The Four Seasons and Weather in Japan
Update: 31 August 2016

The Four Seasons and Weather in Japan

Japan's weather differs greatly according to the four seasons.

The features of Japan's geography and weather

Japan's land mass might be limited but it stretches from the northern subarctic Hokkaido to the subtropical Okinawa in the south, with temperate zones in between. Mountains stretch out from the north to south in the middle of Honshu, the main island. The east of Honshu, facing the Pacific Ocean, has a lot of rain during the summer, while the west, which faces the Sea of Japan, has a lot of snow in the winter.

The Characteristics of Spring

Along with autumn, March to May are the most comfortable months in the year. It's a season where you can feel the blooming of life, and you can also experience "Sakura Hanami" (cherry blossom viewing) during this time. However, it can be warm one day and suddenly be cold the next day due to a wintry atmospheric pressure pattern.

The Rainy Season

From the end of May until mid-July, Japan experiences a "rainy season", a time when it rains almost every single day. This rainy season is caused by the atmospheric pressure of both the cool Okhotsk High and the warm Pacific High. They create a stationary front which then causes a retention in atmospheric pressure. This leads to rising temperatures and humidity, along with a lot of rain, making this time rather unsuited for traveling. The rainy season moves up from the south to the north, so the southern areas enter the rainy season first. It takes around 1.5 months for it to travel up north. Hokkaido, however, is entirely spared from this rainy season. Only when the rain ceases, summer officially begins.

The Characteristics of Summer

June to August is the time of high temperatures and humidity. Looking at the average summer temperatures in Japan, you might assume that it doesn't get too hot - your body, however, will feel the heat more intensely because of the humid air.

The Characteristics of Autumn

It is said that autumn from September to November is, like spring, one of the most enjoyable times of the year. The temperature differences are not as extreme as in spring either. It is also the season to view the beautiful autumn leaves, and there are many tourists who visit autumn leaves viewing spots over the weekends.

The Typhoon Season

Typhoons are common from August until September. If a typhoon passes by, the winds and rain will be so strong you will not be able to leave your house for one to two days. Public transport may be interrupted as well.

The Characteristics of Winter

The winter months from December to February are incredibly cold. Especially in the Tokai region and the Hokuriku areas that face the Sea of Japan, snow can pile up to several meters high. The Pacific Ocean side of Japan, however, does not face much snowfall and the days are usually cold but sunny and clear.

In Conclusion

Understanding Japan's different seasons, including the hot, humid summer, the rainy and typhoon seasons, as well as the snowy winter is guaranteed to make the most out of your travel experience!

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.

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