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May in Japan is considered one of the best periods to visit, offering a delightful blend of pleasant weather and captivating experiences. As the last cherry blossoms gracefully drift away, Japan springs to life with vibrant energy and color. The warm, inviting weather sets the stage for a myriad of exciting activities, from hiking the majestic Mount Fuji to indulging in soothing hot springs surrounded by blooming flowers. This month is a celebration of renewal and tradition, highlighting Japan’s rich culture and history.

Aside from its delightful weather, May offers many compelling reasons to visit Japan. Whether you’re exploring the lush greenery or immersing yourself in traditional festivities, Japan in May promises an unforgettable experience.

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Best Period to Go to Japan

Deciding the best period to visit Japan can be crucial to ensuring you have the most enjoyable experience possible. While Japan is a beautiful country to visit year-round, each season offers unique attractions and experiences.

May is the Best Period to Go to Japan also best destination to travel in may

Why May is the best month to visit Japan?

May is a fantastic time to visit Japan, as the weather is generally mild and pleasant. It’s a great time to explore the country’s beautiful gardens and parks, which are in full bloom with cherry blossoms and other flowers. The temperatures are comfortable, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and sightseeing. Additionally, May is a great time to experience some of Japan’s unique festivals and events, such as Children’s Day and the Kanda Festival in Tokyo.

Weather in Japan in May

Weather in Japan in May to enjoy ice cream shavings

In May, Japan experiences spring weather, with temperatures ranging from mild to warm. The average temperature in Tokyo in May is around 20°C (68°F), making it a comfortable time to explore the city and its surrounding areas. However, it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast before your trip, as temperatures can vary depending on the region.

Japan in May enjoys a gentle and agreeable climate, making it an excellent time for outdoor adventures. The temperatures range from cozy to moderately high, providing a comfortable environment without the extreme cold of winter or the humidity and heat of summer. In the northern regions like Hokkaido, spring arrives a bit later, making May the peak season for cherry blossoms. The landscape is painted with delicate pink and white petals, creating a picturesque scene.

Things to do and Places to Travel in Japan: May

Best Destination to Travel in May inJapan for Fireworks

Japan offers a wide range of destinations to explore in May. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene beauty of Kyoto, there’s something for everyone. Plus, with the pleasant weather, it’s the perfect time to explore Japan’s stunning natural landscapes. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, food, or nature, Japan has something to offer every traveler in May. Continue reading to discover the best destination to travel in May.

Hike to Mt. Fuji

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This active volcano is a famous tourist site for Japanese and foreign visitors, drawing hikers worldwide. The most excellent part of visiting Mount Fuji in May is that you can take in the fresh air and vegetation while still seeing snow on the mountain’s pinnacle. Hiking Mount Fuji at this time of year allows you to enjoy the excitement of mountain climbing while escaping the harsh winter weather. The beautiful views from Mount Fuji’s peak are spectacular, and it’s best to come early in the morning to avoid crowds. The ascent to the mountain’s peak is also a favourite pastime for couples, with many individuals proposing to their spouses at the summit.

Mount Fuji should be on your agenda if you travel with your significant other and have the same plans. Aside from hiking, the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, which takes place in May, is another event worth attending. This event highlights the kilometres of pink moss that blanket the Fuji Five Lakes region. From mid-April through the end of May, the shibazakura blossoms bloom in total, creating colourful patterns of pink, blue, purple, and white against the backdrop of Mount Fuji. The event has a variety of food vendors, souvenir stores, and live music performances, making it a fun experience for people of all ages. Experience the best period to go to Japan and the best time to visit, especially in May, to witness this breathtaking natural phenomenon.

Enjoy the Hakata Dontaku Festival (May 3-4)

Japan in May

The Hakata Dontaku Festival dates back to the 12th century when it was a ritual to pray for good harvests and peace. Because the festival has occurred on the first Sunday of May since the Edo Period (1603-1868), the name Dontaku derives from the Dutch word Zondag, which means Sunday or holiday. It features various performances and activities, such as traditional dances, music, comedy, martial arts, etc. One of the highlights is the Shamoji Dance, where thousands of people dance with wooden rice paddles in their hands. Experience the best period to go to Japan and the best time to visit, especially in May, to witness this vibrant festival.

Another highlight is the Dontaku Port Festival, where fireworks and laser shows light up the night sky over Hakata Bay. The Festival is an excellent opportunity to experience the culture and spirit of Fukuoka, a city known for its food, history and hospitality. You can enjoy local delicacies such as Hakata ramen, mentaiko (spicy cod roe) and motsunabe (hot pot with beef or pork innards). You can also visit historical sites such as Kushida Shrine, Fukuoka Castle and Hakata Machiya Folk Museum making them one of the best destination to travel in May.

Witness Children’s Day in Japan(5 May)

Japan's Delightful May Attractions

One of Children’s Day’s most colourful and fun traditions is to fly carp-shaped windsocks called koinobori outside the house. The carp symbolises success and perseverance in Japan, as it is said to swim upstream and become a dragon. The koinobori usually have different colours for different family members: black for the father, red or pink for the mother, and one for each child. Another tradition is to display samurai dolls, and helmets called gogatsu ningyo or musha ningyo inside the house. It means to inspire children to be brave and honourable like the samurai warriors. Some families also display irises or shobu, plants with sword-like leaves. It believes in warding off evil spirits.

Children’s Day is a public holiday on May 5 every year. It is a day to honour children’s individuality and happiness and to thank their mothers for their love and care. Some fun activities are yabusame, horseback archery, origami, paper folding, and kabuto origami, paper helmets.Children’s day has its roots in an ancient ceremony called Tango no Sekku, celebrates on the fifth day of the fifth month in the old Chinese calendar. It was also known as Boys’ Day, a day for boys to show their courage and strength. Girls had their day on March 3, called Hinamatsuri, or Doll’s Festival. In 1948, the Japanese government made May 5 a national holiday for all children, regardless of gender. 

Take part in Kanda Matsuri (takes place every odd year)

Japan in May

If you are in Tokyo on an odd year, check out the Kanda Matsuri, one of the city’s largest and most spectacular festivals. It lasts for eight days and features impressive parades on the weekend. On Saturday, you can see a procession of people in colourful costumes, horses, floats and musicians. On Sunday, you can see the Mikoshi Parades, where portable shrines arrive to bring good fortune to the surrounding neighbourhoods. The Kanda Matsuri is a biennial festival in Tokyo in odd years. It is one of the city’s most magnificent and festive events, spanning eight days of celebrations. 

The highlight is the weekend parades, where you can watch a grand procession of floats, horses, performers, and music on Saturday, and a series of Mikoshi Parades on Sunday, where portable shrines are transported through the streets to bless the locals. Every two years on odd years, Tokyo hosts the Kanda Matsuri, one of its biggest and most splendid festivals. The festival goes on for eight days and culminates in the weekend parades.

On Saturday, there is a main procession that showcases a variety of floats, horses, costumes, and music. On Sunday, Mikoshi Parades carry portable shrines along the streets to spread good luck to the residents. The weather in Japan in May typically enhances the festive mood, with pleasant temperatures and the beauty of spring in full bloom, making it an ideal time for such outdoor celebrations. Experience the best period to go to Japan and the best time to visit, especially in May, to witness this spectacular festival.

Buy tickets for Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament (May 12-26)

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The Sumo Hatsu Basho is a series of sumo tournaments that take place throughout the year, and one of them is the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament in May. It is a significant sumo event that attracts a lot of fans and spectators, both local and foreign. You must buy tickets in advance to watch the matches, especially the ones featuring the top-ranked sumo wrestlers. One of the highlights of the Sumo Hatsu Basho, a seasonal sumo tournament, is the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament every May. To see the matches, it is a big deal for sumo enthusiasts and admirers from Japan and abroad. Tickets are required to attend the tournament, and they sell out quickly, especially for the games with the most famous sumo wrestlers.

The Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament is a prestigious sumo event in May as part of the Sumo Hatsu Basho, a yearly sumo tournament. It draws a large crowd of sumo fans and curious visitors from Japan and overseas who want to witness the matches. Tickets are essential to enter the tournament and are in high demand, especially for games with the best sumo wrestlers.

Celebrate Aoi Matsuri in Kyoto (May 15)

Aoi Matsuri

The Aoi Matsuri (Kamo Matsuri) festival celebrates Kyoto’s heritage and culture. It features a parade of people in costumes from the Heian Period when Kyoto was Japan’s capital. The festival has a long history, dating back to the 6th century when it was a ritual to appease the gods after a series of natural disasters. The festival closely links to the shrines, where ceremonies and performs offerings. Experience the best period to go to Japan and the best time to visit, especially in May, to witness this captivating festival.

A festival that reflects Kyoto’s past and traditions, the Aoi Matsuri (Kamo Matsuri) has a parade of people dressed in Heian Period attire when Kyoto was Japan’s centre. The festival originated in the 6th century as a way to pray to the gods for protection from natural calamities. The Kamo Matsuri festival because of its connection to the shrines, where rituals and offerings occur.

The Aoi Matsuri (Kamo Matsuri) festival honours Kyoto’s ancient history and customs. It has a parade of people wearing costumes from the Heian Period when Kyoto was the seat of power in Japan. The festival started in the 6th century as a response to natural disasters that plagued the city. The festival derives after the hollyhock leaves worn by the participants and later occurs in the ceremonies and offerings. This Makes Kyoto one of the best destination to travel in May.

Asakusa comes alive in Sanja Festival (May 17-19)

sanja matsuri

Every May, the streets of Asakusa come alive with the Sanja Festival, a three-day celebration of the founders of the Senso-ji temple. The festival attracts millions of visitors who want to witness the spectacle of over 100 portable shrines, or mikoshi, being carried by enthusiastic locals. The festival is known for its loud and festive atmosphere, with music, dancing, food stalls, and colourful costumes.

The festival’s highlight is the parade of three giant mikoshi on the second day, representing the three founders. The mikoshi believes in bringing good luck and prosperity to the area and its people. The Sanja Festival is one of Tokyo’s most popular and exciting events and a great way to experience Japan’s traditional culture and spirit. As for the weather in Japan in May, it’s generally a pleasant time to visit. The average temperature in Tokyo during May ranges from 17°C to 23°C. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy outdoor festivities like the Sanja Festival! Asakusa definitely is the best destination to travel in May.

Relax and enjoy the Late Blooming Cherry Blossom (Last week of May)

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Cherry blossom, or sakura, is one of the most iconic symbols of Japan. Every spring, people flock to parks and gardens to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the delicate pink flowers. However, not all cherry trees bloom at the same time. Some varieties, such as yaezakura and kanzan, have a later blooming season than the more common somei yoshino.

You can find the late-blooming cherry trees in various locations across Japan, such as Hokkaido, Tohoku, and the Japanese Alps. They usually peak in late April or early May when the weather is warmer and more pleasant. Late-blooming cherry blossoms in Japan in May offer a different charm and atmosphere than the early-blooming ones.

They tend to have more petals and a deeper colour, creating a stunning contrast with the green leaves and the blue sky. They also attract fewer crowds, making them ideal for a relaxing and peaceful hanami or flower viewing. Late-blooming cherry blossoms in Japan are a beautiful sight and a perfect way to enjoy spring. In addition, the Tohoku region contains various cherry blossom viewing areas, including Hirosaki, a city in Japan in May, The Shiroishi River, Park Hanamiyama and the Nicchu Line.

Thriller at Hitachi Seaside Park

hitachi seaside park

Nemophila Bloom in Japan in May: The park’s hills adorn themselves with sky-blue flowers, each boasting a white centre, as a staggering 4.5 million Nemophila bloom in full. These delicate blooms reach a height of 15-20 cm, creating a magnificent carpet of blue across the ground. The hills in the park are covered with sky-blue coloured flowers with white centres. The sight of the blue flowers contrasted against the lush green grass is stunning and mesmerising. Experience the best period to go to Japan and the best time to visit, especially in May, to witness this breathtaking natural phenomenon.

The best time to visit the Hitachi Seaside Park to witness the Nemophila is from late April to mid-May, when they are in full bloom. The park also features several other attractions, including a ferris wheel, a cycling course, a playground for children, and a barbecue area. Throughout the year, the park is home to various other flowers, such as tulips, poppies, and roses, making it a beautiful destination anytime. The park is only two hours away from Tokyo by train and bus, and the admission fee is 450 yen for adults and free for children. The park is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, and the last entry is at 4:00 pm.

Hitachi Seaside Park is undoubtedly best destination to travel in may. Also one of the most beautiful places to experience the magic of flowers in Japan. A visit to the park in May will make you feel happy, relaxed, and captivated by the stunning sea of blue created by the Nemophila flowers.

Japan in May: Frequently Asked Questions

Japan in May

1. What is the weather like in Japan during May?

May in Japan is part of the late spring period. The weather in Japan in May is usually mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from comfortable to warm across most of the country. 

2. Is May a good time to visit Japan?

Absolutely! May offers vibrant natural scenery, making it an excellent time to explore Japan. 

3. What is Golden Week in Japan?

Golden Week is a series of national holidays that occur within a week, from late April to early May. It’s a festivity period and a peak travel season for domestic tourists. 

4. What about travelling to Northern Japan in May?

Northern Japan, including regions like Hokkaido, greets travelers with fresh spring blooms. Cherry blossoms reach their peak, especially in Hokkaido. The weather in Japan in May is relatively calm, with temperatures ranging from 9°C (48°F) in colder areas to about 17°C (63°F) in more temperate zones. Be prepared for cooler nights and occasional rain showers. Discover the best period to go to Japan and the best time to visit, especially in May, to experience these breathtaking spring blooms and pleasant weather.

5. Are there any unique cultural experiences in May?

Yes! May hosts several festivals and events across the country. For example:

The May sumo tournament takes place in Tokyo, with the last day promising more drama than usual as final results shape competitors’ careers. Experience the best period to go to Japan and the best time to visit, especially in May, to witness this exciting event.

Annually, over a million people are attracted to the Sanja Matsuri at Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo. During this significant festival, parades of portable shrines fill the streets. The Sanja Matsuri is a must-visit during your trip to Japan in May.

Tokyo Big Site hosts the annual Design Festa, where 10,000 artists worldwide display their works. This event showcases the vibrant creativity of artists from around the globe, making it one of the best destinations to travel in May.


About Vishankh Dutta

Vishankh, lover of Japan's charms, Haiku words flowing with open arms. Sushi master, sake sipper, Lost in anime, a passionate flipper.