FAQ: When is the Best Time to Visit Japan?
As a citizen of Tokyo for 2+ years now, I always get this question:
“When should I visit Japan?” or “I’m visiting Japan in August. Is that a good time?”
So, now that I’ve seen Japan in all of it’s seasons twice, let me help you decide when to visit "The Land of the Rising Sun".
Japan is famous for it’s cherry blossoms. When you think Japan, you think cherry blossoms (aka sakura or 桜; さくら). Who doesn’t romanticize about the delicate and lightly pink flowers that, when in bloom, turn the entire world into a light pink daydream? However, sakura can be really hard to time, and vary across Japan. The typical blooming period begins at the end of February in the southernmost parts of Japan, to the beginning of May in the northernmost parts. Another factor to determining their bloom is the weather, which varies every year, affecting when sakura in full bloom occur.
If you’re thinking about visiting Tokyo, usually full bloom is around the first to second week of April. However, these flowers’ lifespan is only about two weeks at the maximum, and prices to Japan and for hotels sky rocket during this time. The weather is usually mild, but still a bit chilly, you will definitely need a light coat or a sweater and jacket combo.
But, even with all of this, there is so much going on everywhere in Japan to celebrate the arrival of the cherry blossoms! For those that enjoy their daily Starbucks, during sakura season, Starbucks Japan releases limited edition items and drinks all themed sakura. There are outdoor festivals which feature food stalls overflowing with delicious festival foods. The outdoor stalls also feature carnival type games, and for those who have read or seen any manga or anime, the festival scenes with everyone in kimono are completely accurate, and just as fun as they look!
If you decide you can live without witnessing the cherry blossoms, coming later in the season is a great idea. Spring in Japan is all about the local flora and fauna. There is always something blooming, and the Japanese take pride in ornamenting every part of their cities and towns with trees and plants that produce beautiful blooms.
I will post a side article on another Spring event (Golden Week) in a later blog. Follow me for the next season.
Any questions you want to know about Japan? Leave them in the comments below or visit me on Instagram (abrattebo)!