HOME Kansai Kyoto Gion, Kawaramachi, Kiyomizu-dera Temple Visiting Kyoto in March 2020: Ultimate Guide to Kyoto Weather in Spring and Clothes You Need!
Visiting Kyoto in March 2020: Ultimate Guide to Kyoto Weather in Spring and Clothes You Need!

Visiting Kyoto in March 2020: Ultimate Guide to Kyoto Weather in Spring and Clothes You Need!

Date published: 13 February 2020
Last updated: 25 February 2020

Kyoto is a place where you can enjoy the traditional culture and beautiful landscapes throughout the four seasons. What sort of clothes should you prepare if you want to be active during your stay?

It's difficult to have a good time when you feel uncomfortably too hot or too cold. Kyoto Prefecture, which extends north to south, has different climates depending on the area.

For that reason, we asked a writer living in Kyoto to give us advice on the best clothes to wear. Due to the unpredictable changes in weather in recent years, though, it is best if you double-check the weather conditions just before you visit.

Table of Contents
  1. What's the Weather Like in Kyoto?
  2. What's Kyoto Weather Like in March?
  3. March in Kyoto: What Clothes to Wear
  4. Kyoto in March: Recommended Points of Interest & Sightseeing Plan
  5. What's Kyoto Weather Like in April?
  6. April in Kyoto: What Clothes to Wear
  7. Kyoto in April: Recommended Points of Interest & Sightseeing Plan
  8. What's Kyoto Weather Like in May?
  9. May in Kyoto: What Clothes to Wear
  10. Kyoto in May: Recommended Points of Interest & Sightseeing Plan

What's the Weather Like in Kyoto?

What's the Weather Like in Kyoto?

The Tamba Mountains are located almost in the center of Kyoto Prefecture which extends north to south. They form a divide between the northern and southern parts of the prefecture which have different climates.

The northern part, where Fukuchiyama, Maizuru, and Miyazu, where Amanohashidate is located, has a Sea of Japan climate, with many cloudy days throughout the year and a short summer period, so autumn comes early. In winter, the temperature often drops below freezing, and the northern tip of the Tango Peninsula has a lot of snow. This is an area where the humidity is high throughout the year.

The city of Kyoto, home to Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Kinkaku-ji Temple, sits in a basin surrounded by mountains in the southern part of Kyoto Prefecture. Therefore, Kyoto City has the notable feature of being extremely hot in summer and severely cold in winter, where the temperature difference between day and night is large.

Another distinct feature of the basin is that as you approach the mountains and higher altitudes, the weather and temperature are different from the city in the south and the area to the north of it. The 54.8-meter-tall five-storied pagoda of Toji in the southern part of the city and Kitayama-dori in the north are both about the same height. Just in that short distance of 8.5 km the temperature is noticeably cooler.

What's Kyoto Weather Like in March?

What's Kyoto Weather Like in March?

The southern part continues to be cold from the previous month, but about the middle of the month signs of spring gradually appear. The average temperature is 8.4° C. The average maximum temperature is 13.4° C, about 3.5 degrees higher than February, and in the city of Kyoto conversations such as "It's warm today" and "It's cold again today" are often heard as every three to four days the weather alternates between warm and cold days as the days gradually become warmer. Another feature of weather in the basin is that while it may be sunny and warm during the daytime, the mornings and evenings are chilly.

Average temperatures in the southern part of Kyoto Prefecture in March (Japan Meteorological Agency: normal values from 1981 to 2010)
Temperature (℃)
8.4
High Temperature (℃)
13.4
Low Temperature (℃)
4.0
Precipitation (mm)
113.3
Relative humidity (%)
62

The temperature in the northern region is about 2° C lower on average than in the southern region, and still cold, but the temperature gradually rises towards the end of the month. Umbrellas and cold-weather clothing are indispensable because the hours of sunshine are generally short, and even if it appears to be sunny, it can quickly become cloudy, rainy or snowy. Towns close to the sea get strong winds, which makes it feel colder than inland.

Average temperatures in the northern part of Kyoto Prefecture (Miyazu) in March (Japan Meteorological Agency: normal values from 1981 to 2010)
Temperature (℃)
6.9
High Temperature (℃)
11.7
Low Temperature (℃)
2.3
Precipitation (mm)
130.6

March in Kyoto: What Clothes to Wear

March in Kyoto: What Clothes to Wear
Model: Yuki Sakai

In the south, long-sleeved underwear, wool sweaters and cardigans, and short coats with liners are recommended for winter-conscious clothing. Towards the end of the season lighter apparel, such as jackets and coats, are OK, however, there are still sharp temperature differences with the daytime being warm and the nights cool. Large stoles and mufflers are good for these times.

Men don't need extra clothing underneath thick trousers, but heavy socks are still a good idea. Tights and short boots are ideal for women wearing skirts.

● Clothing items
Tops: (men and women) short coats, jackets
Bottoms: (men and women) wool slacks (women) skirts + thin tights
Footwear: short boots, sneakers
Accessories: stoles

Since the northern region is still cold from February, both men and women need down coats and thermal underwear and shirts to keep warm because of the snow and strong winds. Wool sweaters, cardigans, and other heavy clothes are a safe bet. Women are also advised to wear stockings or tights under pants to stay warm in the cold weather. It begins to get a little warmer towards the end of the month, but wearing tights with skirts is still a good idea.

● Clothing items
Tops: (men and women) down coats, heavy jackets
Bottoms: (men and women) wool slacks( women) skirts + thick tights
Footwear: short boots, sneakers
Accessories: stoles

Kyoto in March: Recommended Points of Interest & Sightseeing Plan

The Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro is held every year in the Higashiyama area that is home to many temples and shrines such as Kiyomizu Temple and Yasaka Pagoda. The lanes and famous places in this area are decorated with arranged flowers and paper lanterns creating a lovely atmosphere. At other temples, special visits and nighttime illuminations are held enabling you to enjoy beautiful and fantastic Kyoto nights. Precautions against the cold need to be taken when going to events at night.

What's Kyoto Weather Like in April?

What's Kyoto Weather Like in April?

The average temperature in the southern part in April is 14.2°C, the average high temperature is 19.9°C, and the average low temperature is 9°C. This is also the season for cherry blossoms with many people viewing them in the daytime and then again at night after the sun sets. While it may be warm during the day, at night it becomes especially chilly at this time of year. It does gradually become warmer and more comfortable towards the end of the month.

Average temperatures in the southern part of Kyoto Prefecture in April (Japan Meteorological Agency: normal values from 1981 to 2010)
Temperature (℃)
14.2
Low Temperature (℃)
9.0
Precipitation (mm)
115.7
Relative humidity (%)
59

The cherries bloom later in the northern region. Compared to March, the days become increasingly warm and balmy. There is also less rainfall compared to other times making it easier to plan outings. Still the evenings are often chilly, so when going out after dark it is necessary to dress warmly.

Average temperatures in the northern region of Kyoto Prefecture (Miyazu) in April (Japan Meteorological Agency: normal values from 1981 to 2010)
Temperature (℃)
12.4
High Temperature (℃)
17.9
Low Temperature (℃)
7.0
Precipitation (mm)
106.7

April in Kyoto: What Clothes to Wear

April in Kyoto: What Clothes to Wear
Model: Sora Arita

Cotton spring coats and jackets are good in both the south and north regions as both are warm in the daytime. On some days casual wear, such as sweatshirts and hoodies, are adequate. However, the weather can change quite a bit from one day to the next, and there is still a sharp drop in temperature at night, so it is a good idea to bring undergarments and coats in case they should be needed. If you are affected by pollen allergy, then be sure to bring a proper mask and eye protection if necessary.

● Clothing items
Tops: (men and women) spring coats, jackets, cardigans
Bottom: (men and women) jeans, (women) skirts + panty stockings
Footwear: (men and women) sneakers (women) pumps
Accessories: scarves

Kyoto in April: Recommended Points of Interest & Sightseeing Plan

Cherry blossoms mark the arrival of spring in Japan. The best time to view them is when they are in full bloom which lasts about a week. There are many famous places for viewing them, so you should be able to find places near to where you are staying. In Kyoto city Honen-in Temple, Takaraike Park, Path of Philosophy, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Maruyama Park, Umekoji Park and Takao are famous for their cherry blossoms. In the northern part of Kyoto Prefecture, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom at the same time in Amanohashidate and Kasamatsu Park in Miyazu.

What's Kyoto Weather Like in May?

What's Kyoto Weather Like in May?

The average temperature in the southern part in May is 19.0°C, the average high temperature is 24.6°C, and the average low temperature is 14°C. The days are comfortably warm, and many of them are so warm that you may even work up a sweat. At times the temperature can exceed 30 degrees so one needs to take precautions against UV light and the heat. The sharp temperature differences in Kyoto can adversely affect your health so precautions need to be taken.

Average temperatures in the southern part of Kyoto Prefecture in May (Japan Meteorological Agency: normal values from 1981 to 2010)
Temperature (℃)
19.0
High Temperature (℃)
24.6
Low Temperature (℃)
14.0
Precipitation (mm)
160.8
Relative humidity (%)
62

The average temperature in the northern region is 17.0°C, the average high temperature is 22.5°C, and the average low temperature is 12°C. Spring has passed and many of the days feel like early summer. While the weather is comfortable, there are days when the temperature gets up to levels found in summer, however on days when the wind is strong or when it rains the temperature can drop quite a bit.

Average temperatures in the northern region of Kyoto Prefecture (Miyazu) in May (Japan Meteorological Agency: normal values from 1981 to 2010)
Temperature (℃)
17.0
High Temperature (℃)
22.5
Low Temperature (℃)
12.0
Precipitation (mm)
137.1

May in Kyoto: What Clothes to Wear

May in Kyoto: What Clothes to Wear
Model: Kota Takatsuki

In both the south and the north, a sweatshirt or T-shirt is enough in the daytime and on sunny days short-sleeved shirts are good. However, depending on the weather the temperature can drop dramatically, so it is a good idea to also pack long-sleeved hoodies, cardigans, cotton stoles, and the like. Cotton pants and skirts are both OK, but it is probably still too soon to go barefoot.

● Clothing items
Tops: (men and women) sweatshirts, T-shirts (three-quarter and short-sleeved)
Bottoms: (men and women) jeans, (women) skirts + stockings
Footwear: (men and women) sneakers (women) pumps
Accessories: scarves

Kyoto in May: Recommended Points of Interest & Sightseeing Plan

Golden Week, a row of holidays in Japan in early May, is a time when various types of events are held throughout Kyoto attracting large crowds. Azaleas are in bloom at this time and those in Heian Jingu and Nagaoka Tenmangu (Nagaokakyo City) are especially noteworthy. Higashi-Maizuru Park in the northern region has about 25,000 azaleas and these are illuminated at night when they are in full bloom.

Kyoto Prefecture is very large and the climate varies depending on the area, but one thing they both have in common is that the temperature varies from day to day and the temperature difference between day and night is large. But after the cold winter, spring is a time when everyone feels cheerful. By preparing the right clothes for the weather is one way to ensure that you will have a pleasant and enjoyable stay.

Reference: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Meteorological Agency website
Text by: West Plan

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Share this article.

Mt. Fuji, Hakone and Lake Ashi One Day Tour
Search