I'm hoping to have a 2-4 week trip sometime next year and I'm fairly flexible with when I visit. Is there a better time of year for sightseeing/festivals? I'm not interested in skiing but would like to focus on regional food and cultural experiences.
Best time to visit is Cherry blossom festival in the Spring. It's always spectacular. The only problem is that the blossom only lasts a few days so getting the timing of a trip just right is more luck than judgement.
October is the other great time to go when all the leaves are falling.
At any times of year, experience a traditional Onsen ... I frequently go to the ones on the Izu peninsular which are near-ish to Tokyo. (see http://journals.worldnomads.com/simon_monk/country/107.aspx for pictures, stories and links) almost 10 years ago
What simonmonk said. Cherry blossom season is an amazing time of year when Japan really shines and everyone celebrates with hanami parties (and lots of booze!) under the trees. This year the sakura started blossoming in my part of Japan (Shizuoka prefecture) during the last weekend of March, lasting about two weeks. More information is available here: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2011.html
I'd definitely recommend avoiding Japan during the summer months of July, August and September. The heat is awful and would make travelling really sticky. Also, a heat haze sets over the country that turns the sky grey. Winter is best for seeing Mt Fuji as the sky becomes an amazing blue.
If you can make bookings early and are not too fussed about crowded public transport, there's always the Golden Week holidays. April 29 and May 3-5 are national holidays and many Japanese take off days in between to travel overseas and interstate. There are also many festivals on around the country. The best thing to do would be to work out where you want to go and then find out what festivals happen there.
Also, look into getting a JR Railpass. It's the cheapest way for tourists to travel nationwide: http://www.japanrailpass.net/eng/en001.html almost 10 years ago
I think all seasons in Japan have unique thigns to offer, and I'll explain why-
Cherry blossom season is gorgeous, there is nothing like it in the world! If you miss the cherry blossoms, you can see tulips, wisteria, roses, azaleas, irises, lavender and hydrangea (in that order!).
Fall is also spectacular with the leaves changing colors. Kyoto is amazing in this season. The only downside to travel inthe spring & fall is the hordes of domestic tourists- you also have to reserve a hotel room months in advance in these seasons.
June is rainy season, there are no public holidays and people are busy slaving away at work & kids are in school, so it is an ideal time to travel in Japan. The rain is not constant and the summer humidity hasn't kicked in yet- good time to come to Japan!
Summer has beer gardens, festivals galore and fireworks almost every weekend in various areas around the nation during the months of July & August.The downside is that it is stiflingly hot and humid. You will be dripping with sweat constantly (akin to being in a sauna) but that makes the beer & cold sake taste so much more enjoyable!
Winter has great skiing, fabulous food but can be bloody cold. almost 10 years ago
hello :) over 7 years agoAnswered by me via WorldNomads.com
I hear end of OCT -1st week of Nov. to view the Red maple leaves turning their colors. I heard to visit Hoikkado (msp) over 7 years agoAnswered by Kim via WorldNomads.com