Our Japan Week Sale is here! Save up to £800pp across all tours

Solos can save up to £1,750 with free single supplements on selected tours. Find out more

The Award-Winning Tour Specialist
Best Time to Visit Japan

Best Time to Visit Japan

Discover the best time to go to Japan with Wendy Wu Tours

Close
OFFERS
Save up to £800pp on ALL Japan tours

Save up to £800 per person across all Japan tours Offer ends: 30 Apr 2024 View Offers

Inspired by Race Across the World?

Our Journey Through Japan tour is the closest tour you can take to follow in the racers' footsteps as they travelled from North to South.

Explore the tour

The best time to visit Japan is during spring (March to May) when the cherry blossoms are bursting into life and autumn (September to November) when the scenery is ablaze with colour.

Having said that you can enjoy Japan holidays year-round, with four distinct seasons, each of which has its own unique charms. Stretching 3,000 kilometres from end to end, the Japanese archipelago reaches from the tropical south to the cold and mountainous north, so the weather can range wildly throughout the year.

Spring

The spring (March to May) brings with it the famous cherry blossoms, or sukura and is many's people's pick for the best time to vist Japan. Gazing on the sea of soft pink flowers it’s easy to see why both locals and international travellers are so enamoured; in the two weeks after they first bloom, locals and visitors alike stroll, sit and picnic beneath the laden boughs.

Autumn

Japan’s deep and rich autumn (September to November) is almost equally beguiling. In the parks and temple gardens of the cities, the leaves of the maple and gingko trees turn vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange; if you are travelling into the Japanese Alps, you’re in for an even more spectacular sight.

Summer

Japan’s summer (June to August) may be hot and humid but it is the season for festivals and fireworks. Enjoy impromptu celebrations or escape to the mountains to find the cooler climes and maybe do some hiking – between July 1 and August 31 is the only time of year that you are able to climb Mt Fuji.

Winter

In the winter (December to February), outside the cities, the country becomes a snow-covered wonderland. Vibrant ski resorts?spring into action, ice festivals take place and the Japanese macaques earn their snow monkey moniker. Oh, and there is nothing better than the glorious warm waters of an onsen on a cold winter’s day!

To help you decide when is the best time to travel to Japan for you, read more about Japan’s climate by month, and check out some fantastic events you could experience on one of our tours.

Subscribe Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest offers and receive £50pp off  your Wendy Wu tour.
Order a free brochure to your door
or view/download online
or Speak to a travel expert
on 0808 274 8594
Pop in and see us at our London Bridge office
The Winner Of 'Best Specialist Tour Operator' 14 Years Running -Globe Travel Awards.
Race Across the World - Take Wu

Race Across the World - Take Wu

Join the Wu Crew at 3pm every Thursday for the latest episode of Race Across the World - Take Wu!

Get the lowdown on TV's hottest travel show as the Season 4 contestants make their way from Sapporo in Japan to Lombok, Indonesia...all the way across some of our favourite Asian destinations. 

Find out more

|
Visiting Japan in January Winter

Generally dry and sunny with cool temperatures, in Japan’s northern reaches, and in the mountainous areas throughout you’ll find a good amount of snow perfect for skiing. This month, all the most popular tourist attractions will be quiet.

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
6°C
45mm
Kanazawa
4°C
270mm
Kyoto
5°C
50mm
Nagano
0°C
51mm
Osaka
6°C
45mm
Sapporo
-4°C
114mm
Tokyo
5°C
65mm
Festivals and Events
Oshogatsu

The Japanese New Year celebration, Oshogatsu is the most important holiday of them all. Over the first few days of January, families gather together to see in the New Year – seen as a fresh start. Doorways are decorated with foliage, and all clothes and houses are cleaned, a visit is paid to a shrine and special foods are consumed.

Visiting Japan in February Winter

Similar to January – dry, sunny and cool. The snow continues to be plentiful and excellent for skiing, in fact, this is the peak month for swishing down the slopes of Japan’s plentiful ski resorts. The sights continue to be quieter in terms of visitors.

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
6°C
67mm
Kanazawa
4°C
172mm
Kyoto
6°C
68mm
Nagano
0°C
50mm
Osaka
7°C
62mm
Sapporo
-3°C
94mm
Tokyo
6°C
58mm
Festivals and Events
Sapporo Snow Festival

In February, sculptors from all over the world descend on Sapporo to compete in the Snow Festival, creating huge and intricate sculptures of all manner of things! One of the largest events of its kind in the world, the icy creations take over Odori Park for seven days.

See it on a Tailor Made Tour.

Visiting Japan in March Spring

In March the weather begins to warm up and the plum blossoms spring into action, signalling that spring has arrived. The cherry blossoms begin to bloom in the warmer south of Japan and gradually sweep up the country, reaching places like Kyoto and Tokyo in the last days of the month. This is a very popular time to visit Japan, but worth it for the beautiful blossoms and the festivities that come along with it.

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
9°C
124mm
Kanazawa
7°C
159mm
Kyoto
9°C
113mm
Nagano
4°C
59mm
Osaka
10°C
104mm
Sapporo
1°C
78mm
Tokyo
9°C
77mm
Festivals and Events
Cherry Blossom

As spring creeps around the corner, Japan begins to be coated in a beautifully subtle pink mist, as the cherry blossom, or sakura, paints the country with a pallet of delicate colours.

Beginning in Okinawa in the south, the cherry blossom in Japan starts to spread north through the main islands in March and April before reaching Hokkaido in early May. The arrival of the blossom varies depending on the weather, but this time does see the country absorbed in the excitement of the upcoming blossom.

Hanatoro Festival

A lovely celebration in Kyoto, Hanatoro sees beautiful lanterns lighting up the streets to Kiyomizudera Temple, whilst other temples put on lavish light displays and illuminations to.

Sumo

A sumo tournament is held in Osaka in March, lasting for 15 days, giving you the perfect opportunity to see this ritual-filled and fascinating sport in action.

Talk to our Tailor-made team about adding a sumo match into your Osaka stay.

Visiting Japan in April Spring

As peak cherry blossom season hits, the weather gets much milder, averaging 19?c in Tokyo and Kyoto. At this time, parks and gardens across the country are full of people picnicking under the blossoms, called ‘hanami’ savouring the beauty of the spring. Sights and attractions continue to be very busy.

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
15°C
142mm
Kanazawa
13°C
137mm
Kyoto
14°C
116mm
Nagano
11°C
54mm
Osaka
15°C
104mm
Sapporo
7°C
57mm
Tokyo
14°C
118mm
Festivals and Events
Cherry Blossom

As spring creeps around the corner, Japan begins to be coated in a beautifully subtle pink mist, as the cherry blossom, or sakura, paints the country with a pallet of delicate colours.

Beginning in Okinawa in the south, the cherry blossom in Japan starts to spread north through the main islands in March and April before reaching Hokkaido in early May. The arrival of the blossom varies depending on the weather, but this time does see the country absorbed in the excitement of the upcoming blossom.

Takayama Matsuri

This spring festival celebrated in the mountain town of Takayama features elaborate antique floats, colourful illuminations and traditional music. It is considered one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan.

Talk to our Tailor-made team about visiting the Takayama Matsuri.

Visiting Japan in May Spring

May’s weather is beautiful – warm (with temperatures around the early 20s) and mostly dry, whilst the landscapes across the country are lush and green. In the very north of Japan, on the island of Hokkaido, the cherry blossoms are just blooming, whilst in the tropical south, the beach resort of Okinawa is entering its rainy season. The Golden Week national holiday can make things pretty busy.

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
19°C
178mm
Kanazawa
17°C
155mm
Kyoto
19°C
161mm
Nagano
16°C
75mm
Osaka
20°C
146mm
Sapporo
13°C
53mm
Tokyo
18°C
145mm
Festivals and Events
Golden Week

The May Golden Week sees 4 national holidays – Shawa Day, Constitution Day, Greenery Day and Children’s Day, within 7 days, giving the locals a week off work. This is a time when people will travel, to see family and friends and to explore their country, so transport and popular sights can be extra busy.

Sanja Matsuri

With festivities centred in the vibrant Asakusa district, Sanja Matsuri is a religious festival that celebrates the three men that founded Senso-ji, Tokyo’s oldest Shinto temple. Considered quite a wild party, a parade wends its way between Senso-ji and Asakusa Shrine, with elaborate floats, music and dancing in Edo-period style.

Talk to our Tailor-made team about visiting the Sanja Matsuri.

Fuji Shibazakura Festival

At the foot of Mt Fuji, in the Fuji Five Lakes area, the Fuji Shibazakura Festival is the most scenic place to admire the pink moss phlox in full bloom.

Talk to our Tailor-made team about visiting the Fuji Shibazakura Festival.

Sumo

A sumo tournament is held in Tokyo in May, lasting for 15 days, giving you the perfect opportunity to see this ritual-filled and fascinating sport in action.

Talk to our Tailor-made team about adding a sumo match into your Osaka stay.

Visiting Japan in June Summer

The start of the summer brings with it warmer more humid conditions and, across much of the archipelago the rainy season begins. Don't expect rain every day though and temperatures in June are still very pleasant for exploring. The weather does bring out the best of the lush landscapes too. This is perfect time to explore the northernmost island of Hokkaido as the rainy season doesn’t reach here.

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
23°C
247mm
Kanazawa
22°C
185mm
Kyoto
23°C
214mm
Nagano
21°C
109mm
Osaka
24°C
184mm
Sapporo
17°C
47mm
Tokyo
22°C
135mm
Festivals and Events
Yosakoi Soran

The festivities crank up in the fine weather in the city of Sapporo on Hokkaido Island. In June you have the Yosakoi Soran, with energetic, joyful and colourful dance procession on the streets surrounding the central Odori Park. The many dancers are performing a modern take on a traditional dance of the summer.

Talk to our Tailor-made team about visiting the Yosakai Soran.

Hokkaido Shrine Festival

Following on from the pageantry of Yosakoi Soran is the Hokkaido Shrine Festival, one of the region’s biggest celebrations. As well as traditional dedication ceremonies at shrines there are stalls, attractions and entertainments for three days, culminating in a huge parade complete with colourful costumes and taiko drummers.

Talk to our Tailor-made team about visiting the Hokkaido Shrine Festival.

Visiting Japan in July Summer

July is a busy month for festivals, events and domestic travel. The weather remains humid and hot – with temperatures around 30?, but the rains ease off towards the middle of the month, except in tropical Okinawa, where they continue for a bit longer. These is prime season to climb Mt Fuji, only possible in July and August due to the warmer weather.

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
27°C
259mm
Kanazawa
26°C
232mm
Kyoto
27°C
220mm
Nagano
25°C
134mm
Osaka
28°C
157mm
Sapporo
21°C
81mm
Tokyo
26°C
81mm
Festivals and Events
Gion Matsuri

Kyoto’s biggest festival, Gion Matsuri is a big, month long street party where locals and visitors alike take to the streets, dressed in traditional yukata and enjoy street food and beer. The festivities include two parades, featuring traditional floats. This is Japan’s most famous festival.

Talk to our Tailor-made team about visiting the Gion Matsuri.

Sumida River Fireworks Festival

Dating back to 1733, this annual firework display features up to 22,000 rockets and is one of Tokyo’s biggest hanabi (fireworks) event.

Talk to our Tailor-made team about visiting the Sumida River Fireworks Festival.

Visiting Japan in August Summer

August is peak summer and, like July, is hot and humid. It also has an even more packed calendar of local festivals and firework display! This is when the big school holiday falls, so a lot of people are travelling and things can be pretty busy.

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
29°C
111mm
Kanazawa
27°C
139mm
Kyoto
29°C
132mm
Nagano
26°C
98mm
Osaka
29°C
91mm
Sapporo
23°C
124mm
Tokyo
27°C
113mm
Festivals and Events
Obon

At this time of year, it is believed that the spirits of dead family member return to visit their loved ones. Many families gather together for parties and outings, and there are lots of community events.

Nebuta Matsuri

One of August’s biggest festivals and held in Aomari City, the floats of the Nebuta Matsuri have to be seen to be believed! Huge papier-mache floats and puppets parade the streets every night for five days to crowds of up to three million people!

Talk to our Tailor-made team about visiting the Nebuta Matsuri.

Visiting Japan in September Autumn

Although potentially still hot and humid, you’ll find September brings with beautiful blue skies and comfortable temperatures. Everything quietens down as locals go back to school and work, making it a great time to explore. The leaves begin to turn in the northern reaches of Hokkaido at the end of the month.

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
25°C
170mm
Kanazawa
23°C
226mm
Kyoto
25°C
176mm
Nagano
21°C
129mm
Osaka
26°C
161mm
Sapporo
18°C
135mm
Tokyo
23°C
131mm
Festivals and Events
Sumo

A sumo tournament is held in Tokyo in September, lasting for 15 days, giving you the perfect opportunity to see this ritual-filled and fascinating sport in action.

Talk to our Tailormade team about adding a sumo match into your Osaka stay.

Visiting Japan in October Autumn

With comfortable temperatures and blue skies, October is also the start of the autumn, with red and gold hues working their way down the country from the north, but not yet reaching Tokyo and Kyoto. October is also harvest time, which means plenty of delicious seasonal foods to try, and is also considered a time for the arts, so plenty of museums have big exhibitions starting at this time.

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
19°C
88mm
Kanazawa
17°C
177mm
Kyoto
18°C
121mm
Nagano
14°C
83mm
Osaka
19°C
112mm
Sapporo
12°C
109mm
Tokyo
18°C
132mm
Festivals and Events
Takayama Autumn Festival

Beautiful, hand-crafted floats parade around the town for two nights and people gather for a traditional harvest celebration. In the evenings, food carts and portable shrines come out in force and there are lanterns and traditional music livening up the streets.

Talk to our Tailor-made team about visiting the Takayama Autumn Festival.

Halloween

In recent years, Japan has embraced Halloween in their own very big way! There are costume parties all over the place, but Tokyo’s Shibuya district is at the heart of things and is the place to see some incredible costumes.

Visiting Japan in November Autumn

With the autumn in full swing, and glorious displays of colourful foliage everywhere. The weather is cool and clear, getting chillier as the month continues. Sights at this time tend to be much quieter make it an excellent time to explore.

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
13°C
68mm
Kanazawa
12°C
265mm
Kyoto
12°C
71mm
Nagano
8°C
44mm
Osaka
14°C
69mm
Sapporo
5°C
104mm
Tokyo
12°C
128mm
Festivals and Events
Sagamiko Illumillion

At this time of year, plenty of light festivals pop up as the nights get longer. One of the biggest and best is the Sagamiko Illumillion in Kanagawa. The epic light installations use as many as six million bulbs and there are fairground rides, food stalls and a vibrant atmosphere.

Talk to our Tailor-made team about visiting the Sagamiko Illumillion.

Visiting Japan in December Winter

December temperatures vary throughout the country, from comfortably cool to really cold! It tends to be dry in most places, with the mountains and some of the bigger ski resorts getting their first dumpings of snow. This is also the perfect time to take the most of Japan’s plentiful hot springs, or onsen baths!

Climate Guide
Hiroshima
8°C
41mm
Kanazawa
7°C
282mm
Kyoto
7°C
48mm
Nagano
3°C
46mm
Osaka
9°C
44mm
Sapporo
-1°C
112mm
Tokyo
8°C
109mm
Festivals and Events
Christmas

While Christmas isn’t the family centric celebration as it is here, the Japanese go to town on the festive light displays – you’ll find some of the biggest and best all over Tokyo. The locals also don’t exchange gifts and instead of a turkey dinner, it’s KFC on the menu on Christmas Day!

Oshogatsu

New Year is a much more important holiday than Christmas in Japan, with families coming together to celebrate. As the end of the year approaches, bonenkai (year forgetting) parties are held to be rid of the worries of the past year and prepare for the fresh start that comes on January 1st. On December 31st buckwheat noodles are eaten, as they represent longevity, and a TV special featuring popular music artists is watched by many.

From our Japan Blog

Read our latest articles or travel inspiration, exciting news about our destinations and all things Wendy Wu Tours

8
Apr

The Best Time to Visit Japan

A country that has long been on the bucketlists of many a traveller, Japan is a destination that...
5
Oct

Making Tracks: the Joys of Travelling by Train

There is an inherent romance to travelling by rail. A hangover from the lauded golden age in the...
22
May

Foliage, Food and Festivals: Japan in Autumn

Japan’s location between mainland Asia and the Pacific brings with it distinctive seasonal changes....
Read more Japan blogs