Japan weather & when to go: August
August can be too hot for some across the majority of Japan as the islands and mainland are seeing a rise in temperatures as the heat wave continues, however we wouldn't rule it out as the lower numbers and right itinerary can still work well during the summer season.
August's weather in detail
Sapporo, Niseko, Furano
August is the hottest month of the year in Hokkaido (avg temp: 23°C), although thanks to the island’s higher altitude, humidity in Japan’s northernmost region is much more bearable than on Japan’s central and southern islands at this time.
Unsurprisingly August is a popular time to visit the beaches in Ishikari, just outside Sapporo, but escape the crowds and head to Shiretoko National Park on Hokkaido’s northwest peninsula as it’s brimming with wildlife during this time and whale watching is possible just off the coast.
Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima
August is the hottest month to visit Honshu. The weather is now sticky and humid with temperatures rising as high as 35°C on some days in Tokyo; temperatures in Osaka and Kyoto can be even hotter.
If you want to escape the summer heat and humidity in the cities head for Central Honshu and the Japanese Alps where the climate is fresher, making it an ideal month for hiking and exploring the National Parks.
Hundreds of climbers continue to tackle Mount Fuji in August as the official climbing season continues. At this time, especially during Obon week in mid-August, the trails are busy: avoid weekends to escape the large crowds.
Shikoku & Kyushu
Matsuyama, Fukuoka, Nagasaki
August is also the hottest and sunniest month across the islands of Shikoku and Kyushu, with typhoons a real possibility. Between August 12th and 15th Tokushima, on the island of Shikoku, plays host to the lively Awa-odori Matsuri, one of the biggest dance parties in Japan which attracts over a million visitors.
Naha, Okinawa, Kerama
Hot and humid weather continues throughout Okinawa and Japan’s southernmost islands in August (avg temp: 29°C). However, typhoon season also reaches its peak this month, with the southern islands most at risk of being hit by strong winds which tend to last between 24 and 48 hours. Although this doesn’t put off the sun-seekers, and the beaches of Okinawa and Kerama are still busy during this month as school holidays are in full swing.
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Key Festivals & Religious Ceremonies
An epic dance festival that takes place between 12th & 15th August in the city of Tokushima (Shikoku). Interestingly, dancing in the streets is only permitted during these specific days and Samurai are forbidden to attend, but are permitted to dance at home!
Observed in mid-August, Obon is a Buddhist festival that honours the spirits of dead ancestors. It’s a busy holiday season and most people return to their family homes.
The town of Aomori comes alive for a week when a festival of floats are wheeled onto the streets, flanked by musicians, dancers and taiko drummers at sundown. The festival concludes on the 7th when the floats are loaded onto boats and set out to sea against a backdrop of fireworks. (2nd - 7th August)
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