A breakdown of Tokyo's four seasons
The most popular time to visit Tokyo is over the two-week sakura period in spring. Book stores promote guides on the best cherry blossom viewing spots, while restaurants and cafés try to outdo each other with sakura-flavoured dishes and drinks.
What to see Cherry blossoms turn the concrete jungle of Tokyo into a pink wonderland. This is the time for a hanami (cherry blossom viewing) picnic. In April and May, festivals begin to take over the city, especially at temples and shrines, such as Sanja Matsuri (around Sensoji temple) and Bunkyo Azalea Festival (in Nezu Shrine).
What to eat Look out for sakura-flavoured sweets and drinks. Sip on a sakura latte, munch on some sakura mochi… you’ll be surprised by the options.
Sun, heat and unbearable humidity − summer in Tokyo takes some getting used to. But this is the time for major festivals, particularly the outdoor kind: think music and fireworks.
What to see Summer means hanabi (fireworks) season in Tokyo. Put on a colourful yukata (casual summer kimono) and head over to one of the many riverbanks around the city for a spectacular show. Food stalls and games add to the evening festival vibe.
What to eat Cool down with kakigori: the shaved ice desserts come in a variety of flavours, toppings and colours. Want more? The city also offers a host of other cooling desserts, which range from ice cream to popsicles and more.
Fun fact June, the rainy season, is popular for its beautiful hydrangeas. Admittedly it’s a very soggy time of the year, but you’re well-compensated with a host of beer gardens.
Autumn is nice and comfy, with mild, just-right temperatures and frequent sunny days. This makes sightseeing on foot the most pleasant way to discover the city.
What to see The colourful autumn foliage, of course. Ginkgo trees turn bright yellow while maple trees blush with vivid shades of red. Take in this vibrant scene while hiking at Mt Takao, located in the western part of the city.
What to eat Freshly harvested fruits such as persimmon and pear and seasonal seafood including mackerel and pacific saury.
Fun fact At Shibuya’s popular Halloween street party, the crowds go all out with the most outrageous costumes.
Cold, crisp air and breezy, winter chills in Tokyo can be uncomfortable. However, the city puts on spectacular illuminations after dark. Plus, it’s the best time to sample seafood.
What to see Even though Japan has no religious connection to Christmas, you’ll find Christmas markets and incredible illuminations throughout the city.
What to eat Oden is Tokyo’s number one winter warmer. Pick from a variety of ingredients, such as vegetables, eggs, tofu, meat and fish cakes, all simmering in a soul-comforting soy-flavoured dashi broth. This is the best time to indulge in seafood such as crab, oysters and fatty fish such as buri (yellowtail).
Fun fact There are massive new year sales. Also, don’t miss out on the fukubukuro – ‘lucky bags’ filled with surprise items sold at a substantial discount.
Experience summer in Tokyo
In Tokyo, explosions of colour light up the sky throughout summer. Here's the complete guide to all the hanabi (fireworks festivals) in the city
Where to get into the spirit of the sunny season? Here's the full list of summer events and festivals in Tokyo
Ice, ice baby. Here are Tokyo's best kakigori shaved ice desserts to beat the heat
Beat the heat with the capital's best ice cream, gelato, sorbet and soft-serve