Japan is famous for its seasonal variables. From cherry blossoms in spring, to beautiful and colourful foliage in autumn. Here’s your guide to seasonal travel in Japan.
Autumn (September to November)
Autumn is a great time to visit Japan with tree leaves turning shades of red, orange and yellow. The colours of autumn paint the mountains and forests in vibrant colours. Japanese locals and visitors fill the parks and countryside, gathering for picnics, to appreciate the leaves. The autumn colours reveal themselves in the north of Japan first and travel south as the cooler temperatures make their way across the country. Popular places to view the colours include Hokkaido national parks, Mt Fuji, Kyoto’s temples and Tokyo’s parks.
Winter (December – February)
The cooler weather in Japan brings snow to the Northern Japan Alps which are home to an alpine route, drawing snowboarders and skiers from all over the world. In Chubu Sangaku National Park, visitors will see snow walls reaching 20 metres high, creating a snow corridor open to pedestrians. No doubt the cutest thing about winter in Japan is the popular snow monkeys, also known as Japanese Macaques. The monkeys are native to northern Japan but you can see them at Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano, home to a large population of monkeys who sit in the warm hot springs during the day. Winter is also the best time to spot the red-crowned crane, the heaviest crane species in the world.
Spring, also known as sakura season, is the most popular time to visit Japan for the famous cherry blossoms. There’s only a very small window in which you can see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. Generally the south of Japan blooms first with blossoms in late March or early April. Their bloom is dependent on the weather and anything from higher than average temperatures or long periods of rain can bring our blooms early or delay them. Hanami, or flower viewing, is a Japanese pastime held across the country. The most famous spot to view the followers is Mount Yoshino. Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Himeji Castle and Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto are also very popular.
Temperatures across Japan can get very high and often come with humidity. The only escape from the heat is in the mountains and the northern islands of Hokkaido. June is also considered the rainy season across most of the country but Hokkaido isn’t affected by the wet. Summer is also the season of festivals across the country and Alpine wildflowers to make their appearance across flower fields. If you want to experience summer all year round, visit the islands off the south of Japan, home to tropical beaches and consistent summer temperatures.