Why is spring the best time to visit Japan?
Is it only because of the heavenly beauty of cherry blossoms?
Well, obviously, we cannot take our eyes off the unworldly appearance of the country when it wears a festive look with cherry blossoms, but there are a lot of things to see and do apart from these flowers.
The climate remains delightfully cool at this time, and there is an entire string of fascinating festivals and activities to attend.
If you are fortunate enough to pay a visit to Japan during this wonderful and magical time of the year, then look no further than this write-up.
Here I am going to represent some best things to do in Japan in spring to ensure an unforgettable trip.
Spring in Japan: Enjoy to The Fullest with Top 20 Spring Activities
At first, let me inform you about the time and temperature of this season.
In Japan, spring lasts from March to May, and the temperature usually ranges from approximately 4 to 18 °C (40 to 65 °F).
Anyway, now let’s get to the point without any delay. Explore all the 20 activities you can do to experience a fantastic Japan spring trip.
When it comes to talking about springtime in Japan, nothing seems complete without mentioning cherry blossoms.
And that’s why I prefer to make a start with it.
1. Enjoy Hanami Under Cherry Blossom
It is no mystery that spring in Japan is stunningly beautiful, and undeniably all credit goes to the gorgeous sakura (cherry blossoms) flowers.
These delicate flowers cover the whole country with a sweet pink blanket, attracting people from far and wide to its gardens, parks, and lakes for hanami.
Hanami is the cherry blossom viewing festival in Japan.
After the cold winter season, cherry blossoms bring beauty and life to the country. Japanese people spend their busy time enjoying a number of cherry blossom festivals held across the country.
They gather with their family and friends under the cherry blossom trees with lots of food and delicious drinks.
Restaurants and convenience stores in Japan sell special sakura-themed foods.
So, you can join the hanami of the Japanese too to enjoy the spectacular beauty of cherry blossom along with some delicious food.
I can suggest some famous hanami spots for your convenience.
The notable ones are Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo), The Philosopher’s Walk (Kyoto), Kema Sakuranomiya Park (Osaka), Himeji Castle (Hyogo), Goryokaku Fort (Hokkaido), Odawara Castle (Kanagawa), Mount Yoshino (Nara), Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto), Hirosaki Castle (Aomori), and Hanamiyama Park (Fukushima).
The tragic thing about these cherry blossoms is they are short-lived and only last for a week.
However, I think its fleeting lifespan is actually what makes the sakura season so precious.
2. Grab The Rare Chance to See Traditional Geisha Dance at Kamogawa Odori in Kyoto
Geisha is one of the fascinating aspects of Japanese tradition. The serene splendor of these geishas is the nation’s most enduring image.
They are women of art and trained in music, dance, traditional arts, and the exquisite art of communication.
Even the existence of these highly skilled women is quite unbelievable in modern Japan.
If you wish to catch a glimpse of the few remaining true Geishas and their apprentices called maikos, you should attend Kamogawa Odori, which is a popular annual Geisha dance event.
It takes place every year in Kyoto from 1st to 24th May.
Their performance was truly breathtaking. It was really captivating to have a closer look at those graceful women with fancy kimonos, lovely ornate hairstyles, and iconic makeup.
3. Have Fun with Strawberry Fruit Picking
Strawberry is the queen of spring fruits in Japan. Early spring is the beginning of the strawberry season.
Picking strawberries is one of the popular spring activities not only among the tourists but also with the locals.
There are several accessible strawberry farms near Tokyo to aid this famous doing.
Among them, Yoshimura Strawberry Park and Ichigo no Sato Farm in Tochigi, Tokorozawa Kitada Farm Marche of Strawberry in Saitama, Dragon Farm in Chiba, Strawberry House in Kanagawa, and Kamakura Kanko Ichigo Farm in Kanagawa are the mentionable ones.
You may also go for a strawberry hunt at S-Berry Farm, located in Hari Cho, Nara Prefecture.
Some farms will charge according to the weight of fruits you picked, while some others will charge an entry fee for a limited time, such as 30 to 60 minutes.
Within that time, eat as many strawberries as you want and also pick some for your home.
Be noted that in most cases, you have to book in advance.
In tune with these seasonal fruits, many hotels in Japan hosts strawberry dessert buffets, usually from January to April.
You should visit at least one of the premium strawberry buffets in town if you love strawberries and sweets.
4. Attend the Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo
While you visit Japan in spring, you will see manifold festivals taking place across the country.
And one of the major spring festivals in Japan is Sanja Matsuri, which is held in Asakusa on the ground of the Senso-Ji temple.
It is a celebration for three deities, where each of them has its own giant floats called omikoshi.
You will also see dozens of smaller ones carried by different groups.
Enjoy this colorful procession of floats within a lot of noise and crowd.
This three day long festival also features a parade and different types of traditional dances. The parade especially is worth the hype!
Besides, there are plenty of food stalls at this festival, so don’t forget to enjoy the food and drinks as well.
5. Go for Spring Skiing
In case you are an alpine sports enthusiast, I would suggest considering a ski trip in March.
Though the weather gets mild in Japan in March, many ski resorts stay open well into late spring.
You can enjoy not only some world-class slopes but also experience the onsen (hot springs) culture of Japan.
Ski trips and relaxing in an onsen at the end of the day go hand in hand in Japan.
Some renowned ski resorts are Niseko Ski Resort and Asahidake Ski Resort in Hokkaido, Hakkoda Ski Resort in Aomori, Hakuba Ski Resort in Nagano, and Mt.Tanigawadake Tenjindaira Ski Resort in Gunma.
6. Join The Spectacular Fire Torch Festival in Nara Prefecture
You will find loads of sacred temples and shrines all around Japan- sometimes in the mountain crest, inside a forest, or sometimes between busy roadside office buildings.
A festival named Omizutori is held on the ground of the biggest temple in the country, Todai-Ji in Nara Prefecture.
This spectacular Omizutori Fire Festival is celebrated every year from 1st to 14th March, and its history dates back to 1250 years ago.
The ritual features the lighting-up of giant torches that are made from pine. They are then carried to the balcony of Nigatsudo, a building within the temple. And a large crowd of worshippers waits below the ashes for good luck.
It is believed that the sparks from the torches protect the onlookers from evil spirits.
And as a bonus, there are also more than one thousand deer around the temple in Nara Park.
The interesting thing is they will bow to you in exchange for food instead of running away.
Therefore, if you want to experience something unusual yet impressive, you should not miss this event.
7. Observe The Gorgeous Splendor of Wisteria
Apart from the splendid cherry blossoms, some other attractive flowers also bloom during spring.
One of such flowers is wisteria, and you shouldn’t miss seeing it.
For that, you can visit the Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture, one of the most famous parks in the country.
You will get to see old and majestic wisteria trees in full bloom creating a scene of almost unimaginable beauty.
The best time to see these nice flowers is from mid-April to mid-May.
Besides the 150 years old trees that are supported by a grid system that makes the branches grow horizontally, you can also see the tunnels of wisteria flowers of different colors.
The Great Wisteria Festival is also held in this park in springtime. If you really go there, I will highly recommend exploring the city that has deep culture and history.
Another best place to see the wisteria tunnels is Kawachi Fuji Garden in Northern Kyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture.
The clusters of cascading wisterias create an amazing flower tunnel that looks like something out of a fairytale.
These two are the must see places in japan spring.
8. Enjoy Puppet Show at Takayama Spring festival
Now, I have come with another float (omikoshi) festival, which is something unique for its doll show and gorgeous mikoshi floats.
The town of Takayama is particularly known for its master carpenters.
So, these well-crafted magnificent mikoshi floats are considered as an Important Tangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan.
You can enjoy this spring festival on April 14 and 15.
The main attraction of this festival is karakuri doll shows that are performed by professional puppeteers on the floats!
Seeing their movement, I mistook these dolls as alive!
The shows last for around 50 minutes.
9. Visit The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is some of the ideal places to visit in Japan during spring.
This route is a bus, train, ropeway, and cable car trail that runs through the inside of the Tateyama Mountain Range.
A certain section of this mountain sightseeing route remains closed during winter.
But from April, it is open for tourists to enjoy the view of a snow wall that goes up to 20 meters.
If you desire to see the great snow wall, you have to go there from April to the end of May!
10. Take Part in A Cycling Tour
Is cycling is one of your favorite means of spending leisure time? Or do you just love cycling?
Then you shouldn’t leave Japan without attending any cycling tour, especially in spring.
The weather remains so pleasant and perfect that I think it is the best possible time to enjoy sightseeing or explore the country by cycling.
If you want fair-distance cycling in Japan, Shimanami Kaido should be your first choice.
It is a 70 km long scenic cycling road across the Seto Inland Sea that fascinates cyclists worldwide.
Don’t want to go far?
Nothing to worry about! It is possible to cycle within cities also, especially in Tokyo.
I recommend Tokyo Good Old Bike Tour by Magical Trip, one of the most popular day tours in Tokyo nowadays.
So, grab this opportunity, and explore the neighborhood of Tokyo.
You May Read:
11. See Doll Displays of The Hinamatsuri
3rd March is the day when the Hinamatsuri is celebrated all around Japan. It is also known as dolls’ day or girls’ day.
This festival is a celebration for young girls for their happiness and welfare.
On this day, you will see attractive doll displays where traditional dolls called Hina Ningyo are used mainly.
Some prefectures in Japan even organize different types of events on this festive day.
You can enjoy varieties of food like colorful rice crackers and Chirashi Zushi, along with the dolls.
If you ask for any particular place, I would like to suggest visiting the Kyoto National Museum and the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo.
These are two famous spots to see some of the most amazing ones in the country.
Don’t worry if you miss the festival! Catch a glimpse of these dolls by visiting Iwatsuki Ningyo Museum in Saitama city.
12. Try Clam Digging
You might see many people scouring muddy beaches during springtime in Japan.
Actually, they are searching for clam for a bit of fun before bringing a meal.
It is one of the popular Japanese spring activities, which is also known as Shiohigari.
The perfect time for clam digging is from March to July, when the weather is neither too hot nor cold.
The shore of Tokyo Bay is known to produce an abundance of Asari (short-neck clams).
So, it is a good place for digging.
If you are interested in this action too, head to the popular beaches as these places are more likely to offer the necessary equipment.
Be sure to wear rubber boots (for the rocky areas), suitable clothes for long stretches on the beach, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreens, and also take extra clothes and towels since you will be in lots of dirt and sweat while doing it.
13. Enjoy A Day Camping
Love to keep in touch with nature and avoid crowds?
Then outdoor camping is a must-try for you in spring, which is the most favorable season for it.
From nearby Mt. Fuji to the Japanese Alps, you will find campsites available everywhere in Japan.
I would suggest you try camping around Mount Fuji to experience the amazement of Diamond Fuji when the sun rises on top of the mountain.
Campgrounds that charge a fee range from spots where you can just pitch your tent to cabins for glamping.
Most of them even offer hot showers, bathrooms, and sometimes onsen (hot spring).
If you are near Tokyo and not interested in going so far, try urban camping in Hikarigaoka Park.
You may also consider one of Japan’s thirty-four national parks for camping.
Check their official website to know the details on campgrounds and bookings.
14. Explore The Rich Culture of Kamakura at Kamakura Matsuri
Kamakura, the ancient city in Kanagawa Prefecture, is one of the political giants of medieval Japan.
After approximately an hour’s of a journey from Tokyo, you can reach Kamakura, a city rich in history.
To celebrate its rich culture and history, a festival is held at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine every year on the second and third Sunday of April.
The entire town enjoys partying with a plethora of music, performances, and parades of mikoshi (portable shrines) during this festival.
Apart from this festival, this city is home to the famous Great Buddha (Daibutsu) statue and numerous impressive temples.
So, you can also consider visiting those sacred places while being in Kamakura.
15. Go for Viewing Green Tea Plantations
Do you always find photogenic spots for your Instagram uploads?
Then you may love to visit green tea farms in Japan.
I am recommending this place as spring is the best time to observe its beauty.
You will find several amazing green tea plantations near Mt Fuji that display fantastic scenic views.
These are undoubtedly one of the best places to capture photos in Japan!
Hence, go there, enjoy the splendor and take lots of snaps as your wish.
16. Witness A Geisha Dance Performance in Kyoto
Miyako Odori is another traditional spring dance festival that features the geisha of the Gion district of Kyoto.
It has been held from 1st April to 24th for more than 140 consecutive seasons.
Geishas and maikos are the performers of this renowned festival. Here you can enjoy the beautiful “mai” performance of them.
Miyako Odori consists of 8 scenes, and each of them describes the life of geishas or maikos and an aspect of Japanese life in Kyoto.
17. Taste Seasonal Spring Foods
People in Japan are pretty sensitive about the season changing, which is reflected in their food habits.
You will find some unique desserts that especially highlight the arrival of spring.
I will suggest you try some sakura mochi. These traditional rice cake desserts are made with real cherry blossoms.
Besides, some other spring desserts come out in March. Enjoy them while they last.
You can also taste some other dishes of spring such as tai, takenoko, ikanago, ichigo daifuku, spring cabbage, asari clams, sakura taiyaki.
18. Attend The Inuyama Matsuri to See Three-Story Floats
This festival is held annually in the historic town of Inuyama on the first weekend of April.
Inuyama Matsuri was founded in 1635, which features 13 antique floats that are superbly lit with traditional lanterns at night.
Two particular things that make it exceptional from the other float festivals are its three-story floats and the lanterns.
You can enjoy it during the daytime, but to me, the evening is the best time.
When it gets dark, the lantern-ornated floats create an illuminating beauty that you can never forget for a lifetime.
19. See The Carp Kites on Children’s Day
5th May is a national holiday in Japan, which is celebrated as Childen’s Day all around the country, hoping for the health and happiness of children.
Leading up to this holiday, homes and riverside areas all around Japan are decorated with colorful carp kites or carp streamers called koinobori.
And this is a familiar sight in spring.
There are a number of good spots to see them around the country. When you are in Tokyo, try going to the Tokyo Tower on any day starting from 5th April.
This symbolic tower measures 333 meters, so 333 carp kites are hoisted there.
It’s also a fun place to visit since there are many good restaurants around it and you will also find a lot of cool things to do in that area.
20. Celebrate Earth Day in Yoyogi Park
The Japanese capital Tokyo has its own Earth Day for celebration.
This event takes place in Yoyogi Park in Shibuya. This Earth Day has a festive vibe, and it is quite popular among the youth of Japan.
Different performances and booths are presented and organized by various environmental organizations.
Besides these, you will find a plethora of food stalls and shops selling environmentally friendly goods.
Also, a free concert is arranged there for pure entertainment.
So you can enjoy the music and the fantastic atmosphere of Earth Day in Tokyo!
Well, I am already at the end of my discussion. Let’s end it here.
By this time, you have had a broad idea about the things to do in Japan in spring.
I have gathered the top 20 things of different categories to make your Japan spring trip a remarkable one.
I know it’s not possible to add all these to your bucket list.
However, you can try a few that seem more interesting to you.
Wishing you an unforgettable journey ahead.
Thanks for reading this write-up.