Climate in Japan

Japan has four distinct seasons, with the climate varying greatly depending on the region you visit. Ranging from cooler temperatures in Hokkaido, to sub-tropical in Okinawa. In general, the best months of the year are March, April, May, October and November. The other months are still good, however there may be some factors to be aware of; when and where is the best time to swim in the sea, where does the snow fall and when is the rainy season.

Depending on where you are in Japan, the months of June and July are the rainy season, and July and August can be hot and humid. The first week of May, Golden Week, the middle of August, Obon Holiday, and the third week of September for Silver Week, are peak holiday dates for domestic travel, so sites, trains and attractions can busy.

The summer months offer ideal conditions for walkers looking to explore the Japanese Alps and Hokkaido’s wild national parks.

The very popular cherry blossom begins its journey northward starting in Okinawa in mid-February, reaching Kyoto and Tokyo in later March and early April. Further north towards the island of Hokkaido and its capital, Sapporo, will find cherry blossom at the end of April and early May.

During October and November, you can witness the spectacular golds and russets of autumn decorating the countryside.

Spring (March – May)

This is a very popular time to visit Japan due to the mild climate and Japans’ famous cherry blossom. The buds first open on the south islands and work through the country right up to the northern island of Hokkaido. “Golden week” takes place at the end of April / beginning of May and is a period of national holiday. Accommodation and transportation is very busy during this period.

Summer (June – August)

During the summertime in Japan, certain areas can have a hot and humid climate, especially in the larger cities. It is also a time where many of the colourful festivals take place, offering amazing experiences. From the beginning of June, the rainy season (tsuyu) visits most parts of Japan except Hokkaido, and typically ends in the first half of July. Summer is when Mount Fuji opens for climbing.

Autumn (September – November)

Autumn is a very pleasant time to visit Japan as the weather remains warm, places are less crowded, and the autumn colours sparkle across many parts of the country from late October to early November. The maple and ginkgo trees turn all shades of red, yellow, brown and orange, enhancing the already spectacular vistas.

Winter (December – February)

The highland and northern parts of Japan enjoy large snowfalls, providing perfect powder snow for skiers and snowboarders. The Nagano and Hokkaido areas
especially renowned as winter-wonder ski resorts. New year is one of Japan’s three major travel seasons for domestic travel. January and February are ideal touring months due to excellent visibility, fewer crowds and lower prices.

Average Temperature

Spring Summer Autumn Winter
Sapporo  7 °C 20 °C 12 °C -3 °C
Tokyo 16 °C 25 °C 18 °C 6 °C
Kyoto 14 °C 27 °C 18 °C 6 °C
Hiroshima 13 °C 29 °C 17 °C 5 °C
Okinawa  23  °C 30  °C 27 °C 20 °C