When is the best time to go to Japan?

When is the best time to go to Japan?

From modern bustling cities to serene landscapes and zen-like villages, Japan is full of incredible contrasts and known for four distinct seasons. Visit in winter for incredible skiing and snowboarding activities, while summer gives you long, hot, sunny days to explore as many of the 6,852 islands that comprise the country.
However, the best times of the year to visit Japan is during spring and autumn. These are the seasons for sakura and koyo, also referred to as cherry blossom and red leaf season, respectively. It’s advisable to book well in advance though to witness sakura and koyo as these are a popular times of year to travel.

Japan in the Spring: March to May

Typically, the end of March to early April is Shunbun, also known as spring equinox. It’s that marvellous time of year when the sparrows nest, caterpillars become butterflies, and the first cherry blossoms start to appear. Sakura is one of Japan’s most exquisite sights and it’s possible to follow the blooming of this diaphanous pink floral display from the southern regions of Nagasaki in early March, way up towards Saporo in the northern areas throughout mid-March and April. 
Hanami, the name given to the long-established custom of viewing the cherry blossoms, is not just a daytime activity. Make sure you spend time strolling beneath their splendour in the evening as well, a tradition known as yozakura. Celebrations are common at this time of year as family and friends unite for food and drink in the shade of sakura. 

In addition to seeing a spray of chiffon-like blossoms everywhere you look, temperatures are mild, there is little rainfall, and skies are usually clear, making it a pleasant time to visit Japan. Particularly good places to explore during spring include Nara, near Kyoto which is stunning at this time of the year.

Not only is the weather mild with daytime highs hovering around 13 degrees Celsius, but the area is less crowded. Make sure to visit the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine, which was featured in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. It’s best known for the thousands of red torii gates that lead up to and through the sacred forest of Mount Inari.
Visit Japan in spring to see the beautiful cherry blossoms, or sakura
If you arrive in Japan during mid-March, you are also likely to see the beautiful plum blossoms. These are best seen at the Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine and the Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Palace Park).

Japan in the Autumn: September to November

While the spring season in Japan is spectacular, autumn holds its own unique treasures with sunny skies and fresh autumn air, particularly during October. 
Autumn in Japan is best known for its breathtaking foliage, a natural phenomenon known as koyo or momiji (meaning red leaf). This incredible time of year boasts blazing red maple leaves set against crisp, bright days. The photo opportunities are not to be missed. This is also the time of year for Momigari, the hunt for the red leaf, which attracts poets, artists, and visitors from all over the world. 

October is the best time to visit the historical city of Hiroshima. You’ll enjoy pleasant, temperate days with very little rain as you enjoy the vibrant foliage of the maple trees surrounding Hiroshima castle. Take the time to explore Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and soak up this tangible piece of Japan’s tragic past. 

Kanazawa & The Samurai District are a must-have inclusion on any Japan itinerary, especially in the autumn. Visit a legendary samurai residence and then hop over to Kenroku-en Garden, one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens and the ideal place for a peaceful walk amid the brilliant autumn foliage. 
Visit Japan in autumn for its breathtaking foliage
Tokyo is a fascinating city, and a wonderful place to explore during autumn. The air is fresh, the days are growing shorter and sunsets are incredible. Hakone & Mount Fuji are a short distance away, and October to November is one of the best times to see the majestic, 3,776 metre-high peak. It’s less about luck at this time of year and more about astute travel planning. The chances of seeing Mount Fuji in its entirety is much greater in autumn than any other time of year, except for the mid-winter period. 

Autumn, especially the month of October, is the best season to go to the quaint mountain town of Takayama. Enjoy breathtaking mountain views of the Northern Alps and stroll through the Miyagawa morning market for local produce, charming arts and crafts, and total cultural immersion.

Why visit Japan with Evergreen Cruises & Tours?

Evergreen Cruises & Tours, have created the right balance of must see sights and immersive local experiences. Stay at deluxe hotels, and enjoy a seamless touring experience as you are led by specialist Tour Directors to uncover Japan’s must-see attractions and best kept secrets. 

Explore the extraordinary country of Japan during the 14 day Japan Encompassed tour, departing in autumn, timed for the stunning red leaf season. Book early to secure your preferred departure date.