So we come to the second part of “When is the best time to travel to Japan.” As I said before there’s plenty of things to see and do regardless of the time of yeah. BUT! When is it the best time to go on a bit of a budget? And granted there’s a lot to see, and of course a lot to do, but the weather can have an impact on those plans. When is it raining? When is it sunny? When are the typhoons in season?
Here we are going to look at things from a month to month basis. We’ll look at what months tend to be cheaper, and try to keep you out of Japan’s more severe weather.
If you want to travel to Japan in January you will likely see more reasonable prices with the exception of the New Year holiday. This is going to be the best time of the year for skiing with a dry powder snow common during the month. Events for January are going to include a mountain burning ritual as well as the lucky bamboo branch festival. Bundle up though, even though its sunny, its Japan’s coldest month to travel.
Both January and February are considered to be off-season so travel expenses and even hotels should still be and reasonable prices. According to the old Japanese lunar calender February is the beginning of spring so expect an increase in events will take place. During this time of year the Japanese have a tradition of throwing beans at devils. Do you like to run? Or maybe a friend? February would be a great time for you as you can join the Tokyo marathon. Stay bundled up though! It’s still cold.
In March weather finally starts to break into spring and temperatures slowly start to rise toward the middle of the month. Though, ski season is on the decline at this time some resorts manage to stay open until May. This time of year is when you’re going to be able to experience Japan’s famous cherry blossoms and the festivals that go along with them. As you can imagine this is going to greatly increase the cost of travel expenses and hotel stays. The cherry blossoms are beautiful, but they all so seam to mark the beginning of the tourist season for Japan.
April is going to open with the cherry blossom season bridging over from the end of March and then ends with a holiday known as golden week. Events at this time are going to cater toward the welcoming of spring. Expect pleasant spring weather as well as high travel costs and hotel stays.
May is going to be your last chance to enjoy the pleasant spring weather before the rainy season starts to set in June. In May spring events are still going strong with festivals and holidays. Two of the major cities, Tokyo and Kyoto hold their largest spring festivals in May, so you’re still going to see those high travel and hotel costs.
On the second week of June Japan welcomes its rainy season (with the exception of Hokkaido). For japan’s rainy season expect cool and gray days that are humid. Though it rains this isn’t the rainiest month of the year. A few events still take place, especially in Hokkaido where the spring weather lingers for a while longer. This month travel and hotel expenses will be less due to the raid so it’ll be a good time to travel on the cheap. Just prepare yourself for the rain and the monsoon season.
The start of July is going to be slow as the rains linger for a couple weeks. About half-way through the month the rains will end. School holidays begin and the beaches will open. Summer festivals are huge and will explode onto the scene. Travel expenses are likely going to still be low at the start of July but very rapidly increase once the rains stop and events start to kick up.
Expect high travel expenses from the time children get out of school for summer vacation to the peak of August, and the peak of travel costs, The Obon Holiday. August comes alive with festivals, hanabi (Japanese fireworks) and other events. In Tokyo multiple events are commonly held that attract and astounding 1 million people or more in a single weekend. Dress for the heat, the weather is going to be extremely hot and humid.
In September not only are you stepping into the rainiest month of the year, but you may also be facing typhoons as at this time of the year Japan is at risk for the severe storms. At this time children start going back to school. At this time you can find better travel deals for flights and hotels, but there will be some spikes in costs around some national holidays. The festive season quiets down compared to the previous months making way more for sporting events and industrial conferences.
At this time of year the weather starts to become more dry and cool as Japan heads toward autumn. The month will hold a wide variety of events such as industry conferences, autumn festivals, and historical reenactments. Halloween is becoming a popular holiday in japan as well. For the month of October expect reasonable expenses for travel and hotels.
As Japan enters autumn the weather turns cool and crisp. Many regions of the country start seeing leaves turn to their beautiful autumn shades. Travel expenses are going to take another spike for the areas known for autumn leaves such as Kyoto and Nikko. For November events you can look forward to sumo in Fukuoka and a cultural demonstration in the Meiji Shrine located in Tokyo.
As the year rounds out into December temperatures drop and it gets cold. It will be sunny, but cold. This is a month for karaoke and izakaya (casual Japanese pubs). In December the Japanese hold their forget the year parties and many cities are decorated for Christmas. Early ski season begins and some resorts. Prices for travel should be reasonable, but expect to see increases when resorts start to open.
As I said before there are a number of things you can do throughout the year in Japan, its all a matter of preference in your budget and what you want to do. In the future I will be exploring events more to give more than just an over view. Do you have an event or site you would like to know more about? Let me know in the comments below. Who knows, it may be a post that will show up in the future.