Typhon season is over, the sun is shining and crisp autumn days are a plenty making it a great time to visit Japan. The key locations are in their prime and the photography opportunities are vast, so unless you’re looking for skiing in Hokkaido region (hold fire winters not officially here yet) this is one of the best months to go.
November temperatures in Hokkaido drop below double figures by the middle of the month and there’s a noticeable winter chill in the air (avg temp: 8°C), but according to local legend winter hasn’t truly arrived until snow falls on Mt Teineyama.
November may well bring the first snowfall of the season, but skiers and snow boarders shouldn’t get overly excited as the ski resorts of Sapporo and Niseko don’t open until December, so we suggest delaying travel until next month if it’s ski-worthy powder snow that you’re after.
November is a relatively dry month across Honshu, typified by crisp Autumn days and cool evenings (avg temp: 12-13°C). Hiroshima is slightly warmer with more sun than Tokyo.
Much of Honshu and central Japan explodes in Autumn colours during November, making it a popular time to stroll around the city’s parks and explore Honshu’s National Parks. Generally the best time to see the ‘koyo’ in Tokyo is from late November into early December; whereas in Kyoto the leaves begin to change colour a little earlier. Kyoto is especially popular during Autumn as its temples and gardens are the picture-perfect backdrop for the colourful autumn foliage; the views around Tofukuji Temple and Tsutenkyo Bridge are particularly impressive and can be quite crowded.
November is also a relatively dry month across the islands of Shikoku and Kyushu, with temperatures similar to those on Honshu (avg temp: 12-13°C). Temperatures in Fukuoka can be slightly warmer than Matsuyama.
Sumo comes to town as Fukuoka plays host to the last tournament of the year – the Kyushu Basho – in mid-November.
Typhoon season in Okinawa and the southern islands of Japan is over and the days are typically warm and dry (avg temp: 22°C), although the water temperature is on the chilly side, so swimming and surfing is more bearable in a wetsuit! Keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales as they are known to migrate through these waters between November and March.