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The Best Time For Visiting Japan

A complete guide to travelling Japan in any season

Kyoto Temple Sakura
Image Copyright: @Ollie_Ronin


  1. Introduction

  2. The Cheapest & Quietest Time to Visit Japan

  3. The Most Expensive Time for Visiting Japan

  4. The Best Time to Visit for Cherry Blossoms

  5. The Best Time to Visit for Autumn Leaves

  6. The Best Time for Visiting Tokyo

  7. The Best Time for Visiting Kyoto

  8. The Rainiest, Hottest, and Snowiest Months in Japan

  9. The Best Time for Hiking in Japan

  10. Summary


Japan is known as having some of the most expressive seasons in the world. The spring is full of the famous cherry blossoms, which have been meticulously planted for hundreds of years to bring all the shrines, streets, and beautiful temples alive each year. The summer begins with peaceful fireflies, with warm tropical rain, and a landscape full of vibrant green mountains. The autumn is famous for its maple leaves and fall foliage, decorating the many temples and hiking trails. And the winter receives some of highest amount of powder snow in the world, creating a paradise for winter sports. Although, sometimes this weather can be a little extreme, so it can be a challenge to determine the best time for your visit to Japan. In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions for planning your next trip.

The Cheapest and Quietest Time to Visit Japan

When it comes to finding the cheapest time to visit Japan, the winter months of January and February are usually the best. This period is considered the low season, and less tourism means lower prices for accommodation, flights, and attractions. However, there are a few caveats:

  • As with most destinations, the holiday periods such as New Year’s Eve and Christmas are generally more expensive.

  • These months are also the busiest time for Ski destinations such as Hakuba and Niseko, so if you're planning on skiing then everything will be more expensive in these locations.

But for the main attractions in Japan such as Tokyo and Kyoto, January and February are the cheapest time to visit. Your flights and accomodation can even be half the price compared to normal holiday periods.

The Most Expensive Time for Visiting Japan

The most expensive time for visiting Japan coincides with the two most beautiful seasonal events: the cherry blossoms and the autumn leaves. The peak season for the cherry blossoms is from late March to early April. For the autumn leaves, the peak season runs from mid Novermber to early Demember. Japan's temples and shrines have spent hundreds of years designing their gardens around these two events. This attracts a large number of people from all over the world who come to witness the stunning architecture nestled amongst the cherry blossoms and maple leaves.

Although most people believe it's worth the cost, the tourism during this time can make travelling in Japan quite challenging, the popular attractions get very crowded and most accommodation options are usually booked out.

Kyoto Japan Cherry Blossoms Sakura
Sakura trees at a park near Kyoto. Image Copyright: @Ollie_Ronin

The Best Time to Visit for Cherry Blossoms

The best time to visit Japan for the cherry blossoms (sakura in Japanese) is from late March to early April, depending on the location. During this time, the cherry trees bloom and create a stunning display of pink and white flowers. It’s the most popular time to visit Japan, with many parks and temples hosting special events to celebrate the season.

The cherry blossoms bloom based on temperature, so if you come early you can find the blooming in southern Japan around Kyushu, and if you're a bit late then you can head to higher elevations or toward the northern area of Japan. Japan provides a daily forecast for the cherry blossoms so you can track their peak blooming period with your trip, although the forecast isn't accurate until about the 15th of March.

One of Kyoto's temples during autumn. Image Copyright: @Ollie_Ronin

The Best Time to Visit for Autumn Leaves

The best time to visit Japan for the autumn leaves (Koyo in Japanese) is from mid November to early December, depending on the location. During this time, the trees change color and create a stunning display of red, yellow, and orange. The koyo season is more forgiving than the cherry blossoms, you get about a full month of beautiful colours so it doesn't matter if you're a bit early or a bit late.

Much like the cherry blossoms, the autumn leaves change based on temperature. In fact, the mountains of Japan are famous for their stunning autumn colours. Thousands of people flock to the Japanese Alps, especially Kamikochi, to witness the mountains changing colour. Autumn in the Alps usually reaches it's peak in the first two weeks of October.

the best time to visit Japan
Tokyo. Image: Marc Veraart

The Best Time to Visit Tokyo

Both Tokyo and Kyoto are popular destinations in Japan, and each has its own unique attractions and events. Tokyo is less dependant on the expressive seasons because the main attractions are a unique part of the city and less focused on nature, so the best time to visit is when the weather is comfortable. Winter, Spring, and Autumn, from September to May are the best times for visiting Tokyo, this is when the weather is mild and there are many outdoor events and festivals. The summer months can be very hot and humid, with a lot of warm rainy days.

The philosopher's path in Kyoto with sakura
The philosopher's path in Kyoto. Image Copyright: @Ollie_Ronin

The Best Time to Visit Kyoto

In Kyoto, the best time to visit is during the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, or during the autumn when the leaves are changing color. Both seasons offer a stunning array of natural beauty, cultural events, and comfortable temperatures, making them popular times to visit. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, then winter is the quietest time for Kyoto, and if you're lucky you might even get some snow.

A snowy mountain temple near Kyoto.
A mountain temple near Kyoto. Image Copyright: @Ollie_Ronin

The Rainiest, Hottest, and Snowiest Months in Japan

The hottest month in Japan is usually August, with temperatures reaching as high as 35°C in most parts of the country. Visiting Hokkaido is a popular option during summer, as the temperatures are about 6 degrees lower than the rest of the country.

The rainiest month in Japan is typically June, which is also the start of the typhoon season. It's also worth noting that summers in Japan usually have a lot of rain even outside of June.

The snowiest month is typically January, this is also the coldest month in Japan and the best option for skiing or visiting temples with much less people.

Hiking in Japan, the best time to visit Japan
Hiking in Japan. Image Copyright: @Ollie_Ronin

The Best Time For Hiking in Japan

Early autumn, specifically September and October is usually considered the best time for hiking in Japan. During this time the high elevation mountains and the Japan Alps come alive with vibrant colours, along with mild temperatures and less rain than the summer months.

If you prefer to hike with lush green foliage and comfortable temperatures for camping, then summer, July and August are the best options. Although it's best to focus on mountains that exceed 1500m to avoid the 35 degree temps that can occur in August. Or simply head to Hokkaido where you'll avoid any uncomfortable heatwaves.


The best time to visit Japan depends on a variety of factors, including your personal preference, itinerary, and the specific activities you want to experience. Japan is a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a fantastic destination for travellers at any time of year. Whether you’re interested in experiencing the exciting city life of Tokyo, exploring ancient temples and shrines in Kyoto, or hiking in the stunning Japanese Alps, every season in Japan offers something unique.

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