Are you thinking about coming to Japan? Did you miss the summer festival season in July and August? Can you not wait until early spring for the cherry blossom parties to take over?
If you are longing to come to Japan but feel like you missed a good season, you are in luck. Japan has so many great and varied things to see and do that any time is a good time to visit. Each month provides a wide range of events, attractions, tastes, natural beauty and sites to experience.
Here are just some of the great things going on in September in Tokyo and surrounding areas.
In this article
1. Why is September a good time to visit Tokyo?
2. What is the weather like in Tokyo in September?
3. What to wear in Tokyo in September
4. Will I see fall foliage in Tokyo in September?
5. Best things to do in Tokyo in September
6. Best places to visit near Tokyo in September
7. Other Japanese autumn festivals in Tokyo in September
8. Where to stay during September in Tokyo
Why is September a good time to visit Tokyo?
Anyone who has visited Japan during the summer will tell you the heat and humidity are unbearable. With temperatures usually in the mid 30’s Celsius (90’s Fahrenheit) and humidity levels at over 80%, multiple cold showers and change of clothes are necessary. The heat might be fine if you are planning to spend your trip beachside but if you are hoping to explore this amazing country, being drenched in sweat might not be the greatest way to experience the culture.
Additionally, the summer holidays and vacation season mean higher prices and bigger crowds at all the tourist attractions across Japan. Many hot spots across Japan have long lines and waiting times which make it hard to enjoy your trip.
But September, which is still relatively hot, slowly eases into autumn with temperatures dropping and humidity levels being more bearable. And with most Japanese people heading back to work and school, many places see a lot less crowds and visitors. By taking advantage of the cooler weather and lower waiting times, visiting in September can greatly increase your Japanese vacation experience.
Is it cold in Tokyo in September?
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the average temperature in September is 22.9 Celsius (2018) which is definitely a warm but comfortable level while out and about Japan. In terms of precipitation, September has one of the highest months, seeing rainfall averaging over 350 millimeters. This means although the weather is mild, there will be times when you will need to plan appropriately.
The days in September will fluctuate between weather that is quite comfortable and nice but sometimes wet, meaning you should expect part of your trip to have back-up plans. But although cloudy days with cool winds may be the backdrop of your visit, the beauty of Japan and it’s natural scenery will not disappoint.
What to wear in Tokyo in September
September is cooler than the summer months of July and August but there are days, especially in the beginning of the month, that will feel like August. Summer clothing, hats, sunscreen and sunglasses are all still advised for these hot days. Also, with some days being overcast and possible chances of thunderstorms means having an umbrella on hand is always a good idea as well. Here are some clothing suggestions to bring for your trip to Japan.
In Japan, women quite fashionable and tend to wear blouses and skirts along with light jackets and heels. They also prefer fall colors in September that tend to lean more towards the earth tones and natural colors. Long sweaters, cardigans and denim jackets are also a popular choice for women during this season.
Although many women wear heels in Japan, if you are going to be out and about, an alternative might be a stylish but comfortable walking shoes or flats. Whether you are trekking in the mountains or walking the shopping streets of Tokyo, keeping your feet dry and comfortable will make the day a lot more pleasurable and help avoid blisters, foot pain and chaffing.
During the day when the temperature is relatively warm, T-shirts, polo shirts or light collared shirts with jeans, khakis or even shorts should be fine. Having an umbrella or a light waterproof jacket would also be a good idea. And depending on what you plan to do, sneakers or hiking shoes would work well as many places require a lot of walking.
Later in the evenings it might get a bit cool, especially at the end of September, so having a jacket, sweater, hoodie or cardigan on hand might also be beneficial. Especially if you plan to spend extended time outdoors. Another good idea is to have a hat, whether it be a baseball cap, sun hat or beanie, to protect from the sun or possible rain showers.
Will I see fall foliage in Tokyo in September?
One of the spectacular scenes of Japan is the koyo (leaf color change) during the autumn season as the leaves turn shades of brown, yellow, orange and red. It is quite a breathtaking experience to view these beautiful colors with a backdrop of a temple or shrine. Depending on the weather, some parts of North Japan like Hokkaido may start showing some fall foliage and changing colors as early as late September. Generally though, most of Japan starts getting peak fall foliage around late October to early November.
Instead, in September, another option might be to check out some of the beautiful flowers that bloom late August and September like cosmos, chrysanthemums and spider lilies.
Best things to do in Tokyo in September
September in Tokyo is sumo month. With sumo matches in Tokyo only occurring in January, May and September, visitors in Japan have a rare chance to see a live sumo tournament and witness Japan’s most famous sport. More than just two overweight Japanese men pushing each other out of a ring, this traditional sport from the Edo period is steeped with rituals and sacred practices.
2. Fukuro Festival
If you missed the summer festivals in August, there is still chances to catch some festivals in Tokyo and around Japan. September offers a chance to see the two day dance and music festival called Fukuro Festival in Ikebukuro. Featuring a parade of colorfully dressed traditional dancers and mikoshi, giant,Japanese parade floats, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy one of Japan’s newest festivals while eating all the popular festival foods like takoyaki, okonomiyaki and grilled squid.
3. Tokyo Game Show
If you are into video games, anime and otaku culture, than a must see event is the Tokyo Game Show, which is held mid September. The first two days are set aside for vendors only but there are also two days where it’s open to the public, so visitors can see and experience the latest technology and game innovations.
Best places to visit near Tokyo in September
1. Tokyo Disneyland
Disney fans will love Tokyo Disneyland in September as it enters into Halloween mode early in the month with extravagant Halloween themed decorations, a parade, Halloween themed shops, bazaars and photo spots.
Everything from exclusive Halloween merchandise to food menus and spooky fireworks and shows make this one of the most popular times to visit the park.
2. Kinchakuda Park in Saitama
An iconic and Instagramable place, this park is famous for its red spider lilies.
The park is located about one hour away from Tokyo and hosts a festival during the September blooming period of the flower. The field houses over 5 million red spider lilies, the biggest in Japan, and the festival features food stalls and stage performances.
3. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Reitaisai in Kamakura
On September 16 near Kamakura Station, this tournament focuses on the ancient military skill of horseback archery called yabusame, developed in the Kamakura Period. Competitors dressed in ancient Japanese samurai uniforms ride on horseback and attempt to shoot three archery targets. The arrows are designed to make a whistling sound when shot enabling viewers to hear them, adding to the excitement.
The event also features dance performances, tea ceremony, food stalls and a parade bringing thousands of visitors to the city.
4. Catch Mt. Fuji and the Cosmos flowers
The iconic Mt.Fuji is a must see at any time of year, but in September the mountain also has the Cosmos flower in full bloom along one one of its five Fuji lakes, Lake Yamanaka. The golden flowers with the Mt.Fuji backdrop is a spectacular photo opportunity and awe-inspiring view.
Enoshima in Kanagawa is a popular summer beach destination not far from Tokyo. There are beaches, gardens, caves, shrines and even a lighthouse to explore. Although the summer crowds will be gone, the beach and water should still be a good place to check out the scenery, dip your feet, and roam the island. Early September is probably better as the weather and water should be temperate.
The town, nicknamed “Little Edo” is a perfect place to visit in September when the weather is uncertain and parts of the day might be a mix of sunny and rainy. Both architecture and design of the city and buildings will transport visitors into Japan of the past. Filled with traditional shrines, museums and old fashioned streets, both indoor and outdoor exploration is possible. A popular street called Kashiya Yokocho, penny candy alley, is famous for its traditional sweet shops and Showa period candy and confectionery.
Visiting in September with less crowds will ensure maneuvering through the narrow old fashioned streets will be easy and give you more chances to shop and eat at the traditional Japanese restaurants and cafes.
Other Japanese autumn festivals in Tokyo in September
1. Ultra Japan
If you are a fan of EDM or Electronic Dance Music, then you might want to head to Odaiba mid September for the Ultra Japan Music Festival, which is the largest EDM festival in Japan. A three day festival, DJs and acts from all over the world perform for crowds of thousands of music fans.
2. Various Events at Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park is also a place to keep in mind during September as it hosts a variety of interesting festivals on weekends which include performances, shops and food stalls. Some of the themes being celebrated this September include Indian and Afro American Caribbean.
3. Taste of Tokyo
For food lovers, in late September, Taste of Tokyo in Odaiba is a definite must. Vendors from Tokyo and around Japan provide a variety of local foods from sweet, savoury, spicy and fresh. There are also chances to try a variety of Tokyo sake and craft beers as well as attend some cooking seminars and cooking shows.
Where to stay during September in Tokyo
Shinjuku is centrally located, easily accessible and has a variety of indoor and outdoor things to enjoy. Staying in one of the many western style hotels or even a fun love hotel in Kabukicho is a unique Japanese experience.
Many restaurants, bars, shops and brand names are available to visit on rainy days. Shinjuku also has shrines and nice parks like Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
Odaiba is a modern, family friendly and unique part of Tokyo which has beautiful views of Tokyo Bay and Rainbow Bridge. Many popular hotel chains that accommodate families and groups are located along the bay ensuring a stunning view of the city. There are a variety of unique museums, shopping centers and indoor amusement parks clustered together making it easily accessible. Odaiba is also a very popular date spot and very picturesque for couples looking for a romantic destination.
For those looking to see both natural beauty and bustling crowds, the Ueno area is a great mix of parks, nature and cityscape. Compared to other areas of Tokyo, hotel prices in Ueno are much more reasonable and there are many Japanese style business hotels for budget travellers.
The popular Ueno Park has the Ueno Zoo, museums, temples, gardens and a pond with row boats. Ueno area is also famous for Ameyokocho, a market street that sells everything from seafood, dry foods, cosmetics, clothes and souvenirs.
One of the most famous areas in Tokyo housing the emblematic Kaminarimon and Sensoji Temple, this area not only has old fashioned streets and shops selling traditional Japanese products but is also along the Sumida river making it a great place to capture the beauty of Tokyo. Staying at one of the smaller local hotels or Japanese style ryokans will give you a better feel for the traditional culture and history of the area. And renting a kimono and roaming the streets is a great and unforgettable experience that is much nicer in September after the heat of the summer has subsided.
September: A perfect month for visiting Tokyo
Planning a trip in September to Japan will help avoid the peak season costs of flights and hotels as well as allow you to enjoy all that Japan has to offer minus the long lines and big crowds. With mild temperatures and summer heat slowly fading into fall breeze, Japan still offers great chances to experience festivals, events, natural beauty and traditional Japanese culture. Saving time and money, there are many options for attractions in September that visitors can take advantage of off season.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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