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This is the best time to go to Japan

It depends on what you're looking for

Japan
ANTHR_Photoblog / Pixabay

Japan, a country renowned for its cultural heritage and cutting-edge technology, continues to captivate travelers from all over the world. In 2023, Japan welcomed approximately 25.07 million visitors, according to Statista, highlighting its status as a premier travel destination. However, the best time to visit Japan largely depends on what you seek to experience during your journey. Whether you dream of witnessing the beauty of the cherry blossoms, prefer exploring the sights with fewer crowds, or aim to enjoy a budget-friendly vacation, Japan offers something special in every season.

The best time to go to Japan for good weather

Cherry Blossoms Japan
morn_japan / Pixabay

The best time to visit Japan for pleasant weather is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. Japan emerges from the cold winter months with comfortable temperatures and the iconic cherry blossoms, or “sakura,” that attract visitors worldwide. These gorgeous pink flowers create the perfect atmosphere for picnics and strolls in parks like Tokyo’s Shiba Park and Kyoto’s Maruyama Park. 

Autumn offers equally favorable weather with mild temperatures and low humidity. The season is renowned for its beautiful autumn leaves, also known as “koyo,” which paint the Japanese countryside in vibrant reds and oranges. This is the perfect time for outdoor activities, such as hiking in the Japanese Alps or strolling through Kurobe Gorge in Hokuriku Shinetsu. Popular spots like Nikko and the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto are a sight to be seen under the fall foliage.

The best time to go to Japan for a budget vacation

Tokyo Japan
Koukichi Takahashi/EyeEm / Getty Images

For a budget vacation, the best time to visit Japan is during the off-peak seasons of late autumn (November) and winter (December to February), excluding the New Year period. Throughout these times, you’ll find more affordable airfare and accommodation, and popular tourist spots are less crowded.

Japan offers numerous free activities that allow you to immerse yourself in the culture without breaking the bank. If you’re heading to Tokyo, you can explore the historic Asakusa district or visit the beautiful Senso-ji Temple. You can also check out the bustling street markets that offer a fun experience at no cost. Ueno Park, also in Tokyo, is another free attraction and is home to museums, a zoo, and plenty of green space. 

For cheaper accommodation, consider staying in hostels, capsule hotels (also known as pod hotels), or budget-friendly guesthouses. Websites like Hostelworld and Booking.com can be very useful when searching for affordable places to stay. Additionally, business hotels, such as those under the Tokoyo Inn or APA Hotel chains, offer comfortable stays at reasonable rates.  

The best time to go to Japan for festivals and events

Festival in Japan
taka0043 / Pixabay

If you’re looking to check out some of Japan’s festivals and events, then the months of March to May and June to August are some of the best times to visit. During these seasons, the country comes alive with traditional and contemporary festivities that offer visitors a glimpse into the rich culture of the country.

In spring, one of the most celebrated festivals is Hanami, which is the cherry blossom viewing season that occurs from late March to early April. Hanami parties, where people sit under blooming sakura trees for picnics, are a quintessential Japanese experience. Kyoto’s Miyako Odori, which is held every April, is another highlight, featuring captivating performances by geisha and maiko.

Summer in Japan is marked by a series of fun festivals. The Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, held throughout July, is one of the country’s most famous festivals. It features grand parades with decked-out floats, traditional music, and fun street celebrations. Another summer event is Awa Odori in Tokushima, which is typically held in mid-August. This dance festival attracts thousands of participants and spectators from around the world.

The best time to go to Japan for fewer crowds

Japan
yamabon / Pixabay

The best time to visit Japan for fewer crowds is during the shoulder seasons of late autumn (November) and early winter (December, before the New Year rush). During these periods, tourism dips, and you can enjoy a more laid-back travel experience.

In late autumn, you can still enjoy the beautiful fall foliage we mentioned earlier, especially in places like Kyoto’s temples and gardens, which are less crowded compared to peak seasons. The weather during this time is cool and pleasant, which is perfect for exploring historical sights like the Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa or the Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto. 

Early winter also offers another window for a quieter visit. You can head to the Japanese Alps for a peaceful experience in towns like Hakone in Kusatsu or explore some of Japan’s winter festivals. The Chichibu Night Festival, which is held in early December, features giant floats decorated with lanterns, as well as traditional music and a fireworks display.

Book your trip to Japan today

Tokyo Japan
Johnny Greig / Getty Images

The best time to visit Japan largely depends on what you are looking for out of your travels. No matter when you choose to visit, planning ahead is key. To secure the best deals and ensure availability, especially during popular seasons and festivals, it’s advisable to book international travel and accommodations well in advance.

Amanda Teague
Amanda, an accomplished freelance writer with four years of experience, is a dedicated explorer of both the world and the…
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