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Cherry Blossom Season, Mount Fuji

Japan

Ancient customs amid high technology

When to visit Japan

Introduction

The best times to visit Japan are the mild, climatically stable seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). Spring is when Japan’s famous cherry trees bloom. Starting from Kyūshū in March, the sakura zensen (cherry tree blossom line) advances northward, usually passing the main cities of Honshū and Hokkaidō from early April. The autumn foliage line reverses the advance of the cherry blossom, starting in the north in October and peaking across Honshū in November.

Midwinter (December to February) can be cold, particularly on the Sea of Japan coasts of Honshū and on Hokkaidō, while the summer months (June to August) are generally hot and humid. June is also the month of Japan’s brief rainy season, while the risk of typhoons is highest from July to September.

The peak holiday seasons of Golden Week (late April to early May) and O-Bon (July or August) see a surge in domestic travel, making reservations tricky and tourist spots crowded, while just about everything in Japan shuts down during Shōgatsu (New Year).

Climate for this destination

Average temperature (℃)
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Tokyo & Surrounds

Average temperature (℃)
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The New York of Asia, Tokyo endures the same sticky summers as its American cousin but slightly warmer winters. Visit during the shoulder season for the best weather. Outside the capital's microclimate it's a similar, if slightly cooler, story. As you watch the altimeter wind clockwise in the Alps, temperatures drop and ski slopes open up.

Daily max temp (Nov)
16.3℃

Monthly rainfall (Nov)
90mm

Hokkaido

Average temperature (℃)
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  • 30
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  • 160
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As Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido is known for its icy winters and relatively cool summers. Indeed, in August and July, while the rest of the country suffers in the sticky humidity Hokkaido is perfectly temperate making it Japan's favourite getaway. However, come winter, expect pretty blankets of snow and ice-locked coastlines with skiing, snowboarding and dogsledding opportunities.

Daily max temp (Nov)
7.9℃

Monthly rainfall (Nov)
105mm

Kyoto

Average temperature (℃)
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  • 320
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Much of southern Honshu enjoys a subtropical climate with hot, sticky summers and cool winters that almost never reach freezing. Outside of cherry blossom April – Kyoto and Nara are particularly pretty – the best times to go are the more temperate shoulder seasons. If you're looking to cool off from city microclimates, seaside Hagi and lakeside Matsue are good choices.

Daily max temp (Nov)
16.4℃

Monthly rainfall (Nov)
86mm

Kyushu

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Kyushu's subtropical climate means hot, sweaty summers that are preceded, by about a month, by a period of heavy rains. And, while mild winters never hit freezing, the shoulder seasons either side make for the best time to go with temperatures sitting around the low twenties – perfect for outdoor hikes and city exploration. If you're travelling over spring, look out for the vibrant cherry blossom.

Daily max temp (Nov)
17.9℃

Monthly rainfall (Nov)
85mm

Shikoku

Average temperature (℃)
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  • 280
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  • 70
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Thanks to Shikoku's subtropical climate, expect short, mild winters and long hot summers with rainfall generally foreshadowing the heat by a month. To avoid sticky midyears, look to the shoulder seasons although you will miss out on whale watching and Tokushima's lively dance festival. Perhaps look to cool off on the coast with the drier north enjoying plenty of sunshine.

Daily max temp (Nov)
17.2℃

Monthly rainfall (Nov)
61mm

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