Japan’s 4 Seasons Guide
Japan has all 4 seasons, each with its different events and weather patterns. It is important to know this before traveling so you can be prepared and know what to do.
March – April – May
We are starting off with spring because that is when the academic and business year starts in Japan. From April 1st, new employees start work and kids begin a new academic year.
Spring is important for the cherry blossom. The blossoms begin appearing toward the middle of March, and generally are in full bloom the end of March and the beginning of April.
There are other blossoms as well – plum and apricot can be seen as well.
In Okinawa, the beaches and pools are opened, but the water is still relatively cold.
What to wear: It can still be very cold during spring so it is important to have a warm jacket, a hat and maybe gloves. There may be warm days – every year it seams that the cherry blossom season is warm.
June – July – August
Summer offers more things to do.
The beaches and pools are open for swimming and relaxing.
If you are into climbing and hiking, Mt. Fuji is only open in the summer so it is the best time for you to visit.
Typically, there are lots of local festivals and fireworks all over Japan. You can wear the summer kimono, called yukata, and watch the festival parades near shrines.
Summer food is shaved ice and noodles such as somen.
What to wear: loose clothing for hot, humid weather and good walking shoes. If you are sensitive to the cold, a light sweater or shawl would be good to bring in to restaurants and other buildings; even trains can get cold.
September – October – November
The changing leaves really make some places stand out more than others. Kyoto and Nikko are especially picturesque during the change of the season. The gingko leaves change color, and can be seen almost everywhere in Japan.
The weather is still good for hiking other mountains, and it is the best time to explore historical places. There are autumn festivals as well.
In Okinawa, the beaches and pools will close around the end of October.
What to wear: Early fall can still be hot and a bit humid, so a good idea is to bring both summer clothes and perhaps pants and a light jacket or sweater for cooler weather.
December – January – February
In winter, you can engage in winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding at one of Japan’s many mountains.
It is also a good time to appreciate onsens – natural hot springs. Outside baths in the snow are a popular way to relax.
There are winter festivals as well in different parts of Japan. The New Year’s festivities are about family and going to pray for the new year, so it is a low-key event in comparison to other countries.
What to wear: Winter can be very cold, so a good winter jacket, hat and gloves and a scarf are good to bring with you.
No matter what the season, you will find some great activities to do in Japan.