When is the best time to visit Japan in 2020?

When planning a trip to Japan, it is always difficult to decide when you should visit Japan.

You hear about how beautiful the cherry blossoms are in Spring. Then you also hear about the winter festivals and how wonderful the white powder snows are in Winter .

Japan has four distinct seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each season has it’s own face and activities you can enjoy.

Ideally you want to visit Japan few times at different seasons to enjoy everything that country offers, but we know it’s not possible for some readers. Hopefully this guide can give you more information to help you decide when to go to Japan.

Spring (3〜5月)

Cherry Blossom viewing in Ueno Park

Spring scenery in Japan is beautiful. The highlight of this season is definitely cherry blossom and is a must see if you want to experience Japan’s natural beauty.

The temperature in March can be quite cool with Tokyo averaging about 5 – 15 degrees. It gets slightly warmer in April with 10-19 degrees, and by May it reaches up to 15-23 degrees.

In the beginning of May, there is a public holiday called “Golden Week” which goes for 4-5 days. During this time, many businesses shut down and take time off. Theme parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studio will be crowded than normal so it is not an ideal time for travelers to visit during this time.

Summer (6〜8月)

Shikisai No Oka in Hokkaido

Summer has many Natsu Matsuri (summer festivals) around the country. You can enjoy eating delicious local food and snacks, experience traditional festival activities such as catching gold fish or balloons floated on water, and view dance performance and fireworks. Kyoto’s most important festival Gion Matsuri is held in July, as well as Osaka’s Tenjin Matsuri.

In summer you can experience wearing Yukata which is a Japanese garment, known as casual version of kimono and visit festivals and sightseeing (Read our article: How to wear Yukata).

You can also enjoy cold noodles such as Hiyashichuka and Nagashi Somen which are known as summer traditional food in japan.

The rainy season in Japan starts from May/June and ends around mid July. The humidity in this season gets high and you may feel “sticky” wherever you go.

Autumn (9〜11月)

Toji temple in Kyoto with Autumn colors

In Autumn, you can experience the breathtaking view of Autumn foliage made of green, orange and red leaves.

As per the Japanese saying shokuyoku no aki 食欲の秋, which means “Autumn is the season for eating”, there are many natural produce that have wonderful flavours. These include sweet potatoes, chestnuts, pumpkins, persimmons and matsutake – which is an expensive aromatic mushrooms.

The king of Sashimi, Blue Fin Tuna is known to have the best amount of fat from October to January due to the temperature of sea water.

Winter (12〜2月)

Shirahone Onsen in Nagano

Ever year, a large number of visitors from overseas visit places like Niseko and Hakuba to enjoy ski and winter sports.

The Sapporo Snow Festival attracts over 2 million visitors from Japan and overseas, and is regarded as one of the top 3 snow festivals in the world.

January and February are the coldest months in Japan, with average temperature of about 2-10 degrees in Tokyo.

The first few days of a new year can be very crowded if you are visiting temples and shrines as locals visit temples to pray for the coming year.