Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Weather In Kyoto, Osaka, And Kobe: What To Wear Year-Round In Kansai
Written by Lin
In western Japan, where cities like Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and Nara are located, the temperature changes greatly between day and night throughout the year. Learn more about the average temperatures for each month and the recommended outfits for each season in the Kansai region.
Weather in Kansai: Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and More
Some people have a hard time deciding what to wear on their travels. This article provides temperature and weather conditions common year-round in the Kansai region, which includes popular cities such as Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe.
The Kansai region consists of six prefectures: Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Shiga, Nara, and Wakayama.
This article focuses on Osaka and Kyoto using data compiled in 2019 by the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Highest and Lowest Temperatures in the Kansai Region
Illustration by Pixta
The High: 38.6℃, 101℉ in August
August is the hottest month in Japan. In 2019, the temperature rose to 38.6℃ (101°F) in Kyoto and 37.5℃ (99.5°F) in Osaka. It is also very humid in the summertime, so watch out for heat stroke if you're heading outdoors.
Carrying a portable electric fan or sensu (Japanese folding fan) will help you keep cool. Wrapping a chilled handkerchief around your neck or using a cold compress will also help travelers cope with the sweltering heat.
The Low: Minus 0.9℃, 30.9°F in January
With days of occasional snowfall, the temperature drops steeply in January and February. It sometimes drops below zero degrees Celsius in Kyoto. In comparison, Osaka is a bit milder with the lowest temperature reaching around one degree Celsius (33.8°F) in 2019.
Most restaurants, commercial facilities, and public transportation are air-conditioned, so the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures will be stark. Be sure to wear clothes that are easy to put on and remove. If you plan on going outdoors, don't forget to wear thermal clothing. Additionally, it's advised to use disposable kairo (pocket warmer), hats, and other cold-weather gear.
The following are the highest, lowest, and average temperatures for each month. We've also added our recommended outfits for the seaons.
Kansai Weather by Season
Spring in Kansai - March through May
Spring is synonymous with the cherry blossom season as pink-hued flowers bloom across the Kansai area and the rest of Japan.
The temperature changes dramatically during this period. Winter-like conditions might follow a sunny, warm day. The difference in temperature can vary as much as ten degrees in a single day.
Even if it's warm in the morning, the wind will be chilly at night so be sure to bring warm clothing.
March: Ave. of 10.1℃, 50.2°F; High of 14.8℃, 58.6°F; Low of 6℃, 42.8°F
Although the average temperature in March is about ten degrees Celsius (50°F), you may see some people wearing long, lightweight coats.
Tourists who are not accustomed to the weather in Japan should bring cold-weather items, such as scarves, and wear thick tights (ideally the 80 denier yarn type for warmth) along with wide-leg pants.
Others will feel comfortable wearing loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts or a leather jacket over a parka to add a casual touch. Be sure to bring a scarf, which can be be shared with your travel companion.
April: Ave. of 14.3℃, 57.4°F; High of 19.6℃, 67.3°F; Low of 6℃, 42.8°F
The average temperature in April increases considerably. While the weather changes frequently, you can enjoy the cherry blossom season with a light spring wardrobe on most days. A knee-length skirt with a houndstooth check pattern adds a nice finishing touch to an outfit.
A simple long-sleeved pullover paired with a muted color pants is also stylish. A jacket would also come in handy if the weather becomes chilly.
May: Ave. of 21℃, 69.8°F; High of 26.7℃, 80.6°F; Low of 15.7℃, 60.3°F
Known for its pleasant weather, May is the best time to enjoy the outdoors in the Kansai region. A wide-leg denim pants that is comfortable to move around in and a blouse with elbow-length sleeves should be perfect. The warm temperature can suddenly drop, so pack a light coat just in case.
Light-colored garments also suit this lively season. Loose-fitting pants are also ideal for moving around freely. In addition to keeping you warm in the mornings and evenings, a jacket will be handy when you enter air-conditioned facilities.
Summer in Kansai: June through August
In the Kansai region, tsuyu (rainy season) arrives in June. It begins around June 7 and lasts about a month and a half, typically ending around July 21.
The weather changes continuously during the annual rainy season. While the temperature is on the rise, there will be a few cool days. Tourists should head to indoor facilities during this wet period. Those planning to visit Universal Studios Japan® (USJ) should bring a raincoat instead of carrying around an umbrella for better mobility.
After tsuyu ends, the temperature will continue to increase and herald in the hot (and humid) season. The temperature and humidity of Kyoto, located at the bottom of a basin, will be more intense than other cities. Watch out for heat stroke if you plan on walking around Kyoto in a yukata.
June: Ave. of 23.6℃, 74.5°F; High of 28.5℃, 83.3°F; Low of 20℃, 68°F
While the temperature frequently rises above 20℃, or 68°F in June, it will drop considerably in the mornings and evenings. A lightweight, long skirt or wide-leg pants made from breathable material will be comfortable for days of warmer weather.
Since this is the beginning of tsuyu, a water-repellent coat will be smart to have on hand. It will also add something extra to coordinate your wardrobe.
July: Ave. of 26.5℃, 79.7°F; High of 30.7℃, 87.3°F; Low of 23.5℃, 74.3°F
There are many sunny days in July, which also means increased heat and humidity. Watch out for sunburn and heatstroke. A loose-fitting dress made with breathable material would be ideal for handling the hotter weather.
Another comfortable option is cropped pants or rolling up trousers to cope with the heatwave.
August: Ave. of 29.2℃, 84.6°F; High of 34℃, 93.2°F; Low of 26℃, 78.8°F
The sweltering climate in August is not much different from July. Wrapping a chilled towel around your neck should help stifle the humidity.
Be sure to choose clothing made from breathable material. A casual ensemble composed of a V-neck blouse, a pair of wide-leg shorts, and sandals will be stylish and comfortable for your travels.
Autumn in Kansai: September through November
Autumn is said to be the ideal season for tourists with its moderate climate. This season of beautiful foliage is when Kyoto welcomes a large number of visitors from all over the globe.
Tourists, however, should be wary of fall typhoons. Periodically check the weather forecast and proceed with caution when a tropical storm is approaching.
Illustration by Pixta
On September 4, 2018, Typhoon Jebi made landfall over the Kansai region and caused significant damage. Travelers are advised to purchase international travel insurance in addition to checking the news for up-to-date information.
If a typhoon is approaching, the media will be sure to broadcast this news across Japan. If you are about to encounter a storm, stay indoors with food, magazines, and playing cards. It might be a good idea to ask your lodging in advance if they rent out DVDs or audio devices.
September: Ave. of 26.4℃, 79.52°F; High of 31.2℃, 88.2°F; Low of 23℃, 73.4°F
The temperature still remains high in September, so it's not uncommon to see locals wearing sandals. The clothing doesn't differ from August as most people continue to dress in light, short-sleeved shirts.
However, it will be cooler from late September and might be chilly when it rains. Those who are not used to cool weather should bring a long-sleeved shirt or one with three-quarter sleeves.
October: Ave. of 20.3℃, 68.5°F; High of 24.5℃, 76.1°F; Low of 17℃, 62.6°F
October tends to have days of moderate weather, which allows travelers to style a wide variety of outfits. An ensemble of wide-leg pants, a button-up shirt, and a knit vest would be both casual and practical. A light coat would be ideal to have when it gets chilly, too.
November: Ave. of 13.5℃, 56.3°F; High of 18.2℃, 64.8°F; Low of 9.5℃, 49.1°F
November is the most popular month to visit Kyoto due to the moderate weather and fantastic foliage. Although it feels refreshing on clear days, the temperature will drop on rainy days. Be sure to pack some light thermal undergarments for your trip.
A button-up shirt is another versatile option because it can be styled many ways. Additionally, a heavy coat and scarf would be useful on a windy day.
Winter in Kansai: December through February
Kifune Shrine. Photo by Pixta
After the fall foliage season in Kansai, the temperature will plummet and humidity will decrease along the Pacific seaboard. Those who are sensitive to dry air should wear masks and bring lip balms and hand creams when in Japan during winter. Be sure to apply moisturizing cream, too.
December: Ave. of 8.9℃, 48°F; High of 12.7℃, 54.9°F; Low of 5.3℃, 41.5°F
The temperature will drop steeply in December in the Kansai area so a warm coat is a must-have accessory. In addition, pack a warm scarf and heavy socks in your suitcase to repel cold wind.
Please note that there is a big difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures due to heating. It's advised to dress in multiple layers so you can adjust your clothing as needed.
Be sure to add an extra layer of clothing when visiting Kyoto, as it will be considerably colder than Osaka.
January: Ave. of 5.8℃, 42.44°F; High of 9.6℃, 49.3°F; Low of 2.5℃, 36.5°F
Multi-layered clothing can appear bulky, so it's recommended to pair thermal pants with tights in January. Add a heavy sweater and wool turtleneck to keep insulated against the brisk wind.
A military-style coat with a fur lining will provide warmth and add charming flair. A light down jacket is another recommended outerwear.
February: Ave. of 7.3℃, 45.1°F; High of 11.3℃, 52.3°F; Low of 4℃, 39.2°F
During February, bring your thickest, warmest clothes to Japan. A hooded parka lined with wool would be a casual addition to your winter wardrobe. Alternatively, a wool coat would further elevate a stylish outfit.
Those who aren't accustomed to colder climates should add an extra layer of thermal underwear.
Travel Comfortably in Kansai Year-Round
Choosing what to wear can be difficult when traveling to different climate zones. It's understandable for travelers to want to pack lightly and keep their baggage to a minimum. When preparing to travel to the Kansai region, use this article as a guide for selecting items that are suitable for the weather conditions.
The JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization) site displays the weather and precipitation percentage of major Japanese cities. Be sure to check this in advance as the climate (including the temperature) differs in various areas.