Travel to Tokyo sometime around March, April, October, or November. The weather is perfect for your outdoor plans such as visiting tourist spots, parks, and gardens. You don’t need to worry about horrendous rain or nasty heat during these months. If you’re going with your significant other, visit either during springtime or late fall. The cherry blossoms make for a romantic setting.
Tokyo Travel Tips
Make sure to make hotel reservations way in advance, as the most excellent ones get booked pretty fast.
The weather in Tokyo is greatest from late March until May and from October up until early December.
If your goal is to visit sights, visit during March, April, October, or November.
Tokyo’s nightlife is alive all-year-round, so party animals may visit anytime they want.
If you’re on a budget, travel in January or February: there are lesser tourists during these months. The cost of living here is pretty high regardless though, so don’t expect an affordable visit.
There are many places in Tokyo that can cater to your preferences all-year-round.
Best Time To Go Sightseeing
While Tokyo is magnificent all-year-round, the most ideal months to visit for sight tours are March, April, October, or November. Sakura season happens during springtime, sometime around late March until mid-April. The sight of cherry blossoms in full bloom and drifting through the wind like pink snowflakes are just magical. The spring season also brings fantastic sunny weather with a very slim chance of rain.
If you want a cooler temperature with only a small chance of rain, visit Tokyo in November. The fall brings bright skies and the most excellent views of the foliage across the city.
Don’t book a trip between July and August, as the sun is the angriest during this time. The heat and humidity might hinder you from enjoying the sights. You’ll also likely bump against other tourists who for some reason love visiting around this period.
Make sure to visit Tokyo’s most famous spots like the Sensoji Temple. Do so at morning time on a weekday. The place looks amazing at night too. The shops in Nakamise are already closed at night, so there aren’t many people around.
Best Time To Go To Disney
Have a magical time at Tokyo Disney Resort and a fantastic weather during springtime. If you don’t want hordes of tourists ruining your trip, best to go either before or after the Golden Week. Pick that sweet spot between late April and early May to visit.
Another ideal time would be around mid-November until early December. If you’re not picky about the weather, though, you may also visit in June or October. It’s Tokyo’s rainy season, so if you don’t mind the rain, this schedule is perfect. You won’t be bothered by massive crowds and queues are a lot shorter.
Speaking of queues, the ones at Tokyo Disney Sea are much shorter, so you might want to opt for that. It is a monorail ride away from Tokyo Disney.
Best Time To see The Fall Colours
To enjoy the vibrant colors of Tokyo, visit the city from the middle of November up until early December. The breath-taking foliage during the fall lasts for a few weeks, not like the sakura’s that only last for seven days.
Head downtown to Icho Namiki Avenue to fully enjoy the view of Tokyo’s autumn foliage. The avenue is home to rows of gingko trees whose leaves turn bright yellow in fall. Be sure to visit Rikugien Gardens as well, as it is astonishing during the latter part of fall. Go sight-seeing as early as 9 am to avoid tourists.
Best Time To Go Shopping
If you’re an avid shopper, then you’re in for a treat at Tokyo. Major clearance sales take place twice every year, during summer and winter.
Tokyo’s famous end-of-summer-sales begin at the end of the rainy season, which is around week 3 of July. Grab the chance to shop from 30 to 50 percent off on your favorite fashion boutiques. Other items apart from clothing apparel also go on sale.
The winter sale takes place towards the end of the year. All stores, whether big or small, offer a chock-full of fall and winter items at very low prices during this period. Beware of hordes of shoppers, though!
Not that you can completely avoid it, but try going on a Tuesday or Thursday morning to stay away from huge crowds and long queues. Try to catch stores at their opening time which is around 10 am. Sundays are the worst time to go as families usually head there to shop. Shops are usually closed on Mondays and Wednesdays, so those aren’t good either.
Best Time To Go To The Tsukiji Fish Market
If you’re craving for fresh seafood, then what better place to go than Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s biggest wholesale fish market. Head there before dawn and participate in auctions for tuna. Enjoy some of the freshest sushi or sashimi for breakfast afterwards.
The most ideal month to visit the market is January. In order to survive the freezing cold during this period, fish tend to store more fat than usual. And as you know, the fattier the fish, the better it tastes.
Tourists flock here as early as 3 in the morning to witness the famed Tuna Auction. Only 120 guests are allowed each day to watch the exciting auction, so it is a must to go really early to earn a spot. The first 60 gets to watch the first session at 5:25 to 5:45 am, while the second batch gets to watch at 5:50 to 6:10 am. The inner market is open to all guests at 9 am, once all the action has subsided.
Travel Seasons in Tokyo
Peak Tourist Season
If you can’t take extreme heat and humidity, then do not travel to Tokyo during summer (June to September). The crowds are especially thick around August, when students are on vacation and adults go on leave from their jobs as well.
Summer is the peak period for tourists, too, as the official climbing months of Mount Fuji are July and August. If you’re not planning to go on a Fuji hike, then we suggest skipping these months.
The rainiest period in the city happens between early June until mid-July. If you visit during this time though, you at least get to see colorful hydrangeas in bloom literally everywhere.
The Perfect Season
Tokyo’s shoulder season is April and November. The weather is perfect during this time: the earth is dry and the heat is just right. Expect to bump into hundreds of people though, after all, the city’s population is more than 13 million.
In April, both locals and tourists alike visit parks to bask in the beauty of cherry blossoms. The Golden Week happens towards the end of April until the start of May, so expect hordes of people out and about then as well. Visit in the middle of May and June to enjoy moderate discounts on hotels.
Tokyo’s off-peak season is during the winter, between January to March. If you’re fine with the cold, then this is the best time to visit. It rarely snows in the city, so a warm jacket will be enough to fend off the cold. Hotel rates during this season are also a little bit lower, except of course, during Christmas and New Year. Again, Tokyo is a very expensive city to live in, so don’t hope for major discounts.
Month By Month Weather in Tokyo
January is both the sunniest and coldest month of the city. If you are visiting Tokyo during winter, make sure to bring with you a jacket and a pair of shades. While it rarely snows, the temperature during winter is usually between 7 to 10°C during the daytime, and around 0 to 1°C come nighttime.
Rain also rarely occurs in January, averaging only 43mm of rainfall in a span of 9 days. Although the weather is really, sunny, you only have relatively little time to spend the day in the sun. The sun sets as early as 4:45 pm on the first day of the year. Come month-end, daytime ends at 5:07 pm. The coldest temperature during January is 8°C, and the average rainfall is 43mm.
February is a lot similar to January in terms of weather. It is a little cloudier though, and the temperature a bit warmer as it rises to 9°C. The month is mostly filled with sunny days, with only 11 days of rain with 58mm rainfall.
It’s still pretty chilly out there, so a coat is recommended when going out. If you’ve booked a Japanese home for your lodging, remember that these traditional houses tend to be under-insulated, so it’s going to be cold indoors as well. If you’re staying in the more modern hotels, heating is not a problem. Trains are well-insulated as well. The highest temperature for the month is 9°C and rainfall is 58mm.
March is the beginning of spring. It is marked by a rise in temperature and a high likelihood of rain. It is still going to be sunny all-month round, but watch out for heavy rainfalls as well. Make sure to have a raincoat and umbrella to avoid spoiling your day.
The cherry blossom season starts in the last few days of the month. As the flowers start to bloom, parks will be packed with flower-viewing festivities called hanami. The sun usually sets at 6 in the evening, so you’ll have plenty of time to relish the daylight. The highest temperature for the month is 12°C and the maximum rainfall is 94mm.
April is considered one of the most enjoyable months to visit Tokyo. The world-famous cherry blossoms are in full bloom and the temperature is absolutely ideal. Daytime begins to become longer, especially towards the end of the month, where the sun sets at 6:30 pm.
During the day, the weather may be a bit cold and wet. The temperature then starts to rise in the afternoon, around 17 to 18°C. The average rainfall is at 119mm.
May is an ideal time to visit Tokyo as well. The sun rises as early as 4:30 in the morning and sets as late as 7 in the evening (towards the end of the month, that is). The temperature is just right, too, averaging from 20 to 21°C.
Rainfall starts to become pretty frequent in May, 16 days to be exact. The average rainfall during this month is 132mm. It’s almost always sunny all day, though, so don’t forget to take sunglasses with you. Some mornings may also be colder than others, so make sure to have a jacket with you.
June marks the beginning of the hotter days ahead, with temperature averaging at 24°C. Rain also frequents the city around this time, as the six-week rainy season begins. Rainfall will occur for 20 days with an average precipitation of 181mm. Don’t let the rain stop you from your plans, though. A trusty raincoat and waterproof clothing will do the trick.
You also know it’s June because you start to see umbrellas being sold in every nook and cranny. It is also not uncommon to spot locals giving out promotional uchiwa fans. They are actually very helpful in combating the heat, so don’t hesitate to take one.
July is an even hotter month than June, with an average temperature rising to 28°C. The streets are still going to be wet or damp, though, as the six-week rainy season continues. Rainfall varies from time to time from mild drizzles to insane downpours. It averages at 128mm for the month.
We advise against bringing a jacket, though, because the heat may be too hot to bear. We suggest you bring with you a bunch of waterproof or easy-dry clothing. And of course, an umbrella and uchiwa are highly recommended.
August continues to bring intensely hot weather, as the average temperature rises to 29°C. More bright sunny days are up ahead as the rainy season ends. Beware of the disturbing heat and humidity, though, as it can ruin a perfectly good day outdoors.
To arm yourself for the sweltering heat, wear comfortable and absorbent clothing. A popular choice among locals is Airism, a product of famous clothing store Uniqlo. This underwear is especially created to absorb and release moisture quickly. This advanced technology lets you stay comfortably cool all day long. The average rainfall for the month is 147 mm.
September marks the beginning of fall, where heat and humidity start to decrease. It’s the rainiest month of the year, averaging 209mm of precipitation. The cool temperature does not start until the end of the month, though. The temperature on average may be 26°C, but some days will see heat levels as high as 33°C, especially at the start of the month.
October’s initial 15 days are a lot like September. The first half of the month will see rainy days with high temperatures. Towards the second half of the month, the temperature starts to cool down, with an average of 20°C.
During the nighttime, the temperature drops to 15°C. Be sure to have a jacket and a raincoat with you at all times. The days become a lot shorter once again, with the sun setting as early as 4:45 pm. The average rainfall for the month is 158mm.
November, known as the city’s autumn season, is marked by various hues of trees and leaves. With the azure sky and the bright red maple trees, the city looks completely magnificent. The temperature is also a lot cooler, with an average of 16°C. It is also a dry season, with precipitation averaging only 84mm. The day ends really early this month, with the sun setting at 4:30 pm. Sweaters and jackets are the perfect apparel for this month’s weather.
December, a continuation of autumn, gives cold and dry days. The temperature begins to drop this month, with an average of 12°C during daytime and 4°C come nighttime. It’s best to wear a warm coat if you’re planning a day outdoors. Chance of rainfall is also unlikely. The average rainfall for the month is only 44mm across 9 days.
Tokyo’s Calendar of Events and Festivities
Just like anywhere else in the world, the New Year is a major holiday in Japan, with various traditions being carried out during the first day of the year. One of these rituals is to get up early in the morning to witness the first sunrise of the year.
Another festive tradition is called hatsumode, where masses of people visit temples or shrines to make wishes for the year ahead. In this ritual, people buy new charms called omamori, as their old ones are burned at the shrine. Locals usually go on leave from December 29 up until January 3. During this period, most tourist spots, stores, and restaurants to be closed to observe the national holiday.
In celebration of the New Year, and to dispose of old apparel, the winter sales take place over the course of the entire month. A traditional ritual called fukubukro takes place the week following New Year’s Day, where shopping stores offer up bags with boatloads of mysterious items for extremely low rates. During this month, you will also find clearance sales in all shopping stores big and small, especially in Harajuku, Shibuya, and Shinjuku.
Another popular tradition in Japan is the Sumo New Year Basho, an occasion lasting for 10 days taking place on either the second or third week of the month. It is the first of six sumo wrestling grand tournaments of the year. It is also one of the three sumo events happening in Tokyo every year.
Another joyous occasion for the month of January is the Coming Of Age Day. It takes place on during the second Monday of the month, and celebrates every local who turned 20 years old the previous year. Celebrants flock to city halls all over the country to mark their adulthood.
Everyone is invited to join the grand event. Women of all ages show up to the party in elegant kimonos, fabulous hairstyles, gorgeous makeup. The event is considered a national non-working holiday, so numerous main streets are closed for vehicles and are brimming with street performers. It’s a wonderful tradition that showcases young adults donning traditional Japanese clothing.
Every 24th of January, the Kogan-Ji Temple holds their annual event, the Sugamo Togenuki Jizo Taisai. In this festival, the Sutra of Great Wisdom is read by around 20 priests. Numerous stores that sell random items such as local food and quirky merchandise surround the temple and its nearby streets.
The Setsubun is a set of rituals and ceremonies carried out at shrines all over the country to bring in good luck and great fortune, as well as fend off bad luck such as calamities and injuries. It takes place at the night before spring, or the 3rd of February as specified in the Japanese lunar calendar.
The national event even showcases famous stars and celebrities who throw special prizes and lucky beans to the crowd. Zojoji Temple in Tokyo is famous for its strategic location near the Tokyo Tower and its long line of Tokugawa shogun. Here, a special bean flinging ceremony is held where people born in the same Zodiac year of that particular year wear traditional samurai clothing.
The Day of the Horse takes place in February at the Oji inari Jinja Shrine. The annual Kite Market opens during this event in honor of a tradition dating as far back as the Endo Era. Back then, kites were perceived to be lucky charms. Kites were thought to have the capacity to stop the spread of fires, owing to the idea that they can “cut the wind”.
The Floating Ceremony of Paper Hina Dolls or Nagashibina is another ancient Japanese tradition that has been in existence for over 1000 years. The ceremony makes use of hundreds of paper dolls, some made from plant materials, to ward off diseases and injuries that may strike children. During the ritual, the dolls are dropped into the river while dove-shaped balloons are released into the air by women donning kimonos.
The celebration of Valentine’s Day is a little different over in Japan. Every 14th of January, it’s the ladies, not the other way around, who purchase presents. It’s not just for romantic partners, though. It’s actually more like Christmas, where any friend or loved one receives a gift.
Restaurants and hotels offer various Valentine’s packages such as special romantic dinners and accommodations. Even the Keikyu train line has a special commuter coach adorned with heart decals and romantic seats. Don’t feel bad for the ladies, though, as they do get their special day the following month, during White Day.
The Tokyo Marathon normally takes place on the last Sunday of the month. It is participated by almost 40,000 marathoners every year, who get to run across Tokyo’s most magnificent tourist sights. The track begins at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and ends at Tokyo Big Sight. The marathon is a major event, with huge crowds cheering for the runners to provide motivation.
The yearly Dharma Doll Fair, locally known as the Jinaiji Daruma Ichi occurs on the first weekend of March. The festive market is located at the Jindai-ji Temple, Chofu, a countryside in Tokyo. A variety of Daruma dolls are featured and sold in the market, and are said to provide good fortune.
It may be a famous Irish holiday, but Saint Patrick’s Day is also actually huge in Tokyo. In fact, the biggest St. Patrick’s event takes place in the city, where people flaunt traditional Irish and Japanese costumes. The Omotesando shopping district is adorned with tricolor flags and filled with floats. The streets are filled with leprechauns, Irish dancers, setters, and wolfhounds who perform for the audience. There are also “voucher girls” who hand out free booze.
The Fire-walking Festival gives people the rare opportunity to observe the strict monastic practices of the Takao-san mountain priests. It takes place once a year in the middle of March where yamabushi monks literally walk over fire as they perform spiritual chants. Once the flames have died down, visitors may experience firsthand and walk on the moderately hot surface.
The Rikugien Garden Illumination is a ceremony occurring on the third week of March up until the early days of April. In this ritual, the shidare zakura or the weeping cherry tree and feudal lord’s garden are adorned with lights, making for a stunning view in spring.
The 50-foot tall and 65-foot wide tree towers the park and serves as its central symbol. The sight is truly spectacular at night, where the lights make it appear like it is floating in mid-air. It looks incredible at daytime as well, with the rays of the sun giving it a wonderful glow.
If you haven’t heard of this festival yet, well, this one is going to blow your mind. The Kanamara Festival, or the “Festival of the Iron Phallus” takes place in Kawasaki, near Tokyo. Its central figure is a gigantic pink penis 32 feet tall that is paraded across the streets of the city. Prayers are offered to the phallic figure for safe childbirth, conception, and marital satisfaction.
Buddha’s birthday falls on the 8th of April, and it is celebrated through the Hana Festival, a festival of flowers. In honor of the prophet, shrines are adorned with flowers, and baby Buddha figurines are paraded across the city. Children wearing colorful outfits walk the streets with white elephants made of papier-mâché. At Sensoji Temple, cups of hydrangea tea are served during the day.
The Annual Spring Festival happens on the third weekend of April. It takes place at the Yasukuni Shrine, where ancient dance and martial arts routines are performed.
The Golden Week is a series of holidays celebrated in concurrence with the country’s spring season. Four non-consecutive holidays make up the Golden Week. It starts at the end of April and ends at the start of May. During this period, many locals are on vacation, making it a peak travel season.
Expect hotels, public transportation, and tourist spots filled with crowds. Its central holiday is Children’s Day which is celebrated every 5th of May. It’s a day where families join together to pray for the personal and professional success of their sons.
Earth Day Tokyo is the grandest environment-related event in Japan. It takes place at the 3rd weekend of April in Yoyogi Park. The park fills up with booths that boost environmental awareness and stalls offering healthy foods. Musical performances also take place.
The Kanda Festival is held every other year to celebrate the deities of Kanda Shrine. It takes place at the weekend that’s nearest Ma 15, during odd-numbered years. The Kanda Myojin Shrine hosts the festivities that engage over 2 million guests.
The festival features floats filled with dancers, and about 200 Shinto shrines or mikoshi, used to bring a deity from one place to another. Countless geisha and people wearing traditional Japanese outfits join the joyous occasion.
The Hanazono Shrine Festival takes place every year during the nearest weekend to May 28th. It highlights the shinkosai procession that is filled with floats and mikoshi. Rituals are performed during the celebration, while a wide range of Japanese food are available in stalls.
The Sanno Festival is arguably the most popular one in Tokyo. Happening only in even-numbered years in the middle of June, it alternates with the Kanda Festival that takes place during odd-numbered years. It highlights a parade the length of 15 miles that marches across Central Tokyo.
During early to mid-June, the Hakusan Jinja Shrine hosts the annual Hydrangea Festival. The road to the shrine is filled with street stands that sell hydrangea plants as well as other colorful items.
The Tokyo Summer Festival is a month-long event taking place in July. Musicians from all across the globe gather at the city to perform.
The Shiman Rokusen-nichi, or the “Day of 46,000” is a festival that takes place on July 9 and 10 at the Sensou-ji Temple. According to belief, visiting the temple during these days is equivalent to 46,000 days. Thousands of locals and tourists participate in the event every year, where countless stands offer wind chimes and potted cherry plants all day and night.
The Sumida River Fireworks Display has been in existence since the Edo period, sometime around 1603 to 1867. Firework makers from around the country gathered in one place to compete and showcase their displays. It is the most ancient fireworks display in the whole world, and is one of the greatest ones in Japan. The Asakusa district of Tokyo hosts the event in late July.
The Fukagawa Hachiman Festival, or the Hon-matsuri is a three-part festival that takes place from mid- until late August. It features a huge parade of mikoshi that marches across 4 miles. The mikoshi is showered with water for the duration of the period.
The Asakusa Samba Carnival is one of the most famous and fun-filled summer festivals in Tokyo. With over 500,000 guests annually, the festival honors the culture of Brazil by playing samba music all over the city.
The Koenji Awa Odori Festival is a huge festival happening at the end of August. It is inspired by Shioku’s Awa Odori festival and highlights various forms of street dance. Over a million spectators gather to witness countless street performers dancing through classic Japanese music.
October starts early in Tokyo. The Hibiya Oktoberfest takes place in mid-September, featuring German food, culture, and entertainment. Hibiya Park, the festival’s host, is an Edwardian- and Gothic-themed park built in 1903.
The Sumo Autumn Basho is the last of three professional sumo wrestling tournaments in Tokyo. It takes place in the middle of September for 15 days.
The Tokyo Game Show is the country’s largest video game conference. It is hosted by the city’s Chiba district, and has more than 25 million guests attending annually. The event spans four days at the Makuhair Messe.
The Ikebukuro Festival is a huge event happening in late September. It is marked by an evening open ceremony which is then followed by a mikoshi palanquin festival the next morning. A mikoshi parade marches across the streets, along with a shishimai lion dance, accompanied by background taiko drumming as well as ohayashi music. A yoimikoshi palanquin parade along with an Okinawan eisa dance performance follows in the evening.
The Tokyo Yosakoi Contest is a massive group dance competition held in 9 various platforms. Over 100 dance troupes compete every year, which include winners coming from different parts of the country to showcase their skills in yosakoi dancing.
The Dai Ginza Festival is a 7-day event occurring in mid-October to honor the anniversary of the restoration of the Meiji. It centers on a parade of light and sound marching across Ginza Dori. It also features various musical performances, a charity bazaar, the Hachi-Cho Pilgrimage, and a photo competition. Various sales are also available in stores all across the district.
The Tokyo International Film Festival is a yearly competition of films all across Asia. It takes place during the final week of October until the first week of November. A variety of awards are given to the best filmmakers.
The Kiku Kuyo, is a sort of memorial service in honor of old chrysanthemums. It is held in late October at the Sensoji Temple, where new flowers provided by parishioners replace existing ones. Aside from the magnificent floral display, the popular Golden Dragon dance is also carried out to lure luck and success.
In previous years, Halloween was not a big deal in Tokyo. However, it has slowly gained popularity among teens and young adults. Shibuya’s Center Gail Street is packed with creatively-dressed folks to celebrate the holiday.
Tokyo Culture Day or Jidai Matsuri happens on the 3rd of November. It is considered a national holiday that features a parade narrating the colorful history of the city. The parade is filled with people dressed up to embody the different eras of Tokyo.
The Shibuya Festival is an enjoyable event that happens during November’s first weekend. It holds numerous family events in different venues such as the Yoyogi Park Event Square. A wide range of food stalls and parade fill the streets.
Tori-no-ichi is a popular fair that takes place on the day of the rooster, or tori. People flock to the Asakusa Otori Shrine on November 4 (its first day) to pray for good health, business, and wealth. Various stalls emerge surrounding the shrines.
The largest market is in Tokyo’s Asakusa, with over 200 booths. Vendors sell various charms called kumade that are said to attract a great year of business. Food items such as yatsugashira potatoes, said to help fertility, are sold as well.
On November 23, the Japanese celebrate Labor Thanksgiving Day. The national holiday is intended to thank each other for all the work carried out across the year. Various mini-events are held during the day, such as the Nagano Labor Festival, a program that advocates peace and promotes human and environmental rights.
On December 14 of each year, the Gishi-sai Festival takes place at Sengakuji Temple. The festival aims to celebrate the 47 loyal retainers of Akoh. People from around the world visit to honor Akoh’s vassals at their burial site. A parade of volunteers dressed as vassals also takes place.
The Setagaya no Boro Ichi is the largest antique flea market in the country. It takes place on the 15th and 16th of December every year and goes way back to 1578. Over 700 antique vendors gather at Setagaya to sell ancient arts and crafts items.
On December 23 is the celebration of the Emperor’s Birthday. Flags and banners are displayed everywhere, and the emperor along with the imperial family appear in public on their palace balcony. This is a rare occasion, as the royal family only make two public appearances each year.
The emperor delivers a speech and interacts with the crowd, thanking them for their well-wishes. The crowds wave small versions of the country’s flag to show their love and support.
The welcoming of the New Year takes place from December 29 until January 3. City shops and restaurants are usually closed during this period to celebrate the holiday. The Japanese cleaning ritual called O souji takes place on December 31, where families clean their houses before putting a shimekazari on the door.
Doing so symbolizes that the house has been purified and may now welcome the divine deities. Right before 12 am, marvelous displays of fireworks are shown over Tokyo Bay. The Watch-Night Bell is then gonged 108 times at various temples across Japan.