When is the best time to travel to Japan? It is probably the question we are asked the most and for good reason! If you are planning a family trip to Japan, it’s usually not one you can just wing (pardon the pun). There are plenty of great times to go to Japan and certain times when we would recommend avoiding it!

As much as we love travelling to Japan, we understand how stressful it can be for people. This is especially true if you are travelling with your little ones! Language barriers, new food, and navigating a foreign land can be difficult even for the most savvy travellers.

We’ve been to Japan as a family during every season and nearly every month of the year. When we provide you with our opinions, it is from years of experience. So if you’re planning a trip to Japan, let us help you with our tips and knowledge. Let’s talk about when the best time to travel to Japan is in 2024!

Japan Has Four Distinct Seasons

First of all, it is important to understand that Japan has four very distinct seasons. Each season comes with its benefits and challenges. Weather is drastically different depending on when you visit Japan and things can change at the drop of a hat.

Japan is a country that stretches from North to South and this means that depending on where you are, you can experience an entirely different climate. From the snowy mountains of Hokkaido to the tropical islands of Okinawa, Japan truly has something to offer for everyone.

So what is our recommendation? Most people who are visiting Japan will likely be staying in Central Honshu which is the main island. The area between the Kansai prefecture and Tokyo is where a vast majority of the population lives. This area includes cities like Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, and Nagoya.

These regions typically have a fairly mild climate and are relatively similar in terms of seasonality and weather. The Kansai region is a bit more Southwest from Tokyo which means it can be warmer and see a little less rain than Tokyo. For this article, we’ll mostly be focusing on this area as we imagine most first-time visitors to Japan will be concentrating on these cities.

Our suggestion: know exactly what season it is when you are travelling. June in California and June in Japan are entirely different beasts. But we’ll get into this a little later on in the article!

Best Time to Visit Japan: Winter

Without a doubt, our favourite time to visit Japan is during the winter months. Generally, winters in Osaka and Tokyo are quite mild, especially in November and December. Things can get a bit colder and snowier in January and February, but even then these regions are typically not prone to a lot of snow. Once you start going up North on the main island to areas like Nagano and Aomori, then you get a much colder climate with a lot more snow.

Last year, when we visited during the winter, temperatures were between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius (about 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit). Mornings and evenings can be crisp but it is a very tolerable climate during the days. You will usually be warm enough with a fleece jacket or a vest, without needing to break out thick winter coats.

Japanese Winter Food and Fruits

The food is another reason we love visiting during the winter. Naturally, we love soups, nabes (hot pots), and noodles, and the winter is prime with some of the best Japanese dishes. Enjoy a steaming hot bowl of udon or ramen for lunch and a nice nabe for dinner. Our favourite is the motsunabe dish which is native to the Fukuoka region at the Southwestern tip of Honshu. It is a hot pot that holds plenty of green onions and beef and pork organs. You can have it with various soup bases including soy sauce or miso and even make it spicy with some togarashi chili peppers.

Other things that make winter in Japan special are neighbourhood specialties like sweet potato trucks. These trucks will grill sweet potatoes in the back and sell them piping hot for about 500 yen. Oden is another delicious dish with boiled root vegetables, fish cakes, and eggs. Add a dollop of hot mustard (Karashi) to bring the most out of your oden.

Whenever we go to Japan, we have to find out which fruits are in season. Our children love fruits and we need to go get some nearly every night for them to snack on! During the winter, you can find delicious mikan oranges, persimmons, apples, and amou strawberries. Pears are also in season and are incredibly sweet in Japan. You will often find pear-flavoured things masquerading under the name La France in Japanese katakana spelling.

Christmas in Japan

As with most celebrations, the Japanese go above and beyond for Christmas. While it isn’t as celebrated at individual homes as it is in North America or Europe, the streets, department stores, and public areas are all decorated with beautiful displays.

Japanese omiyage is a longstanding tradition where travellers will bring back gifts from the specific region they travelled to. Omiyage stands are often Japanese confectionaries and sweets that will all have Christmas-themed gifts.

If you can make it to places like Tokyo Disneyland or Universal Studios Japan, the Christmas displays and gifts are on another level! If you can’t, then any of the major department stores around town usually have beautiful displays for you to take pictures with.

Best Time to Travel to Japan: April to June

Another timeframe that we like to target is between April and June. Why? You avoid the extremely busy season of Hanami during March. This is when the world-famous cherry blossom trees are in bloom all around Japan. Do we recommend seeing Hanami at least once? Of course! But we have to warn you that hanami is the highest of the high seasons on the Japan travel calendar. Hotels and airfare are expensive and you will experience long lines for trains and restaurants.

April, you can get some of the tail-end of hanami, but the weather is also starting to warm up. You can expect temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius during April and some slightly longer days than during the winter. If you can hold off until May, it gets even better! We just went earlier in June this year and we loved it! But if you are targeting a visit to Japan in May, we have one warning for you.

Worst Time to Travel to Japan: Golden Week in May

If you are planning to travel to Japan in the spring, you must avoid Golden Week at all costs. This week is a national holiday in Japan and will see the entire country shut down. Most locals will travel home or to domestic vacation destinations, so planes, trains, and hotels will all be expensive and booked. Restaurants will be busy and many will even be closed during this week! If you can take one thing away from this article, it’s not to travel to Japan during Golden Week!

Visiting Japan in June: Crank Up the Heat

Once June hits in Japan, you know that summer is right around the corner. Why? The heat intensifies dramatically and when the humidity hits, you will feel it. When we were in Japan this June the temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius every day, although with the humidity it felt like it was in the forties. For the Americans reading this, it equates to about 95 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity.

It was hot, but the days are long and there are plenty of ways to keep cool in Japan. It also allows you to enjoy some of the colder delicacies in Japan like kakigori (shaved ice) and cold soba noodles. Even most ramen restaurants will offer a hiyashi (chilled) bowl of noodles to help stave off the heat.

Another great thing about June? White peaches are in season! Please trust us when we say that Japan’s white peaches are the best in the world. If you want the real deal, head down to Okayama which is known worldwide for its peaches. Okayama is about an hour by Shinkansen from Osaka and is a lovely day trip to make!

Worst Time to Travel to Japan: Monsoon Season

Don’t overstay your visit to Japan though as late June is also known as the rainy season. From mid-June to mid-July is often monsoon season where you get the high temperatures mixed with torrential downpours. It is a fine line, but once the rain comes, your vacation will be washed out (again, pardon the pun!).

Another benefit of travelling to Japan from April to June? You get to have the opportunity to watch an NPB baseball game. We highly recommend watching a Nippon Professional Baseball game if you are in Japan during the season. The baseball season spans from March to about October, and most major cities in Japan have a home team and stadium. Tokyo has the Yomiuri Giants and the Yakult Swallows, and Osaka has the Hanshin Tigers and the nearby Orix Buffaloes.

Best Time to Travel to Japan: Autumn

Autumn truly offers the best of everything in Japan. You get the warmer weather, the brisk evenings, and the fall foliage. You can enjoy the last remnants of summer while also taking in the warmth of the food and drink of the winter. Fall is one of our favourite times to be in Japan!

Perfect weather is one way to describe autumn in Japan. The fading heat of the summer is tolerable and the cooler evenings make it fun to get cozy and enjoy a warm beverage. The days are getting shorter but that doesn’t matter in cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Bright lights and neon signs remind you that these cities truly never sleep.

Sip on a freshly brewed coffee or even a warm bottle of sake and enjoy the breathtaking sunsets around the country. Japan is truly a majestic and magical place that is unlike anywhere else in the world.

Worst Time to Travel to Japan: Summer

This might be controversial, but for a majority of people outside of Asia, travelling there during the peak of summer is not enjoyable. In August, the minimum temperature is usually about 35 degrees Celsius with suffocating humidity.

Not only that, but summer is high season in Japan as well. This means that restaurants and stores will be more crowded and hotels and flights will be more expensive too. Shinkansen reservations will be booked and local trains will be packed too!

There are some benefits including eating all of the ice cream and cold beer you can get your hands on. Summer also means watermelon, peach, and grape season in Japan which are all delicious and refreshing options. But if you are spending the day outside you will need to stay hydrated and cool because heat stroke is rampant across Japan in the summertime.

Things get even hotter as you head South past Osaka and towards Hiroshima and Fukuoka. If you plan on visiting places like Miyajima Island in Hiroshima, make sure to prepare yourself for the heat.

Summer months also come with mosquitos and swarms of cicadas, although these are not as prevalent in the major cities anymore. Overall, if you can stand the heat and humidity, then a summer trip to Japan might not be so bad. But for most people, the high temperatures and the high prices are enough to scare them away from a summer in Japan.

Conclusion: The Best Time to Travel to Japan

The correct answer to this question is anytime! Japan is one of the best places in the world to travel to and we have full confidence that your family will enjoy the experience whenever you end up going!

In our opinion, the best time to travel to Japan is the fall/winter or late spring. We recommend avoiding the peak of the summer season and the peak of the hanami season in March and April. One other week you will want to avoid is the Golden Week during May. Before booking your trip to Japan, always make sure you are scheduling around these dates.

We hope you enjoyed this article and that it helped you plan your dream to Japan with your family. There is no bad time to be in Japan, but our suggestions will help you and your family enjoy your trip to the fullest. Safe travels!


What is the Best Month to go to Japan?

In our opinion, the best month to visit Japan is either December or April. The weather is still moderate during these months and there are plenty of things to do around town. There is no bad month to go to Japan, but we recommend avoiding Golden Week in May and the peak of summer in August.

When is the Best Time to Travel to Japan?

For us, the fall/winter seasons are our favourite times to go to Japan. The weather is mild, the foliage is turning colours, and the food and drink are incredible. A close second would be the spring season and early summer before it gets too hot.

What Month Does Japan Have the Most Tourists?

Usually, the spring season during hanami in March and April will have the most tourists in Japan. While it is still one of the best times to travel to Japan, it also comes with high prices, long lineups, and crowded transportation.

What Month is Rainy Season in Japan?

It can rain during the fall and winter, but the rainy season is considered from about mid-June to mid-July. This is the summer monsoon season when you will experience hot temperatures, high humidity, and torrential downpours.

What is the Cheapest Month to Travel to Japan?

It depends on where you are flying from and what airline deals you can find. Usually, the cheapest months to travel to Japan are the off-season. This is from January to March before the cherry blossoms bloom. You can also usually find cheaper airfare and hotels from September to November.