September means the end of summer and the back to school period for the second trimester of the Japanese school year. Japanese inhabitants enjoy the last warm days during annual school festivals or during sport meetings. The tourist season becomes quieter while the fall season slowly appears at the end of the month.
After the peak tourism of summer, September sounds like an off-season. Western families are focused on back to school needs, but late travelers remain in Japan.
The decrease in tourists can also be explained by the weather, which can be varied. Indeed, hiking lovers in the middle and high mountains do not favor this period.
Climate and weather
Summer is still here at the beginning of the month with temperatures around 25 °C or more. The humidity rate remains high because the typhoon season occurs 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.
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) the only public holiday day and the fall equinox that occurs September 22 or 23 of each year.
Top things to do
Big 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 in September||Enjoy the last days of Mount Fuji’s climbing season||Mount Fuji||Hiking|
|September 9||Attend Karasu-zumo in the Kamigamo Shrine, which is a priest ceremony imitating the movement and sound of a raven, followed by a tournament of sumo starring young boys from the surrounding 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, which is 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, recognized by a Tengu mask||Nanao (Ishikawa)||Event|
|September 23||Attend the grandiloquent professional fireworks championship of Huis Ten Bosch Park at the beginning of the evening||Sasebo (Nagasaki)||Event|
|End of the month||Go to the Tokyo Game Show for Japanese video games lovers||Tokyo||Event|
|End of the month||Take photos of the first fall colors of Japan in Daisetsuzan National Park||Asahikawa (Hokkaido)||Hiking|
|Fourth Monday in September||Walk in the 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. Waterproof shoes, along with a lighter pair of shoes, are wise to take.
Mosquitoes are still present, and Japan has a lot of repelling products. Sensitive people can take their own products in a 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.