Travelling in January
January is the coldest month of the year in Hokkaido, where conditions for winter sports are excellent, and visitors flock to see Red Cranes dance their mating rituals in the snow. It's a lot milder in the southern islands, where temps can reach 18°C on a good day. Expect dry crisp days across the rest of the country, with good skiing conditions in the Japanese Alps.
Travelling in February
The snow season is in full swing on Hokkaido, where winter sports, the Sapporo Snow Festival and snow-loving wildlife vie for attention. On Honshu, good ski conditions persist in the Japanese Alps. The rest of Japan is dry with single digit temps, apart from the southernmost islands where 18°C is possible on a good day.
Travelling in March
Hokkaido is still cold, but if you're going there to ski you should travel in the first half of the month. Spring is spreading northwards through the rest of Japan, with a sumo festival in Osaka & cherry blossoming in Tokyo by the end of the month. Southernmost temperatures are sneaking towards 20°C.
Travelling in April
Now's the time to see Japan's famous cherry blossom, but book everything well in advance, because you won't be alone! Hokkaido's snows are melting, and beach resorts are opening in the southernmost islands, with mild temperatures across the rest of Japan.
Travelling in May
May in begins with Golden Week, one of the busiest times of year to travel in Japan; we suggest planning your holiday to avoid it. If your trip does coincide with Golden Week, book everything as far in advance as you can. Weatherwise, spring has spread all the way to Hokkaido, where dry sunny days make for excellent hiking, and the rest of Japan is mild and pleasantly uncrowded - apart from Golden Week!
Travelling in June
Most of Japan experiences a rainy season in June, but don't let this put you off as it doesn't rain every day, and temperatures are mild. The far north & far south don't get a rainy season, and stay dry and warm, with temps in the south climbing to 29°C.
Travelling in July
While most of Japan is wrapping up the rainy season, Hokkaido enjoys temps up to 21°C, meadows full of colourful flowers, and a Summer Beer festival in Sapporo. Sea temperatures in the far south are good for diving & snorkelling. The rest of Japan dries off towards the end of the month, and climbing season opens on Fuji.
Travelling in August
August in Japan is pretty hot and sticky, but you can head to the Japanese Alps or Hokkaido to cool off. Fuji climbing season is in full swing, and most of the country is hot and sunny, although it can also be windy as typhoon season begins.
Travelling in September
September is typhoon season in Japan, but winds generally only last a couple of days, and bring relief after the sticky heat of August. Intense rainfall can occur on Honshu and the southern islands, while the autumn colours creep across Hokkaido and make it very picturesque indeed.
Travelling in October
Autumn colours are spreading southwards across Japan, and mild temperatures make October an ideal month for hiking in the scenic countryside. Temps range from 16°C in Hokkaido to 25°C in Okinawa, with typhoons still possible in the south at the start of the month.
Travelling in November
Blazing autumn colours draw crowds across the country, with relatively dry conditions across the country. Temperatures are dropping - there may even be a little snow in Hokkaido, although not enough to ski on - but the south remains warm at around 22°C. Humpback whales are known to migrate through Japan's souther waters between Nov-March.
Travelling in December
Ski season opens in Hokkaido as temperatures drop to 2°C and snow falls in earnest. The rest of Japan is dry, with single digit temperatures, and Christmas lights are going up in the cities. In the far south, temps remain mild at around 20°C, although the sea will be cold and dive schools are closed for the winter.