The Best Time to Visit Japan

by - Friday, September 08, 2017

I usually get the question "When's the best time to visit Japan?"

While generally, Spring and Autumn would be the best answer because of the weather and temperature, Japan actually is an amazing year-round destination. Each season in Japan is amazing on its own and here's why.


Winter
December to February
(cold temperature sometimes lasts until mid-March)
What I love about traveling during this season is that you'll find fewer tourists, both locals and foreigners traveling around Japan. Tourist spots are less crowded and traveling cost can be little bit cheaper because of that. One exception, though, is the New Year's holidays. Days before and during this week can get quite hectic. People are taking vacations, doing last minute shopping (you should shop for fukubukuro too!), and visiting families.

Read: We went in Nagoya Commemorative Museum in December.

Major drawbacks would be the low temperature. It can be extremely cold especially in February. But don't let my story stop you from experiencing winter here, packing up some thermal clothes and handheld thermal packs would be really, really helpful. I usually get Heat Tech clothes from UNIQLO. ⛄️

Weather-wise, I find that winter is still too gloomy and cloudy even during sunny days. The nights feel longer and days are also kind of short as it usually gets dark as early as 17:30. In my opinion, winter can be enjoyable as long as you don't have to stay that long, the dusky sky can be a bit dragging and depressing sometimes. The cold weather can make you want to sleep for like forever.

Holidays to avoid: New Year's holiday


Spring
March to May
At long last, my favorite season! Besides Autumn, I bet the best season to visit Japan is Spring where there's little rainfall, the temperature is perfect (not so cold but not so hot either); and most of all, the ethereal beauty of pink Sakura flowers blooming against the blue, calm sky is definitely an experience. A life-changing one, I must say. They say that for the Japanese, Cherry blossoms is a visual reminder that are lives are too fleeting.

Cherry blossoms represents the beauty of life. It's a reminder that while life is overwhelmingly beautiful, it is also regrettably short. (So do what really makes you happy, live in the present.)

Also, one must take advantage of the limited edition cherry blossom-themed goods that are only sold during this season. 🌸 Sakura Kitkats and Pockys, Sakura drinks from Starbucks and Mcdonalds, and a whole lot more! Sometimes even makeup, soap, shampoo, moisturizer, and whatnots come in limited sakura packaging during this season. Undeniably cute + limited edition,  who can't say no to that?

These are face towels :)

The catch: Since it's the flower season, there's a high amount of pollen everywhere. People with asthma and/or sensitive nose can be (more or less) allergic to pollen just like me. During Spring, my eyes get too watery and itchy, I also sneeze a lot and my runny nose just doesn't get better no matter what.

But pollen allergy can't stop me from making the most out of this amazing season, here are the proofs!
🌸 Why You Must Experience Tokyo Disneyland At Least Once In Your Life!
🌸 Minion Park Just Opened in Universal Studios Japan This April!
🌸 Himeji Trip / Kyoto Trip / Tokyo Trip


Holidays to avoid: Golden Week (first week of May)


Summer
June to August
Summer, how do I start with summer? Growing up in a tropical country made me feel different about warmer season. While most Japanese love Summer (second to Spring), I personally do not like this season. Summer in Japan is scorching hot, people easily get tanned (obviously) and some people get rushed to hospitals due to heat stroke.  You have no idea how many trips I cancelled due to the heat. There are also rain showers especially on the month of June. Extreme heat + surprise rain showers, really bad combination.


On the brighter side, it's also the most lively season of the year. Kids playing outdoor, family and friendly outings, summer bootcamps and events, parades and Summer festivals are happening all over Japan during this season. Kyoto's famous GION MATSURI (festival) happens during this season too. Just take note that travel activity in airports and train stations are high during the month of August due to Obon Holiday and students' summer break.

Read: Hydrangea flowers are a must-see during this season.

Must Try: kakigori (shaved ice sundae / Japan's version of 'halo halo' dessert). Challenge yourself with the 'goldfish catching game' during Summer festivals (wherein your scooper's net is made only of a thin piece of paper). If you catch the fish without tearing the thin paper, you win!

Holidays to avoid: Obon Holiday (a Buddhist custom of honoring spirits of one's ancestors. *Western equivalent of All Soul's Day). See 10 Things You Need to Know When Traveling to Japan.


Autumn
September to November
(first week of September can still be a little bit warm in the afternoon but cooler in the evening)
If not for my pollen allergy, Spring has got to be my ultimate favorite season ever, not. I still feel like Autumn really deserves a very special spot as it is the season that I can truly identify myself with. It can get a little bit dark but not as bleak as Winter. Its leaves are visually stunning but not as loud as Spring flowers. It's just there, in between Summer and Winter. 🍂 Plus, September is my birth month!

The best month to see Japan's finest Autumn foliage is during November. And where's the best place to visit? Of course, none other than the 'City of ten thousand shrines' KYOTO. I have yet to experience Autumn in Kyoto but part of my bucket list includes Tofukuji, Arashiyama, and Kiyomizudera.



I went on an Autumn adventure in Hiroshima November 3rd (Culture day, holiday) last year. The Culture day celebration allowed me to enter castle and museums free of charge. Tourists usually come in Shibuya, Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios during Halloween. I've yet to experience wearing costume (cosplay) while crossing Shibuya but it's definitely on my list.



Looking for accommodation in Japan? Use booking.com and they'll reward us both with ¥1,800 gift! Don't forget to also follow @_nekonekobit on Instagram for more Japan travel updates. How about you? When do you plan to visit Japan? Is Spring/Autumn your favorite season too?

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