Spring   Summer   Autumn   Winter
Spring   Summer   Autumn   Winter

Japan has four distinct seasons, allowing travelers to enjoy the changing beauty of nature with each season. On top of that, a variety of traditional events are held in each season, such as the nationally celebrated festival Hina-matsurior Girl’s Day (held on March 3 to bless the healthy growth of girls, families decorate and display special dolls and enjoy beautifully hued seasonal foods) and Tango-no-sekku(held on May 5, it was originally a festival for boys to celebrate their healthy growth but it is now called Children’s Day and has become a national holiday; families with boys fly carp-shaped streamers called koi-noboriand display dolls of famous warriors). In addition to these festivals, special events evolving historically according to local culture and natural setting are held throughout the year in the different regions and districts of Japan. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of events related to the seasons, from festivals celebrating the coming of a new season or giving thanks or praying for an abundant harvest to seasonal festivals and events related to Shinto or the appreciation of nature.

Although the climate is quite different between Hokkaido, the northernmost point in Japan, and Okinawa, the southernmost point, most of Japan is situated in a temperate zone. Before the summer season, there is also a rainy season that lasts for around one month. Certainly one of the attractive features of Japan is the varicolored expression of nature produced by Japan’s changing seasons.

Expo 2005 is being held from 3/25 to 9/25 so you can enjoy all three seasons, spring, summer, and fall.

Spring (March to May)

The blossoming of plum trees heralds the end of winter in Japan. White-blossom plum trees with their snowy white pedals and red blossom plum trees with their red blossoms are popular trees for bonsai, the art of planting trees in pots and reshaping their natural forms. Following the plum blossoms, the blossoming of the cherry trees is the sign of the full-fledged arrival of spring. Japanese people are famous for their love of cherry blossoms, and there are rows of cherry trees along streets or cherry tree parks in all areas of Japan. As the weather warms up from the south, the so-called sakura zensen, “the cherry blossom front,” moves northward up the Japanese archipelago, and Japanese people greatly enjoy holding festivals celebrating the beauty of cherry blossoms in full bloom and parties called hanami(cherry blossom viewing).

Clothing: light coats or jackets, light sweaters.

Summer (June to August)

Summer in Japan begins after a month-long rainy season. Although the humidity rises during the rainy season, the days can still be surprisingly chilly, so a light jacket is recommended. The rainy season is of course a necessity and a boon for Japan’s agricultural products. When the rainy season ends and the real summer season begins, the temperature and humidity in Japan rise considerably, except for the northern areas and mountainous regions. Schools begin their one- to two-month-long summer vacations, and families go out to the beaches to enjoy marine sports or to highland resorts to escape the heat. During the summer, a number of different festivals are held throughout the country, and many overseas visitors come to Japan to see them.

Clothing: short-sleeve shirts, one-piece summer dresses, T-shirts, light slip-ons (air-conditioning can get strong in urban hotels, restaurants, trains, and other places).

Autumn (from September to November)

After the end of the heat and humidity of summer, autumn, with its refreshing breezes, begins. September experiences a relatively large amount of rainfall, but from October the days are very clear. There are also many festivals throughout Japan during autumn, and numerous traditional annual events celebrating and giving thanks for a successful agricultural harvest are held in most regions. Autumn is also the season for the beautiful changing of the color of leaves in Japan. With the many very picturesque spots easily found in any area, visitors can thoroughly enjoy the gorgeous scenery that nature unveils in its valleys, parks, and gardens in autumn every year. Taking in and appreciating these scenes is called momiji-gari, an “excursion for viewing the scarlet maple leaves.” On top of this, autumn in Japan is also the season for enjoying delicious fruits like grapes and peaches and seasonal products and flavors like chestnuts and matsutakemushrooms.

Clothing: light jackets, light sweaters.

Winter (December to February)

The temperature in the plains areas on the Pacific Ocean side of Japan rarely falls below freezing. The air is quite dry, and there are many continuous days of clear, bright skies. On the other hand, the regions in northern and central Japan facing the Japan Sea and Hokkaido see considerable snow, which provides many scenic areas for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. The weather in Okinawa and other southernmost areas is warm even in winter, and heavy coats are unnecessary for visitors there.

Clothing: overcoats, sweaters, gloves, boots.

*Please note that there can be considerable differences in temperature from region to region.

Temperatures and Rainfall in Major Cities

Seasonal average temperatures and amount of rainfall in major cities

  Sapporo Sendai Tokyo Nagoya Osaka Fukuoka Naha
  C mm C mm C mm C mm C mm C mm C mm
Spring (April) 7.5 90.7 11.1 73.1 15.4 120.6 14.1 14.2 15.0 100.7 15.1 110.1 21.3 114.5
Summer (July) 20.5 50.9 25.1 58.1 27.4 52.0 27.0 43.3 27.8 43.7 27.5 75.1 30.0 220.0
Autumn (October) 12.5 99.1 15.1 99.1 18.2 160.2 17.6 310.1 19.7 170.9 18.7 19.1 25.1 140.9
Winter (January) -5.1 90.7 1.5 73.1 5.2 120.6 4.3 143.2 5.2 100.7 6.4 110.1 17.2 114.5

Tokyo| Sapporo| Sendai| Yokohama| Osaka| Kyoto| Kobe| Fukuoka| Okinawa