Top 18 Entertaining Things to Do in Japan in May

When the weather is warm, let’s start exploring the world!!

Okay, I know that it’s not possible to explore the whole world in a single month or season, but if you are traveling during the month of May, how about choosing Japan as your destination?

But, why will you come to our country in this period, right?

Then, let me inform you that May is a pleasant month to visit Japan to enjoy outdoor activities in warm and comfortable weather.

And as May is the last month of the spring season in Japan, the country is beautified with flowers and greenery.

Hmm! It seems like now you want to know about all the charming things to do in Japan in May.

Okay, okay, I am here, so no fear!!

Today, I will guide you about where to go in Japan in May, which festival to attend, and what type of activities you may enjoy.

18 Best Things to Do in Japan in May to Feel The Rhythm of Your Life

While visiting Japan in May, you have numerous options of well-known spots such as Mount Fuji, Odaiba, and more.

Also, there are some famous festivals that take place like Aoi Matsuri, Kanda Matsuri, and so on.

Now, no need to hold your curiosity as I am going to start discussing all the essential information regarding fun stuff to do in Japan.

1. Hike The Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji, an active volcanic mountain, is one of the best places to visit in May in Japan.

It is renowned among Japanese and foreigners because people from all over the world come to Japan just to hike to the summit of this mountain.

If you are an enthusiast of hiking, this is the right place to satisfy your passion.

And the great news is, May is a great time to visit Mt. Fuji cause, apart from all the fresh air and greenery, you will be able to see snow on the peak of the hill.

Isn’t it fantastic?

Hiking Mount Fuji

Even avoiding the winter season, you are seeing snow in relatively warm weather.

Mount Fuji is situated about 60 miles southwest of the Tokyo metropolitan area.

The scenery of the surrounding from the peak is breathtaking, and I suggest visiting in the early mornings to avoid as much crowd as possible.

Climbling on Mt. Fuji

Also, it is quite popular among couples, and many people propose their partner at the peak.

In case you are traveling with your sweetheart and have the same intention, you should definitely add this place to your must-do list.

2. Attend The Fuji Shibazakura Festival

Wanna kill two birds with one stone!!

No! No! Don’t think I am an animal hater.

Well, what I meant is visiting Mount Fuji will give you two opportunities at once!!

Aside from hiking, you can soothe your eyes by watching miles of pink moss covering the Fuji Five Lakes region.

Pink moss

And to experience this magical panorama of pink carpet, you need to travel there from mid-April to the end of May, when 800,000 shibazakura flowers are in full bloom near Lake Motosu.

Setting against the background of Mt. Fuji, it produces colorful patterns of pink, blue, purple, and white.

Capturing the beautiful pink moss scenery with Mount Fuji in the backdrop will be an instagrammable picture for you.

Fuji Shibazakura Festival

After the end of your traveling, when you are gonna check your photo gallery, only a satisfying smile will appear on your face.

And that’s what we all Japanese want, to bid goodbye to the travelers with the most gratification.

Oh, wait, I forgot to notify you that a delicious food festival also takes place during this Shibazakura Festival, when vendors sell pots of pink moss with feast food and a variety of local souvenirs.

You may visit their official site to know the entrance fee and other essential information.

3. Feel The Coolness of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

One of May’s top activities is dropping by the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

It is a sightseeing path located between Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture, and Omachi, Nagano Prefecture.

This route is open for tourists throughout the spring and summer times, yet the best time to go there is before June when “Yuki no Otani”, the Great Snow Wall, is still visible before it melts.

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

The trail is 37 Km long, and the high peak is at 1,975m.

It includes numerous breathtaking viewpoints, and you may choose from different means of transport, including bus, funicular, trolleybus, and aerial tramway.

The highest point of this route is Murodo, which has a magnificent view of the mountain range with the blue pond.

View of Murodo

You can also take the 1.7 km long ropeway between Kurobedaira and Daikando station to watch the surroundings from above.

See also  10 Most Exciting Things to Do in Japan in March

Another spectacular place within this path is Kurobe Dam which is 186m high and also Japan’s biggest dam.

Kurobe Dam

Here up to 15 tons of water are discharged per second through the dam.

So, if you want to experience all of these three landscapes, you better plan a one-day trip there.

To gather information about the ticket price and travel guidelines, please visit their official site.

4. See The Late Blooming Cherry Blossom

In case you think cherry blossoms are only available in April, you are absolutely wrong!!

There are some places where late-blooming cherry blossoms can be seen, especially in the northern part of Japan.

Because of the cold weather in Hokkaido, the peak season for cherry blossom flourishing arrives here a month later than Tokyo, which is from late April to early May.

fully bloomed cherry blossom in Hakodate Fort Goryokaku

And, one of the best places to witness this beautiful flower in Hokkaido is Hakodate Fort Goryokaku.

Besides, the Tohoku area also has several cherry blossom viewing spots like Hirosaki City, Shiroishi River, Hanamiyama Park, and Nicchu Line.

5. Admire The Heavenly Beauty of Wisteria

You are traveling to Japan in May and leaving without seeing the stunning Wisteria, a popular spring flower in Japan; it can’t happen.

The most well-known wisteria garden in Japan is Kawachi Fujien Garden, located in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture.

It’s a private garden, owning over 20 kinds of wisterias in a 10,000 square meters field.

However, the best highlight of this garden is two gorgeous tunnels made with various wisterias.

One of them is approximately 80m long, and the other is 110m long.

Wisteria tunnel at Kawachi Fujien Garden

If you want to create a fairytale type of scenery, like running towards the open arm of your bae, this is the place for you!!

I know it’s kind of awkward to do such things in public, but, hey, if you wanna do it, don’t think twice.

Anyway, after the tunnels have been featured on multiple sites, including CNN, this garden became extremely famous in the past few years.

Since then, visitors from all around the world have started coming here to see its beauty in person.

Now, let me inform you that Kawachi Fujien is open only twice a year, in spring and autumn.

From mid-April to mid-May, wisteria can be seen, but I suggest you come during late April to early May to capture the full blooming.

Blooming Wisteria

But, if you are visiting only Tokyo in May, don’t be disheartened, as there is a wisteria festival at Ashikaga flower park, which is within 2 hours from the center of Tokyo.

There are over 350 varieties of wisteria in this garden, including 150-year-old “The Great Wisteria” that spreads around 1,000 square meters of space.

Another thing is, this park is known for impressive illumination at night, so if you stay till the dark, it will be worth watching.

6. Drop By The Famous Blue Pond in Hokkaido

When Hokkaido’s snow starts to disappear, it unleashes some marvelous patches of the picturesque view.

And one of this city’s famous spots, “Blue Pond” in Biei is said to be in its best form in May.

On a clear day, the pond is adorned with a fairytale-like panorama, with thin stalked trees rising up from the glassy aqua waters.

Blue Pond in Hokkaido

Now, do you think traveling all the way to Hokkaido only to see the blue pond is worth it?

Well, apart from this place, there are more things to see in this city!!

The surrounding area has plenty of things to offer, such as Otaru, one of Japan’s most attractive towns.

Otaru Canal boat ride

In May, you can enjoy a boat ride on this town’s canal and eat various fresh seafood from the local restaurants.

7. Join The Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo

Sanja Festival is one of the three main Shinto festivals in Tokyo, which is held annually in the Asakusa Shrine for three days on the third weekend of May.

It is celebrated in honor of Hinokuma Takenari, Hinokuma Hamanari, and Hajino Nakatomo, the three men who established Senso-ji Temple.

Attracting over 2 million visitors, Sanja Matsuri is one of the wildest festivals and also crowded.

Sanja Festival

Therefore, in case you are traveling to Japan with your kids, I will recommend you not to take them in this huge crowd.

Anyway, the celebration starts on Friday afternoon with the Daigyoretsu parade, with a large march of priests, musicians, geisha, and dancers wearing Edo Period costumes through the neighborhood of Asakusa.

On Saturday, it features a procession carrying over 100 portable shrines (mikoshi), with traditional music & dance from Senso-ji Temple and Asakusa Shrine to their neighboring regions.

And finally, on the last day, three large-sized main mikoshis join the march.

The fiesta also has geisha and taiko (Japanese drum) performances that are held at certain times throughout the weekend.

I will say if you want to experience something chaotic and wild, joining this festival will be an excellent opportunity to feel the real vibe of Tokyo’s culture.

8. A Journey to Naoshima Art Island

An open-air museum of art!!

Yes, Naoshima island is such a place that will awe you with its visuals. It is a part of the Kagawa prefecture and is located on the Seto Sea.

Naoshima Art Island

If you want a tranquil getaway, then this is your way out.

After going there, you will be able to see a mixture of the natural environment with architectural and sculptural creations by some of the finest artists of Japan.

Torii at Naoshima Island

The houses have unique designs with quirky and distinct styles; for example, Benesse house.

Also, situated on one of the highest points of this island, the Chichu Art Museum has plenty of art installations by Walter De Maria, James Turrell and paintings by Claude Monet.

If you are a fan of artistry, you should definitely visit this place without any second thoughts.

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9. Join The Aoi Matsuri in Kyoto

Organized on 15th May every year, Aoi Matsuri is one of the greatest festivals of Kyoto.

The main attraction of this feast day is the long parade with over 500 people dressed up in the style of the Heian Period (794 to 1185), walking from the Imperial Palace to the Kamo Shrines.

Although the specific origin of this festival is uncertain, it is believed that Aoi Matsuri began in the 7th century.

At that time, there were probably natural disasters occurring, which were assumed to be caused by the gods of the Kamo Shrines.

After the Emperor made offerings to the deities, the disasters calmed, and a tradition was started.

Parade festival in Kyoto

This festival is also known as Kamo Matsuri because of its connection with the Kamo Shrines.

Anyway, the fiesta features men on horseback, decorated ox-drawn carts, giant bouquets of flowers, and a woman in kimono escorting the year’s Saio.

Historically, Saio was a young female member of the royal family who served as the high priestess of the Kamo Shrines.

Young girl in Kimono

In this modern era, an unmarried female from Kyoto is chosen each year from thousands of applicants to serve as Saio.

Before the celebration, she must go through the purification ceremony and then be taken through the parade on a palanquin.

10. Visit One of Japan’s Terraced Rice Fields

Do you know what our main food is?

Well, in some cases, people assume sushi & ramen, but rice is actually the most important part of our cuisine.

We absolutely love it, and if you come here, then you will see that most of the traditional food has rice with miso soup and other side dishes.

Because of its importance, the rice paddies of Japan are not only rich but also photogenic.

Terraced rice fields

Once you venture into the countryside of Japan, you will be greeted with exceptional scenery of long rice fields.

If you have never seen a paddy ground before, you should definitely visit one.

Also, if you are traveling with your family, especially your child, I think showing something like this will educate them where our foods come from, how hard it is to grow, and teach them not to waste food at any cost.

Okay, some of the famous areas include Fukushima, Niigata, and the Noto Peninsula.

One of the most popular rice fields is Shiroyone Senmaida, located in Ishikawa Prefecture.

It has an excellent view, especially when the sunset reflects on the terrace’s surface in the evening.

Senmaida during sunset

To take the perfect picture of this paddy, you should head towards the street on the hill. Also, don’t forget to check out the exact time of sunset in advance.

While searching for a closer destination from Tokyo, you may choose to go to the Chichibu and around Chiba Prefecture to catch a glimpse of these phenomenal vistas.

11. Take Part in Hakata Dontaku Festival

Thirty thousand participants in one event!!

Can you imagine how big a celebration could be with these many people?

This is what Hakata Dontaku, one of the biggest citizen’s festivals in Japan, takes place for two days on 3rd and 4th May.

Parade in Japan's festival

This feast has been held in Fukuoka City since 1962, which attracts over 2 million spectators each year.

Throughout the course of the fiesta, thousands of traditionally dressed-up people dance through the streets of Fukuoka.

Apart from the dancers, the gala also features ornamented floats called Hana Jidosha that are attractively lit up at night.

12. Taste The Matcha Sweets

May, which falls in late spring, is indeed the best time to satisfy your sweet tooth by enjoying Matcha desserts in Japan.

Plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes release Matcha flavored food and drinks for a limited time.

Matcha dessert

This Matcha dessert buffet is one of the most awaited food events organized at various hotels in Tokyo like Hotel New Otani Tokyo and Hotel New Otani Makuhari, usually from May 6th to June 30th.

However, what if you don’t want to go to a buffet.

In that case, you have plenty of other options, such as Uji Matcha dessert (at 7-Eleven stores), Matcha flavored donut (at Mister Donut), seasonal Matcha tea (at The Westin Tokyo).

13. Admire The Maiko & Geiko’s Dance Performances

A pleasant opportunity of enjoying beautiful girls dancing!!

In case you are a man, you may want to admire something like that, right?

Kamogawa Odori is an occasion where Geishas and Maikos dance in traditional costumes.

This performance takes place in the Pontocho Kaburenjo Theater in Kyoto from 1st to 24th May.

Maiko girl dancing

Wait! As I mentioned earlier, that man can admire this show, don’t assume that it is not open for everyone.

In fact, it is a great scope for you to enjoy the Japanese culture together with your family and friends of all ages.

So, I offer you not to miss such an occasion when you come to our country in May.

14. Don’t Miss The Kanda Matsuri

Luckily, if you are in Japan during the odd years, you shouldn’t miss Kanda Matsuri at any cost.

It is one of Tokyo’s largest events that only occurs every two years from early to mid-May.

Float parade Japan

This festival has a lot to offer, including a grand procession on Saturday and Sunday.

It involves over 200 mikoshis (religious palanquin), dancers, and musicians walking around the Kanda Shrine and the central Tokyo district streets.

15. Wander Around Some of The Gorgeous Flower Parks

You know what, spring is when most of the beautiful flowers are in full bloom in Japan.

And, you have plenty of locations to adore these lovely spectrums of nature.

One of them is Showa Memorial Park, which is particularly popular for its multi-colored tulips that flourish every May.

Tulip flower garden

Another example is Kyu-Furukawa Gardens that has many Japanese flowers, especially roses.

See also  15 Most Lively Things to Do in Japan in August

Night-time illuminations are arranged here from 10th to 19th May to enhance its beauty.

But, my personal favorite is none other than the Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Hitachi Seaside Park

The jaw-dropping view of around 4.5 million Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila) can be seen at this park till mid-May.

16. Spend A Beach Day in Okinawa

On the tropical island of Okinawa and its surrounding peninsula, there are tons of beaches that are warm enough to dip into in May.

Whatever you prefer, like fancy, well-furnished, near the cities, easily accessible, or have big waves, there is always a beach that will fit your requirement.

Okinawa Beach

You also have the options of some of the best beachside resorts here that offer spectacular sea views, advanced facilities, and marine activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, boat tours, and many more.

Hence, if you want to enjoy a beach day, head towards Okinawa without further ado.

17. See The Display of Carp Kites on Children’s Day

In Japan, kodomo no Hi, also known as Children’s Day, is celebrated on 5th May every year.

It is a national holiday dedicated to Japanese children’s health and good fortune. On this day, houses and riverside regions all around Japan are decorated with bright and colorful carp streamers or carp kites called koinobori.

Koinobori

There are a lot of excellent spots to see them all over the country, but if you are in the capital city, try visiting the Tokyo Tower.

18. Enjoy Tokyo’s Sumo Season

There are many things to do in Tokyo in May, and a significant one is watching grand sumo tournaments.

It is the national sport in Japan, which is believed to have been handed down to the residents of the nation by the Shinto Gods.

Although most of the young generation people don’t like the environment of the sports, older people enjoy it.

So, if you find it entertaining to watch giant men wrestling with each other, then you may attend this event.

Sumo wrestlers Japan

As it is a renowned event, tickets tend to be sold out fast, especially for the matches among well-known sumo wrestlers.

Thus, reserve your tickets as early as possible if you plan to attend them.

Alright, I have finally finished discussing all the fun elements that Japan has to offer you in May.

Yet, you need to know some essential pieces of information before heading to our country, such as the climate, crowds and what type of clothes to pack for this particular month.

And that’s what I am gonna talk about now.

The Weather of Japan in May

As May is the last month of spring, the climate throughout the country is pretty warm, with humidity around 65% & an average temperature of 20°C.

Look at the below chart to know the average high and low temperatures of different regions in Japan.

City Name Avg. High Temp. (°F) Avg. Low Temp. (°F) Approx. Rainy Days
Tokyo
74°
59°
8 days
Sapporo
64°
46°
7 days
Kyoto
77°
56°
8 days
Osaka
76°
59°
8 days
Okinawa
79°
70°
11 days
Fukuoka
75°
60°
9 days
Shizuoka
74°
58°
9 days
Hiroshima
75°
57°
8 days
Nara
76°
54°
8 days

As you can see in the table, May is warm but not suffocating, occasionally rainy yet not humid. Hence you can easily enjoy hiking in the mountains, wandering around in the garden and parks in total tranquility.

Also, if you are not a fan of rainy days, May is perhaps the last month to cherish good weather before the official rainy season hits.

What Should You Pack for Japan in May?

Here is a list of necessary items that you need to pack.

  1. Few short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts.
  2. Jeans and pants.
  3. Sweater and jacket (for a relatively cold region like Hokkaido).
  4. Pair of comfy shoes and socks.
  5. An umbrella or raincoat (in case it rains).
  6. Swimsuit (if you will go to a beach).
  7. Toothbrush, travel-size hand sanitizers, and other skin-care items.
  8. Travel documents.
  9. Mobile charger, power bank & other necessary gadgets.

Is May Crowded in Japan? Find The Answer

If you hate traveling while the crowd is on the peak, then you should avoid visiting Japan in the first week of May.

Golden Week, the major national holiday, starts on April 29 and lasts until May 5, when local Japanese people enjoy their time off by visiting popular tourist spots.

That’s why crowds at gardens, popular amusement parks, rural tourism spots, and art galleries may reach an extreme level.

Even domestic flights and trains can be hard to book unless you reserve far in advance.

However, the good news is, most Japanese people go back to their work immediately after this holiday.

So the rest of the month is less busy, and you can plan your trip from thereon.

Yet, as May is one of the best months to visit in Japan and is the peak travel season, I recommend you book accommodation and transport in advance.

Okay, we are at the end of our journey.

Hence, I am going to wrap it up here.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you have gathered sufficient knowledge about all the things to do in Japan in May and have no confusion remaining in your head regarding this topic.

Now, it’s time to come to our Japan and enjoy its diverse culture and hospitality.  

I hope you will be happy to see and experience all the fun elements of our country and leave with a bright smile.

Lastly, have a great day.