Translated by Mariko Satoh
Weather In Japan - The Year Round Climate And Temperatures
Written by Sawada Tomomi
You may not be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest if it's too hot or too cold, or if the weather is terribly rainy, humid, or even snowy. This article will familiarize you with the climate in Japan throughout the year.
Climate and Weather in Japan
There is a sharp contrast between each of the seasons in Japan, and the climate differs greatly depending on the season. In order to stay comfortable and avoid catching a cold during your trip, it is important that you choose clothes to match the season or location you are in. In this article, we will introduce you to the climate throughout the year and some recommended clothing items you should pack for your trip in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan.
Winter in Japan
Winter in Japan generally lasts from December to the following January and February.
What is Winter in Japan Like?
On average, the temperature in Tokyo during winter is about 12℃ (53.6°F) during the daytime, and 5℃ in the morning and at night. In the January, it goes down to 10℃ (50°F) during the daytime and 2-3℃ (35.6-37.4°F) in the morning and at night. In February, it falls to 10-11℃ (50-51.8°F) during the daytime, and 3℃ (35.6°F) in the morning and at night. It tends to be dry since most days are sunny, and it is likely to rain or snow. Humidity stays around 30%.
Recommended Clothing for Winter in Tokyo
You would need a down jacket, a coat, gloves, and scarves in order to stay warm during winter in Japan. For windy days, wear a knitted cap or ear muffs. For cloudy days, evenings, or when you will stay outside for a longer period of time, be sure to wear warm shoes or boots too. Despite the cold outdoors, it tends to be quite warm inside commercial buildings because of the heating systems, so it is a good idea to wear outerwear that can be easily put on or removed as needed.
Spring in Japan
Spring in Japan is generally from March through May.
What is Spring in Japan Like?
Spring in Tokyo is around 13℃ (55.4°F) in March during the daytime and averages 5℃ (41°F) in the morning and at night. In April, it is about 18.5℃ (65.3°F) during the daytime and 10.5℃ (50.9°F) in the morning and at night. In May, it is about 23℃ (73.4°F) during the daytime and 15℃ (59°F) in the morning and at night. Some days can be cold enough to snow in the first half of the season. In the latter half, most days are sunny and it becomes quite comfortable to be outdoors.
Recommended Clothing for Spring in Tokyo
Temperature changes drastically during spring in Japan. You would need a thick coat in March while it is still cold, but it gradually gets warmer in April. Bring warm layers such as a cardigan or a jacket to prepare for bad weather, windy days, or a night out. The climate in May is comfortable, so long-sleeved shirts and light cardigans would suffice.
Summer in Japan
Summer in Japan generally refers to July and August.
What is Summer in Japan Like?
Temperatures during the summer in Tokyo are about 31.5℃ (88.7°F) in the daytime and 24℃ (75.2°F) in the morning and night. In August, it goes up to +33℃ (91.4°F) in the daytime and 26℃ (78.8°F) in the morning and night, with some days feeling about 42℃ (108°F) thanks to the humidity levels.
However, recently it can be as high as 36℃ (96.8°F), about the same as body temperature, so visitors must be extra careful of heatstroke. Be aware of sudden rains and heat lightning as well. Historically, we have something called yūdachi, sudden rain in the hot summer evenings. In these days, we also have guerrilla rainstorm, which is unpredictable and severe rain that can cause flash flooding and landslides as well.
Recommended Clothing for Summer in Tokyo
Since it is very hot and humid in July and August, clothes that let air through, such as light T-shirts, tank tops, or summery dresses, are recommended. Don’t forget UV protection such as a hat when you go outside. It's a good idea to have a very light cardigan or wrap with you to slip on indoors as air conditioning can be quite strong in some places. Please remember though, you are not allowed to wear no-sleeved shirts or something that shows too much skin at shrines and temples. Prepare layers if you plan to visit this kind of places.
Autumn in Japan
Autumn in Japan is generally from September to November.
What is Autumn in Japan Like?
Autumn temperatures in Tokyo are about 23-28℃ (73.4-82.4°F) in the daytime and 18-21℃ (64.4-69.8°F) in the morning and at night. In October, it falls to 19-23℃ (66.2-73.4°F) in the daytime and 14-18℃ (57.2-64.4°F) in the morning and at night. From September to mid-October, you may experience typhoons, but we have a lot of sunny days during this season. The air is refreshing and most days are quite comfortable.
Recommended Clothing for Autumn in Tokyo
September is mostly hot and feels almost like summer, so you can spend the daytime quite easily in a T-shirt. It's a good idea to have something with long sleeves for evenings and in the early mornings, as it can be quite cool or breezy. Long-sleeved shirts would be good enough for sunny days in October.
A light sweater or a hoodie is necessary too, since it gets cold on a bad weather day, and in the morning and at night. For November, most days are cold so be sure to pack a sweater and a jacket. You may need a coat too, if you are particularly susceptible to the cold.
Japan is a long country that stretches from north to south, so the climate differs greatly throughout the island, from Hokkaido in the north down to Okinawa in the south. Be sure to choose your travel wardrobe based on your destination.