When is the best time to travel to Japan?
Japanese culture celebrates the seasons in a big way, with the result that Japan has something wonderful to offer at every time of year.
Spring is the headline-grabber, with its swathes of pink cherry blossom, followed by fall with its explosion of autumn colours — but summer and winter have many charms (not least a dramatic drop in visitor numbers). When you decide to travel will ultimately depend on why you want to visit Japan.
As a general rule, winter is cold, clear and snowy (especially in the north), while summer is overcast, humid and hot (especially in the south). Spring and autumn are both balmy and beautiful — but busy. At any time of year, you’ll find cooler temperatures in the mountains, and Japan has plenty of those.
School breaks, Japanese holidays, bucket-list activities and personal preferences will all affect when you decide to travel, but we’ve tried to answer your commonly asked questions below.
- When is the best time of year to visit Japan?
- When is the best time to visit Japan for families?
- When is the best time for couples to visit Japan?
- When is the best time for groups to visit Japan?
- When is the best time for skiing in Japan?
- When is the best time for hiking/walking tours in Japan?
- When is the best time for cherry blossoms in Japan?
When is the best time of year to visit Japan?
Spring is famous for its photogenic cherry blossom, but fall isn’t far behind with its explosion of autumn colours. Winter offers steaming hot springs in the snow, while summer turns up the heat with its exuberant festivals and world-class hiking. It all depends on what you what to see and experience.
When is the best time to visit Japan for families?
Summer’s wealth of outdoor activities are hard to beat, but go at Easter and you might catch the cherry blossom — or pick Christmas, New Year or a bit later to celebrate at a different pace, illuminations and -in high winter- snow festivals. Not constrained by school holidays? You can have an amazing family adventure at any time of year. Check out our family hub for ideas and inspiration!
When is the best time for couples to visit Japan?
If you’re after romance, spring cherry blossom and autumn fall foliage are the classic choices. However, let us put in a word for winter. Private hot springs and cosy inns surrounded by blankets of snow? Call us mushy, but we can’t think of anything better for a couples’ retreat.
When is the best time for groups to visit Japan?
Japan has fantastic group activities at any time of year, whether it’s throwing your own blossom-viewing party in spring, leaf-peeping in Kyoto in autumn, winter sports and onsen hopping in winter or cycling and hiking in summer. When it comes to group travel, it’s always the best time to visit Japan.
When is the best time for skiing in Japan?
Short answer: January and February. Hokkaido is the real powder-hound’s paradise, with accommodation from cosy local-owned pensions to high-end international chalets. On the main island, Hakuba has arguably the best choice of slopes, while Nozawa Onsen offers a more traditional experience. All boast some of the finest powder snow in the world.
When is the best time for hiking/walking tours in Japan?
Spring and autumn are the best times to hit the trail, with comfortable temperatures, longer daylight hours and the natural world in full bloom. Many trails close in winter, but some (such as the Kumano Kodo) are open year-round, meaning you can find opportunities for adventure in any season.
When is the best time for cherry blossoms in Japan?
It depends on the year and the destination, but late March through early April are typically your best chance to catch Japan’s famous sea of pink. Our Spring Elegance small group tour takes in some of the country’s most spectacular blossom-viewing spots.