Japanese often ask foreigners, out of curiosity, if there are four seasons where they come from. Seasonality is very important to their culture and heavily influences their eating habit and leisure. Likewise, the traveler in Japan will live a very different experience whether visiting in Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, both in terms of weather, but also the cultural experiences. Before scheduling a trip to Japan, we might wonder what is the best time to travel in Japan or what is the most beautiful season to go to Japan, and what weather to expect in general. I will attempt to answer some of those questions with the best of my knowledge. I also present features of Japanese climate, such as temperature humidity and rainfall, as statistics from the Japanese Meteorological Agency. Enough talking show me the graphs
Japanese Spring, when gardens come to life
Japanese Summer, firework and festivals
Japanese Fall, admire the coloured leaves
Admitedly, I’ve not been to Japan in Fall yet so this section will have to wait.
Japanese Winter, ski and onsen
Best weather in Japan
The best time to visit Japan might be during the seasons of Spring and Fall. Those are the shoulder seasons when the temperature is not as cold as the cold Japanese winter but still cooler than the boiling hot Japanese Summer. Only in terms of temperature, May and July should be very comfortable months to travel. For example, the average temperature in Tokyo in May is around 19C while it is 22C in June. Similarly, September and October should be enjoyable months with mean temperatures in Tokyo around 23C and 19C. However, September and October are also the two rainiest months in Tokyo, something to consider before booking your flight.
Worst weather in Japan
The worst time to visit Japan might be arguably the seasons of Winter and Summer. In winter, it can be quite cold in the Northern part of Japan. This should not be much of a problem if you stay at a modern hotel, but if you stay in a typical Japanese house, there is typically no heating in most of the house except the living room. Let me tell you that taking a shower when temperature is below zero can be quite an experience! Another difficult season in Japan is Summer. Temperatures can get very high in Summer but what makes it unbearable is the extremely high amount of humidity in the air. As an example, the typical relative humidity in August is of 73% in Tokyo. This is only the average value, not the maximum! Because the air is so wet, it is very difficult for the body to cool down through perspiration. Even Japanese people find summer too hot!
Does it really matter?
One can enjoy travelling to Japan in any weather condition, and the best time to travel is really a matter of personal opinion. There are also large regional variations in weather and climate across Japan since the long and thin island of Japan has a North/South orientation. If interested in the climate of a specific region of Japan, please have a look at the statistics below. You’ll be better prepared to plan your trip.