Due to the extraordinary length of the country, which covers up to 20º in latitude from north to south, and its particular geography, surrounded by oceans and with a mountainous core, the climate in Japan can vary drastically between different locations, even during the same time of the year. While the southernmost islands, such as Kyushu and Okinawa, present a warm subtropical climate, Northern Japan is much colder area due to its proximity to Siberia and suffers from long and cold winters.
As in the majority of temperate countries, Japan features four distinct seasons through the year. The Japanese are particularly fond of the scenery variations provided by every season, which are celebrated with numerous festivals and boosts local tourism on selected dates.
Winter in Japan is typically cold and dry, but mostly sunny. While northern and central areas usually get heavy snow, offering great winter sports resorts, the main cities in Honshu rarely see any. Temperatures along the Pacific coast generally stay a few degrees over 0ºC, while the side of the country facing the Sea of Japan can get much colder.
Spring is the favourite season of the Japanese, since the famous cherry blossoms bloom during this time, and probably one of the best times to travel. The beautiful Sakura season starts from late March in southern Japan and gradually extends northwards, typically lasting until mid April. The weather is mild, not too humid and with few precipitations. Due to local holidays (School holidays in late March and the Golden Week in the beginning of May), it’s also one of the busiest travel seasons.
Japanese summer starts getting a high level of precipitation in with what is known as the Rainy Season, or tsuyu. It usually lasts for around three or four weeks and it’s the time when farmers plant their rice. July and August are the warmest months in the county, featuring temperatures reaching up to 40ªC (104 farenheit) and extremely humid air throughout most of the country, which can be quite inconvenient for outdoors activities.
Together with spring, autumn might be the one most convenient times to visit Japan. The temperatures are pleasant, still warm but cooler, it’s not as humid as in summer and the weather quite is dry, with little rain. The tree leaves start changing their colors to beautiful red and yellow tones sometime in October, starting from northern Japan and in mountainous areas and progressively extending to the south. The autumn colors achieve its peak during November and may last until early December.