Japan’s Four Seasons

Japan, the land of the rising sun has four beautiful seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter. Its highly notable seasonal attractions depend on these seasons.

Japan itself is considered one of the top four season travel destinations on the planet. It amazes tourists with its mind-boggling attractions and activities throughout the year.

Sakura – Symbol of Spring in Japan. Photo Credit: Fabian Reus at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Cherry blossom (sakura) is one of the major signs of Japanese spring alongside plum blossoms, tulips and other flowers. The symbol of summer are stunning flower gardens, fireworks & festivals.

On the other hand, fall foliage (autumn leaves) is the symbol of autumn, and spectacular night illuminations and snowfall are the signs of freezing cold winter season.

The Japanese culture is deeply related to these four seasons. In general, the four seasons of Japan offers number of festivals and events to experience that take place in different areas across the country.


Sakura on Mount Fuji, Kawaguchi Lake, Japan. Photo Credit: skyseeker at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

According to many, the best time to visit Japan is in the spring.

Spring in Japan is usually between March and May. Temperatures are pleasant and sunny.

Early spring brings ume matsuri (plum blossom festival), where pink and white plum blossom start blossoming in the mountainous areas, on the grounds of temple & shrines, and public parks.

In late march, the great cherry blossom festival rolls around. Locals and tourists alike would like to participate in various picnic parties beneath stunning sakura trees with sake and bento.

They love the festive atmosphere and prepare themselves visiting the famous sakura viewing spots..

Period of Spring Season: March – May

Best Spring Festivals and Events: Aoi Matsuri, Hanami Matsuri, Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival, Ume Matsuri, Odawara Ume Matsuri, Atami Baien Ume Matsuri, Hana Matsuri, Kanda Matsuri, Takinoue Park Shibazakura Festival, Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Festival, Sapporo Lilac Festival, Kurayami Matsuri, Asakusa Sanja Matsuri, Sanja Matsuri, Fuji Matsuri, Fuji Shibazakura Matsuri, Tonami Tulip Fair, Sanno Matsuri, Bunkyo Tsutsuji Matsuri, Takayama Matsuri, Kanamara Matsuri and etc.


Yokohama Fireworks! Photo Credit: Marufish at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

It is an amazing season, where excessive summer heat does not resist visitors experiencing the exciting Japanese summer festivals and events.

Summer usually lasts from June to August with three to four week of rainy season. Excessive warm weather and constant rains may ruin Japanese daily life but still they survive.

In this warm season, people yet like to go to beaches to have cool airflow or head to traditional Japanese gardens and park to find tranquility. People there wear light yukata especially during the time of any summer festivals.

Hokkaido’s flowers fields cover with different flowers such as lavender, poppy, sunflowers, tulips and many more. While on the other hand, farmers get ready for planting paddy. Japanese celebrate many popular summer festivals in this season as well.

Period of Summer Season: June – August

Best Summer Festivals & Events: Akita Kanto Matsuri, Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, Yokohama International Fireworks, Tokyo Bay Ground Fireworks Festival, Sumida River Fireworks Festival, Setagaya-ku Tamagawa Hanabi, Gion Festival, Nakafurano Lavender Festival, O-bon Week, Sumiyoshi Rice Planting Festival, Kanto Festival, Asakusa Samba Carnival, Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi, Nango Summer Jazz Festival, Koenji Awa Odori, Shinjuku Eisa, Tokushima Awa Odori Folk Dance Festival, Grand Sumo Tournament and etc.


Autumn Colors at Kitano Tenmengu, Kyoto. Photo credit: Norio NAKAYAMA at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

After the end of hot and humid summer season, autumn arrives in Japan. It creates a nice atmosphere with light cool breeze. Fall in Japan is usually between September and November.

Maple tree leaves, Ginkgo and other deciduous trees leaves turn yellow, red, crimson and reddish. They show their colorful foliage at different public parks, gardens, mountains, grounds of temples & shrines, river valleys throughout Japan.

In Japan, Kyoto is considered the best place to see beautiful fall foliage. At this time of year, many traditional autumn festivals, international exhibitions, concerts take place all over the country.

Period of Autumn Season: September – November

Best Autumn Festivals & Events: Takayama Autumn Festival, Koyo Festival, Arimatsu Festival, Sapporo Autumn Fest, Shuki Taisai Grand Autumn Festival, Naha Matsuri, Zuiki Festival, Karatsu Kunch, Ohara Matsuri, Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, Jidai Matsuri, Nihonmatsu Lantern festival, Nagasaki Kunchi, Jidai Matsuri, and etc.


Otaru Canal in Winter, Otaru, in Hokkaido. Photo credit: Bryan at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Winter can be harsh in some parts of Japan, especially in Northern Japan. Snowfall occurs almost everywhere in Hokkaido and in the Tohoku region. People tend not to get out of their houses unless it is very urgent during the blizzard.

Winter lasts from December to February. The weather is often very sunny with blue sky. Sometimes you will be amazed seeing glorious Japanese snowy landscape out there.

It is the ideal season to witness snow in Japan, winter sports and festivals. Upon arrival of the first snowfall of the winter in Japan, many tourists and locals alike start visiting country’s well known ski resorts.

Sapporo snow festival in the Hokkaido region, is an international snow/ice festival that offers visitors experiencing a number of giant ice sculptures.

Period of Winter Season: December – February

Best Winter Festivals & Events:  Sapporo Snow Festival, Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival, Dosojin Fire Festival,  Chichibu Yomatsuri, Asahikawa Winter Festival, Hadaka Matsuri, Lake Towada Snow Festival, Tokamachi Snow Festival, Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival, Coming of Age Day Ceremony, The Wakakusa Yamayaki, Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival, Iwate Snow Festival, Otaru Snow Light Path Festival, and etc.