Climate and monthly weather forecast

Flag of Japan
Flag of Japan

The climate of Japan

Japan has a mainly temperate climate, ranging from cold in the north to subtropical in the south. The climate varies from humid continental (Köppen climate classification Dfb) in the north to tropical rainforest and tropical monsoon in the south (Köppen Af, Am). Most regions in central and southern Japan experience a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa). The mountains in the central highlands display an alpine climate (Köppen ET) at high altitudes. Japan is an island country in East Asia along the Pacific Coast, with a northeast-southwest orientation. The Russian Far East lies across the Sea of Okhotsk in the north, the Pacific Ocean is in the east, China and Taiwan are across the East China Sea in the southwest, and the Korean Peninsula is in the west across the Sea of Japan. The latitudes, proximity to vast bodies of water, high mountain ranges, and ocean currents influence the climate.

Japan is an archipelago of volcanic islands 20°N to 45°N of the equator. The country has a long coastline of 18,486 miles along with numerous outlying islands. The rugged terrain comprises 73% mountainous regions, and 66% of the total area consists of forests. Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Okinawa are the 5 major islands. Each main island has a mountain range. The Hida, Kiso, and Akaishi mountain chains converge in central Japan. The Kanto, Nobi, and Osaka are the three largest plains in central Honshu. Numerous hot springs dot the country. Rivers are deep and swift. The Shinano River is the longest river with a length of 228 miles. The tallest peak in Japan at the height of 3776 meters is Mount Fuji, a dormant volcano. Lake Hachirogata is the lowest point at 4 meters below sea level. No point in Japan lies more than 93 miles from the sea. Eight warm and cold ocean currents surround the Japanese archipelago.

The best time to visit Japan

The best time to visit Japan is in the spring season from April to early June. May is perfect for witnessing the cherry blossoms in most regions. The climate is temperate, and the atmosphere is relatively dry, although much of Japan receives 25mm (0.98") to 102mm (4.02") of rain every month. The average temperatures range between 17.2°C (63°F) in the north and 27.2°C (81°F) in the south. The days are warm, with moderate sunshine, while the nights are mild to cold. April is a comfortable month to visit the south, such as Okinawa. Snow melts in most regions by the beginning of April.

The worst time to visit Japan

The worst time to visit Japan is from late June to August in the summer season. The rainy season occurs during the period, and the atmosphere is humid, cloudy, and hot. Temperatures above 37.8°C (100°F) and significant humidity keep the heat index high. The islands receive heavy rainfall, particularly the southern ones. Typhoons frequent the coasts, as the storm season begins by early summer. At least 5 typhoons visit the Japanese coasts in the summer. Rainstorms occur regularly and cause floods and mudslides. Okinawa and Anami see the peak of the tropical storm season in August.

Spring Weather in Japan

Spring, ranging from April to early June, is an enchanting season in Japan. During this period, most regions witness the bloom of cherry blossoms, making it a popular time for visitors. The climate is temperate, with warm days and mild to cold nights. Precipitation ranges from 25mm (0.98") to 102mm (4.02") per month, and the overall atmosphere remains relatively dry. By April, snow in most regions has melted, providing excellent conditions for outdoor activities.

Summer Weather in Japan

Summers in Japan, from late June to August, are characterized by high temperatures and substantial rainfall. In the north, temperatures average at 25.2°C (77.4°F), while the southern regions experience hotter and wetter conditions. This period also marks the country's rainy season, with humid, cloudy, and hot weather. Typhoons often occur during the summer, particularly along the coastal regions, contributing to the high rainfall.

Autumn Weather in Japan

Autumn in Japan witnesses a transition from hot summer conditions to cooler temperatures. The country receives heavy rainfall due to typhoons in the late summer and early autumn months. Despite this, the season offers a respite from the summer heat and ushers in a period of moderate temperatures, making it a pleasant time for travel and sightseeing, especially in the northern regions.

Winter Weather in Japan

Winters in Japan are marked by a significant decrease in temperatures, with an average of 5.1°C (41.2°F). The northern areas, such as Hokkaido, experience colder conditions with abundant snowfall. The Central Highlands display moderate winter temperatures, contrasting with the mild winters of the south. In the regions facing the Sea of Japan, heavy snowfall is common, transforming the landscape into a winter wonderland, ideal for winter sports enthusiasts.

Weather in January

January marks the depths of winter in Japan, with cold temperatures felt across the country. It is particularly frosty in the northern regions such as Hokkaido, where average temperatures can fall as low as -6°C (21.2°F). This region also receives copious snowfall, making it an ideal destination for winter sports enthusiasts. Asahikawa in Hokkaido is particularly noteworthy as it holds the country's record for the lowest temperature, a frigid -41°C (-41.8°F) recorded in January 1902. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February, much like its predecessor January, is a cold winter month in Japan. However, a slight increase in temperature is observable as the country transitions towards spring. In northern Japan, especially Hokkaido, the average temperatures remain freezing, approximately -5°C (23°F), only a minor increase from January. Noteworthy is the city of Sapporo in Hokkaido, well-known for hosting its renowned Snow Festival in early February. Weather in February »

Weather in March

As the last vestiges of winter fade, March brings warmer weather and the advent of spring to Japan. Northern regions like Hokkaido see a slight rise in temperatures, with averages increasing to about 0°C (32°F). However, snowfall continues to blanket areas such as Sapporo, making it a favoured location for late-season winter sports. The central regions, including the Sea of Japan coastline and the Central Highlands, see warmer temperatures around 9°C (48.2°F). Weather in March »

Weather in April

April ushers in the full bloom of spring across Japan, with warmer temperatures and cherry blossoms adorning the landscapes. The colder northern regions, such as Hokkaido, see a significant increase in temperatures to about 8°C (46.4°F), bringing an end to the long winter. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is a delightful month in Japan as the country transitions from spring to early summer. It is characterized by mild temperatures, less rainfall, and lush greenery following the cherry blossom season. In the northern regions of Japan, specifically Hokkaido, temperatures rise to 14°C (57.2°F). Weather in May »

Weather in June

June in Japan is synonymous with the arrival of the rainy season, locally known as Tsuyu or Baiyu. This month marks the beginning of the wet season and the transition from spring to summer across the country. In the northern areas such as Hokkaido, the weather is warm, with average temperatures around 18°C (64.4°F). Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is characterized by hot and humid conditions in Japan, marking the peak of the country's summer season. Despite the heat, it offers an array of traditional events and vibrant firework festivals, making it a lively and colorful month. In the northern regions, including Hokkaido, the temperatures rise significantly compared to previous months, averaging 22°C (71.6°F). Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is the height of summer in Japan, characterized by high temperatures and humidity. Despite the intense heat, it is a time for traditional festivals and events, making it a lively period in the country. In the northern regions, including Hokkaido, temperatures average around 23°C (73.4°F). Weather in August »

Weather in September

September in Japan marks the transition from summer to autumn, with a gradual decrease in temperatures and humidity levels throughout the country. However, it is also the peak of the typhoon season, which can bring heavy rainfall and stormy weather. In northern Japan, specifically in Hokkaido, temperatures begin to cool down, averaging 20°C (68°F). Weather in September »

Weather in October

October brings a welcome shift in Japan's weather, marking the full arrival of autumn. It is a month of pleasant temperatures, diminishing rain, and brilliant fall foliage, making it a popular time for both locals and tourists. In Hokkaido, the northernmost region, autumn is in full swing. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November in Japan is characterised by a marked shift in temperatures as the country transitions from autumn to winter. The weather is typically crisp and dry, and the vivid colours of autumn foliage reach their peak in many regions, offering stunning landscapes. In the northernmost region of Hokkaido, temperatures range from 2°C (35.6°F) to 8°C (46.4°F), and the first snow of the season often falls towards the end of the month. Weather in November »

Weather in December

In December, Japan fully embraces the winter season. The weather becomes notably colder across the country, and the landscapes undergo dramatic transformations as snow blankets numerous regions. In the northern region of Hokkaido, December is truly a winter month. Weather in December »


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