Japan in May: Pleasant Weather and Gorgeous Countryside


A trip to Japan in May is a chance to explore the stunning island nation before the overbearing heat of summer makes traveling an unpleasant experience. May is also a big month for festivals up and down Japan, with many cities taking warm weather as an excuse to throw a party. The beginning of May is known as the ‘golden week’ of festivals in Japan, and it is worth a visit to see how traditional practices continue into modern parades.

Japan Weather in May

Visit a beach in Taketomi island in Okinawa prefecture in Japan in May.
The Okinawa prefecture is popular for being one of the best beach destinations in Japan.

The weather in Japan in May is very pleasant, with average daily temperatures of 21°C. At night, however, the mercury can drop to a cooler 14°C on average. The sunny shores of Okinawa experience higher temperatures, between 27°C and 22°C. The country starts receiving more daylight with each passing day and native plants and wildlife flourish in the warmth.

For a seasonal overview, check out our article on the best time to visit Japan.

Weather in Japan in May - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)8912172124282926201511
Avg Nightly (°C)2251014182223201594
Avg Daily (°F)46.448.253.662.669.875.282.484.278.8685951.8
Avg Nightly (°F)35.635.6415057.264.471.673.4685948.239.2
Avg Rainfall (mm)4358941191321811281471811588444

Why Visit Japan in May

Girl with traditional dress in Senso-ji temple in Asakusa in Japan in May.
The Sensoji Buddhist Temple is the oldest in Tokyo going back 1400 years.
Rice terraces at sunset in Kumano, Japan.
Rice terraces make for a blissful vacation in May.

May is full of spectacular festivals and bright blue skies. The weather is pleasant and landmarks look vibrant in the late spring sun. While there are countless interesting things to do in Japan during this time of year, below we have listed a few reasons why you should travel to the country during this month.

  • Festivities galore: Celebrations are organized across Japan in May. The Asakusa Sanja Festival, one of the biggest events in Tokyo, is a three-day parade organized at this time of year to honor the three men who founded the Sensoji Buddhist Temple. Further south from Tokyo, the Hiroshima Flower Festival takes place in the first week of May. This is when the Peace Boulevard in the city is packed with music, performances and plenty of flowers. Similarly, thousands of performers flood the streets of Fukuoka at the beginning of May to celebrate the Hakata Dontaku Port Festival, which sees dances and processions go on for over two days.
  • Gorgeous countryside: Paddy fields across Japan’s countryside glisten in the first rays of the morning sun as the water is pooled to plant rice. Travelers flock to Fukushima and Niigata during this time of year to take in the blissful sight of recently planted rice terraces that run up and down undulating hills.
  • Sumo season in Tokyo: Sumo wrestlers travel to Tokyo every May to display their wrestling chops. Make sure that you attend one of these wrestling events while in the country during May.

Where to go and what to do

A view of Shibazakura blooming in early May with Fuji Mountain in the back.
Mount Fuji is an ideal destination for hiking, camping and relaxation if you are planning a holiday in Japan.

There are many fascinating places to visit in Japan, and traveling to Japan in May offers you a chance to discover the country as festivals fill the air. The capital city of Tokyo is always busy. But come May and the city starts brimming with people participating in the Asakusa Sanja Festival.

In the meantime, Kyoto comes to life during Aoi Matsuri, which takes place each year on May 15. This celebration dates back to the sixth century and is based on the belief that gods answered the prayers of typhoon-ravaged people with good harvests.

Make sure that you also include Hokkaido in your itinerary while heading for Japan in May. With snow disappearing, the region’s landscape is covered by vibrant patches of green. Plus, Shirogane Blue Pond, one of most famous landmarks in the country's largest prefecture, is said to be at its best during this time of year.

With the maximum temperatures reaching 27°C, the beaches around Okinawa are an ideal destination to catch some sun and relax. You can pick your choice of sandy stretches depending on your mood. Go for an isolated beach on a remote island or head for one that is close to a city instead.

Head for the foothills of Mount Fuji if you wish to lay your eyes on vast swathes of green tea plantations before they are harvested. Else travel to the subtropical island of Okinawa, where a dragon boat race takes place. Known as Naha Haari, this race originated in China but moved to Okinawa in the 16th century and is held in the capital of Okinawa early in the month. Around twelve rowers on each team race against each other in long rowing boats called sabani. The event is a way to honor the traditions of Okinawa and to pray to the sea gods for blessings. Along with boat races, the festival also sees a music concert, street performances and fireworks.

Japan’s weather is warm and pleasant in May. This is when festivals spring up across the country and islands start looking forward to summer days. To plan your customized trip to Japan, please speak to one of our travel experts in the country right away.

You might also want to check out our tours to Japan in May.

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