Tokyo is a dazzling destination, one popular among travelers for its ability to keep traditional Japanese culture while embracing a passion for everything new (it is after all one of the world’s most futuristic cities!).
When to visit is a difficult question to answer. Each month has something fantastic to offer, and as seasons play a huge role in Japanese culture, visiting at different times of the year will offer different experiences.
The following are reasons to visit Tokyo during each season. The decision of when to visit is then up to you!
When to Visit Tokyo: Reasons to Visit in Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring
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Winter in Tokyo runs from December to February and is off-peak in terms of tourism. This is a great time to visit for those looking to avoid the crowds, and travelers looking for opportunities to save will be able to find fantastic deals at some of Tokyo’s best hotels.
However, you won’t avoid crowds if planning to take in winter holidays like the Emperor’s Birthday (December 23) or New Year’s Day. So plan for events like this well in advance, and consider pre-booking things like Tokyo airport transfers.
Also, try to avoid traveling to popular destinations like Kyoto on weekends. Winter might be slow in terms of tourists, but local crowds can be just as overwhelming.
Spring runs from March to May when parks throughout the city burst with vibrant colors. Visit Tokyo during spring if the Japanese cherry blossom festival (Hanami) is on your bucket list. Some popular spots for cherry blossom viewing include Shinjuku Gyoen (10 minute walk from Shinjuku Station), Ueno Park (a few steps from Ueno Station), and Asukayama Park (Short walk from Oji Station).
Other festivals and events include Golden Week – a set of public holidays from April 29 to May 5. Keep in mind that travel during Golden Week should be planned well in advance; it is high season for Tokyo and there will be huge crowds. Spring is a great time to visit if interested in the Tokyo gay scene.
Summer in Japan runs from June to August, and includes the rainy season. Temperatures are hot and humid, though for those who can brave the heat there are some fantastic things to do.
For instance, summer is the season for climbing Mount Fuji – something on the bucket list of every adventurer to Japan. Although there are several routes to get to Mount Fuji from Central Tokyo, the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station is the most popular base for ease of public transport from Tokyo. Buses leave Shinjuku Station 4 to 10 times a day. It is a 140 minute bus ride for 2700 yen (one way).
Tourists traveling during July can should aim to catch the summer fireworks. The Sumida River Fireworks happen on the last Saturday of every July.
Autumn in Tokyo runs from September to November, and this is arguably one of the best times to visit the city. Summer crowds start to die down, and the humidity and heat starts to decline.
There are some fantastic festivals and events to attend each year during this time, including the Tokyo International Film Festival in October. This is usually held at the Roppongi Hills development, which is a five-minute walk from the Hibiya Line platform of Roppongi Station.
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Photo credits: Featured photo by Japanexperterna. Pinterest image of cherry blossoms by Yoshikazu TAKADA. Pinetrest image of Tokyo city by Moyan Brenn. Cherry blossom festival photos by Jacob Ehnmark, kaybee07, Reginald Pentinio.