Hokkaido is the furthest north of the islands of Japan. It’s 820km north of Tokyo and is separated from the mainland by a large stretch of water called the Tsugaru Strait. The average temperature in summer in Hokkaido is about 20 degrees Celsius which is cool and pleasant. In winter the temperature is often below zero and it also snows a lot.
In this article, we’re going to tell you all about the climate in Hokkaido in spring and summer, and the appropriate clothing to wear. We'll also share why summer is the best time to visit Hokkaido! If you’re going to Hokkaido as well as visiting Tokyo and Osaka, you need to be aware that there’s a big difference in temperature!
Visiting Hokkaido in Spring 2019 (March to May): Overview
In March the temperature is still sometimes below freezing. Cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo in April but in Hokkaido they don’t come out till May!
1. It’s still the end of winter in Hokkaido in March. Watch out for freezing temperatures at the start and end of the day!
March in Hokkaido is still the end of winter so there are still days when the temperature is below freezing. Even in April when the cherry blossoms are out in Tokyo, it’s only just the start of spring in Hokkaido and quite chilly. On the mainland it starts to feel like early summer from May onwards, but in Hokkaido the mornings and evenings are still cold around this time.
2. In Hokkaido the cherry blossoms come out in May!
Although the cherry blossoms start budding on the mainland in March, temperatures can still be below freezing in Hokkaido. Here, the cherry blossoms don’t come out till May. Keep this in mind!
3. You won’t get hay fever in Hokkaido!
Hay fever is often thought of as a national affliction in Japan. However, cedar doesn’t grow in Hokkaido, so there’s no cedar pollen around to cause hay fever. But there is birch pollen, and you do find some people have an allergy to this.
Things to do in Hokkaido in: Flowers, Fish & Events
◆ Mizubasho (Asian skunk cabbage) (April/May), cherry blossoms (May), shibasakura (moss phlox)(May), tulips (May).
◆ Seasonal fish: Scallops (up till March), tokishirazu (summer-catch salmon) (May onwards).
◆ Spring event: Sapporo Lilac Festival
Date: May 16 (Wed) to May 27 (Sun).
Venue: 5 - 7 chome, Odorinishi, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Access: Subway - Namboku Line, Tozai Line, Toho Line. Get off at Odori Station.
What's Hokkaido like in Spring (March - May)? Average Temperature and Precipitation
What clothes should I pack for Hokkaido in Spring (March - May)?
March: Average temperature in Sapporo 0.6 ℃; maximum temperature 4.0 ℃; minimum temperature -2.9 ℃
In March, you’ll still need winter clothing to protect yourself from the cold. The roads get very wet and muddy as the snow melts, so we’d suggest waterproof shoes if you’re walking about outside.
April: Average temperature in Sapporo: 7.1℃; maximum temperature 11.5℃; minimum temperature 3.2℃.
It sometimes snows even in April, so you’ll need clothes that you can easily adjust to keep yourself comfortable.
May: Average temperature in Sapporo 12.4℃; maximum temperature 17.3℃; minimum temperature 8.3℃.
In May it still feels cool in the mornings and evenings, so take some long-sleeved outerwear. It’s also good to have a hat and T-shirt for outdoor activities, as it sometimes gets quite hot during the day.
Visiting Hokkaido in Summer (June to August)
1. It hardly ever gets over 30℃ so the days are very pleasant!
The summer temperature in Hokkaido is around 20 ℃. Due to abnormal weather conditions and global warming a high of 37.8 °C was recorded for the first time since records began in June 2014, but in a normal year there are very few days when the temperature exceeds 30° C. That’s makes for a cool and comfortable climate. Some days might feel a bit chilly if the temperature drops below 10 ℃ in the morning and evening.
2. There’s no rainy season and not much humidity in the air!
On mainland Japan, you get a lot of rainy days from June to July and increased precipitation. During the rainy season (tsuyu) in Tokyo and Kyoto, and in most parts of Japan, it tends to get hot and humid. The humidity can be quite uncomfortable at this time of year. However, in Hokkaido there’s no rainy season. Humidity is not an issue and the climate is refreshing and comfortable.
3. The best time to see the lavender in Furano is early to late July!
The summer in Hokkaido is short, and many flowers bloom all together between June and August. You can see the lavender fields in Furano all stretched out from the beginning through to the end of July. In Biei the flower patchwork rows bloom one after the other from June onwards. It’s a truly awesome sight! There are plenty of seasonal vegetables and fruits available, so this is a great time of year for sightseeing.
What to watch out for in summer: Flowers, Fish & Events
◆ Summer blooming flowers: Lilac (June), fly honeysuckle (June), begonia (June/July), lavender (July), roses (July and August), marigolds (July and August), sunflowers (August).
◆ Seasonal fish: tokishirazu (summer-catch salmon) (June), hokke (Okhotsk mackerel) (June onwards), surumeika (Japanese squid) (June onwards), sea urchin (June - August).
◆ Seasonal fruit and vegetables: White asparagus (June), asparagus (June/July), corn (July/August), yubari melon (June to August), potatoes (August/September)
◆ Summer event: Otaru Tide Festival
Date: July 27 (Fri), 28 (Sat), 29 (Sunday)
Venue: Otaru port around Wharf No. 3 (Firework display)
Access: 10 minutes’ walk from Otaru Station (JR Hakodate main line)
What's summer like in Hokkaido (June - August)? Average Temperature and Precipitation
What clothes should I pack for Summer in Hokkaido (June - August)?
June: Average temperature in Sapporo 16.7℃; maximum temperature 21.5℃; minimum temperature 12.9℃.
It can be chilly in the mornings and evenings even in June, so it’s a good idea to have some warm outerwear like a fleece or cardigan.
July: Average temperature in Sapporo 20.5℃; maximum temperature 24.9℃; minimum temperature 17.3℃.
It’s pleasantly cool, but the temperature can still get over 30 degrees on some days. Make sure you protect yourself against the sun with a hat and sunglasses. Sunscreen is also essential.
August: Average temperature in Sapporo 22.3℃; maximum temperature 26.4℃; minimum temperature 19.1℃.
Rainfall picks up again in the fall - keep a foldable umbrella handy for days when you get sun and showers. Sunscreen is essential as the sunlight can be very strong.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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