You can visit Japan year round but if you want to see something specific or attend a specific Japanese festival that will dictate when you need to travel to Japan. There are festivals every day in Japan so if you just want to attend one festival then go when you want.
Cherry Blossoms in Bloom April 2019
What is the Temperature like in Japan?
Tokyo which is in central Japan sits roughly at the same latitude as New York City. In the Summer (June – August) is hot and humid in most parts of the country so unless you are visiting the coast it will be like Georgia in the Summer weather wise. In the winter it gets cold in most parts of the country north of Tokyo it snows. If you are planning to stay at an AirBnB make sure they have central heat. On our last trip in late March/April it was still cold (getting into the 30’s) and one AirBnB in Tokyo only had a space heater and no central heat. Spring and Autumn are both temperate with low humidity and are ideal times to visit. The Autumn is especially lovely as the leaves change throughout the country.
Is there any planning I need to do if I go during ‘X’ time of the year?
If you are going to see something very popular then you will need to reserve a hotel or AirBnB as early as possible and possibly buy tickets as early as possible. From our last trip we decided we wanted to go to a Japanese Anime convention while we were in Tokyo while we didn’t have to worry about finding an AirBnB we did have to buy our tickets when they came out as they sold out within a week of going on sale. We also went during cherry blossom season and were meeting friends in Kyoto during what was supposed to be peak bloom in Kyoto. When I first started looking for AirBnB’s about six months before our trip they were reasonable at around $65 a night for a two bedroom place. Just two months later once the forecast put peak bloom during when we would be there, most of the units were sold out and the average price went to $250 a night. So know of any really popular festivals and book early or plan on staying further out and spending time on a train to get to your destination.
What about attending this Festival?
Japan tends to have a festival or Matsuri on every single day. There are over a thousand festivals in Japan so it’s just a matter of picking one. But if there is a specific one like the Hadaka Matsuri (Naked Festival) then you need to travel to Japan when that festival happens (Mid February).
What do you Recommend?
If you want to see Snow Monkeys go in Winter. If you want to see cherry blossoms go in early spring (Late March/ Early April). Otherwise go in Autumn when the whether is nice and you can still wear shorts if you want. If you do go for cherry blossoms I recommend spending three weeks in Japan as the season each year can vary by a few weeks due to weather on when peak bloom is.