Best time to visit Japan

When is the best time to visit Japan? Wayne Johnson, a long time resident has the answer.

Domo. Yokohama here. Before you get to Japan you must start planning for the visit. Have you been told that? All right, then we’re in the right place. Well, I am anyway. Your purpose is to get here too!

The best time to visit Japan is in spring or autumn, unless you enjoying skiing at which time you can go to a ski resort in Hokkaido or Nagano and listen to a bunch of Australians. If you come in summer, it must be because you enjoy sweating and want throughly cleansed pores.

The best time of all is spring, and the best springtime is late April to early May. It’s a time called Golden Week in Japan and almost everybody has a holiday for about a week. The trains out of Tokyo are packed to 200 percent capacity. The buses and trains to the airport a full and everybody is travelling. It’s madness, and getting a seat is almost impossible.

So why visit then?

Well, I’m assuming you’re interested in seeing Tokyo and enjoying the cosmopolitan Japan. Golden Week in Tokyo is calm and relatively quiet because the people who came to work in Tokyo from the countryside have gone back to family hometowns. The Tokyo people have gone overseas to places like Hawaii, Australia and that big country near London called Europe.  
Since outbound flights are full, the airlines need to cover for the planes coming in to carry out more Japanese overseas travellers. You’d think that the inbound flights would be cheaper at that time because of the mass outflow of locals. Well, they probably are – I don’t know because I’m here. Check with your travel agent.

In an age of booking flights directly through the airlines, I strongly suggest you talk to a travel agent first. Japan is not a cheap place to visit but the travel industry here is very competitive and there are good deals to be had. JTB is the best Japanese travel agent, and H.I.S have the most accessible overseas offices. So ask H.I.S. about JTB deals and you can enjoy a reasonable priced time here in Tokyo, and Yokohama.
Ask about the Japan Rail Pass too, and do a day trip or two on the bullet train (shinkansen) to Kyoto and Nara in the middle of Golden Week before the hordes head back to Tokyo at the end of the Golden Week. In fact, time it right and you can enjoy some beautiful Japanese scenery from a shinkansen window and catch the occasional packed number heading in the opposite direction!


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