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When is the best time to visit Tokyo?

| Words by Rachel McCombie |

Japan’s futuristic capital, Tokyo, is a year-round destination that can be enjoyed whatever time of year you visit, but some months are better than others.

Whether you’re wandering the tranquil gardens of a temple, or seeing the bigger picture from the top of the Tokyo Tower, Tokyo is a city where you’re still very aware of the seasons, with plenty of green space among its famous skyscrapers. The most popular time for visitors is, however, arguably not the best time to see this sprawling city, so read this guide to find out more.

Tokyo’s Seasons

Just like Europe, Japan’s capital Tokyo has four seasons - though with a couple of twists.

Key highlights

  • Late March/early April: the magical cherry blossom season, when the Japanese picnic under the blooms
  • August to September: it’s typhoon season, but it’s unlikely to affect you in the city
  • September/October: Tokyo is ablaze with autumn colors and lots of sunshine
  • December to February: winter temperatures are around 5 to 10°C  (40 to 50°F) during the day

Spring - March to May

For the short period the cherry trees blossom ion Spring in Tokyo, city-siders rush out to parks to celebrate and enjoy the natural beauty.

Though the weather may be cool and rain more likely, spring is a wonderful time to visit Tokyo, as temperatures are comfortable between 10 and 20°C (50 and 70°F) and it’s when the famed yet fleeting cherry blossom season occurs. The Japanese love cherry blossom and celebrate its arrival with great fervour, holding parties underneath the delicate pink flowers. A national vacation, Golden Week, runs from 29 April to 5 May, and it’s a quiet time to visit Tokyo because many Japanese leave the city to go on vacation.

Summer - June to August

A steamy dusk over Tokyo city

Despite the fact that summer is prime tourist season for Japan, high heat and humidity are unfortunately hallmarks of this time of year in Tokyo, so if you tend to suffer in the heat - we’re talking 20 to 30 °C (70 to 85°F) - you’d be best off traveling in spring or autumn. The summer also tends to see higher hotel rates and longer queues in museums and monuments - another reason to avoid traveling in this season.

Though more akin to the European climate than other Asian countries, Japan does get a mini rainy season, which starts around the middle of June and lasts about a month. At the end of August typhoon season arrives, lasting throughout September, but this isn’t usually anything to worry about in Tokyo itself; with the worst storms out to sea, they’re usually just thunderstorms when they make landfall.

Autumn - September to November

The Red Pagoda in Tokyo looks especially striking in autumn against the vibrant red and orange leaves, with Mount Fuji in the background

Autumn is another excellent time to visit Tokyo, as the humidity has subsided, leaving in its wake deliciously cool days ranging from the low 60s to the high 70s, with plenty of sunshine. Even better, the trees in Tokyo’s parks and gardens are ablaze with vibrant autumn colors - perfect for a photo opportunity.

Winter - December to February

Occasional snow in Tokyo frosts the cities beautiful buildings and gardens.

You’ll need to wrap up warm when visiting Tokyo in winter, but temperatures don’t generally dip below freezing during the day, and it seldom snows. Average temperatures are around 5 to 10°C (40 to 50°F), and there’s not much rainfall. If you’re thinking of visiting for New Year, be aware that many museums and restaurants will close and hotel rates will be through the roof.

Planning a trip to Tokyo? Take a look at our range of small group tours to Japan.