat during the day but the temperature can drop to just 5°C (41°F) once night falls.
Nagoya Weather and Travel in March
The weather in Nagoya in March is warm and wet. The average high temperature can reach 14°C (57°F) with an average rainfall of 122 mm (5 inches), which can last for 10 days. You can expect some sunshine during this month as there are 186 hours of sun.
March is the best time for traveling to Nagoya as the colorful flowers are in bloom. Nagoya Castle is Nagoya's most famous area for hanami. The sights of the castle tower with cherry blossoms and the lit-up castle at night are must-sees!
With more than 750 sakura cherry trees, Tsuruma Park is another popular city park to see cherry blossoms. You can join the locals for the hanami festival, eating, drinking, and enjoying the beautiful flowers in bloom. The illumination event lasts for 2 weeks after the cherry blossoms have opened.
Clothing: It is suggested to pack a coat or down jacket, warm inner layers, such as a thermal shirt, sweaters, and thick pants or knitted skirts with warm tights.
Hiroshima Weather and Travel in March
The climate in Hiroshima during March can be summarized as cool and damp with 5 hours of sunshine per day. Daytime temperatures usually reach 14°C (57°F), falling to 5°C (41°F) at night. The average rainfall reaches 124 mm (5 inches) and lasts for over 18 days.
Miyajima is a small island that is famous for its shrine and "floating" torii gate. There are about 1,300 cherry trees around the shrine and along the island's walking trails. Miyajima is well-known for its oysters and, if you're looking to take a gift home, it is suggested to buy a box of Momiji manju, a maple leaf-shaped pastry with various sweet fillings.
Hijiyama Park is a famous site for cherry blossoms. You can get a full view of the metropolis from the top of a small hill. The art museum and manga library inside the park are good places to relax. The park opens until 11pm so you can enjoy the view at night as well.
Clothing: T-shirts and a jacket are recommended for the daytime. At night, it is better to have a parka or a thin coat. Take
Events and Festivals in March
March is filled with great events and holiday celebrations. Attending and viewing these events is a great way to learn more about the local culture and to appreciate the customs and practices.
Hinamatsuri (March 3)
Hinamatsuri is also known as Girls' Day and is a holiday to pray for the health and happiness of young girls in Japan. The most iconic image of this event is displays of beautiful hina dolls. Families with young daughters mark this day by setting up a display of dolls inside their houses. They offer rice crackers and other food to the dolls.
Hinamatsuri is considered to be a family festival, with displays put up in people’s homes. However, there are also plenty of public displays and events at stores and shrines. You can experience a Hinamatsuri event at Hokyo-ji Temple in Tokyo and at Ichihime-jinja in Kyoto.
The Omizutori Festival (March 1–14)
Omizutori is Japan's oldest festival, which has been held at the most historical temple, Todaiji in Nara, since 752. The festival is held for 2 weeks from March 1st to 14th every year.
Otaimatsu is the most famous and spectacular festival. Each night from March 1st to 11th, giant torches are lit at Nigatsudo Hall and carried across the balcony, dropping embers for about 20 minutes. The largest amount of torches, which are up to 8 meters in length, are lit on March 12th. About 70 kilograms of torches are lit, making a vast amount of embers.
The ceremony on March 12th lasts for about 45 minutes. It is the most spectacular sight and welcomes over 20,000 visitors. It is recommended to arrive early to get good views of the balcony.
Visiting Japan with Asia Highlights
March is a popular season to visit Japan to see the cherry blossoms. Our travel advisors will be very glad to give you suggestions and guidance to help plan your trip. We are happy to help you create a customized trip around Japan that is crafted to your interests.