Things to do in Japan in April
April is a month of celebration in Japan. With the back-to-school period nearing and the famous cherry trees blooming, Japanese people invade parks and gardens, searching for the best spot to spread their blue tarpaulin and enjoy picnicking with friends and family. Vendors selling popular local food fan out near shrines and temples and draw hungry visitors coming to witness the wonders of the traditional landscapes.
April is among one of the three main touristic periods in Japan. Recognized by travel experts as one, if not the most, beautiful season of the year, the Japanese spring appeals to a dense crowd of foreign visitors, from Western countries and from Asia.
Booking your travel months in advance is highly recommended, especially as accommodations for group travel fill quickly.
Before enjoying their one week vacation, the Golden Week starting around April 29th, Japanese people will join the tourists crowds in the evenings and on the weekends earlier in the month.
Climate and weather
Temperatures become nicer with an average of 12 to 14°C (53 to 57°F) in the main cities. At midday, the sunny weather will bring a pleasant warmth with a temperature close to 20°C (68°F). This climate is totally suitable for outdoor urban wanderings. Hiking in the mountains remains cold and slippery if it is raining.
The sun rises around 5:15 a.m. and sets around 6:15 p.m.; therefore, we can count about 13 hours of sunlight per day. Nocturnal events usually begin before 7 p.m.
Some days in the month see rain ☔️ and wind. Japanese weather experts carefully watch the weather as it favors the fall 🍁 of the cherry blossom trees’ flower petals, called fubuki, and therefore accelerates the end of the blooming, which is already ephemeral.
National public holidays
A transitional month, April displays only one public holiday, marking the beginning of the Japanese Golden Week:
- April 29 -- 昭和の日 Showa no Hi : Showa Day (birthday of Emperor Hirohito)
There is also another important date:
- April 8 -- Hana Matsuri, a floral festival celebrating Buddha’s Birthday
Top things to do
During this important period of the year, cherry blossoms can be admired throughout the whole archipelago, depending on the climatic conditions. The main regions, which are Kanto, Kansai, the Shikoku and Kyushu islands, reach their flowering peak up to mid-April. Chubu and north of Tohoku (above Sendai) come next and should be visited at the end of the month.
The blooming cherry trees delight all Japanese people, including the geiko of Kyoto. Therefore, from the beginning of April, each hanamachi presents its spring dance show:
- Kamishichiken (Kitano Odori)
- Miyagawacho (Kyo Odori)
- Gion Kobu (Miyako Odori) or
- Pontocho (Kamogawa Odori in May)
The shows are held in a theatre in the city, last about one hour, and can include a tea ceremony. Booking in advance is mandatory.
Below is a list of Japanese seasonal attractions and events in April:
Travel packing tips
Pack a mixed suitcase, with winter clothes for cloudy, colder days and mid-season clothes for warm afternoons. A good closed and waterproof pair of shoes to easily walk around blooming nature is required. Sunglasses perfectly complete this outfit.
With numerous open-air events, from days to nights, pack an antibacterial gel and a small towel to keep your hands clean and ready to welcome another culinary discovery.