A Guide to Tokyo's Climate Throughout the Year
When you go sightseeing in Japan's capital city Tokyo, it's of course important to have a sense of what the weather will be like and what you should wear. Won't it disappoint you if there's a harsher winter than you expected and traveling around the city is more difficult? This article helps you be prepared, and also includes the special events of Tokyo's yearly calendar, from the Tokyo Marathon to shrine festivals to cherry blossoms.
Jun 23 2017 (Apr 15 2020)
Japan's climate changes dramatically depending on the season and region.
Before your next visit to Tokyo, please check out the climate of the month in which you are planning to come.
It is safe to say that January is the coldest month in Tokyo. The temperature plummets to around 1°C (32°F), and even on the warmest day it barely reaches 10°C (50°F), with an average temperature of 5 - 6°C (41°F). It rains very little.Wei-Te Wong/Flickr
Even on a sunny afternoon, you need something warm like a thick coat or down jacket. At night, you will feel a piercing cold that goes right through you. It is also a good idea to make sure you have a pair of gloves. It is highly recommended to dress in layers, so that when you are riding a bus or train or you are in a department store, where they turn up the heat to an extreme, it will be easy to take a layer or 2 off and then put them back on later.Richard, enjoy my life!/Flickr
During the first couple of days in the new year, the practice of visiting a shrine or temple during the new year called "hatsumode" is one of the yearly events that lets visitors experience Japanese culture. Hatsumode happens in shrines and temples all over the country, but places like Meiji Jingu Shrine are famous for it.
FebruaryRyosuke Yagi /Flickr
It is just as cold in February in Tokyo as it is in January and the average temperature is the same. It makes people wonder if spring will ever arrive. It hardly ever snows in Tokyo, but when it does, there is a chance that public transportation will be compromised and trains might even stop running.
Every year in February, they hold the Tokyo Marathon and it is a popular event even for foreign participants because they run along many famous sightseeing spots. At this time of the year, severe cold weather is generally predicted, so please wear the warmest clothing possible while you are watching this event.
Even though spring is just around the corner, you will still need a coat. The highest temperature is 14°C (58°F) and the lowest is 4°C (40°F), with an average temperature of 9°C (49°F), therefore, it is more comfortable than February. Rainfall gradually increases in February and it is better to have a small umbrella with you on your trip.motoshi ohmori/Flickr
The Daruma Doll Market is held each year on March 3rd and 4th at Jindaiji Temple in Chofu-shi. Daruma are bright red, round dolls and are considered to be a lucky charm on which people place a wish. This market is a popular springtime event in Tokyo, and each year, there are as many as 300 vendors all lined up. At lunchtime, why not try their famous signature Jindaiji soba?
April in Tokyo marks the start of the cherry blossom viewing season. The highest temperature is 19°C (67°F) and the lowest is 9°C (49°F), with an average temperature of 14°C (58°F). During the day you will feel relatively warm, and all of a sudden you can even feel the increase in temperature, but visitors need to be aware that both morning and nighttime are still cold.Kabacchi/Flickr
There are famous cherry blossom viewing spots everywhere in the Tokyo area in places like Ueno Park, Yanaka Cemetery, Aoyama Cemetery, and Inokashira Park. Late March to early April is the best time for cherry blossom viewing. It is also one of the best times for sightseeing in general. Why not go sit under some cherry trees on a nice sunny day? To get a better sense of where you could most fully enjoy the cherry blossom experience, check out this article:
In May, the warmer temperatures are very noticeable. The average temperature is about 18°C (66°F), the highest is about 23°C (75°F), but the lowest can drop to 10°C (50°F), so you still need long sleeves. It is better to always have a jacket or sweater with you to be comfortable.Dal Lu/Flickr
In May, Sanja Matsuri is a famous event held on the grounds of the Asakusa Shrine. It is a typical Old Town lively and energetic festival and you can enjoy Japan's Edo atmosphere. It is worthwhile visiting and observing the full impact of men carrying the mikoshi (portable shrine). One can hear the echo of the vigorous shouts throughout the town.
Tokyo's rainy season starts in June, so you always will have to make sure that you have an umbrella with you. The highest temperature is 25°C (77°F) and the lowest is 18°C (64°F), with an average temperature of 21°C (70°F). The temperatures start to get warmer and you may feel uncomfortable because of the high humidity. It is a good idea to wear short sleeves and bring a sweater to drape across your shoulders if you need one.Zengame/Flickr
At Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri (Hydrangea Festival) you can take pleasure in seeing as many as 3,000 hydrangea bushes in full bloom at this time. On this day, the open-air vendors are all lined up and you can purchase a potted hydrangea. This is the only time when you can see this plant blooming profusely in beautiful pinks and blues.
JulyDick Thomas Johnson/Flickr
The rainy season even continues well into July. After that, it is the start of the real summer season. The highest temperature goes up to around 29°C (85°F) and the lowest only drops to 22°c (71°F), the average temperature is around 25°C (77°F). It is perfect weather to wear a T-shirt and a baseball cap. You need to be aware of the possibility of getting heatstroke, so please do not forget to drink water.Noriko YAMAMOTO/Flickr
One of the most popular seasonal events is Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival which is held each year! This is a large scale event where you can see a lot of traditional and magnificent fireworks. You will able to enjoy an old-world festival atmosphere.
For a more complete list of suggestions for excellent fireworks festivals in Tokyo, check out our article 10 Recommended Fireworks Festivals in Tokyo to Enjoy Thrilling and Impressive Fireworks!
In August, there are many days where the temperature surpasses 30°C (86°F) and even the lowest temperature is around 23°C (74°F), with an average temperature of 26°C (79°F). You might feel hotter than the actual temperature because Tokyo has its own unique humidity, and possibly because of that, even during the night the oppressive heat sticks around.ajari/Flickr
Koenji Awa Odori Festival is a large scale event that involves the entire neighborhood of Koenji. Seeing as many as 10,000 dancers walking while doing intricate dance steps and listening to the rhythmical sound of Japanese drums will make you elated. You can say that this is the most energetic parade held in Tokyo.
The heat gradually decreases in September. The highest temperature is around 27°C (80°F) and the lowest drops to 20°C (68°F), with an average temperature of around 23°C (74°F). This is the start of the active typhoon season which brings a lot of rain. It would be better if you did not force yourself to go sightseeing if unfortunately a typhoon is coming your way during the trip. There are many indoor facilities that can be enjoyed in Tokyo.
Nezu-jinja Shrine Annual Grand Festival is held at Nezu-jinja Shrine in Bunkyo-ku. Mikoshi and dashi (decorated floats) are carried around the town. Inside the spacious grounds of the shrine, there are a lot of open-air vendors and you will be fascinated by the festival atmosphere brought by the friendly townsmen.
Even in October, there will be days when a typhoon comes. The temperature turns dramatically cooler and the highest only reaches around 22°C (71°F) and the lowest has dropped to about 14°C (57°F), with an average temperature of around 18°C (65°F). You will need to wear long sleeves and it would be better if you carried a sweater or jacket with you.
Dogu Masturi (Kitchen Tools Festival) is held on Kappabashi Dogu Street close to Asakusa. Many shops are lined up on this shopping street and they sell Japanese cooking utensils, tableware, and other items. Many foreign tourists come here as well. Kitchen knives are especially very popular. During the festival, you might be able to purchase items for an unbelievably inexpensive bargain, so please do not miss this opportunity.
Each year, the Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony is held at Hamarikyu Gardens and you will have the opportunity to experience Japan's traditional culture of sado (tea ceremony) and other traditional performing arts and music.
It is autumn and the weather has completely cooled off. The highest temperature is around 16°C (61°F) and the lowest temperature drops to around 8°C (47°F), with an average of 12°C (53°F). You need to wear a jacket or coat.shuzo serikawa/Flickr
There are a lot of areas where you can enjoy seeing autumn leaves change their color in Tokyo. Meiji Jingu Gaien, Hibiya Park, and Rikugien Garden are especially popular spots. There are places where leaves start to turn their colors as early as the beginning of November. The leaves all gradually turn red and this can be enjoyed until the beginning of December.
DecemberDick Thomas Johnson/Flickr
December is the start of the real winter. The highest temperature only climbs to 12°C (53°F) and the lowest is 4°C (39°F), with an average of 8°C (47°F). It really gets cold, so you will always need items like a down jacket, a knit cap, gloves and a scarf. The amount of snowfall depends on the year.sayot/Flickr
To welcome in the new year, you can't miss an event called Joya-no-kane (Bells on New Year's Eve). It is held in places like Sensoji Temple. The bell is struck 108 times starting at midnight on December 31st and the peels echo throughout the area. This is the only day when the trains still run even after midnight.
Summer in Tokyo is very hot and even the nights are hot because of the humidity! In winter, the piercing cold comes. However, if you plan ahead and prepare to have the correct clothes and accessories, you will still be able to comfortably enjoy various special events held month to month throughout Tokyo! There is no such thing as overpreparing, so in addition to all the info provided in this article, we recommend reading this article so that you can have the best Tokyo trip of your life:
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Title Image: yousang / Shutterstock
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.