09 April 2019
It’s a common question. And one without a definitive answer. But the good news is that pretty much any time is a good time to head to the Land of the Rising Sun. It all depends on what you are looking for.
The classic times to visit Japan are spring (Mar-Apr) for the famous cherry blossoms, and autumn (Sep to Nov), for the changing of the leaves. Both times of year offer comfortable temperatures for travel, and the sakura (blossoms) and koyo (autumn leaves) are justifiably beautiful. However, these times of year are extremely popular, so book well in advance, consider including some off-the-beaten-track locations (to dodge the crowds), and be prepared for prices to be a little higher.
More and more of us are discovering the joys of winter in Japan, whether it’s perfect powder snow at the ski resorts, keeping warm in hot-spring baths, or exploring the temples and shrines of Kyoto without the crowds of other seasons. And it makes a nice way to escape the heat of the Aussie summer for a week or two!
Less well known are the highlights of a summer visit to Japan, from June to August. Although temperatures are high, the Japanese are masters of keeping cool, with air-conditioning everywhere, more varieties of cold drink then you could ever imagine, and even a tradition of telling ghost stories to send a refreshing shiver down your spine! The great outdoors also beckons in the summer months, with kayaking, canyoning and mountain biking among the options, plus some amazing hiking routes that you can’t access at other times of year, including the chance to climb to the summit of Japan’s icon, Mt Fuji. Summer is festival season too, with some vibrant celebrations taking place across Japan, so look out for the chance to don your summer kimono and dance the night away at a street parade or relax by the riverside with some festival street food and a cold beer, while the skies are lit up with thousands of fireworks.
With Japan welcoming more and more visitors, travelling outside the peak seasons is a great way to ensure you get first pick of the best hotels, guides and activities. Prices can also be lower, so some flexibility with your travel dates can be a great way to get the best of Japan without breaking the banks!
And whatever season you choose, you can join the locals in embracing the food and drink that make each season unique. In winter there will be hearty stews and hotpots, steaming ramen noodles and warm sake; in summer you can visit roof-top beer gardens, dine on refreshing salads and chilled noodles, and maybe even brave some wasabi ice-cream! And autumn and winter bring out the best in local seasonal produce, with Japanese chefs keen to showcase the best regional dishes.
So, when’s the best time to visit Japan? Any time! Get in touch with your local Travel Counsellor to create the best Japan holiday, especially for you. To find out about some of the Authentic Experiences you can have, read more on Japan HERE.