Japan is known for its distinct 4 seasons and, depending on when and which part of Japan you’re traveling, you can experience different landscapes and climates in Japan. The most popular seasons for global travelers as well as locals are the cherry blossoms in the Spring and foliage in the Fall.
Spring 春 (March – May)
Spring is one of the most celebrated seasons as cherry blossoms (“sakura”) turn many parts of the country into a picture-perfect pink ocean. While Japanese people enjoy the comfortable weather and beautiful scenery by picnicking under the cherry trees (often referred as “hanami”), global travelers visit some famous cherry blossom viewing spots by bus or by foot.
Normally, the full bloom season is between mid March and late April in most parts of Japan, but the exact window varies every year depending on the temperature earlier in the year. Please also keep it in mind that the full bloom window in the northern part of Japan (i.e. Tohoku, Hokkaido) tends to be a few weeks later due to the temperature difference. Visit Japan National Tourism Organization for cherry blossom forecast.
If you’re traveling to Japan in the Spring and interested in booking a guided cherry blossom tour, the best time for planning and booking would be in January or February of that year. Although most of tour operators wait a few months to offer available dates for cherry blossom tours in order to capture the full bloom window more accurately, some of the popular tours fill out quickly. Contact the tour operator to see if they can put your names down before they finalize the available dates.
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Best time to travel
Cherry blossom season (normally between mid March and late April)
Time to avoid
Golden Week: Most companies are closed during this week and all the touristy attractions are filled with Japanese travelers. Golden Week normally starts from the end of April and ends in the beginning of May
Cherry Blossoms Full Bloom Forecast