In general, Japan has a mild climate, but as an archipelago stretching over 3,000 km from north to south, the weather, like the fauna and flora, can vary a lot from region to region.
Below we summarise the general tendency of the weather by season in Honshu, Japan’s main island.
Cherry blossoms usually start to bloom in certain regions of Honshu at the end of March and by April they are at their fullest of beauty. For this reason, we believe that April is the most beautiful time of the year to visit Japan. Sakura (Cherry blossom season) is also an important time of year for the Japanese who, during this period celebrate hanami (cherry blossom viewing) by barbecuing or picnicking in the parks underneath the blossoming cherry trees. The life of the cherry flowers is very short with the full bloom period lasting only two weeks, after which the blossoms start to fall. As this exquisite event attracts tourists from all over the world and hotels get booked up early!
Japan’s rainy season starts at the beginning of June. While it does not rain every day, the weather tends to be overcast, and July and August are hot and humid. But, despite the higher temperatures and humidity, Japan has a lot to offer during the summer months such as the numerous summer festivals taking place throughout the country. Japan’s ancient traditions are still highly respected today, and during these festivals you can experience these fascinating traditions come to life through parades, dance, culinary delights, and local ceremonies. Another benefit of travelling in summer is that sightseeing spots are less crowded and hotel tariffs are significantly more economical.
One of the best seasons to visit Japan is in autumn as the weather remains warm and relatively dry, and the crowds are still not at their peak. Trees begin to turn golden, which is a spectacular sight to see in many parts of the country.
Winter is a good time to visit Japan if you don’t mind cooler temperatures. The weather is usually sunny and dry, although cool, and sightseeing spots are not crowded except for over New Years.
There is lots of snowfall in the mountainous regions, perfect for visiting the famous and photogenic “snow monkeys” and the therapeutical hot waters of Japan’s hot springs (onsens) are particularly enjoyable in winter. Winter is also the ideal time for winter sports lovers to visit with the skiing season featuring deep, light powdery snow, starting in mid-December and lasting until mid-April.