Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
Japan has four distinct seasons and enjoys a relatively mild and temperate climate, with the exception of Hokkaido to the north, and the subtropical area of Okinawa to the south. Each season has its own characteristics, with the highest precipitation in most areas falling during the rainy season, which runs approximately from mid June to the end of July. June is the official start of the rainy season, with conditions gradually becoming more humid and rainy in the steamy month of July when temperatures can soar into the high 90's daily with almost 100% humidity. For those who plan to travel to Japan in the summer, an extended visit to Hokkaido in the north which is mercifully spared a rainy season is a welcome break from the heat of Honshu and the other major islands. Many Japanese living in the Tokyo area also take weekend getaways to the nearby mountains of Chubu or Tohoku to escape the relentless heat. In addition to the rain and sweltering temperatures of summer, the months of August and early September are also considered typhoon season, when high pressure systems formed in the tropical areas of the western pacific ocean occasionally strike Japan's southern regions, inflicting torrential rain and strong wind.
The arrival of Autumn in late September usually brings drier conditions and a drop in temperatures. In addition to Spring , the months of October and November are possibly the best time to visit Japan, as most days are clear and warm, and the famous Fall colors that make an appearance are beautiful to behold. Despite the cold temperatures winter in Tokyo and it's outlined regions can also be considered a relatively pleasant time of year, as most days are clear and brisk, with rain or snow falling only occasionally. It's also an excellent season to visit one of the numerous onsens located throughout the Japanese countryside that accommodate the winter crowd. There are few greater pleasures than sipping sake in a hot spring bath situated among white covered hills as snow gently falls around you. For those who enjoy various winter sports, the northern regions of Honshu island such as Nagano and Hakuba which receive heavy snow fall are also popular destinations for skiers and snowboarders. If you'd like to take a break from the cold you might consider a week or two in Japan's southern most island of Okinawa, where winter temperatures are comparable to those found in Hawaii. Spring has been toted as being the best time of year to be in Japan by most travel guide books, and for good reason. The temperatures are warm but not hot, and rainfall is sparse, with only occasional showers falling in late evening. The first week of April also brings with it the famous cherry blossom season that is one of the most magical times of year in Japan, with many cherry blossom viewing events and festivals taking place throughout the country.
Jim Sherard is the author of "Land of the Rising Sun, A Guide to Living and Working in Japan," which can be found at: www.escapeartist.com/e_Books/Living_and_Working_in_Japan/Living_and_Working_in_Japan.html