Tourist guide

The best time to visit Japan

12 June 2013

… is not now.

In fact, I think June is the worst month to visit Japan.

In early summer, Japan gets a period 梅雨 (tsuyu), the rainy season. Although it supposedly lasts from June to July, in my experience I feel June is the month that gets hit the worst.

When you look at the weather forecast, it’s clouds and umbrellas all around.

Weather outlook for today

Weather outlook for today

So when IS the best time to visit Japan?

The most hated answer of all… it depends.

But it’s true! What do you want to do/see/experience in Japan? That will determine when it’s best to come!

Let me roughly break it down by month:

January (winter)

Ski/Snowboard
Whale-watching in Okinawa
Sumo tournament season
*Most places are closed on Jan 1 (New Year) and some remain closed on Jan 2
*School holidays from late December to early January

February (winter)

Ski/Snowboard
Sapporo Snow Festival
View Plum blossoms

March (spring)

Ski/Snowboard
View Plum blossoms
View Cherry blossoms
Strawberry-picking
Sumo tournament season
Hay fever season
*School holidays from late March to early April

April (spring)

View Cherry blossoms
Hay fever season
*School holidays from late March to early April

May (spring)

Sumo tournament season
*Golden week holiday. Long break = lots of people traveling

June (summer)

Tsuyu (rainy season)
Cherry-picking
Melon-picking

July (summer)

Summer festivals
Fireworks festivals
Sumo tournament season
Climb Mount Fuji
Visit waterparks
Peach-picking
Blueberry-picking
*School holidays from late July to late August

August (summer)

Climb Mount Fuji
Visit waterparks
Grapes-picking
*School holidays from late July to late August

September (autumn)

Typhoon season
Sumo tournament season
Pear-picking

October (autumn)

View autumn leaves
Apple-picking

November (autumn)

Sumo tournament season
View autumn leaves
Mikan-picking

December (winter)

Ski/Snowboard
Christmas illumination
*School holidays from late December to early January

List is extremely un-exhaustive, obviously. I mainly picked those that I would be interested in or if it has a “Japanese” experience to it.

The periods of the activities listed are also very generic. For example, cherry blossoms bloom in March in Okinawa, and May in Hokkaido.

So be sure to check and match the what-when-where to ensure you don’t miss whatever it is you want to do! I’ve included some links above for reference, and if that fails, remember, Google is your friend!

What would you want to do if you visited Japan?

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