Due to Japan’s north-south location, weather patterns and average temperatures vary dramatically. Northern Hokkaido is snow-bound during its long winter and pleasantly warm during its short summer. Coastal Honshu varies in winter between brief snowfalls and warm, sunny days, with summers that are invariably hot with high humidity.
In the mountainous inland regions of Japan like Honshu, snowy winters are the norm, with weather patterns similar to Europe’s Alpine climate. Spring is warm and wet, and autumn is cool. The typhoon season is at its worst in August and September, and the brief rainy season runs from June to July.
Kyushu is generally warmer in spring and autumn, although it’s more susceptible to typhoons. Okinawa’s climate is sub-tropical, with frequent rain and typhoons and occasionally cold nights. Warm, humid winds blow across the country from the Pacific Ocean during the summer months and cold northeasterly winds sweep in from Korea and central Asia in winter. Overall temperatures in Japan range from 43°F (6°C) north of Hokkaido to 77°F (25°C) in Okinawa.
Best Time to Visit Japan
Due to its huge variety of attractions and activities, Japan can be visited at any time of year. The only possible exception is ‘Golden Week’ in late April/early May, when the entire country is on holiday and domestic travelers over take the famous sites. Accommodation at this time is completely booked and everything is crowded. Other busy periods include the New Year and the summer months of July and August.
Weather-wise, mid-June to mid-July is rainy and humid, making a summer visit between mid-July and late August preferable. Late August sees the arrival of the typhoon season, which spans into September. Fall (September to November) is a wonderful time to visit for the changing of the leaves and winter (December to March) sees the country’s ski resorts and onsen fill up. Spring is best known for its sakura, cherry blossom viewing and festivals and also considered high season in Japan.