Last Updated on December 5, 2023
High season (March to May and October to Mid-December)
When planning travel to Kyoto always research the weather and the best times to visit.
There are two peak travel times in Kyoto. The first, spring cherry blossom season (Sakura), usually occurs from the end of March to the beginning of April. The second, the beautiful fall foliage season, is generally early to mid-November.
Since both are the most beautiful times to visit, incredible numbers of both Japanese and international visitors travel to Kyoto at those times, resulting in hotel prices peaking. Hotels are most expensive during Sakura, and you’ll typically have to book a year or so in advance.
So long as you don’t mind crowds, traveling during these colorful seasons allows you to experience Kyoto at its prettiest and enjoy the best weather. Both spring and fall see comfortable temperatures and pleasant conditions perfect for exploring the city or hiking in the nearby mountains.
We traveled to Japan from mid-October to early November, which was a perfect time. We were able to enjoy great weather as well as the beginning of the fall foliage season before prices escalated.
Low Season (Mid-December to February)
As you might expect given the weather, winter is the least expensive time to travel to Kyoto. If you’re in Kyoto over the New Year holiday (specifically from around December 29 to January 3), remember that many restaurants, shops, museums, and similar businesses close for Ōmisoka (the last day of the year). However, you’ll find a visit on New Year’s Eve to one of Kyoto’s largest temples memorable.
Shoulder Season (June to September): Best Time for Festivals and Cultural Events
Generally, prices are lower during Kyoto’s hot and humid summers, with frequent rain showers in June and July. This typically keeps many travelers away, except when there is a festival. But if you don’t mind heat and humidity, this is an excellent time to explore the city.
The largest and most popular festival is Gion Matsuri, which is accompanied by street parties and colorful parades, including giant floats pulled through downtown Kyoto. August’s O-Bon holiday is another popular time for domestic travel, with accommodations being more expensive this week. Be sure to check the list of festivals in Kyoto for specific dates.