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
Sharon has been very helpful since the…
Sharon has been very helpful since the beginning coordinating our itinerary in order to accommodate everything we want to see, it been great working with herMore
May, Jul 2023
When I first book I was scared of what…
When I first book I was scared of what to expect, but oh my God! What an amazing experience this has been, from Sharon to all the guides Shawn and Mr. Ho, such amazing people! Their work is excellentMore
Saul Velez, Jul 2023
Albee was very helpful and responsive…
Albee was very helpful and responsive in helping me make plans for their 10 day Japanese tour.More
Bhavini Patel, Jul 2023
Alisa was a perfect tour consultant
Alisa responded to my numerous questions with efficiency and accuracy. She was constantly suggesting options to make the trip more enjoyableMore
Matha Goram, Jul 2023
I highly Recommend Asia Highlights
For our first guide Jun, he was amazing. Very accommodating. Kept in good communication & kept us on time for our activities. Reached out to me the night before to confirm meet times and locations. Our driver for this time was also so kind & driver was always on time. For our second Guide , Ho. He went above and beyond. He stayed in great communication. Stayed later with us on one of the days because we were worried about riding the train back alone but wanted to visit at the shopping center a littler longer, so he stayed with us and made sure we got off on the right stop! During our time with him he took pictures of us and sent them to us! He was very knowledgeable about every place we visited. He was kind and patient with our large group. He made our trip easy & memorable. The driver we had for this timeframe was also kind & always on time! We felt a bond with both guides given to us! If you want an easy going, stress free trip book with “Asia Highlights”!!!More
Jessalynn Flores, Jul 2023
Working to put together a custom trip…
Working to put together a custom trip with Alissa has been a great experienceMore
Marc, Jul 2023
Wonderful Service from Sharon!
Sharon at Asia Highlights has been a HUGE help in planning our trip to Japan later this year. From her initial contact to finalization of the plan, she has been very responsive, professional, patient, and knowledgeable. She was able to quickly propose an amazing itinerary and helped us customize it for our interests. She also made many great recommendations and gave us tips for the trip. I wasn’t familiar with Asia Highlights before I reached out, but after Sharon’s wonderful service, I have full confidence in them. I can’t wait for the trip and I hope it’s as awesome as Sharon’s service!!!More
Ali Tahir, Jul 2023
We had a wonderful time in Japan with guides Moni and Kazuko and with Jan in Singapore. Will always remember this trip!More
Happy Customer, Jun 2023
Just got to say
Just got to say, Monica was great in every way! So sweet and helpful with planning, itineraries, answering questions… would love to meet her in person! Thank you Monica!More
Teri, Jun 2023
Monica is fantastic
Monica is fantastic. She understood our needs, was very responsive and planned a perfect vacation for us. Highly recommend.More
Philip Sheldon, Jun 2023
Me and my son are traveling to Japan
Me and my son are traveling to Japan. Albee is magnificent. Extremely efficient, helpful, trustworthy. I am very happy she is helping us with my son's dreaming trip.More
Ana Letícia Urbanin, Jun 2023
A great way to plan a dream vacation
Due to circumstances, we had to delay our trip to Japan so this review is only about the process of designing the trip. Albee was always available, responsive to our goals, and competent. Based on how involved he was with our family trip, we know we will be back next year and resuming the plan he built. Really impressed with the quality and extent of resources we found through Albee and KimKim.More
KC, May 2023
Yeliz - Asia Highlights
Yeliz was extremely helpful and patient during our Japan trip planning and answered all my various questions. Really looking forward to our upcoming trip to Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and Osaka!More
Cyndie, May 2023
Sharon’s was very patient and helpful…
Sharon’s was very patient and helpful when navigating me through the trip planning process. She helped me plan a very exciting and extravagant trip.More
Jonny Abad, May 2023
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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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.