What was your best experience in Japan

Climate and the best time to travel to Japan

Is a trip to the cherry blossom really recommended? All information about climate and weather!

Are you fascinated by Japan, the culture, the food and the beautiful nature? Are you drawn to the numerous temples, shrines and cities? Then you are like me. I've always wanted to go to Japan and I actually knew when: To the cherry blossom.

Now i'm back Even more enthusiastic about Japan, the people, the nature, the culture and above all the food! I want to see more. That's why I asked myself the question not only before and during the trip:

When is the best time to travel to Japan?

Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Only one thing is clear to me: the next trip should then be to Japan, if not thousands of Chinese are visiting the country. They were pretty much "pissed off" for us.

It is generally said that spring and autumn are the best times to travel to Japan.

In spring the cherry blossoms bloom and in autumn the leaves change color and make the landscapes shine even more beautifully. So the perfect seasons for photographers and travelers to Japan?

I left for my first trip to Japan at the end of March. Just in time for Easter, so that if you take off on Maundy Thursday evening, you also save two days of vacation. A good thing for everyone with a permanent job. For me as a self-employed person, too, since no customers write e-mails and many are on vacation themselves.

That the Cherry Blossom Should fall on this weekend in Tokyo was pure coincidence. You can find my conclusion on the travel time during the cherry blossom in the text below.

Japan at the cherry blossom? Our tips

General questions to ask yourself before traveling to Japan:

Do you want to travel to Japan in the low or high season? Hotels and flights are cheaper in the off-season. During the main season (cherry blossom from late March to mid-April) and Golden Week (early May), hotels and rykoans are often booked six months in advance.

We had to make this experience and switch to other accommodations that we could still get.

Be sure to note: The Japanese and Chinese plan their trips at least six months in advance of the actual trip!

  • Peak season:March - April for cherry blossom ("Hanami") and early May ("Golden Week"). All tips for the Japanese cherry blossom Hanami.
  • Low season: June - July (rainy season), July - August (very hot) and September (typhoons).
  • Good season for a trip: Autumn in mid / late October - November when the leaves change color.

It is very hot in July and August. Temperatures over 30 degrees are not uncommon. The rainy season starts around mid-June and the typhoons come in September.

In October and November, with fewer tourist crowds and often cheap flight offers, you can watch the leaves change color and enjoy autumn with pleasant temperatures. My choice for the next trip to Japan.

My experience: Japan in March and April

In Tokyo we were very lucky and it was always 20-25 degrees. That was from the end of March to the beginning of April. It was very pleasant to explore the city in the sun. It shouldn't be much warmer. Those who get up early can often visit sights without the crowds. Unfortunately, there is hardly a café open before 9 a.m. where you can have breakfast. Except Starbucks.

In Hakone and the Fuji Lakes (Kawaguchi-ko) came the cold snap. Rain and 5 - 10 degrees combined with a lot of fog made our stay very bleak. We were lucky that the gondolas in Hakone went to Ōwakudani (大 涌 谷, big boiling valley) at all because the wind was very strong.

In Kanazawa we had to struggle with many thunderstorms and heavy rains (often over several hours). As a result, we could not enjoy many places as much as the next thunderstorm front rolled on.

From Kyoto we finally had the best weather (15-20 degrees) to explore. No rain, but unfortunately to fight with large crowds of tourists. Here, too, the rule was: Getting up early is worthwhile to escape the buses.

In Nara We caught a wonderful sunny day with 24 degrees and quite few tourists compared to Kyoto. We really enjoyed that.

In Osaka The weather was mixed and quite okay in terms of temperatures. At Himeji Castle we also had sun and in Hiroshima it was - perhaps due to the less beautiful things that are mainly to be discovered here - cloudy rainy days again.

Miyajima was very summery and almost reminded me of islands in Southeast Asia. This beautiful island, which impresses with its round green gentle mountains and of course the shrine in the water, is definitely worth a visit in April despite the tourist crowds.

My conclusion on the "best time to travel" to Japan for the cherry blossom season

A trip to the cherry blossom cannot be precisely planned. Even if websites, TV stations and apps publish the exact time of the cherry blossom with their forecasts, the weather cannot be foreseen. According to forecasts, our trip in Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Osaka was exactly at the "high" of the Sakura until about 10 days before our departure. Unfortunately, the weather then gave a short "gas" and it got warmer in the meantime. The trees started to bloom a few days earlier and we missed full blooms by 1-2 days.

By the way, there is a great website for the forecast of the cherry blossom here. On this website you can see what the prognoses are, when the first flowers have started to bloom and when is the best time to visit: To the cherry blossom report.

Of course you could still see many of the trees with their blossoms. Due to thunderstorms and consequent heavy rains, the trees lost their leaves very quickly (Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima). The spell was over quickly. The cherry trees in bloom looked really great.

The real fascinating thing for us was the enthusiasm of the Japanese when they discovered a tree with blossoms and took very excited selfies with themselves and the cherry tree. Sweet!

"Side effects" of the cherry blossom

Now I think that I didn't necessarily have to come to the cherry blossom. It was nice to go in many places, but I prefer to avoid the crowds. These were definitely present in the parks. The stink of alcohol and a lot of rubbish from the many Sakura festivals too.

Especially tourists from other Asian countries (Chinese !!!) were traveling in time. They have a bad habit of being quite inconsiderate, not standing in lines and thinking that they are the only people there. In contrast to the level-headed and calm Japanese, they are very loud and somehow exhausting.

I would definitely come in autumn next time. The time of year when the leaves turn brightly and the chance to see Mount Fuji is better. The region around Hakone and the five Fuji lakes will definitely be more colorful and less bleak than during my visit (we were also extremely unlucky with the weather).

Best travel time for Tokyo

Cherry blossom in spring (March to May)

These months are wonderful because everything is in bloom. Whether the famous cherry blossoms or the plum blossom. This is exactly what makes many tourists travel to Japan. That's why it's high season here.

The cherry blossom "Sakura" usually falls at the end of March - beginning of April. We had hit the cherry blossom with the many festivals in parks. Get ready for many picnics with blue plastic blankets in parks, lots of people partying and hordes of posing with selfie sticks in front of the respective flowers.

Golden Week is in early May. Then everyone has time off and Tokyo is said to be even more crowded than at Sakursa.

Accommodation should be booked well in advance for this travel time (at least 5 - 6 months).

Since the temperatures can fluctuate a lot, you should be prepared for anything. It can always rain and get cold, because the wind blows especially in the early evening. We were absolutely lucky in Tokyo itself and temperatures at the end of March and the end of April were at least 22 degrees a day and lots of sun. A warm sweater and a thin jacket should be in your luggage as well as sunscreen.

Since the air warms up quickly in spring, the chance of a clear view of the holy mountain Mount Fuji is very low. Due to the very hazy weather, we only saw it clearly and distinctly on the flight back to Germany. If only for a few minutes it was very impressive.

Summer (June to August)

Summers in Tokyo are very hot and humid. It can rain very often. None of that really bother me. But already in spring I found 25 degrees very warm for exploring the city. Because of the many festivals, this travel time is still interesting for me.

The average temperatures during the day are between 20 and 31 degrees.

Autumn (September - November)

The beautiful colors of the turning autumn leaves attract tourists and Japanese to Tokyo. The temperatures are comparable to spring. Sometimes quite summery, sometimes quite fresh. In September it is still quite warm, but it will be noticeably colder by November. The tourist flows are slowly ebbing and accommodation is becoming cheaper.

Since the cherry blossom takes place very briefly in spring and you will miss it with bad luck, I consider autumn to be a more attractive travel time (for me). The coloring of the leaves lasts longer and lasts, while the trees at the sakura often only show their splendor for a few days.

The average temperatures are 10-26 degrees. The air becomes clearer and clearer towards November so that the chances of a clear view of Fuji-San increase.

Winter in Tokyo (December - February)

The winter in Tokyo is cold. Thanks to the location on the east coast, the temperatures remain quite mild and rarely drop below 0 degrees. With the right clothes, Tokyo can also be explored in winter. The advantage: You see Mount Fuji quite often, there are no tourist crowds at sights (or selfie sticks on your face) and the prices for flights are cheap.

The average temperatures are between 0 and 12 degrees.

What is your favorite time to travel to Japan? Leave a comment!

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