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What's your favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 10:15
I'll be making my third trip to Japan sometime in 2015, and I absolutely cannot wait. My first trip was in November 2010 and my second was April 2013 (thanks, super early cherry blossoms, lol). I'm pretty sure I'll be traveling in the summer due to my husbands teaching schedule and so we will have someone to babysit our kid. While I'd love some input on your favorite summer month to travel, I'd just like to start a discussion about your favorite month to be in Japan and why. I'd like my next trip to include festivals, which I've sorely missed out on my past two trips ... Which is why July/August sound appealing. Anyhoo .... GO!!! :)
by Heidi (guest)  

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 10:41
April and November are the best months. July and August can be brutally hot and humid unless you are going to Hokkaido.

I was in Kofu this past August, and it was 41 degrees Celsius with very little cooling at night. If you must go in August, you may have better results near the end of the month.

by rpcman (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 11:04
Yes, we certainly enjoyed our last two trips ... I think I liked November the most. We hit some great foliage spots and that first trip is always magical.

I have definitely considered the heat and humidity. I'm pretty used to really hot weather since I've spent a lot of time in South Carolina, but I don't want to be miserable. On the other hand, I think it would be really neat to go to some summer festivals. I still have plenty of time to plan, so if everyone is like DO NOT GO in the summer, I'll reconsider.

I've never made it to Hokkaido and I do have a wonderful friend who lives in Sapporo, so maybe that should be a focus of our trip? I have been really wanting to make it to the Kumano Kodo/Wakayama area though. I have read that Shirahama is a summer resort area. Maybe we can split the trip halfway. I love the cheap flights from Peach and Jetstar; we flew Osaka to Okinawa to Tokyo for about $100 a person. Maybe they'll have that for Sapporo.
by Heidi (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 11:30
on my personal view, i prefer autumn and november is the best month,not hot but also not too cold plus the beautiful autumn leaves.

i think Hokkaido is a better if you want to have a visit on summer especially if you loves nature. Furano lavender field is highly recommended especially if you went there july/august
by eattea rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 11:41
The last few years we've gone in November/early December. It has been great - not too crowded, still some autumn leaves, cool, no major holidays. But out of all of our trips, my favourite was in June, 2011, for various reasons. I'm thinking of our trip being in June again this year.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 11:55
July or August?
Hmm... early July is better, I think?
Because the latter half of July and August are in the summer holidays of schools, so sights are more crowded.
If it's still humid, it's so hellish, though.
by ajapaneseboy rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 13:47
I think if you come in August, Who Viewed always is the good fireworks.
(Sendai Tanabata, Aomori Nebuta, Akita Kanto) three major festivals in the Northeast is famous for its festivals.
Hokkaido of August is wonderful.
Gion Festival is held in Kyoto, if July.
The outdoor festival is also held many July-August.
by haro (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 15:31
Most of our trips have been in winter or spring, plus one in early September which was still very humid and blergh. My favourite months are January and February because I love the cold and snow. That being said, it would be nice to head over one June and going straight to Hokkaido.
by Sal1980 rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 21:54
How about late September early October. Would it be very humid still? Or just nice to walk around?
by pirespt rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 23:10
August is actually a GREAT month to travel in Japan. There's almost always a festival going on somewhere.

Yes, it's humid and hot, but I think many people make it more dramatic than it is. You do have to keep in mind though your own personal tolerance to heat and humidity.

Other advantages of August are that all the gardens and natural sites are lush and beautiful and if you have an interest in Mount Fuji, you can climb it in August.
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 23:47
We've been twice in the last two weeks of Oct, twice at Christmas, and once in Spring (can't remember exactly when. It was a long time ago.)

I loved being in Japan at Christmas, although, of course, it was really cold in a lot of places (and just ordinarily chilly in the other places). But we don't really get much snow at home, so that was the trade off for us: snow, in exchange for having to wrap up warm. It can be a pain though, having to take lots of warm clothes (possibly even a pair of boots) for snow in the mountains, but only needing medium-warm clothes and normal footwear for e.g. Tokyo. You end up carrying a lot of stuff with you, which is a pain if you like to travel light.

I think I prefer late October. You can still have very pleasant weather in lowland places (I was hot in Kyoto this October, and was walking around in a shirt and jeans), and you can also experience red leaves (around Takayama this year, and in Hokkaido on a previous trip). We even had snow one October in Hokkaido, when we were up a mountain.

I think you also have to think about rainy seasons. October's been good to us in Japan: we've had the odd bit of rain, but nothing too heavy or prolonged (compared to the UK). Perhaps there's less rain in November, but I guess it's colder? It's a lot less fun sightseeing in the rain....
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/23 23:49
If your husband's academic calendar allows you to leave in late May, that can be a very good time, because the weather is much more comfortable than in July/August, and it is still low tourist season so it is generally easy to find hotel bargains. Sightseeing venues and trains are relatively uncrowded, which is another plus. If you linger too long into June you run the risk of hitting the rainy season, but I've never been too bothered by that before mid-June.

Unfortunately, there aren't too many big festivals at that time, although if you can get there by the third saturday in May there's Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo. In June there's Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo. There will also be some flower festivals (hydrangea and iris), if you happen to like flowers. Those are pretty low-key events but you do get to see some lovely flowers, and there is sometimes some pretty good street food. It's also firefly (hotaru) season. (You have to make an effort to see those amazing insects, but it seems to be getting increasingly popular, with more and more firefly events and hotel special plans showing up in recent years.) On the second Saturday of June is the very charming chagu-chagu umako festival in Morioka. This is quite a unique festival and really delightful, especially if you like horses or cute kids. (They also have traditional dancing, but I always go for the horses and the kids. There are always some foals, too.) It's also a good way to make use of a JR pass; you can even do that one as a day trip from Tokyo.

The scenery in late May and early June is lush, with some snow still lingering on mountain peaks in places and newly planted rice fields reflecting the skies and attracting herons and egrets. Tohoku is particularly lovely at this time.

Another good point about leaving right after school gets out is that when you get home you still have most of your summer left.
by Uma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/24 01:11
I agree with Uma. I lived in Japan many years and May-June are the best (but rainy season starts around June 10 or so). The worst, in my opinion, was March.
I went back for 3 weeks in May and it was clear the whole time except for a shower one evening in Tokyo and 1/2 day of rain in Nagasaki.
If you want crystal clear, cold days go in January.
by Dick H rate this post as useful

Re: What's YOUR favorite month to travel Japan? 2014/1/24 05:45
I was there in early July last year. The heat was for sure something to be reckoned with, but I'm from a humid, oceanside place in Canada so it was nice to be away from the cripplingly dry prairie for a change.My hair and skin were SO happy!

The only downside I found to being there in the summer is that it was so hot that I often wasn't hungry for anything that wasn't cold and wet. Lots of water, cold fruit and ice cream, but the idea of having a meal was too much for me. I lost weight, but I also lost out on a lot of great cuisine.

This year, I plan to go in early May, and I've heard the weather is very agreeable at that time of the year. Hopefully I won't need a sweater or anything though, I'm trying to pack as light as possible.
by Amyranth (guest) rate this post as useful

answer to pirespt 2014/1/24 07:23
Late September/early October is pretty good, IMO. I've been twice at around those times. The downside is potential typhoon risks (apparently less likely in September but more intense if they do). Also September can still be quite hot, but the Japanese will tend to shut down pools and things in hotels from the beginning of September regardless of the continuing heat (at least in the places we have been). But on the plus side, it isn't peak season though there is a public holiday in there somewhere, the food is great, you are more likely to get drizzle than full on rain depending where you are. I'd go again, but the later in September the better.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

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