Q – When is the best time to go to Kyoto? What is the weather like in Kyoto? I am looking at visiting for Sakura (cherry blossoms) season but then I would also like to avoid the tourist crowd. Please recommend when I should go to Kyoto – Zen
A – Most people would suggest visiting Kyoto (and the rest of Japan) in either Spring or Autumn. This is because these two seasons give the best of the nature and landscapes, while also providing a pleasant temperature for traveling around.
To have a chance of Sakura or Cherry Blossoms viewing, you may come in spring around late March to mid April. That said, the Sakura/Cherry blossoms season is short and somewhat unpredictable, so also bring along good faith and patience. At this time, the weather is temperate and humidity is relatively low. But of course, at these time, the tourist crowd would also be at its peak.
A recommendation is to avoid Golden Week in Japan, which is around the first week of May (do check for exact days at it changes every year), as this is the time of Public Holidays for the locals and thus the peak traveling season for them. Most Japanese travel domestically and you will find yourself in huge crowds everywhere. Food, accommodation and transportations will also be much more expensive than usual.
This season brings along a thousand shades of red, and is something really beautiful and different from spring. At this time, the weather is also ideal to visit Kyoto for hiking the many mountains it offers.
Summer The weather in Summer can be high in humidity but the advantage is that the tourist crowd is way lesser at this time.
Winter The weather would be the least ideal at this time as it would be cold but there would not be much snow in Kyoto. But if you are seeking for some snows, you may take a train to its nearest mountains to catch some!
All things said, most times can be a good time to visit Kyoto, as there are always something going on in every season in Kyoto for everyone.