Spring in Japan | An Insider's Guide
Spring in Japan is one of the best times of the year to visit. Here’s some insight into what to expect this time of year in Japan in terms of travels, weather, crowds, and more.
When you think of traveling to Japan, most people also think about the cherry blossoms. There’s something magical about Japan this time of year that’s indisputable. But, in addition to cherry blossoms, spring in Japan has so much more. So just in case you can’t make it for this year’s hanami festival, there are also some other options to keep in mind.
Spring is a fabulous time to visit Japan, but honestly, I love fall and winter as well. Each has its own different but equally magical feel. But if you want to head to Japan in the spring, here are some tips.
Spring Temperatures in Japan
Japan isn’t a huge country, but it’s not small either but the temperatures are pretty consistent between Osaka, Fukuoka, Kyoto, and Tokyo. In March, temperatures average around a high of 57 and a low of 40. In April, temperatures warm up to an average high of 67 and a low of 50.
The climate reminds of living in Southern California. You’ll likely be ok during the day, but at night, you’ll need a light jacket or a sweater, depending on how your body temperature runs. However, if you’re sitting under a cherry blossom tree, you’ll feel a lot colder.
What to Wear in Japan in April
If you’re wondering what to wear in Japan in April, honestly, it’s an excellent time to dress nicely. You can layer lightly and bring a light sweater or jacket, especially at night.
You’ll be out during the day though and if you’re at a hanami in somewhere like Ueno Park, you’ll likely be sitting under a cherry tree so temperatures will be quite a bit lower even during the day time.
A good solution is UNIQLO. There are stores all over Japan and it’s a fantastic idea for adding a few light layers to warm you up. Their clothes are super well made but also affordable.
UNIQLO embodies the Japanese design aesthetic of both craftsmanship and design. Their clothes are always made with form and fashion in mind which is great because layering can quickly get ugly.
If you’re wondering what to wear in Tokyo in the spring then that depends on both comfort and your style. Tokyo has some of the best fashion in the world so head to Ginza, Omotesando, or Harajuku to pick up a few pieces from the various department stores and vintage shops. Also, florals and pastels of course are always popular this time of years.
Other Things to do during spring in japan (Than Cherry Blossoms)
Obviously, viewing the cherry blossoms is the most popular thing to do in late March and April. But what else? Honestly, I do love sakura season, but my favorite spring time moments in Japan were actually unrelated to cherry blossoms. For example, you have gorgeous wisteria around the country and most popularly, at Ashikaga Flower Park & Kawachi Fuji Gardens.
These sites are absolutely breathtaking and more and more people have actually been heading to Japan to catch the magical wisteria. View my article The Ultimate Guide to the Whimsical Wisteria Tunnels of Japan. As you’ll see, wisteria tends to bloom around the end of April towards early May, so nearly a month after the cherry blossoms bloom.
If you want to visit the tunnel of wisteria, you’ll need to fly or take the bullet train to Kitakyushu. But, you can visit the beautiful Ashikaga Flower Park in an easy day trip from Tokyo. Read my article for more details.
One caution | Golden Week
If you think Tokyo is a dense city, think again. One thing you’ll need to really keep in mind when traveling to Japan in late April is Golden Week. This is the last week in April through early May. It’s essentially a massive conglomerate of national holidays that result in the entire country on leave vacation.
If you want to visit the wisteria, unfortunately, this does tend to fall around Golden Week and it might be unavoidable to visit this time if you want to see the wisteria. However, the wisteria also falls into the end of Golden Week so full bloom could very well correspond to an end of golden week.
Each year is different depending on weather patterns so be sure to check ahead of time.
Spring in Japan is a great time to visit an onsen
One of the things I love the most about Japan is its onsen culture. These hot springs are the most relaxing experience ever. And if you’re scared about getting naked in a hot spring with others, unfortunately, you just have to take the plunge. You won’t regret it. An onsen is one of the most pleasurable activities you can do in Japan.
Spring is a fabulous time of year to enjoy onsen hot springs because the weather is still cool enough. Furthermore, you can go up to places like Hakuba in Nagano or Hakone which are easily accessible from Tokyo. These tiny beautiful resort towns have a number of ryokan establishments (traditional Japanese inns) which have onsen baths.
One of my favorite trips was to a tiny town of Karuizawa. This is the tiny town that John Lennon and Yoko Ono used to summer at. It has a great local feel, but I stayed at a place called Hoshinoya.
There are no words to describe. It’s surrounded by nature and there are several different onsen hot springs to choose from. This place etched a special place in my heart. I highly recommend experiencing the best of Japanese hospitality if you can. Spring is an excellent time of year to stay at a ryokan.
Cherry blossom blooming across japan
Read my article Cherry Blossom Season Japan, When to Visit? As you can see from this chart, the dates range depending on the place and weather patterns for that year.
Personally, I loved visiting Hiroshima during cherry blossom season as well as Kyoto. You honestly can’t go wrong.
Some Popular Festivals during Spring
There are some popular festivals around Japan during the spring, but depending on your interests, here are a few favorites around mostly Tokyo.
The Tokyo Anime Festival usually runs the third week in March
Ueno Park Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Season)
The Kanamara Maturi (The Penis Festival) April
Bunkyo Azalia Festival April
The Shibazakura Festival (April – May)
If you’re heading to Tokyo soon, I highly recommend my book Hidden Tokyo. It’s filled with tons of insights on a range of activities around Tokyo. It also helps to explain this complex city better by dissecting 18 different major neighborhoods into chapters, with around 400 pages of pure Tokyo insight & recommendations. It lays out the city in such a way that any tourist can get to know it like a seasoned expat.