If you're traveling to Japan, you should know about the climate and geography of the country. This information will not only help you plan the best time to travel to Japan but also help you plan activities to take part in during your trip.
The Islands of Japan
Japan is a country surrounded by oceans and consists of four major islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. The nation is also home to many small islands.
Because of Japan's unique makeup, the climate in the country varies widely from one region to another. Most parts of the country have four distinct seasons, and the weather is relatively mild for every season.
The Four Seasons
Japan's seasons take place at the same time as the four seasons in the West do. For example, the spring months are March, April, and May. The summer months are June, July, and August and the fall months are September, October, and November. Winter months take place during December, January, and February.
If you're an American who lives in the South, Midwest, or East Coast, these seasons should be familiar to you. However, if you're a Californian, you might want to think twice about visiting Japan during the colder months unless you're going precisely to take part in winter sports. In fact, Japan is known for its "japow" or snowy ski season, especially in Hokkaido, the northernmost island.
Springtime is also a popular time to visit as it's cherry blossom season when the beautiful blooms can be seen across the nation.
Average Temperatures in Japan
According to the 30-year normals (1981-2010) by the Japan Meteorological Agency, the average yearly temperature for Central Tokyo is 16 degrees Celsius, for Sapporo-city in Hokkaido it is 9 degrees Celsius, and for Naha-city in Okinawa, it is 23 degrees Celsius.
That translates to 61 degrees Fahrenheit, 48 degrees Fahrenheit, and 73 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.
These weather averages are good indicators of what to expect any month, but if you're wondering what to pack for your next trip you should study the average temperatures for the region you plan to visit during that month. Explore Japan's weather in more depth by using the monthly mean and monthly total tables by the Japan Meteorological Agency.
The Rainy Season
Japan's rainy season typically begins in early May in Okinawa. In other regions, it usually runs from early June through around mid-July. Also, August to October is the peak typhoon season in Japan. It's important to check the weather often during this season. Please refer to weather warnings and typhoon statistics (Japanese site) by the Japan Meteorological Agency.
According to the agency, there are 108 active volcanoes in Japan. Please be aware of volcanic warnings and restrictions when you visit any volcanic areas in Japan. While Japan is a great country to visit during any time of the year, you should take precautions to stay safe if you plan to visit the country during a time when the perilous weather is common.