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Things to Do in Japan in September

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September means the end of summer and the back to school period for the second semester of the Japanese school year. Japanese people enjoy the last warm days during annual school festivals or sport meetings. The tourist season becomes quieter while fall slowly settles in at the end of the month.

Tourism statistics

After the tourism peak of summer, September seems like an off-season. Western families are focused on back to school needs, but late travelers remain in Japan.

The decrease in tourist numbers can also be explained by the weather, which can be variable. Indeed, medium and high-altitude mountains hikers do not favor this period.

Climate and weather

Summer lingers at the beginning of the month with temperatures around 25 °C or more. The humidity rate remains high with the typhoon 🌀 season lasting until mid-September, which is why sunny days can be rare in this season. However, after a typhoon, the days are clear and offer nice sunlight.

Progressively, the change to fall arrives with a colder but quieter climate. The first autumn 🍁 foliage can be observed at the end of the month on Hokkaido Island in the north.

National public holidays

As a general rule, one unique public holiday is not worked in September:

  • Third Monday in September -- 敬老の日 Keirô no Hi, Respect for the Aged Day

Recently, the "Silver Week" notion appeared and resulted in declaring a short "Golden Week" of 2–3 days, combining (when the year’s calendar allows it) this only public holiday and the fall equinox that occurs on September 22 or 23.

Top things to do

Large cities still offer numerous events each weekend day, whether they are traditional or based on sports. There is also a resurgence of annual conventions, especially in Tokyo. As for nature, it is still possible to enjoy beautiful days in the mountains or parks when the weather is dry.

Below is a list of Japanese seasonal attractions and events in September:

Date What to do Where Related
First week of September Enjoy the last days of Mount Fuji 🗻’s climbing season Mount Fuji Hiking
September 9 Attend Karasu-zumo at Kamigamo Shrine, a ceremony where priests perform an imitation of the movement and sound of a raven, followed by a sumo tournament starring the young boys from the neighborhood schools Kyoto Event
September 9 Go to Horin-ji temple, near Arashiyama, for the day of the chrysanthemum to listen to traditional songs Kyoto Event
September 10 to 24 Attend the last annual sumo tournament in the capital city Tokyo Tradition
September 14 Marvel at Hirano Jinja Shrine in front of 800 lanterns 🏮 Kyoto Event
September 14 to 16 Participate in Reitai-sai Matsuri, a horseback archery ritual, yabusame, in Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine Kamakura Event
September 15 Watch a martial art performance honoring samurai Minamoto no Yoshitsune Kurama Event
Three days in mid-September Discover Soh Odori Matsuri, which is a great traditional dance festival on Sea of Japan coast Niigata Event
Weekend in mid-September Admire the famous Kishiwada Danjiri Festival renowned for its impressive float races across the city’s streets. Kishiwada (Osaka) Event
Weekend in mid-September Visit the Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair at Miyako Messe Kyoto Event
September 20 Discover the Okuma Kabuto Festival on Nakajima Island with the float parade where masts are ornamented by a red flag and driven by the deity Sarutahiko, characterized by a Tengu 👺 mask 😷 Nanao (Ishikawa) Event
September 23 Attend the extravagant professional fireworks 🎆 championship of Huis Ten Bosch Park at the beginning of the evening Sasebo (Nagasaki) Event
End of the month Japanese video games lovers can visit the Tokyo Game Show Tokyo Event
End of the month Take photos of Japan's first fall colors in Daisetsuzan National Park Asahikawa (Hokkaido) Hiking
Fourth Monday in September Walk in Gion area around 2 p.m. to see the parade of 50 women in traditional clothing and hairstyles during Koshi Matsuri, including one ritual event in Yasui Shrine Kyoto Event
Last weekend in September Participate in the popular Fukuro Matsuri in Ikebukuro Tokyo Event
September 29 Celebrate Maneki-Neko’s day by going to the dedicated temple, Gotoku-ji Tokyo Tradition
All month long Enjoy a nice day by going to Tokyo DisneySea Tokyo Leisure

Travel packing tips

A vast range of summer and mid-season clothes are essential to plan for all kinds of weather in September. It can be wise to pack waterproof shoes, along with a lighter pair of shoes.

Mosquitoes are still present, and a lot of repelling products are available in Japan. Sensitive people can bring their own products in their suitcase or use green clay, which is an anti-inflammatory.

In case of typhoon, travelers are advised to stay inside: reading a good book or manga, playing video games or watching movies are good ideas.

Updated on October 29, 2020 - Que faire au Japon en septembre