Being the last month of spring (March to May), May is filled with sunny days, stunning flowers, and a festive atmosphere. If you’d like to discover Japan in a less-crowded springtime, May is the best time.
As a transitional month from spring to summer in Japan, rainfall in May varies from low to high from north to south. Northern Japan (Hokkaido) keeps dry, while central Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto) receives moderate drizzle or short heavier bursts towards the end of May. In southern Japan (especially Okinawa), the rainy season arrives first.
Find out about average temperatures, rainfall, and tips on where to go and what to wear in Japan in May below.
Japan Weather in May: Averages
- Temperature range: 15–23°C (58–73°F)
- Rainfall: 140 mm (6 inches)
- Rainy days: 10
- Sunny days: 21
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
Wonderful 10 day trip in Japan!!!
Well planned trip by Alisa . Everything was well scheduled, guides and drivers were excellent!! The cars were extremely comfortable and the hotel she chose for us was beautiful!! Enjoyed planning with her she was very professional and always offered other choices.More
Lianne Stone, May 2023
11 days trip to Japan
I am planning my trip to Japan in November with Sharon's help and she has provided amazing customer service.She is very responsive and put together very quickly an incredible plan for 11 days in Japan. She provided recommendations and made changes based on our interests and budget. She also provided information about visa restrictions and the best way to get tickets for transportation services. Thanks so much Sharon, looking forward to this trip!More
LE, May 2023
Hi Cathy! I just want to thank you for making our Japan trip so much fun & memorable! We loved everything that you had scheduled for us! All the guides and drivers were great & punctual! We love Japan so much that we’re planning to go back next year to different part of Japan! We’ll definitely contact Asia Highlights for our trip again! SereneMore
Serene Storslett, May 2023
Quick, easy and detailed service
Alisa was our advisor from Asia highlights and she prepared for us a wonderful 28 day trip to Japan, taking into consideration our needs and desire not to be traveling everyday and to have a mixture of slow and busy days. We've not yet taken our trip, but very much looking forward to it Thank you Alisa for the quick response and wonderful itineraryMore
Lynette Whittle, Apr 2023
Sharon Huang did an excellent job in planningour 15 day Cherry Blossom Japan tour. Shewas available during our trip to answer our questions and readily agreed to the itinerary changes.Everything was arranged - accommodation,breakfast, guide, car, entrance fees and train tickets. The guides were knowledgeable, and managed the tour very efficiently. The drivers were punctual and very patient. We visited must see places in and near Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima. We also got to experience Japanese Tea ceremony, Sushi making, Sake tasting, shopping etc.We highly recommend Asia Highlights for your travel needs.More
Madhu, Apr 2023
I organized a trip to Japan for my
I organized a trip to Japan for my parents who don’t speak English and Alisa was so amazing helping make an itinerary for them. They needed a Spanish guide and she coordinated everything so they wouldn’t have any trouble when they got there. She was so patient changing and adjusting the itinerary to their needs and wants, it’s been a total pleasure working with her and she always responds promptly to any question I have. I definitely recommend this company and if you can ask to work with Alisa.More
Luisa, Apr 2023
Trip to Japan. I have had the pleasure to book with…
For the reasons above, I decided to book again with Asia highlights for our trip to Japan this year in September. Until now it’s been a pleasure dealing with Albee Ning. She was so efficient and pleasant in adjusting our itinerary. Whenever I had any questions I could count on her to answer promptly. I am very lucky to have her as our organiser for our future trip to Japan. I have had the pleasure to book with Asia Highlights when we went to China in 2018. We were extremely satisfied with the exceptional services rendered by our organiser, Robert Hui and private guide William.More
Mrs Cristina Hidalgo Loris, Apr 2023
Albee Ning and Asia Highlights - wonderful to work with.
I and my daughter planned a trip to China and Japan. We worked with Albee Ning who was fantastic in developing a itinerary based on our desires and needs. She was extremely responsive, taking into account all of our requests and worked closely with us, it wasn't just selecting from one of several pre-developed itineraries. We decided to postpone the trip until next year and received the guaranteed refund, minus a small deposit on next years trip. We look forward to working with her again on next years trip and trips in the future. We highly recommend Asia Highlights and Albee NingMore
Nancy K, Apr 2023
Handcrafted tour of Japan by Asia Highlights
My initial inquiry to this company (based in China) was answered in under 10 hours by an amazing travel consultant, named Alisa. She is such a professional in the ways she conducts herself and serves her clients. Alisa is a great communicator and listener. She is very open to requests for additional experiences which require research on her part to arrange. Alisa also provides very detailed information about each experience, location, guides, private car transfers, trains, hotels. This approach is very appealing since detailed communication is so useful and important to me. Alisa also makes the process simple and easy to follow. Answered tons of questions and created the perfect tour for us. We are looking forward to this once in a lifetime visit to Japan and are so grateful we have had the chance to work with Alisa at Asia Highlights!More
Laurie Lee, Feb 2023
Great Overall Experience
Our guide in Tokyo, Fuki, was outstanding. We saw things we would never have otherwise seen, if Fuki had not been there.More
Todd Hankinson, Dec 2022
Plenty of options and personalized tours as needed
Monica Mo was very helpful from the beginning after I enquired about my travel plans to Japan. She listened with understanding and took careful notes and clarified things to make sure she got everything.More
Ginybel Belgira, Sep 2022
Asia Highlights especially Ms. Kanae Chida superb
Asia Highlights and particularly our Tokyo guide, Ms. Kanae Chida, were the best. When Kanae met us, she asked for details of what we wished to see and she constructed an outstanding combination of visits for the day.More
Geoff Rayner-Canham, May 2019
I have arranged a 27 day tour of China, Japan and Hong Kong China
Peggie's English is impeccable and she uses lots of nuances which usually only a native English speaker would know. I have found her very prompt in responding to emails and her knowledge is terrific.More
Ailsa West, Jul 2018
Very professional, great customer service
We travelled to Japan this May (2018). We had contacted Asia Highlights to organise our trip for us. Miss Peggie Lyoo was very helpful, super-friendly, very professional and very prompt with all her replies!More
Tibor Marton, May 2018
Great job!! We had an amazing vacation to Japan. We will use Asian highlights for all of our trips to AsiaMore
Joe, May 2018
In addition, I want to specifically mention the guides provided in certain locations. Rum, in Siem Reap, made the most memorable experience possible. His positivity was contagious - even when it felt like 1000 degrees and we were tired. He brought it all to life, and created a couple days of Ankor Wat, etc. that we will never forget! He heard my daughter's request for specific Cambodian food, and changed our itinerary to go to a village and eat at a locally known shop. He brought the dessert she asked about to us in the car! Overall, he and his driver "Lucky" were a reason to go to Siem Reap. In addition, the other guides (minus one which was switched out immediately) were stupendous. Mon in Bangkok was friendly and provided a great day there; Eak in Chiang Mai gave us a world-class food-tour and day touring the city and its surrounding temples with lots of laughs; Tommy in Hanoi kept us from getting killed in the traffic and gave a stupendous food and architecture/history tour - so very friendly and funny; the fishing village tour in Hoi An, as well as the side-car tour in Saigon, were both unforgettable! Thank you Sharon, and Asia Highlights. Would definitely use again for future trips!More
Teri Simpson, Apr 2023
Cambodia and Vietnam adventure!
Our guide in Cambodia, Meas Darapolaith (Pol), was absolutely amazing. He was knowledgeable, friendly and so helpful. His English was excellent and he shared important insights about history and the magnificent sites we visited. We highly recommend him!More
Jennifer Roth Krieger, Apr 2023
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE…
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE Asia. Being the first in that region, we wanted to use a tour service company. We ended up using Asia Highlights. From the beginning we were impressed with their services. We left home with of mind because all the pre-travel arrangements were taking care and communicate to us efficiently. All our questions were answered promptly. Once in the countries, we were welcome by our excellent tour guides. Everything was taking care for us. We did not have one issue. They selected the right tours guides for us, they were highly knowledgeable and so much attentive to our needs. We had Dhat in Vietnam and Borin in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I highly recommend Asia Highlights. I came back home so much rested, and with plenty of wonderful pictures and memories. I will definitely use Asia Highlights again for my next trip to Asia.More
Isabelle Dessaux, Apr 2023
Fabulous tour and guide in Cambodia
We have been touring Cambodia, guided by Borin ( and driver 007) for the last 2 days. What a fabulous experience! Borin has been a wonderful guide, the best so far in Southeast Asia, explaining the history and culture of Cambodia through his tours of the temples in and around Angkor, as well as the Landmine museum. He has answered all our questions, made sure we were comfortable, and that we have had great food. 007 made sure we always had enough water and cool towels for our face/neck.We highly recommend Borin as a tour guide for Cambodia!!More
Monica, Mar 2023
Best Travel Service for Asia Travel
Alisa Liu was in charge of making the arrangements and she helped us from the start to make all of the arrangements and also helped us when we had questions and requested some adjustments. Her service is of the highest professional level. We are 100% confident that our trip will be perfect. We’re also 100% confident that, if anything comes up during our trip, that Alisa will be there to guide us through and take care of us. We won’t even consider using another agency for travel around Asia and we would like to have Alisa work for us again.More
Leo Pospichal, Mar 2023
Weather of Japan’s Major Cities in May
|Japan City||Min. Temp||Max. Temp||Rainfall|
|Sapporo||9°C (48°F)||18°C (64°F)||56 mm (2 in)|
|Tokyo||15°C (58°F)||24°C (76°F)||140 mm (6 in)|
|Kyoto||15°C (58°F)||25°C (77°F)||151 mm (6 in)|
|Osaka||16°C (61°F)||25°C (77°F)||137 mm (5 in)|
|Hakone||18°C (64°F)||24°C (76°F)||160 mm (6 in)|
|Nara||13°C (55°F)||25°C (76°F)||139 mm (6 in)|
|Hiroshima||15°C (59°F)||24°C (76°F)||170 mm (7 in)|
|Okinawa||22°C (72°F)||27°C (81°F)||245 mm (10 in)|
Hokkaido and Northern Japan: Best for Cherry Blossoms
May in northern Japan is typically dry and mild/cool — a perfect time for you to enjoy outdoor activities, like hiking in the mountains and exploring the national parks.
You could also take the last chance to admire Japan’s famously-pretty cherry blossoms in early May.
Read about How to Plan a Trip to Japan>>>
Tokyo and Central Japan: Warm and Sunny Weather
Honshu is warm and sunny in May. Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hiroshima have average highs of around 22°C (72°F). Temperatures get warmer in late May.
The average rainfall is a moderate 150 mm (6 in) falling mostly as drizzle on around 1 in 3 days.
With favorable weather more often than not, you could soak in the city highlights in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto or head out into nature, hiking in the Japanese Alps or the offbeat Kumano Kodo Trail.
Too hectic to plan your Japan trip? Leave your interests and requests, and your travel expert will personalize a private tour for you within 24 hours!
Okinawa and Southern Japan: Rainy Season Begins
Averaging 22–27°C (72–81°F), May marks the start of the rainy season (May to June) in southern Japan. Rainfall increases over the month, so you could visit in early May for a drier experience. Or you could visit drier Kyushu instead of Okinawa.
The rain typically falls in intense tropical bursts or short showers. So, you could still find plenty of time for outdoor activities, like beach activities in Okinawa.
Check more details about the best times to visit Japan: for the most comfortable weather, for the lowest crowds...
5 Best Places to Visit in Japan in May
Tokyo and Kyoto are two must-go cities in Japan, which blend traditions with big-city highlights.
If you love nature, capture the last chance to appreciate Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms in Hokkaido or take a rustic getaway on the Kumano Kodo Trail.
For advanced car/train technology exhibitions, head to Nagoya for a less-crowded experience.
To well discover the above-mentioned cities at a comfortable pace, you might need at least 2 weeks. Get some inspiration about 2-week Japan itineraries or 3-week Japan itineraries...
1. Tokyo: A Diverse Destination for Everyone
May is one of the best times to visit Tokyo with mild and mostly sunny weather. Daily temperatures typically range between 15°C (58°F) and 24°C (76°F).
Tokyo’s anime and advanced new-tech always makes kids go “WOW”. A sushi cooking class is not only fun for families with kids, but also great to inspire intimacy between couples.
For a big romantic milestone celebration, you and your partner could wear kimonos and join in the most atmospheric Sanja Matsuri festival in Senso Temple (May 19 to 21, 2023). You could also take a sunset bay cruise to see Tokyo from a different perspective and in a relaxing way.
Suggested reading: How to Plan a Japan Summer Trip>>>
2. Kyoto: Abundant Cultural Experiences for Milestone Celebrations
May is a delightful month in Kyoto, with abundant sunshine and steadily rising temperatures. Its daily temperatures peak at 25°C (77°F) on average.
Kyoto is full of photogenic temples and gardens. Try on kimonos, take a photography tour to capture them and create lasting memories with your partner or family.
To enhance your big moments, Kyoto’s exclusive cultural experiences could light up your trip as well. You could experience a tea ceremony, a samurai class, and a luxury ryokan stay with an elaborate kaiseki feast.
3. Nagoya: A Must-Visit for Car/Train Enthusiasts
May in Nagoya is mild and dry with highs reaching around 24°C (75°F) and lows dropping to around 16°C (61°F). Beyond the shrines and castles, you could learn about world-leading technologies in Nagoya.
For fans of automobiles, you could see how robots assemble cars and see interactive exhibits in the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology.
If you’re a trainspotter, SCMaglev and Railway Park would be paradise, with its vast collection of trains, locomotives, and bullet trains.
If you're travelling with teens, don't miss Nagoya. Read more about planning a family trip in Japan>>>
4. Hokkaido: Last Chance to See Cherry Blossoms
In Hokkaido, fully-blooming cherry trees usually are seen later than in other areas due to its colder weather. You can still enjoy their delicate and charming blossom in early May.
While Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido, has some beautiful parks for flower viewing, surrounding cities such as Hakodate offer an even more impressive experience.
5. The Kumano Kodo Trail: Rustic Adventures
The Kumano Kodo Trail is a network of pilgrimage trails in the southern Kansai region, where you could enjoy moderate day hikes or choose more strenuous hiking.
May is cool-to-mild, perfect for hiking the trails, and also a perfect time for a romantic-and-adventurous getaway. Hike through the cedar forests, and round idyllic rice paddies, rustic villages, and historical shrines...
Away from major cities, a private guide is helpful for navigating, safety, and enhancing your local interactions. Contact us to customize your private hiking tour.
Costs and Crowding in May
May is in the peak season in Japan, which brings high costs and crowds. The Golden Week (April 29 to May 5, 2023), particularly, is extremely busy and with that comes the highest costs and uncomfortable crowding in places.
Therefore, you’re advised to avoid these dates if your schedule is flexible. If your trip coincides with Golden Week, you’d better book your private trip at least half a year in advance to lock in the price and enjoy early-bird benefits.
A well-organized private tour helps minimize the stress of crowds, too. Check the classic Japan tours or contact us to customize your private tour!
However, crowds and costs tend to decrease towards the end of May. Additionally, visiting popular tourist destinations on weekdays can be a good way to avoid crowds.
You could find out more cost information in How Much Is a Trip to Japan >>>
What to Pack in May
The weather in May in Japan is generally mild, so you can wear light clothing such as t-shirts, shorts, and dresses when active in the daytime. However, it's a good idea to bring trousers and a light jacket or sweater for the cooler evenings.
You’re suggested to bring an umbrella or raincoat for potential rainfall, especially further south and later in May.
Monthly Weather and Travel Information for JapanLearn about the weather in Japan for 12 months and find out the best places to visit each month.
|Japan in January||Japan in February||Japan in March|
|Japan in April||Japan in May||Japan in June|
|Japan in July||Japan in August||Japan in September|
|Japan in October||Japan in November||Japan in December|
Touring Japan with Us
Contact us for a 1:1 travel consultant to customize a tour for you and your interests. He/she could email or call you within 24 hours. You could get inspiration from the following sample tours:
Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
Get Inspired with Our Sample Itineraries
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.