Best Times to Visit Kyoto
The best times to visit Kyoto are from March to May and from September to November when the weather is the mildest. However, the blooming cherry blossoms in spring and the vibrant fall foliage are big tourist draws, so be prepared for higher hotel rates and fewer vacancies. Crowds do wane a bit in the summer and winter, but June's sticky humidity and January's chilly temperatures are too uncomfortable for some travelers.
Weather in Kyoto
Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center
Springtime in Kyoto draws many travelers because of comfortable temperatures – highs hover around the 60s and 70s. Plus, the city blushes pink with plum and cherry blossoms. (However, pinpointing the exact dates of the cherry blooms is a gamble; the notoriously temperamental cherry trees can begin flowering on any given day from late March to mid-April). Despite the blossoms' arbitrary start-date, the city fills with visitors eager to capture one of Kyoto's most photogenic seasons on camera. Even if you miss peak bloom, a spring trip is still worthwhile (particularly in May), thanks to the lush greenery at the city's temples. Be sure to book a hotel several months in advance, as accommodations can fill up quickly around this time of year.
With daytime highs ranging from the low 80s to the low 90s and an average of 5 to 8 inches of precipitation per month, a summertime trip to Kyoto can be a soggy, sweaty endeavor. But the sweltering temperatures and frequent downpours do drive away tourists, so accommodations will be a lot easier to come by than in spring or fall.
Kyoto's foliage puts on a great show in autumn, lending the city's historic sites a brilliant crimson-and-orange backdrop. The gorgeous scenery – along with the temperate weather (high temperatures in the low 60s to low 80s) – attracts a fair amount of visitors to Kyoto. Book your accommodations a few months before you travel. If you're hoping to capture the autumn foliage at its most spectacular, plan your visit for late October and early to mid-November.
Near-freezing temperatures in winter keep the tourists away. But if you're not averse to bundling up, Kyoto can be quite beautiful in the colder months (picture peaceful shrines dusted with silver snow). When you get too chilly, you'll have a greater choice of hotels where you can warm your toes than you would if you visited in the busier months.
Popular Times to Visit Kyoto
Ttourism volume is estimated based on in-market destination search query interest from Google and on travel.usnews.com in 2015-2016. Hotel prices are sourced from a sample of U.S. News Best Hotels rates through 2015-2016.
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