Answers from Our Experts (2)
Probably not too much controversy on this one - cherry blossom season is easily the most stunning time to visit. It’s hard to plan for precisely; there are entire websites dedicated to trying to predict when the blossoms will peak. But the last week in March through the first week in April is usually a safe bet. However, every season has its delights in Japan, and no country is more finely tuned to the joys that each season brings than the Japanese. Dozens of varieties of hydrangeas bloom in late spring and early summer throughout the city and all over the temple town of Kamakura a short day trip away. Fall brings fiery red leaves. Winter days tend to be clear and crisp in Tokyo. Snowfall in the city is rare and usually lasts just long enough for people to get out and sculpt a few mini-snowmen before it melts away. Unless you really love the heat or are a glutton for punsihment, mid-summer would be a great time to hit the mountains of Nagano or the beaches of Izu instead of sweating it out in the sweltering city humidity.
The city looks its best in late March and early April, when the cherry blossom turns parks and sidewalks pink.
The maple trees make fall a picturesque time to come.
Avoid July and August. That’s when the humidity becomes unbearable and you won’t enjoy strolling outside.
It gets cold in the winter, but usually stays above freezing, even at night, in Tokyo. Bring a scarf, buy some Hokkaron stick-on heat pads and you’ll survive.
If you’re planning to head north for some skiiing or snowboarding, you’ll want to time your visit for the first three months of the year.
Many businesses, including restaurants, close for a week around New Year and again in Golden Week (April 29-May 5), and many hotels jack their prices up as domestic tourism peaks.