Spring in Tokyo is arguably the best time of year to visit—and it’s all thanks to hanami. This is an incredible period in the calendar to see the capital (and Japan as a whole) at its best, with cherry blossom trees blooming all over. The temperatures are also a reason to travel in Japan at this time, with the weather being quite mild (after May, the days get hotter and in summer, Tokyo can be uncomfortably humid).
So you’ve bought your ticket, booked your accommodation—now what? What to pack? What to see this spring in Tokyo? What to eat? These questions might be racing through your head, but we’ve compiled a handy guide for you to use when traveling around Tokyo during the springtime. Rest assured, you’re going to have a fabulous time in this most magnificent season.
Temperatures in Tokyo in spring
To go into more detail about temperatures in spring, you’ll find that March in Tokyo will give you an average of 13 degrees Celsius in the afternoons, with temperatures of around 5° C in the mornings and evenings. April then increases to about 18° C in the day and by May it goes up to around 23° C (or higher). Morning and evening temperatures at this time drop to around 15° C.
The first half of spring may give you cold days, sometimes even with a bit of snow, whereas the second half generally gives you plenty of sun with clear weather—hurrah! We recommend keeping an eye on the weather forecast from about 2-3 weeks before your trip.
Without a doubt, cherry blossom season is the highlight of spring in Japan. Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is a well-loved tradition where friends, family members and coworkers go out to eat and drink under the trees, gazing at the gorgeous cherry blossoms. See our guide to the best blossom viewing spots in Tokyo (with some less-crowded options).
For Tokyo, blooming generally starts around the 25th of March, and the cherry blossom trees should be in full bloom by the first few days of April. But hurry quick to Japan for the cherry blossom season if you intend to do so. Unfortunately this season doesn’t last long, and it is recommended that you plan your trip while taking a look at predictions for the year’s sakura (cherry blossom).
Spring is the time of sprouting in Japan. You can enjoy foods such as bamboo shoots, spring cabbage and broccolini, to name a few. There are also foods such as soft seawards, the Japanese halfbeak and clams to show us that spring has well and truly arrived. Strawberries, funnily enough, are very representative of the spring season in Japan too. See which eight dishes to try this spring in Tokyo.
What to wear for spring in Tokyo
Spring temperatures can vary, so pack accordingly. March can still be quite cold, so be sure to bring a decent coat. With April comes better weather, but still—it’s advisable to bring a cardigan, jacket or coat, especially if you are going to be wandering around in the evenings, e.g. to do some night cherry blossom viewing. May typically proves the most pleasant month in terms of weather in spring. You could probably get away with a long-sleeved top and cardigan for this month.
Springtime festivals and events in Tokyo
Another reason to look forward to spring in Tokyo is the chance to see the traditional Japanese martial art of yabusame (horseback archery). There are two events that take place in April, one in Asakusa, and the other in Kamakura. Riders, who are dressed in hunting costumes from the 12th-13th centuries, are tasked with hitting as many targets as they can in a run. And for a fun spring element, targets are loaded with pink and white confetti, symbolizing the petals of the blossoms.
More than just blossoms
With spring comes flowers, but we’re not talking about cherry blossoms this time. Wisteria festivals are also a popular draw for tourists and locals alike. You can see this beautiful flower at Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Tokyo, or opt for a day trip to the Ashikaga City Wisteria Festival.
Our video guide to the tuna auctions at the shiny new Toyosu Fish Market
Pro tip: See our guide on where to see spring flowers in Tokyo for other ideas, including fields of nemophila, tulips and more.
Celebrating the kids of Japan
A biggie for this season is Tango no Sekku, which was once Boys’ Festival. This lands on the 5th of May in Japan, and traditionally it was a celebration in dedication to boys. Since 1948, the day has slightly changed and it is a national holiday now known as Children’s Day. You will see lots of koinobori (carp banners) displayed around the country at this time. This is supposed to symbolize success due to vitality.
If you don’t like dolls, this isn’t the festival for you, that’s for sure. If you do read on! The Hinamatsuri is celebrated on the 3rd of March. This is the day that families with young daughters pray for their future happiness and health. Japanese girls display their ceremonial dolls, which are dressed in kimono fabrics. They are passed down from mother to daughter. A set of hina dolls consists of 15 dolls, so you can really see a lot of figures during this time around Tokyo, and the rest of the country!
The festival is mostly celebrated at home, but families with daughters can often be seen at their local temple. Tokyo also has the Kobayashi Doll Museum, so you can see and learn more if you’re not around in early March.
Spring really is (arguably) the best time to visit Tokyo and the rest of Japan. The cherry blossom is able to be seen in full display during this period, and is not to be missed if possible. Temperatures are mild and manageable and prove easier for traveling. There are a number of festivals and events in spring, so there is plenty to do. An extremely special time for Japan, go and enjoy it to the max!
Pro tip: Looking for a tour guide to help you make the most of your time in Tokyo this spring? Read our guide to tour guides for some ideas.
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Post first published in March, 2017. Last updated in March, 2019.
Escape Tokyo for the day, see mountains, hot springs, the modern, the traditional, the old and the ancient!