Kyoto features a unique variety of seasons. Summers here are hot and humid, with temperature sometimes rising as high as 39℃. September and October often see continuous heavy rains, while winters are with occasional snowfalls. The best seasons to travel would be early April, known as the sakura season; May, with its warm climate and blossoming flowers; and November, when maple leaves turn red in autumn. Many tourists try to avoid both the beginning and the end of the year, as well as the scorching summer.
Sakura dancing in spring
Each year, early April is the ideal time to appreciate sakura in Kyoto. Compared to Kanto, Kansai boasts more varieties of sakura, and the blooming Yaezakura can still be seen in early May! When you appreciate sakura in an ancient city full of shrines and temples like Kyoto, you will truly feel enchanted by its beauty. Every place has its own allure, from Omurozakura in theNinna-ji Temple and Yaezakura in the Takasago to Shidanezakura in the Maruyama Park and Taiko Hanami in theDaigo-ji Temple.
Enjoying the cool summer night
Kyoto is surrounded by mountains, and so the climate during the summer is as hot as if you were trapped a food-steamer! However, there are still numerous events and activities to keep your mind off the summer heat. You can enjoy famous Kawatoko cuisine and Nagashi-Soumen in northern Kurama and Kifune. In Kamogawa near Shijo, a tatami will be set up on top of the river once May arrives. You can sit on the tatami in the open air, taking a sip of wine while listening to the murmuring water. On the evening of August 16th, five simultaneous bonfires are lit on different mountains in the shape of the character "big.”
Red maples in autumn
Autumn is the season that receives the most visitors in Kyoto. From mid-November to early December, the maple leaves gradually turn red, ushering in the autumn. You can also see countless golden ginkgo and red maple leaves in many temples across the city. The temperature is not too low, and so you can get by wearing a thick coat. Favorite locations for enjoying the maple leaves are Tofukuji Temple, Nanzen-ji temple, Eikando Temple, and Arashiyama. Kiyomizu Temple is also a favorite spot among tourists.
Plum in winter snow
Winter in Kyoto is not as bleak as people believe it to be. If you happen to visit the Kinkaku-ji Temple on a snowy day, you will get to see the golden temple glistening majestically in white. The viewing of plum blossoms is also a major activity in the winter. Jyonangu Palace, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Nijo-jo, and Kyoto Gyoen are perfect sites for plum appreciation. In the early spring, you can go to these shrines and temples to see camellia. If you happen to be in Kyoto during the Japanese New Year, you can visit the Yasaka-jinja Shrine on December 31st for Hatsumōde or the first shrine visit of the year.