Tokyo basically can be enjoyed anytime during the year thanks to the many attractions that Japan’s capital has to offer. Every season has its strong and weak points, but there are several “best season” to visit Tokyo such as the best season for shopping, the best season for events, the best season for sightseeing and so on. You also have to consider the peak season and some important national holidays that may affect certain attractions’ opening hours and cause overcrowding in some places.
Peak Season in Tokyo
The two most popular seasons to visit Japan are springtime when you can see sakura, cherry blossoms, and autumn when you can see koyo, red leaves during foliage. During these two seasons, many tourists come to Japan and Tokyo is absolutely an unmissable stop.
In Tokyo, cherry blossom season is around the end of March to the beginning of April, coinciding with the start of the new school year and the entry of new hires in companies.
Cherry blossom can be seen not only in various gardens and parks of Tokyo, but also streets and rivers too. The flowering trees, which look like pale pink clouds, are undoubtedly amazing. It’s easy to understand why locals and international visitors enjoy the view so much so it’s impossible to not recommend visiting Tokyo during this season.
The autumn foliage reaches Tokyo pretty late at the end of November and reaches its peak before mid-December.
Spring season is beautiful not only for blooming of sakura, but many other flower bloomings can be admired too. Wisteria generally blooms in late April. Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Tokyo is known for its annual Plum Blossom Matsuri and Wisteria Matsuri.
Although the flowers are beautiful, March and April can get cold, particularly in the evenings; it rains often as well. May is warmer and it is also when the matsuri season starts, including the famous and popular Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa. It is a good time to visit Tokyo once Golden Week is over.
Summer season is probably the worst season to visit Tokyo due to the humidity and rainy season that affects Japan in June and the beginning of July. Summers in Japan are pretty hot and humid, but there are some positive aspects such as the blooming of hydrangea flowers and firework festivals. Because it is really humid, many insects and mosquitoes populate the lush green gardens and parks in Tokyo.
Once the rainy season ends, you can enjoy fireworks almost every weekend somewhere in Tokyo. The most famous one is the Sumida Fireworks that takes place at end of July. Many, many people attend the event every year and the Sumida Park is always overcrowded; an alternative way to enjoy fireworks is to book a cruise and dinner on a yakatabune! Another good reason to visit Tokyo in the summer is that you can challenge yourself to climb Mount Fuji as the trails are open only in July and August.
A drawback to summer season in Japan is that around mid-August, when there are national holidays, many people return to their hometown. This makes it almost impossible to find a seat on trains going out of Tokyo. With that being said, however, O-Bon days are good being spent in Tokyo because almost no shops are closed, there are fewer people it the city, and it is easier to move around.
The weather is mild with a lot of sunny days which makes autumn one of the best seasons to visit Tokyo. September, however, is the month with the highest precipitation and there may be typhoons. Just like spring’s sakura fever, Tokyo residents look forward to koyo, autumn foliage; be aware that the red momoji won’t start changing colors until the end of November. If you arrive early, don’t worry, you can admire the intense yellow color of ginkgo biloba along the boulevards.
Furthermore, if you are a fan of amusement parks, autumn is absolutely the best season to enjoy attractions due to good weather and less crowds.
The best season to enjoy onsen is absolutely during the winter, especially for the rotenburo, outdoor baths. Although there are not many onsen in Tokyo, a short train ride away is the chance to experience the magic of relaxing in hot water while admiring the surrounding nature. Hakone is one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo and during winter, there is a high probability to see Mount Fuji from there. Thanks to the clear sky and dry air, Mount Fuji can often also be seen from Tokyo at one of the various viewing points in the city.
In winter, Tokyo has a lot of beautiful Christmas illuminations that generally continue until Valentine’s Day. Around Christmas until the beginning of new year, it is also when stores offer sale prices; this is one of best seasons to visit Tokyo if you’re planning to renew your closet and follow the latest Japanese fashion trends.
One negative point of bringing in the new year in Tokyo is that almost everything is closed during the first three days. This is because Japanese people often return to their hometown to spend hatsumode with their family. An alternative thing to do is visit temples and shrine. Expect long lines because it is what the Japanese traditionally do to pray for a prosperous and lucky new year.
Book a tour or experience with us! Hatago Travel runs tours all year round.