When to Go in Tokyo

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Tokyo has five distinct seasons and many festivals that should all be factored in when you're deciding on when the best time is for you to visit this beautiful city. Here is a rundown on what you can expect in each season.


Lasting from December to February, this season is usually very dry and very cold. Temperatures can range from -2 degrees C to about 11 degrees C, so dress warmly, and bring layers for going between the heated indoors to the cold outdoors. There may be a little bit of snow, but mostly you can view the snow atop the mountains surrounding the city. Winter brings with it the New Year Festival and several temple festivals that are all enjoyable to watch.


Spring lasts from March through May and is arguably one of the most popular times to visit Japan. In late March or early April the cherry blossoms bloom and the city is a beautiful display of pink flowers. Festivals abound this time of year, with the most important being Golden Week, which takes place at the end of April and beginning of May. You may want to avoid this week, as traffic becomes insane and it's difficult to get anywhere without taking hours longer than usual. May is always warm, sunny and thoroughly enjoyable.


The rainy season begins in June and lasts through mid-July. The rains are basically steady and dreary, though you probably won't be soaked through if you step outside. That pleasure is reserved for typhoon season in September, when the rains are harsh and the winds are strong. Be prepared for the storms to affect the traffic patterns of both private and public systems.


Technically lasting from June through August, the beginning of summer is dominated by the rainy season. It will be hot, gray, humid and wet pretty much every day. As the days move into August, the weather will become dryer and warmer. Temperatures will average around 30 degrees C, but will often hit the 40 degree C mark with unbearable humidity. The heat is also increased by the urban heating effect. There are a few festivals that can be interesting, most of them involving some pretty fireworks displays. Another week to avoid due to traffic is mid-August, when the Obon Festival takes place.


Autumn sets in from September through November, beginning with typhoon season that slackens off by the end of September. This is another popular time for tourists, as the trees become a dazzling display of reds, golds and oranges. The days are warm and sunny, and it becomes extremely popular to head out of the city for hiking excursions. There are only a few festivals this time of year, but the beautiful weather makes them immensely popular.

September 02, 2009 new by tiffanymparker

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