There are four seasons in Japan, including spring from March to May, and this article will contain information about the weather and events in which you can take part, for those who plan to visit Japan in the spring. We hope this will help you get the most out of your trip, and visit the festivals and other events that interest you.
Spring is an amazing time of year in Japan, it’s time for cherry blossom, when the branches are covered with fresh foliage and everything plays with new colors, as well as time to enjoy new seasonal dishes. Also, in Japan, a new academic year and a new reporting period at enterprises begin in the spring, so spring is a time of interesting meetings and new acquaintances. We have collected and summarized some general information that will be useful to everyone who will be in Japan in the spring.
What should I pay attention to first and what should I try?
As a rule, the spring period in Japan is considered to be three months from March to May.
In March, spring weather in Tokyo is characterized by a temperature of about thirteen degrees above zero in the afternoon and about five degrees in the morning and evening. In April, the daytime temperature already reaches eighteen and a half degrees above zero, and the morning and evening temperatures are about ten and a half degrees. In May, during the day, you can expect twenty-three degrees, and about fifteen in the morning and evening.
Despite the fact that it is spring, during the first half of the season the weather is still cool, sometimes it can snow, and only in the second half of the season warm and sunny days finally come.
The best sides of spring.
The best part of spring is undoubtedly the cherry blossom. Sakura blooms everywhere – in parks, along roads on the streets, in the mountains and along the banks of rivers. Sakura trees are planted in a variety of places, they bloom a soft pink color at about the same time. The flowering time depends on climate changes every year, but it mainly occurs in March – the flowering takes effect gradually from the southern regions of Japan to the northern ones.
The average time of the onset of cherry blossom in Hokkaido and Sapporo is approximately in the first days of May, it reaches its peak by the eighth or tenth. In the Tokyo area, sakura begins to bloom around the twenty-fifth of March and enters the time of full flowering by the sixth of April. In Osaka, sakura begins to bloom somewhere on the twenty-eighth of March, also reaching the peak of flowering by the sixth of April. In Kyoto, this period is designated as the period from the twenty-seventh of March to the ninth of April inclusive. In general, all the time that the cherry blossom is in bloom, it does not take such a long period, so if you intend to catch the annual cherry blossom, you should carefully plan your trip, taking into account the weather and the projected timing of flowering this year.
The most beautiful sakura, of course, is in full bloom, but when the petals begin to fall, it is also very beautiful – it looks like a fantastic snowfall of incredible shades. You can admire the cherry blossom not only during the day, but also in the evening too. This pastime is called yozakura (yozakura) – night admiring the sakura, and can bring to your attention unusual and very different from the daytime night types of cherry blossoms.
In Japan, hanami (admiring sakura) is a common thing for spending time with friends, family, even with colleagues at work. People gather together under the cherry blossom-strewn branches, eat and drink, communicate and have fun.
Special spring food.
Spring in Japan is the time of germination. Young bamboo shoots, young aralia leaves, Japanese squirrel and other greens like broccoli and young cabbage, among many other types of food that you can enjoy only in spring, appear on the shelves and on the menu. Let the taste of these products be bitter, but they are an excellent means for removing toxins and preservatives, which the body has probably picked up over the winter.
And food like soft seaweed says better than any ads that spring has come to Japan. Also, there is also a berry, by the presence of which it is possible to say with full confidence that spring has come, and this is a strawberry (strawberry). There are many varieties of strawberries grown in Japan, and they are all very sweet, and the dense berries shine like precious stones.
What is better to wear when traveling to Tokyo.
March is quite a cool month in Japan, so it’s better to bring a coat with you. There are already more warm days in April. You will need a jacket or jacket, or a light raincoat for days with bad weather, when it will be windy, or in case you decide to go for a walk at night. In May, the weather is much nicer and warmer. You will be quite comfortable in a long-sleeve T-shirt and a jacket.
Spring in Japan, and especially the period when sakura blooms, offers beautiful weather and stunning views, so many people advise you to go to Japan at this time of the year.
Enjoy the spring in Japan by visiting festivals and festive celebrations.
Omizutori is held for two weeks, starting from the first of March, every year in Nara, in the Nigatsu Pavilion-to the Todai-ji Temple complex. This celebration is dedicated to the arrival of spring and has been held annually since the eighth century. The festival reaches its climax at midnight on the twelfth of March (at about half past one in the morning on the thirteenth). The monks light large cedar torches and carry them to the Wakasa well, from where they collect water (according to legend, water appears in this well only once a year) and bring it to the bodhisattva Kannon (the goddess of mercy), and then offer it to everyone who came to the ceremony.
This is a very spectacular festival and it is worth attending it from beginning to end. But be that as it may, make sure that you are dressed warmly enough for a cool March night.
Hina-matsuri-puppet festival.
Held on the third of March, Hina-matsuri, or the Festival of Dolls, is one of the most impressive spring festivals in Japan. Initially, it was a ritual in which people prayed for the health of their daughters, but today parents whose families have girls exhibit impressive installations of traditional dolls dressed in aristocratic outfits and sitting on a multi-tiered stand. These hina dolls represent the imperial family and the court environment of the Heian era. In addition to dolls, the house is also decorated with peach flowers and special dishes and drinks are prepared, including sweet white sake, sushi and clam soup.
The Hoke-ji Temple in Fukuki, also known as the” Temple of Dolls”, stores dolls belonging to the female part of the royal family, they are put on public display every year from the first of March to the third of April. On the first of March, from 11:00 to 11:30, in the main pavilion of the temple, decorated with traditional dolls, they play the biva (a Japanese stringed plucked instrument, which is characterized by a special ringing timbre of the string, refers to lute instruments) and dance.
Hanami-admiring flowers.
Spring in Japan primarily implies the cherry blossom. Few Japanese people do not take part in hanami-admiring the cherry blossom. A short period of time, during which the delicate inflorescences are just beginning to open, lasts only a few days, turning the places where sakura grows into quite popular points to visit. Such places are very quickly filled with lovers of admiring the beauty of blooming flowers, they come here together with families, friends or with colleagues at work.
The opening ceremony of schools.
While in Europe, autumn is associated with the beginning of the school year, in Japan, the ceremony of the beginning of the new school year is held in April, and it is called nyūgakushiki (nyugakushiki). A similar ceremony is held for newly admitted students of colleges and universities, and also in April. Even the new reporting period at enterprises in Japan begins in April. The ceremony of the first school day in schools is held as a holiday, it is shown on television, paying enough attention to the cherry blossom in school yards.
Yabasume Shinji.
Yabasume Shinji is an event during which archers shoot at targets while riding galloping horses; it is held every year on the third of May on the territory of the Shimogamo Temple, located in the Sake district of Kyoto. The sight of these archers, dressed in an old-fashioned noble dress and shooting at three targets from a hundred meters, right at full speed, can really impress. The event is held from 13: 00 to 15: 30, and is open to everyone, admission is free.
Aoi-matsuri in Kyoto, this is one of the three largest holidays along with the Gion Festival and the Historical Festival. About five hundred people in elegant attire, accompanied by several horses, cows and ox-drawn carts, walk about eight kilometers along the road leading from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to the Shimogamo Temple and the Kamigamo Temple. The procession leaves the Imperial Palace at 10: 30 and arrives at the Kamigamo Temple at approximately 15: 00. The event may be postponed to another time in case of rain.
Tango no sekku is a holiday for boys.
On the fifth of May, the so – called Festival of Boys is held-Tango no Sekku. Traditionally, this holiday is dedicated to boys. Since 1948, the holiday has been proclaimed national, and has also become known as Children’s Day.
In houses where there are boys, the facades are decorated with the help of koinobori (a stretch with the image of a carp). Koinobori represents the spirit of carp, which in Japan is considered a symbol of success and vital energy.
Do not deny yourself the pleasure of enjoying the spring from the bottom of your heart by joining the celebration of these wonderful events during your trip to Japan!