Translated by MATCHA_En
Spring In Japan: Traveling, Clothing And Weather In March-May
Japan's spring spans from March to May. This article contains information on the weather and the best things to do in Japan in the spring. Enjoy your trip to the fullest by viewing cherry blossoms, and taking part in spring festivals and events!
Written by MATCHA
Enjoying Spring in Japan
Top-left picture courtesy of JNTO Japan Photo Library
Spring is an exciting season in Japan, with sakura (cherry blossoms), new budding leaves and plenty of beautiful things to see, as well as delicious types of food to eat. Also, in Japan both the school year and business year start in April, so spring is a season full of new meetings, activities and liveliness.
This article introduces travel tips for those planning to visit Japan in spring, such as fun things to do, weather information, and details of events that one shouldn't miss out around this time of the year.
Spring Weather in Japan
Spring in Japan is generally a three month period, from March to May.
In March, Tokyo's spring weather is an average of 13 degrees during the afternoon, and 5 degrees Celsius during the morning and evening. In April, the afternoon temperatures reach an average of 18.5 degrees, while temperatures in the morning and night are around 10.5 degrees Celsius. In May, during the afternoons we can experience around 23 degrees Celsius, while in the evenings and mornings temperature decreases to around 15 degrees.
Even though it's spring, during the first half of the season there are mostly cold days with plenty of snow, while the second half has plenty of sunny days with clear weather.
The Highlights of Spring
One of the best parts of spring is definitely the cherry blossoms. They bloom in parks, on street roads, on the mountains or along the riversides. Sakura trees planted in various places all burst into a light pink at the same time. The time that the sakura bloom depends on the climate each year, but usually around March the cherry blossoms slowly start blossoming from the Southern regions of Japan, working their way up to the Northern areas.
From: Gion's Best Sakura Spots
The average time for the sakura to bloom is May 3rd in the Sapporo, Hokkaido, and they should be in full bloom by May 8th. In the Tokyo area they will start blooming around March 25th, and should be in full bloom by around April 6th. In Osaka, the cherry blossoms will start blooming around March 28th, and should be in full bloom by April 6th. In Kyoto, the dates for blooming are March 27th, and the flowers are expected to be in full bloom by April 9th. As the time the cherry blossoms are actually in bloom is not very long, you should plan your trip while taking a look at this year's sakura bloom predictions.
Sakura are of course beautiful when they are in full bloom, but they are just as beautiful when the petals begin falling from trees, and it looks like snow falling. The cherry blossoms are great to be observed not only in the afternoon, but also in the evening. This is called yozakura (night time sakura viewing), and presents a different view of these flowers' beauty.
Hanami: Viewing Cherry Blossoms
In Japan, hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is the long-established custom of friends, family and even coworkers to go out to eat and drink together underneath the sakura trees during this time.
Picture from Kawasaki - Places To Have Fun And Visit Before Kanamara Matsuri
Spring marks the beginning of a new year for schools and companies in Japan. Accompanying this are several traditional celebrations visitors can enjoy. Look for elaborate Japanese doll displays for Girl's Day (Hinamatsuri) in early March and cherry blossom viewing festivals in April. May is a month where many Shinto festivals occur, such the famous Kanamara Matsuri, a festival honoring marriage and conception held near Tokyo. There is a lot of fun to be had in spring.
Delicious Spring Foods
From: 5 Rare Ingredients You Can Only Buy at Aoyama Farmer's Market
Cherry blossom season and springtime is the season of adorable and sweet snacks. During spring you will find everything from classic Japanese sweets to ice cream to Kit Kats for sale, flavored with cherry blossom. They are generally only available during spring, so make sure to try them when you see them in convenience stores and supermarkets.
Spring in Japan is a time of sprouting. Bamboo shoots, aralia elata, Japanese butterbur, and other wild greens such as broccolini, and spring cabbage amongst many other foods you can enjoy in spring, start growing around this time. The bitter taste of these products is said to detox our bodies from the stuff that they stored during winter.
Foods such as soft seaweed, clams or the Japanese halfbeak are foods that announce that spring has arrived. Also, if there is one fruit we could say is representative of spring, it's strawberries. Strawberries in Japan have been improved upon, and feature many varieties, all of which are sweet and shiny like precious stones.
What to Wear When in Tokyo in Spring?
March is still quite cold, so you will need a thick coat.
In April there are more and more warm days. You will need to take a cardigan, jacket or coat of some sort on bad weather days, windy days and days when you're planning to go out at night.
May has pretty pleasant weather. You will probably do well with a long sleeve T-shirt and cardigan.
Spring in Japan, especially the season when sakura are in bloom, features good weather and beautiful sights, so we highly recommend that you visit Japan during this time. If you wish to find out more about Japan’s spring festivals, please refer to the following article: From March To May - Experience Japan's Spring Festivals And Events