Picture yourself stepping into a world where the past and present collide in a dazzling display of color, culture, and innovation. A land where ancient temples sit alongside towering skyscrapers, where the gentle rustling of cherry blossom branches harmonizes with the hum of cutting-edge technology. This is Japan, a country that beckons to the adventurer in all of us. 


However, before you pack your bags and set off on your dream journey, there’s one question you must ask yourself: what’s the best time to visit Japan? Timing is everything when it comes to exploring this incredible country, as each season brings its unique charm and beauty.


Whether you’re eager to witness the breathtaking cherry blossoms in spring, bask in the lively summer festivals, admire the stunning autumn foliage, or immerse yourself in the enchanting winter wonderland, understanding the distinct characteristics of each season will help you plan the perfect trip. So, let’s dive in and discover the best time for you to embark on your Japanese adventure!

When is the Best Time to Visit Japan

April and May: Cherry Blossom Season

When is the Best Time to Visit Japan

In April and May, Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms (sakura) burst into bloom, creating a breathtaking spectacle of pink and white hues. The arrival of the sakura is celebrated with hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties, where locals and visitors gather to picnic beneath the blooming trees and enjoy the fleeting beauty of the season.


Spring in Japan brings pleasant temperatures, typically ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F), making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The mild weather is perfect for strolling through parks, gardens, and temples and enjoying the beauty of the sakura against the backdrop of clear blue skies.

In addition to cherry blossoms, spring is the best season to visit Japan to witness the blooming of other beautiful flowers, such as azaleas, wisteria, and tulips. Numerous festivals and events celebrate the arrival of spring, including the Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom Festival, the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, and the Takato Castle Cherry Blossom Festival.

November: Vibrant Autumn Foliage

When is the Best Time to Visit Japan

November is the peak month for autumn colors in Japan, when the leaves of maple and ginkgo trees turn into a stunning array of red, orange, and yellow hues. This breathtaking display of colors, known as koyo, attracts visitors worldwide, making it one of the best times to visit Japan for nature lovers.


Compared to the spring Sakura season, November has cooler temperatures and fewer tourists, making it a more comfortable and less crowded time to explore Japan’s attractions. The crisp autumn air and clear skies create the perfect conditions for outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing.


Some of the most popular and stunning locations to witness the autumn colors in Japan include Kyoto’s Arashiyama and Tofukuji Temple, Tokyo’s Rikugien Garden and Mount Takao, Nara’s Yoshino Mountain, and the historic town of Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture.

January and February: Winter Wonderland

When is the Best Time to Visit Japan

January and February offer a magical winter wonderland experience in Japan, particularly in the northern regions like Hokkaido and the Japanese Alps. The snow-covered landscapes create a serene and picturesque atmosphere, perfect for winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.


Winter is generally considered the low season for tourism in Japan, which means fewer crowds and more opportunities for unique experiences. Visitors can enjoy the tranquility of snow-covered temples, indulge in warm and comforting winter dishes like nabe (hot pot) and oden, and participate in traditional winter events like the Kamakura Festival in Yokote, Akita Prefecture.


One of Japan’s most famous winter events is the Sapporo Snow Festival, held annually in February in Hokkaido’s capital city. The festival features spectacular snow and ice sculptures, some measuring over 25 meters wide and 15 meters high, attracting millions of visitors worldwide. Other popular winter festivals include the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival and the Asahikawa Winter Festival.

Weather in Japan by Regions

Northern Regions: Hokkaido and Tohoku

Best Period to Visit Japan

The northern regions of Japan, including Hokkaido and Tohoku, experience cold weather and heavy snowfall during the winter months. Temperatures often drop below freezing, with average lows ranging from -5°C to -10°C (23°F to 14°F). The heavy snowfall creates a picturesque winter wonderland, perfect for winter sports enthusiasts and those seeking a unique and enchanting winter experience.

In contrast to the harsh winters, summers in Hokkaido and Tohoku are mild and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). The comfortable weather makes it the best period to visit Japan to explore the region’s stunning natural beauty, including the famous lavender fields of Furano in Hokkaido, which bloom from late June to early August, creating a mesmerizing sea of purple.

Central Regions: Kansai and Nagano

Best Period to Visit Japan

The central regions of Japan, such as Kansai (which includes cities like Kyoto and Osaka) and Nagano, generally experience moderate temperatures throughout the year. Spring and autumn are particularly pleasant, with mild temperatures and stunning seasonal attractions like cherry blossoms and colorful autumn foliage. Summers can be hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching 30°C (86°F), while winters are cool to cold, with occasional snowfall in some areas.


The central regions offer a fascinating mix of urban and rural landscapes, allowing visitors to experience both the bustling city life and the tranquil beauty of nature. From the historical and cultural treasures of Kyoto to the vibrant and modern atmosphere of Osaka and the stunning mountain scenery of Nagano (home to the famous Japanese Alps), these regions provide a diverse and captivating experience for travelers.

Southern Regions: Kyushu and Okinawa

Best Period to Visit Japan

The southern regions of Japan, including Kyushu and Okinawa, are characterized by warmer temperatures and a subtropical climate. Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands, experiences mild winters and hot, humid summers,often reaching 30°C (86°F) or higher. Okinawa, an archipelago located urther south, enjoys a subtropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year, rarely dropping below 15°C (59°F) even in winter.


The warm climate and crystal-clear waters of the southern regions make them a paradise for beach lovers and marine enthusiasts. Okinawa, in particular, is renowned for its stunning white sandy beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, attracting snorkelers and divers from around the world. Kyushu also boasts beautiful coastal areas, such as the picturesque Amakusa Islands and the volcanic sand beaches of Ibusuki.

Japanese Festivals and Events by Seasons

Spring Festivals

Things to Do in Japan

Spring in Japan is synonymous with cherry blossom (sakura) festivals and hanami parties. As the sakura blooms across the country, locals and visitors gather in parks and gardens to enjoy picnics and parties beneath the stunning pink and white blossoms. Famous hanami spots include Ueno Park in Tokyo, Maruyama Park in Kyoto, and Himeji Castle in Himeji. Many cities also hold illumination events at night, creating a magical and romantic atmosphere.


Spring weather in Japan can be unpredictable, with temperatures ranging from cool to warm and occasional rainfall. To stay comfortable, it’s best to pack layered clothing that you can easily add or remove as needed. 


Don’t forget to bring a lightweight jacket, a sweater, and a few long-sleeved shirts. It’s also essential to pack rain protection, such as a portable umbrella or a lightweight raincoat, as spring showers are common. Lastly, bring comfortable walking shoes, as you’ll likely be doing a lot of sightseeing and exploring on foot.

Summer Festivals

Things to Do in Japan

Summer in Japan is the season of lively and colorful festivals (matsuri) and spectacular fireworks displays (hanabi). Traditional matsuri often feature street parades with floats, dancers, and musicians dressed in vibrant costumes, as well as food stalls offering delicious local specialties. 


Some famous summer festivals include the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, the Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka, and the Awa Odori in Tokushima. Fireworks displays are also a major summer highlight, with some of the most impressive shows in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Nagaoka.


Summer in Japan can be hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching 30°C (86°F) or higher. To stay cool and comfortable, pack lightweight, breathable clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton and linen. 


Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect your skin from the strong summer sun. It’s also crucial to stay hydrated, so make sure to carry a refillable water bottle with you at all times. Many cities in Japan have public water fountains where you can refill your bottle for free.

Autumn Festivals

Things to Do in Japan

Autumn in Japan is celebrated with festivals and events that showcase the stunning fall foliage (koyo) and the bountiful harvest season. Many parks and gardens hold special illumination events, where visitors can admire the colorful autumn leaves lit at night, creating a mesmerizing and enchanting atmosphere. 


Some popular fall foliage spots include Rikugien Garden in Tokyo, Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, and Nara Park in Nara. Harvest festivals, such as the Shichigosan Festival and the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival, also take place during this time, celebrating the season’s abundance and giving thanks for the year’s blessings.


Autumn in Japan is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and stunning fall foliage. However, temperatures can vary, especially in the mornings and evenings, so it’s best to pack warm clothing that you can layer, such as sweaters, light jackets, and long-sleeved shirts. 


Comfortable footwear is also essential, as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking to enjoy the beautiful autumn scenery. Additionally, don’t forget to pack rain gear, such as a portable umbrella or a lightweight raincoat, as autumn can bring occasional showers.

Winter Festivals

Things to Do in Japan

Winter in Japan brings a variety of unique and exciting festivals and events, including snow and ice festivals, as well as traditional New Year’s celebrations. The most famous winter festival is the Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, which features spectacular snow and ice sculptures, attracting millions of visitors from around the world. 


Other notable winter festivals include the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival, the Yokote Kamakura Festival, and the Jigokudani Monkey Park’s famous “snow monkeys” soaking in hot springs. New Year’s celebrations (Shogatsu) are also a significant part of winter in Japan, with many people visiting shrines and temples to pray for good luck and fortune in the coming year and enjoying traditional New Year’s foods like osechi ryori and mochi.


Winter in Japan can be cold, especially in the northern regions like Hokkaido and the Japanese Alps, where temperatures often drop below freezing and heavy snowfall is common. To stay warm and dry, pack warm and waterproof clothing, such as insulated jackets, thick sweaters, warm pants, and waterproof boots. 


Don’t forget to bring a hat, gloves, and scarf to protect your extremities from the cold. Also, daylight hours are shorter during winter, so plan your sightseeing and activities accordingly to make the most of the available daylight.


Cheap Flights to Japan >>

When to Avoid Visiting Japan (Worst Times to Visit)

Golden Week (late April to early May)

Golden Week is a series of national holidays in Japan that usually occurs from late April to early May. During this time, many Japanese people take advantage of extended breaks to travel within the country, leading to overcrowded tourist attractions, fully booked accommodations, and significantly higher prices for flights, hotels, and activities. This can make it challenging for international visitors to fully enjoy their experience, as they may face long queues, limited availability, and inflated costs.

Silver Week (mid-September)

Silver Week is another series of national holidays in Japan, usually occurring in mid-September. While not as extensive as Golden Week, Silver Week still sees a surge in domestic travel, leading to increased prices and congested tourist spots. Many popular attractions, such as theme parks, museums, and historical sites, can become overcrowded during this time, making it less enjoyable for visitors. Transportation, including trains and flights, may be more expensive and harder to book during Silver Week.

Japan School Holidays (mid-July to mid-August, mid-June)

Japanese school holidays, particularly the summer break from mid-July to mid-August and the shorter break in mid-June, can also be challenging times for international visitors. During these periods, many Japanese families travel within the country, leading to crowded accommodations, attractions, and transportation. Prices for flights, hotels, and activities may also be higher due to increased demand. The summer months can be especially hot and humid, making sightseeing and outdoor activities less comfortable.

While these times may be less ideal for visiting Japan, with careful planning and preparation, you can still have a wonderful experience. If you must travel during these periods, consider booking accommodations and transportation well in advance, and be prepared for larger crowds and potential delays. Alternatively, you may want to explore less popular destinations or focus on indoor things to do in Japan to avoid the crowds and make the most of your visit.


Japan offers a captivating and unique experience for travelers throughout the year, with each season bringing its distinct charm and beauty. By understanding the characteristics of each season and the potential challenges of peak travel periods, you can plan the perfect trip to Japan that aligns with your interests and preferences. 


When preparing for your trip to Japan in 2024, timing is key to making the most of your experience while staying within your budget. This is where OneAir can help you find the best deals on flights and accommodations, no matter which season you choose to visit.

By joining OneAir, you’ll receive personalized flight deal alerts for your preferred travel dates, ensuring you never miss out on the lowest fares to Japan. OneAir can help you find the perfect travel deals to make your Japan adventure a reality without breaking the bank.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best month to visit Japan depends on your personal preferences and what you hope to experience during your trip. April is generally considered the best month for those who want to witness the beautiful cherry blossoms. 


If you prefer comfortable temperatures and stunning autumn foliage, November is an excellent choice. For winter sports enthusiasts and those seeking a unique winter experience, January and February are ideal.

The cheapest time to visit Japan is typically during the low tourist seasons, which are January to March (except for the first week of January due to the New Year holiday) and October to November (except for the peak autumn foliage season). 


During these months, flight prices and accommodation rates are lower, and there are fewer crowds at popular tourist attractions. However,  prices may still be higher during specific events or holidays, such as Chinese New Year or the Sapporo Snow Festival.

The lowest tourist season in Japan is usually from January to March (except for the first week of January). This period is characterized by colder temperatures, especially in the northern regions, and fewer tourist crowds. However, this can be an excellent time to visit if you’re interested in winter sports, hot springs, or the serene beauty of snow-covered landscapes.

Japan tends to have the most tourists during the spring cherry blossom season (late March to early April) and the autumn foliage season (October to November). These months are popular among both international visitors and domestic travelers, as the stunning natural beauty of the cherry blossoms and autumn leaves attracts millions of people each year. Golden Week (late April to early May) and Silver Week (mid-September) also see a surge in domestic tourism.

Two weeks in Japan is a perfect amount of time to hit the must-sees for first-timers. You can explore the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, marvel at Mount Fuji’s majesty, and soak in the natural beauty of Hakone or Kamakura.  


Venturing further, you can experience the rich history of Kyoto, the vibrant energy of Osaka, and the serenity of Nara. Top it off with Hiroshima’s poignant memorials and the ethereal beauty of Miyajima, all within a comfortable two-week timeframe.

The best months to see cherry blossoms in Japan are typically late March to early April. However, the exact timing of the cherry blossom season varies yearly and depends on the location within Japan. 


Generally, the cherry blossoms begin to bloom in the southern regions (such as Okinawa) in late January and gradually progress northward, reaching Tokyo and Kyoto in late March to early April and Hokkaido in late April to early May. To ensure you catch the cherry blossoms during your visit, it’s best to keep an eye on the annual cherry blossom forecast and plan your trip accordingly.

Tokyo bursts with excitement for all ages. Immerse yourselves in the dazzling Shibuya Crossing, a must-do for families. Explore the Ghibli Museum’s whimsical worlds, a wonderland for fans of the beloved anime studio. 

Take panoramic city views from the Tokyo Skytree, or explore the interactive teamLab Borderless museum for an artistic adventure. Some exciting things to do in Japan with kids include visiting the Legoland Discovery Center, Sanrio Puroland (a Hello Kitty-themed park), and the Ninja Trick House.

Visiting Japan offers a fantastic cultural experience, but it’s important to follow social etiquette for a smooth and respectful stay. On public transportation, keep phone calls quiet to avoid disturbing others. Cleanliness is highly valued, so avoid littering and chewing gum in public.


Tipping is not customary in Japan and can be considered unusual. Bills usually include a service charge, so there’s no need to add extra. When visiting temples and shrines, show respect by removing your shoes before entering designated areas. Following these guidelines will help ensure a culturally sensitive and enjoyable visit to Japan.