How to Plan an Incredible Family Trip to Japan in 2024/2025. Learn more.

Japan Weather in May 2024: Travel Tips for a First Visit

By RitaUpdated Mar. 25, 2024

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 period in spring, May is the best time.

Most of Japan experiences an average daily high of around 73°F (23°C) and around 10 rainy days. The temperature rises gradually from north to south. If you wish to admire cherry blossoms in Japan during May, Hokkaido, with its late spring, represents your final opportunity of the year.

Find out about average temperatures, rainfall, and tips on where to go and what to wear in Japan in May below.

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

Trip Advisor certificate of excellence 2024 tour rating

Weather of Japan's Major Cities in May

Information from Weather Spark

Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka: Warm and Sunny Weather

Japan's most popular destinations (Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka) are concentrated in central Japan, and they share similar weather. Average daily highs of around 73°F (23°C) get warmer in late May. The average rainfall is a moderate 5 in (127 mm) 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.

Festival: Aoi Matsuri is one of the oldest festivals in Kyoto in May, you can see the huge parade in Japanese Heian period clothing (794-1185), feeling the charm of Kyoto's millennium history.

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!

Japan weather in May

Suggested reading: How to Plan Your Trip to Japan>>>

Hokkaido: Best for Cherry Blossoms

May in northern Japan is typically dry and mild/cool — the temperature in Hokkaido ranges from 48–60°F (9–18°C), and the average rainfall is 2 in (56 mm).

It is a perfect time for you to enjoy outdoor activities, like hiking in the mountains and exploring the national parks.

If you don't have time in March or April to admire cherry blossoms in central Japan, then early May in Hokkaido offers you the last chance of the year to enjoy this cultural phenomenon in Japan. The cherry blossom crowds in Hokkaido are not as dense as those during March and April.

Okinawa: Rainy Season Begins

May marks the start of the rainy season (May to June) in southern Japan, with an average rainfall of 10 in (245 mm). Rainfall increases over the month, so you could visit in early May for a drier experience. Or you could visit the drier beach city of Fukuoka instead of Okinawa.

Averaging 72–81°F (22–27°C) in May, you could indulge in various outdoor sea activities like snorkeling, whale watching, and kayaking around Okinawa.

Festival: Hari is the Dragon Boat Festival held in Naha, Okinawa in early May (May 3 to 5, 2024). You could witness locals rowing colorful dragon boats during the races, savor local delicacies, and see stunning fireworks.

Our Japan travel advisor would like to create a wonderful trip based on your needs and interests, whatever the weather.

4 Best Places to Visit in Japan in May

5 Best Places to Visit in Japan in May

If you're planning a trip to Japan in May, congratulations! You'll get to experience the main highlights of Japan during a pleasant season.

Some schools have a half-term holiday in late May. Therefore, May could be an excellent time for families with teenagers to visit due to the pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and festive atmospheres.

You're suggested to avoid the crowded public holiday of Golden Week (April 29 to May 5, 2024) in Japan. If your schedule is flexible, you'd better visit Japan after May 10th, when the crowds and costs tend to decrease. Additionally, visiting popular tourist destinations on weekdays can be a good way to avoid crowds.

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 58°F (15°C) and 76°F (24°C).

In May, you can enjoy all the classic activities (shrines, gardens, and anime), and also you could have the chance to experience May's festivals:

  • See Tokyo Tower's main entrance adorned with hundreds of colorful carp streamers fluttering in the wind to celebrate Japanese Children's Day (May 5th).
  • Enjoy the Sanja Matsuri festival at Senso-ji Temple (May 19 to 21, 2024) to experience the lively parade and gain insights into Japanese culture.
  • If you're interested in the Japanese traditional sport of sumo, don't miss the top sumo tournament in Tokyo lasting two weeks (May 12–26, 2024 or May 11–25, 2025).

Here are some popular travel lengths in Japan for your inspiration: 7 days, 10 days, 12 days, and 14 days.

2. Kyoto: Experience Traditional Japan

May is a delightful month in Kyoto, with abundant sunshine and steadily rising temperatures. Its daily temperatures peak at 74°F (23°C) on average.

Kyoto is full of photogenic temples and gardens. Try on kimonos to take photos 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.

Aoi Matsuri is one of the oldest festivals in Kyoto in May, when you can see a huge parade in Japanese Heian period clothing, feeling the charm of Kyoto's medieval history. Japan's capital first moved to Kyoto in the Heian period (794–1185), where it remained until 1868.

3. Hokkaido: Last Chance to See Cherry Blossoms

Hokkaido in May is dry and moderate, with an average temperature range of 50–60°F (10–16°C). Early May is the best time to admire the cherry blossoms in Hokkaido.

In May, Hokkaido comes alive with a variety of blooming flowers, offering opportunities to go hiking and relax in the onsens (hot spring baths).

4. Takayama: Traditional Japanese Rural Villages

Takayama is rarely mentioned among the most popular destinations in Japan due to its remote location and difficult transportation. However, it can help you understand a more authentic side of Japan, leaving behind wonderful memories that most tourists do not experience.

If Tokyo represents Japanese cities, then Takayama symbolizes Japanese rural life.

  • Wander through serene rural areas to appreciate the unique gassho-zukuri farmhouses, which have steep thatched roofs that are named after 'praying hands'.
  • May is one of the best times to explore the northern Japanese Alps amidst colorful flowers in Takayama. If you're an outdoors enthusiast, don't miss the opportunity to hike amidst colorful flowers.

May is an ideal time to visit Takayama, with pleasant daily temperatures averaging 50–66°F (10–19°C) and around 20 clear days on average.

You can just tell us your preferences, and our Japan travel advisor would customize a private tour for you.

Is It Expensive to Visit Japan in May?

cost of Japan

The travel cost in May is US$350–400 per person per day for a private tour with 4-star hotels, based on a family of 3–5 people. This includes a private guide, private car, full-day itinerary, tickets for attractions, all intercity transport within Japan, and hand-picked 4-star hotels.

Costs are about 30% more expensive than usual during the Golden Week (April 29 to May 5, 2024). 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 3–6 months in advance to lock in the price and enjoy early-bird benefits.

To save money, you could combine private car and public transport based on your trip plan. This way you can make the most of your money and experience Japan using different modes of transport.

You could find out more cost information in How Much Is a Trip to Japan >>>

What Should I Wear in May?

what should I wear in Japan 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 Japan

Learn about the weather in Japan for 12 months and find out the best places to visit each month.

Why Asia Highlights (10,000+ reviews & 98.8% 5-star rating)

  • Save Your Time:
  • Less research, more enjoyment!
  • Real-time 1V1 expert planning
  • Maximize Your Flexibility:
  • Personal local guide and ride
  • Explore at your own pace
  • Celebrate Your Journeys:
  • Specially-crafted family adventures
  • Celebrate milestones with style!

Get Inspired with Some Popular 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.

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create My Trip
4.9 ExcellentTrustPilot rating TrustPilot Logo

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

Click to sign up

Why Asia Highlights

Customize Your Tour

Customize Your Tour

  • Travel Advisors Rooted in Asia
  • Instant Response, No More Waits!
  • Direct Connections, Supreme Values
Maximize Your Flexibility

Maximize Your Flexibility

  • Your own personal guide and ride.
  • Explore at your own pace.
  • Unparalleled flexibility, impossible on a group tour.
Ensure Your Satisfactory

Ensure Your Satisfactory

  • The Top 20% nationwide guides at your service.
  • 20% more space on your group's transportation.
  • 24/7 emergency support.
Celebrate Your Journey

Celebrate Your Journey

  • Family adventures
  • Celebrate milestones with style!
  • Photographer service for special moments

Where Can We Take You Today?

Rated 4.9 out of 5 | 98.8% Excellence
China Highlights International
Travel Service Co., LTD
Featured on
China Highlights was featured on these medias.

Address: Building 6, Chuangyi Business Park, 70 Qilidian Road, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China