How to visit Japan in spring

kyoto, japan springtime at the historic higashiyama distirct
Everything you need to know about Japan in springSean Pavone - Getty Images

With ski season in Hokkaido (the northernmost island) in full flow in winter, picturesque floral phenomena in spring, dazzling firework festivals in summer and fiery-red leaf displays in autumn, Japan is truly a year-round long-haul destination.


Japan's ever-popular cherry blossom season, when the sakura flowers come into bloom and decorate the country with delicate pink petals, does make springtime an obvious choice for visiting, however, and it wouldn't disappoint for those wanting to partake in hanami (the custom of admiring the beauty of the flowers).

But there's plenty more to spring in Japan than just cherry blossom, as you'll find out in this essential guide. From catching the plum blossom (there's not only cherry!) to colourful street parades, discover why spring is one of the best times to visit Japan. Be wary of busy Golden Week, though, about which we'll explain. Here's everything you need to know about Japan in spring...

The weather gets warmer

As in the UK, late March and April sees temperatures begin to rise, with Tokyo hitting averages of around 12-14 degrees by the afternoon in March and 17-19 degrees in April. Don't be fooled into thinking mornings and evenings will be balmy, however (temperatures can drop by half), so be sure to pack layers. Of course, if you're planning to stay or travel around the northern island of Hokkaido and its mountainous areas, you may still find snow in spring. Ski resorts on the island stay open as late as May.

public park in springtime during cherry blossom season, tokyo, japan
The cherry blossom in Tokyo Matteo Colombo - Getty Images

It's cherry blossom season

As we've already mentioned, spring is Japan's famous cherry blossom season. Millions of people in Japan – locals and visitors alike – eagerly wait for the country's cherry blossom flowers (sakura in Japanese) to bloom, which then signifies that spring has finally sprung.

The sakura emerges in the south of Japan first, around the end of March, and advances north over the proceeding weeks. The pale pink flowers are only in bloom for a few weeks, during which time the Japanese celebrate with public events and picnics.

If seeing this fleeting floral sensation is on your bucket list, you can join Good Housekeeping for a cruise around Japan in March 2025. On our 17-day trip you'll visit the likes of Tokyo, Kagoshima, Kochi and Aomori.


Other flowers come into bloom, too

It's not only the cherry blossom that flowers in spring in Japan. Avid anthophiles will be excited to know that a variety of Japan's flora comes to life in spring, including the lesser celebrated plum blossom. These sweet-smelling flowering, whose petals range from magenta or bubblegum pink to completely white, are usually in full bloom in February and March.


Painting Japan's fields and parks pale blue is nemophila (commonly known as 'baby blue eyes'), a small flower that blooms from early April to early May. Great places to see swathes of them is at Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki and Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park in Osaka. And from April to early May, it's likely you'll see purple wisteria winding its way up a trellis or around a porch somewhere in Japan, too. Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Tokyo is thought to be one of the best place to lilac-hued wisteria in all its glory.

You can visit Kameido Tenjin Shrine and more of Tokyo's highlights on a Good Housekeeping land tour of Japan in March 2025. On this 13-day Japan holiday, you'll also visit Mount Fuji and the must-see cities of Osaka and Kyoto.


a short trip to hitachi seaside park on a weekend in april nemophila flowers were in full blossom on a sunny day front and back, left and right, up and down, it's all colored in bluehitachinaka city, ibaraki prefecture, japan
The nemophila at Hitachi Seaside ParkSatoson - Getty Images

Be aware of Golden Week

Golden Week is a nation-wide holiday period in Japan, which takes place annually from 29 April to 5 May. The seven days encompass numerous public holidays and is one of the busiest holiday times of the year. The public holidays celebrated in Golden Week are Showa Day on 29 April, the birthday of Emperor Showa (the 124th emperor of Japan); Constitution Day on 3 May, a day commemorating the enactment of the 1947 Constitution of Japan; Greenery Day on 4 May, a day dedicated to celebrating the environment; and Children's Day on 5 May, a day when families pray for the health and happiness of their offspring.

Due to many of Japan's residents taking time off work in this period, Golden Week can mean transport hubs are incredibly busy, and hotels, attractions and restaurants can be booked up in advance. Visiting at this time is still possible if you plan ahead, but be wary if you're hoping to be more ad hoc with your itinerary.

carp streamers in the spring wind in japan
Carp-shaped flags flown on Children’s DayMasaoTaira - Getty Images

There's a frenzy of festivals

As in many countries, spring signifies renewal and rejuvenation in Japan, and with that comes an array of public festivals and events that bring people outside and into burgeoning nature. As a visitor, it's a brilliant time to join the locals in their springtime celebrations.

Kairakuen Garden in Ibaraki Prefecture is one of the most famous gardens in Japan and plays hosts to Mito Plum Blossom Festival every February to March. Marking the end of winter and the arrival of spring, thousands of people visit to see the garden's 3,000 plum trees burst into life, showing off their pink and white petals.

While sakura season is celebrated all over Japan, the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival in Hirosaki Park, Aomori (23 April to 5 May) is a hotspot for petal peepers. The park has around 2,600 trees – some of which are over 300 years old – and showcases over 50 different species of cherry.

Moving from flower to floats, the city of Takayama in Gifu Prefecture hosts its annual spring festival on 14 and 15 April. Celebrations see parades of large, colourful floats and lanterns (and even a portable shrine) take to the streets along with musicians and dancers. Takayama Festival is touted as one of the most beautiful in all of Japan.

If you do plan to brave the crowds and holiday in Japan over Golden Week, you'll have the chance to witness Hakata Dontaku, Japan's largest festival. Held in Fukuoka on 3 and 4 May, thousands of people gather to see swathes of dancers and performers parade through the streets in brightly-coloured costumes. Look out for the hana jidosha (meaning flower bus), floats decorated with coloured flowers and lights.

Excited to explore Japan in spring? Whether you fancy a cruise around Japan or a land tour of this incredible country, book a Good Housekeeping holiday for a bucket-list Japan adventure.


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