From the end of May to mid-July is the “rainy season” called “Tsuyu.” Even when it is not raining, the humidity increases as the temperature rises. The rainy season starts early in southern part of Japan and gradually shifts northward, which takes about a month. When the rainy season ends, the real hot summer begins.
Spring and Autumn are the two most comfortable seasons in Japan. A time when one can feel the breath of life and the symbols of early Spring – the cherry blossoms. Spring is the time for “Hanami,” the cherry blossom viewing events that are held in many different locations all over the country. The best time to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo is usually from the end of March to the beginning of April. But one should be aware that temperatures fluctuate greatly during this time. It can be hot one day and the next day you may shiver from the cold.
In December, the temperature drops and it gets cold quickly. By the end of December it is very cold, and it is not uncommon for it to fall below freezing from January to the beginning of March. There is not much snow on the Pacific side which usually has continuous sunny but cold days. There is a New Year’s tradition to eat soba noodles just before the year changes. The last day of the year is called “Omisoka.” “Oshogatsu,” the Japanese New Year continues for seven days beginning January 1st and the people celebrate by eating New Year’s cuisine called, “Osechi” and drinking alcohol.
Autumn in Japan has a comfortable climate, roughly the same as Spring. The heat breaks, the humidity goes down and the air feels cool and dry. Just as the cherry blossoms attract crowds in the Spring, many tourists gather in Nara prefecture, Kyoto prefecture, and Nikko city to enjoy the beautiful tints of Autumn. In Tokyo, November is the time when the leaves of deciduous trees turn red and yellow, painting the mountains and streets with beautiful colors. Autumn is also a time when many cultural events occur.