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. Japan is known for its “Japan” or snowy ski season, especially in Hokkaido, the northernmost island.
Springtime is also a favorite time to visit as it's cherry blossom season when the beautiful blooms can be seen across the nation. Rainy season in Japan typically begins in early May in Okinawa.
Please refer to weather warnings and typhoon statistics (Japanese site) by the Japan Meteorological Agency. Alexander Atari/Getty Images Tokyo has a humid, subtropical climate with warm summers and cool winters, that can occasionally be very cold.
The city receives approximately 60 inches of rain per year, with most of it concentrated during the summer months. Ratnakorn Piyasirisorost /Getty Images Osaka, a city on the southern part of Japan's Honshu Island, has mild winter and hot, humid summers.
It experiences brutally cold, snowy winters and wet, warm summers. Sapporo is subject to currents from the Siberian Peninsula, so winter temperatures rarely exceed freezing, with snow falling almost every day.
Fukuoka is located on the north coast of Kyushu, the southernmost major island of Japan. Its location lends itself to humid temperatures, with warm winters and even warmers summers.
This is, of course, peak tourist season as the famed cherry blossoms are in bloom and festivals are celebrating their arrival across the country. Japan experiences most of its rainfall during the summer months, beginning in June.
The country's rainy seasons usually lasts just three or four weeks and is the typical time for rice-planting. While there will still be warmer days, cooler temperatures make it appropriate to wear sweaters, light layers, and pants.
If you're visiting the northern region of the country, where several feet of snow is common, make sure to pack sturdy, waterproof boots or shoes. Japanese news agency NHS reported that Okra Village in Yamagata Prefecture, a mountain community a little more than 200 miles north of Tokyo, had received 85 inches of snow by late Friday.
That snowstorm stranded more than a thousand motorists on the Keynes Expressway for more than 24 hours, with drivers forced to melt snow for drinking water during the overnight debacle. NHS reported that at least 140 domestic flights were canceled leading up to the storm, with bullet train service suspended on the Yamagata line.
Additional 24-hour snowfall of up to 30 inches was forecast Saturday in Niagara Prefecture, with slightly lesser amounts closer to the coast in northwest Japan. That adds moisture to the air, which is then forced up the mountains and deposited in the form of heavy accumulating snowfall.
Meanwhile, a morning low of minus-27 degrees was set in Horokanai in Hokkaido on New Year’s Eve, while neighboring Shumarinai and both fell to minus-25. The impressive bout of snowfall is tied to a pair of extreme weather systems that flanked the Japanese archipelago both to the west and east last week.
An freezing air mass associated with Arctic high pressure parked over Mongolia, while a historically strong low-pressure system brought stormy weather and dangerous conditions to mariners in the northern Pacific. It stirred up 110 mph wind gusts over the open ocean and set a new state air pressure record in Alaska.
In the meantime, record high and low-pressure systems aren’t anticipated in the upcoming week, but more snow is on the way as cold winds once again roar over the Sea of Japan. The climate in Japan is mostly temperate with four distinct seasons, except for the Hokkaido area and the Okinawa region.
Tokyo, along with most areas on the main island Honshu, has a humid subtropical climate characterized by warm and wet summers and mild winters. Typhoons or tropical cyclones with strong winds and torrential rains often hit Japan during August and September but can occur through May to October.
Strong typhoons often affect transport systems, causing rail and air services to be stopped, and there is a danger of landslides in rural areas. Every April, tens of thousands of tourists go to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka for the spectacular views of cherry blossom.
Winters are long and harsh with plenty of snowfall, making it a prime destination for snow sports. On the other hand, the Okinawa prefecture is about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) south of Tokyo and enjoys long summers with temperatures hovering around 32 °C (90 °F).
About 70% of the country is covered by hills and mountains, a number of which are active or dormant volcanoes, including Mount Fuji, Japan's highest peak, reaching 3,776 m (12,388ft). For example, the deeply indented bays with good natural harbors tend to be adjacent to mountainous terrain.
Many of Japan's major cities are located on the coastline and have an extremely high population density. The remainder of January is a good time for visiting Japan, as the weather is usually sunny and dry and sightseeing spots are not very crowded (except possibly around Chinese New Year).
The downside of a visit in winter are the relatively short days (sunset is around 5pm in Tokyo) and the vegetation's barren state. The downside of a visit in winter are the relatively short days (sunset is around 5:30pm in Tokyo) and the vegetation's barren state.
Towards the end of March the cherry blossom season starts in certain regions, while in northern Japan conditions are still good for winter sports. Domestic travel activity increases in the second half of March due to spring school holidays.
However, the remainder of May is one of the best times for visiting Japan, as the vegetation has become lush, the temperatures are still comfortable and tourists spots tend to be pleasantly uncrowded. At the other end of the country, in Okinawa, the rainy season (Isuzu) typically lasts from early May to mid June.
Hot spring resorts like Alone and the wooded temple mountain Korean are some places that can be quite attractive in rainy weather. Also, the weather in Okinawa takes a dramatic turn to the better after the end of the rainy season there in late June.
The conditions are more comfortable in higher elevations and in Hokkaido, a highly popular destination among outdoor lovers during the summer months. The conditions are more comfortable in higher elevations and in Hokkaido, a highly popular destination among outdoor lovers during the summer months.
Travel activity is high during the entire month due to summer school holidays, but is especially intensive during the Oboe week in mid August. Typhoons usually hit the coasts of Okinawa, Kyushu and Shikoku and cause strong rain and wind in wide parts or all of Japan for about two days.
Travel activity tends to be low except around popular autumn leaf spots. The downsides of a visit in winter are the relatively short days (sunset is around 4:30pm in Tokyo) and the barren state of the vegetation.