If you ask me, is March a good time to visit Japan? My answer will be, “Yes, It is.”
Even though each day in this country brings out new beauty and attractions, this month has a special aura.
You are able to kill two birds with one stone if you visit Japan in March!!
Well, what I meant is that you can experience two different seasons, winter & spring, during this month.
In the beginning, you can enjoy winter activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, and other snow events.
And, while spring approaches in the middle of the month, you will feel like entering into a pink paradise covered by cherry blossoms everywhere!!
Besides, there are various things to do in Japan in March, and today I will share the most exciting ones with you.
Top 10 Best Things to Do in Japan in March: Enjoy A Dream Come True Trip!!
Here I will describe some cool things to do in Japan during March one by one.
And hopefully, after checking out all of them, you will find the answer to this question: where should I go in Japan in March?
I will start with one of the most popular ones, exploring the beautiful cherry blossom view.
1. The Lovely Cherry Blossom Scene
Cherry blossoms are one of the top attractions in Japan that both local people and foreigners admire.
These pretty pink flowers start blooming from late March across the whole country.
When you see them covering up around like a pink carpet, you will be stunned by the scene.
WoW!! Only this word will come out from your mouth. You will feel like entering into a dreamland.
The flourishing of cherry blossoms depends on the weather. For example, Kawazu-zakura is a type that starts to bloom from mid-February and can be seen till mid-March.
If the weather is warm, they start to flourish earlier than average.
But, it’s sure that you won’t miss seeing these flowers if you come in March.
Although you will see them almost everywhere, Tokyo and Kyoto are the most famous spots that uplift the view to another level.
In Kyoto, Philosopher’s Path, Takenaka Inari Shrine, Haradani-en Garden, Maruyama Park, Keage Incline are some of the best places where you can see these flowers.
And, if you decide to see them in Tokyo, you can go to Meguro River, Chidorigafuchi, Aoyama Cemetery, Inokashira Park, Rikugien Garden, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden.
Even if these two cities are the best places to visit in Japan in March, they are highly crowded during sakura season (cherry blossom).
Maybe you were planning to propose your partner in a romantic place while avoiding the crowd.
Well, I know some less crowded places too..
Personally, I like the Tohoku region, which is situated in northern Japan.
This area is one of the underrated places and less crowded, but has breathtaking views, especially in Hirosaki Castle.
The blooming starts here in late March, but if you plan to stay till April, you will see full flourishing.
Also, you can consider going to the Hokkaido region.
Numbers of cherry blossom festivals are held across the country this month.
You will find delicious food stalls, drinks, and events that you should not miss at any cost.
2. Skiing & Snowboarding
If you are an enthusiast of snow activities, you already know the thrilling feel of snowboarding or skiing.
In March, the northern part and mountain regions in Japan have pretty much winter-like weather.
And on some days you can enjoy snowboarding in sunny and warm weather.
In Japan, Hokkaido is known as a ski paradise. If you want to visit Japan for a ski vacation, you should go to Hokkaido’s ski resort at least once.
Besides skiing, you will find numerous areas for snowboarding in Niseko.
While talking about one of the top ski resorts, Niseko Mt. Resort Grand Hirafu comes out first.
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This place is a package of entertainment with endless dry powder, long ski runs, phenomenal horizontals, restaurants, and hotels.
Even if you are a newbie in skiing, you can learn from instructors there who run a ski school. And, they provide private lessons too.
Still, if you are not into skiing & snowboarding, there are other fun winter activities, for example, snow rafting, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, reindeer sledding.
You can even hike through the peaceful winter forest that is covered in white powder.
Another unique place to visit is Juhyo, the Snow Monsters on Japan’s Mount Zao.
You will find snow-covered trees at Zao Onsen Ski Resort which is situated in Yamagata prefecture.
When you take the Zao Ropeway, you will see snow monsters (Juhyo) below.
Although the best time for going there is in February, you can still find them in early March.
3. Enjoying Snow Festivals & Other Winter Events
Tsunan Snow Festival is a famous winter event that is held in Tsunan city, Niigata prefecture.
The main highlight of this fiesta is the over 2,000 sky lanterns are released in the sky at night. This moment will give you the same feeling of being in the Rapunzel movie.
You may imagine how mind-blowing the scenery will be.
If you end up going there, don’t forget to release a lantern along with the locals.
I assure you will never forget this magical moment!!
Besides, you can attend some winter events such as snowboard jump competitions or outdoor activities like observing snowboarders doing crazy tricks.
Suppose you are planning to stay in March for more than one week. In that case, you should consider exploring the Tomamu Ice Village at Hoshino Resorts and the Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival at Sounkyo Onsen.
These would be the perfect treats if you missed the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival and Sapporo Snow Festival in February.
Another fabulous winter event in Japan is Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination.
It takes place from mid-October to early -May at a theme park called Nabana no Sato in Kuwana city, which is located in Mie prefecture.
This event is one of my favorites, and I hardly miss going there.
The dazzling light show will make you keep smiling all night long!!
And if you are on a mission to capture the night beauty of Japan, you should visit this place once.
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4. Plum Blossom Viewing at Inabe Plum Grove
Besides cherry blossom (Sakura), there is another traditional Japanese flower which is the plum blossom or Ume.
People who don’t know Japan that much often think that Sakura and Ume are the same flowers.
But, the truth is they are totally different.
Plum Blossom is a late winter flower, but the Japanese recognize them as an early-blooming spring flower.
There are many places around Japan where Ume can be seen.
Among them, one remarkable place is Mie prefecture, where the Inabe Plum Festival is held.
You will find around 4,000 plum trees displaying the elegance of these flowers.
Usually, this festival takes place from late February to late March every year, so there is no chance you gonna miss them while visiting Japan during this month.
However, if you are looking for things to do in Tokyo in March, you still have the opportunity to view plum blossoms without going to Mie.
In Tokyo, Yushima Tenjin Shrine hosts an annual plum celebration from February to early March along with various events on weekends and holidays.
So, if your trip is limited within Tokyo, you can consider going to this festival as an alternative to Inabe.
5. Attending Omizutori: A Sacred Water-Drawing Festival
You probably know that Japan is a country with lots of divine temples and shrines.
These places can calm your mind, and you can escape from the busy life for moments to find inner peace.
Nara Park is such a sacred place which consists of temples, gardens, Buddha statues, museums, and archeological artifacts.
You will also see hundreds of deer roaming around freely there. And if you meet them, don’t forget to say hello, my dear!!
At Todaiji Temple In Nara Park, one of the oldest traditional festivals of Japan, Omizutori occurs from 1st to 14th March.
It is a ritual that is being celebrated to welcome Spring with more than 1200 years of history.
Although the ceremony takes place for two weeks, the main highlight happens on the evening of 12th March.
Giant torches are lit with fire, and priests run around the temple’s balcony while the worshipers stand underneath the ashes for good luck.
It is believed that, while watching the ceremony, if someone is being showered with the sparks from the fire, then the person will be protected from evil things.
Additionally, the ritual of water drawing is also performed by the priests.
So, if you want to experience something impressive and unusual, you should not miss this event at any cost.
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6. Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka
The Sumo tournament is organized six times a year, three times in Tokyo (January, May, September), and once in Osaka (March), Nagoya (July), Fukuoka (November).
Since you have the opportunity to attend the Osaka one, you can add this thing to your bucket list.
Sumo is a Japanese form of heavyweight wrestling. It takes place at Edion Arena Osaka.
If you watch a Sumo match at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, it will add an excellent cultural experience to your Japan trip.
For ticket information, you can check out this site.
In case you don’t want to attend the tournament, you can visit a sumo stable and witness a morning practice session.
Sumo stable is the place where the wrestlers live and train together. There are about 40 stables, all of which are located in Tokyo, especially in Ryogoku district.
However, these are neither public places nor visiting spots.
Only a few stables allow visitors, yet they insist tourists come with a person fluent in Japanese and familiar with the sumo world tradition.
Hence, if you want to go there, be sure to take someone who knows well about the culture.
7. Hina Matsuri: A Traditional Japanese Doll
Hina Matsuri (Girls’ Day or Doll Festival) celebrated on 3rd March, is the day to pray for the happiness and well-being of young girls.
Usually, it is celebrated with traditional dolls called Hina Ningyo, along with Hina Matsuri food like Chirashi Zushi and colorful rice crackers.
You will find decorations of these dolls throughout Japan. Even some prefectures held events to celebrate this festival.
In case you miss the festival, you can still get a glimpse of these dolls by visiting Saitama city’s Iwatsuki Ningyo Museum.
It’s a unique and only public museum of dolls in Japan.
There are three galleries in the museum. The first one reveals the manufacturing history of Iwatsuki dolls.
You will find attractively preserved Edo period to contemporary dolls displayed with lighting in climate-controlled cabinets in the second gallery.
And the third gallery is for special exhibitions.
From their website, you can find every piece of information about their permanent and special exhibitions as well as a user guide.
There is a Nigiwai Koryukan workshop space next to the museum, where monthly crafts, sweets, and doll projects are scheduled. But, you will need to book in advance to attend them.
A cafe is also situated in Nigiwai Koryukan, where you will find seasonal menus and festival-related foods.
8. Taste The Fresh Strawberries
From January to April is the season of strawberries in Japan. In general, Japanese strawberries are very sweet, juicy, and finely shaped.
Two of the best ways to enjoy these fruits during the season are picking them up or eating a dessert buffet.
Many hotels in Japan, including Grand Hyatt, Hilton, and International Hotel, arrange a strawberry dessert buffet.
Each hotel offers luxurious and creative items made from these fresh and delicious fruits.
If you love them a lot, you will feel like entering into the heaven of strawberries!!
Also, you can have fun by picking unlimited strawberries on a farm.
Farms like Yoshimura Strawberry Park in Mashiko town, Tochigi Prefecture, have six different varieties.
They offer tourists to eat as much as they can with no time limit. And, you only need to pay less than 2000 Yen to get this service.
You can even buy them from a specific area to take home.
There is another farm like this one which is near Tokyo, named Kamakura Kanko Ichigo Farm.
However, this farm offers a 30-minute strawberry picking experience, which you can pick and eat as many as you like.
So, if you like to taste some fresh and juicy strawberries, you can pay a visit to any of these farms.
9. Higashiyama Hanatouro in Kyoto
Kyoto is indeed one of the best cities to visit in Japan in March.
The entire Higashiyama region in eastern Kyoto gets ready for the fun-filled night event recognized as the Higashiyama Hanatouro.
It’s a traditional event that happens twice a year. One is in Arashiyama Hanatouro during December, and another is Higashiyama Hanatouro in early to mid-March.
Hanatouro means “Light & Blossoms Pathway.”
The event features pleasant light-up to brighten the delightful streets of Kyoto, which lasts for ten days.
A dance performance for tourists is organized after dark when stores and temples in this area are usually closed.
The lights are turned on around 6 Pm and remain until 9.30 Pm. Beautiful lanterns light up the paths from the historical Shoren-in temple to the world-famous Kiyomizu-dera temple.
Several temples & shrines let people stay at night, and arrange illuminated gardens and buildings.
You can even enjoy lots of events free by strolling around the area, like admiring the artwork created by local students, stunning flower arrangements, and performances such as maiko dance and a fox bride precession.
You know what, a single night is not enough to see everything that Hanatouro offers.
And I am pretty much sure after roaming around the city, you will want more and more to explore!!
Don’t forget to check out their website for more information and look for updates on the event if you are eager to attend it.
Well, if you are planning a post valentine romantic trip with your lover, my next one is a must-do thing for you.
10. Spend A Sweet & Lovely Moment On White Day
Love & affection!!
14th February represents these two words and is called Valentine’s day.
Yeah, Yeah!! I know that I don’t need to say it, as everyone knows it specifically.
You can forget your own birthday but not this day if you have a special one!!
Anyway, on this day, Japanese women give chocolate to men.
In Japan, there is a unique custom for men to return gifts to women a month later, on 14th March, which is called White Day.
Like on Valentine’s Day, departmental stores and confectioneries offer a special promotion on this day and sell various fancy sweets.
So, be sure to be a lovey-dovey to your sweetheart and present a beautiful gift.
It’s quite certain that your lover will melt like sweet chocolate!!
Okay, I have finished talking about the things you can do in Japan in March.
Yet, an essential factor that you need to know is, how cold is Japan in March?
I will give you some important info about this matter in my later segment.
Weather in Japan in March
After the cold winter, temperatures start to rise throughout the country in March.
Although the northern part of Japan (Tohoku, Hokkaido) is still cold, it’s less frizzy than in January and February.
In Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, the expected temperature might be an average of 4° C highs and -4° C lows.
The major cities like Honshu and Kyushu (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka) have relatively warm daytime in March.
The average temperature of these towns is 14° C high and 5° C low.
Okinawa is even warmer. In Naha, the average temperature is 21° highs and 16° C lows.
Rainfall in Japan in March remains low, and it doesn’t often rain.
There is quite a lot of snowfall in March in Hokkaido and on the Sea of Japan coast of Honshu.
Some Tips That Would Be Helpful for Your Trip
If you are going to stay in Japan for the whole month, I will suggest you pack both warm and winter clothes.
Although the day is sunnier, the night feels a little cold at this time.
As I said, the Hokkaido region is still cold during March, and if you end up going there, then you will need winter clothes to withstand the low temperature.
However, if you stay in Tokyo or the surrounding area, the temperature will be comfortable for outdoor sightseeing.
But, the evening temperature is likely to be a bit cold.
As many visitors come to Japan in March, most public places get crowded, especially the cherry blossom viewing spots.
But, you can still find some areas where crowds are less, with the help of expert local guides.
Also, you should book tickets in advance for popular events.
By now, you might have got a broad idea about what things to do in Japan in March.
If possible, try out all the mentioned things. Each of them has its own kind of excitement, and you will gain a different type of experience by doing them.
This island country has so many things to offer that one trip may not be enough to explore everything.
So, I expect you will come back here every time for a new adventure and leave with a beautiful smile on your face.
Arigato Gozaimasu (Thank You)….