What is the best time to travel to Japan?

Passionate about Japan and its culture, you know that customs and good manners are important to locals. Thus, there are a plethora of do’s and don’ts when in the Land of the Rising Sun. Here is a little do’s and don’ts guide useful when you go to Japan.

Japan has a lot to offer the traveler throughout the year. And it is that all seasons offer their advantages that make it worth discovering Japan regardless of the month of the year. Despite this, if you have dates available, we advise you to continue reading to find out about the most relevant data from each period. So you will find the optimal time for you to travel to Japan!

Best time to travel to Japan according to price

From January to the beginning of March and June, the best prices

The first months of the year , from January to the beginning of March and the month of June, are considered low season in Japan. This means that the prices are lower and that you will be able to find more offers. If price is a determining factor for you, and you have available dates, this could be a good time to travel to Japan!

The months of July and from September to December are considered middle season. This means that, if you book in advance, you can also find good deals on all kinds of services, from flights to accommodation. 

But we advise you to keep reading before deciding when to travel to Japan, since January to March is also the coldest time of the year, while during the shoulder season months there are also usually more rains and wind.

From April to May and August, the most expensive time

Traveling to Japan in August or in the spring months  is probably the most expensive option of the year. Also during the Christmas holidays, in December, prices may be higher. So, if the price is something that worries you, we recommend that you choose another time to travel to Japan that best suits your budget.

In any case, and if you only have availability in these months, our recommendation is to book as far in advance and it is likely that you can take advantage of an offer or a better price.

Traveling in these months, considered high season, also has its advantages, even though the price is higher, and that is that if you travel in spring you will enjoy excellent weather and, depending on when you travel, you will be able to see the cherry blossoms.

If you travel in August, the weather will be quite warm and you will be able to experience the famous OBON Festival, which is normally held the first fortnight of the month. Even so, keep in mind that these are months with a large influx of people, so if it is a factor that worries you, it is better to opt for another time of the year.

Best time to travel to Japan according to the weather

Before delving into what is the best time to travel to Japan according to the weather, you should know that in this country the weather is variable throughout the year. As in the West, four climates can be distinguished: 

  • Winter : from December to February, it is the coldest time
  • Spring : from March to May. The climate is very pleasant
  • Summer : from June to August. They are the hottest and most humid months
  • Autumn : from September to November. The climate is temperate but humidity and wind are common.

It should also be taken into account that the climate can be quite different depending on the area of ​​Japan, so it is interesting to be well informed before traveling.

April and May, the best weather of the year

If you are wondering what is the best time to travel to Japan according to the weather, you should know that the spring months (from April to May and early June) are the best. The temperatures are pleasant and you will be able to travel without having to worry about heavy rains. 

The average temperature in Tokyo during this time is 18ºC, so a simple sweater or a light jacket for the first or last hours of the day will be enough.

Best time to travel to Japan according to the influx of travelers

Winter and autumn, the quietest times

When to travel to Japan without finding many tourists? If you ask yourself this question, it is because you want to travel to Japan with complete peace of mind and with the least influx of travelers possible. We recommend you do it during low season (January to March) or mid season (September-November).

In spring (April-May) is when there is more influx of travelers, especially during Golden Week. This week, from April 29 to May 5, is a national holiday and the Japanese take the opportunity to visit the country. Also in August and at Christmas, which coincides with the holidays for Westerners, there are usually more travelers.

When to travel to Japan according to its festivities

If for you the best time to travel to Japan is defined by the festivities that you can experience firsthand, keep reading! Here we tell you some of the essential celebrations for the Japanese.

  • Shogatsu : It’s the Japanese New Year. It is celebrated on January 1, following the Gregorian calendar. During the new year in Japan you can see fireworks, various official events and it is also a tradition to go to temples throughout the country.
  • Hanami : it is celebrated in the month of March or April, depending on the year. Despite not being a festivity as such, it is celebrated with passion as if it were. It is about the cherry blossoms, something that is followed en masse by the Japanese who come to see the blossoming (sakura) with family or friends. Hanami is even followed by the media.
  • Golden Week : during these days of the Golden Week it is a national holiday and various events are celebrated such as the birthday of the last Showa emperor (who ruled Japan during World War II), the day of the environment or the day of children (Kodomo no hi). Keep in mind that during these days there is a large influx of Japanese travelers who take advantage of their vacations to get away.
  • Gion Festival – This festival is held during the month of June in the city of Kyoto. It is also known as Gion Matsuri. During this month there are parades through the center of the city, which is closed to traffic. The center of Kyoto is also full of street food stalls. The best time to travel to Japan if you want to experience the atmosphere of this festival so characteristic of Kyoto. 
  • Obon : celebrated in August and is considered the day of the dead. Ancestors and spirits are honored by going to temples and shrines. 

And if I can only travel in summer, what is the best month?

If you want to find the best time to travel to Japan if you can only travel to the Japanese country in summer we recommend: 

  • According to the price: in June, July and September the prices are lower than in August. If price is a determining factor for you, opt for these months when traveling to Japan.
  • According to the weather: the weather is similar during all the summer months (although it depends on the area). Summer is hot and humid. In the month of September the temperatures are warmer and more pleasant.
  • Depending on the influx of travelers: opt for the month of September, if possible. In this month, many of the western travelers have already returned from vacations and, therefore, there are fewer tourists.

Now that you know the best time to travel to Japan, it’s time to start preparing your trip! Do not miss our itineraries in Japan:

Do

Remove his shoes. It is customary to take off your shoes when entering a traditional restaurant, a temple or a friend’s house. Generally, the Japanese place their shoes in a piece of furniture located at the entrance of an establishment or a house. This gesture not only serves not to dirty the interior of the rooms, but is also a sign of respect towards its host.

Make noise while drinking soup. If it may seem rude and incorrect in some Western countries, in Japan, making noise while drinking your soup or eating your noodles shows a sign of respect towards the host who receives us or towards the chef. It allows you to compliment him on the dish that you have found to your liking.

Try karaoke. It’s a bit of a must when you go to Japan. This favorite pastime of the locals allows them to let go and break with the rigorous codes of conduct that they apply to the letter in everyday life.

Japanese sleep. The tradition is that the traveler sleeps in a ryokan in Japan, a typical inn, often luxurious, which instills in you the habits and customs of yesteryear. Some have an onsen, a small hot spring, for more relaxation.

Don’ts

Finish his dish. If in most countries, finishing your plate is an indicator of satisfaction, in Japan it is considered insulting. Indeed, the Japanese consider that leaving nothing in their dish or in their glass means that they have not fed you enough or that you have not drunk enough and therefore question their hospitality. Thus, you should always leave a little liquid in your glass and food on your plate.

Cross his chopsticks on his plate. It’s a bit like the crime of lèse-majesté in restaurants or in local people’s homes. They should not be placed on the edge of your plate or bowl either, but rather on the table or the chopstick rest provided for this purpose. Worse still, sticking the chopsticks in your rice is considered very bad manners in the land of the rising sun. It is reminiscent of the incense that burns in homage to the dead in the Buddhist tradition.

Leave tips. No need to tip in Japan, as service is considered natural.

Speak loudly in transport. There are a lot of etiquette rules to follow on public transport in Japan. First of all, it is important not to speak aloud in the risk of disturbing other travelers, but also to put your phone on silent. It is also forbidden to eat and drink and even less to throw waste on the ground.

Leave a Comment