โ˜€๏ธ Visiting Japan in September: Tips & What To Know

A view of several Asian temples.

September in Japan is when the summer ends and the fall begins. It is characterized by smaller crowds, fall festivals, and mild temperatures.

I visited Japan last September, and here, I share firsthand tips on doing so. This post covers:

  • โ›ฐ๏ธ Unique things to do in September
  • ๐Ÿ‘ Pros and cons of visiting then
  • ๐Ÿ‘• What to pack in September
  • ๐Ÿ Weather conditions
  • ๐Ÿ€ Firsthand tips for visiting Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto in September

Planning a trip? Here’s what to know about Japan.

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September Weather in Japan

Japan has four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Each season’s exact dates vary by location, but September is generally known as the month when summer ends and autumn begins.

โ˜€๏ธ Early September Weather Conditions in Japan

You’ll generally experience summer weather during the beginning of the month. Here are some averages to know:

  • ๐ŸŒก๏ธ Average temperature โ€“ The average temperature ranges from 75 ยฐF to 93 ยฐF in early September, so it’s hotter than many visitors expect.
  • ๐ŸŒง๏ธ Rainy days โ€“ September averages 10 rainy days out of 30, and rain is more common during the first half of the month.
  • โ˜€๏ธ Daylight hours โ€“ September starts with 13 hours of daylight time, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore.

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Experience: I visited Japan during the first two weeks of September. I went to five different areas, including Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Mt. Fuji, and six southern islands near Hiroshima.

During my trip, I primarily experienced hot days where I mostly wore tank tops, shorts, and the occasional light jacket. Of the 14 days I was there, I experienced some rain on six of the days and heavy rain on two of the days.

This 10-day Japan itinerary combines visiting Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo with two epic adventures.

A woman standing on a hill overlooking a pagoda and ocean.
Visiting Japan in September.

๐Ÿ Late September Weather Conditions in Japan

During the second half of September in Japan, you’ll start experiencing cooler temperatures and hints that fall is around the corner. Here are some averages to know:

  • ๐ŸŒก๏ธ Average temperature โ€“ The average temperature ranges from 69 ยฐF to 87 ยฐF in the second half of September.
  • ๐ŸŒง๏ธ Rainy days โ€“ Late September will continue to see some rainy days, but they should lessen as the month progresses.
  • โ˜€๏ธ Daylight hours โ€“ September ends with 11 hours of daylight time with the sun setting around 5:30 pm.

๐ŸŒง๏ธ Is September in Japan’s Typhoon Season?

Japan’s rainy season is typically from early June to mid-July, so September is not part of the rainy season. However, September is part of the typhoon season.

Typhoon season runs from July to October, with August and September being the peak season.

Typhoons mostly impact the western areas and southern islands, but they can appear in any part of Japan. During these months, your travels may be impacted by heavy rain and strong winds.

When you’re visiting Japan in September, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for local weather reports. When I traveled, I checked the weather daily, and more frequently when I was going to be outdoors for extended time (e.g., while hiking Mt. Fuji or cycling the Shimanami Kaido).

A valley with trees and a river on a cloudy day.
A rainy day in Kyoto, Japan.

Is September a Good Time to Travel to Japan?

Japan is a great place to visit year-round, as every season and month offers something different in terms of activities, special events, and weather.

That said, September is not the most popular time to visit Japan, which means that there are both advantages and disadvantages to visiting during that month.

Having visited Japan in September, I can say that there are great benefits as well as missed opportunities when traveling then.

๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป Upsides of Visiting Japan in September

Visiting Japan in the month of September has a few upsides:

1. Tourist attractions are not as crowded.

To experience a less crowded Japan, September is a great time to visit the country. Tourist attractions that are generally overcrowded and have long lines during peak season are much more manageable in September.

Japan’s peak tourist seasons are when the cherry blossoms bloom in late March to early April and when the autumn foliage appears from late October to early December.

Golden Week, which runs from late April to early May, is also very crowded since Japanese people have a series of national holidays during that time, thus boosting domestic travel.

A woman standing on a bridge with a lush mountain background.
A quieter Arashiyama in Kyoto.

2. The weather is generally pleasantly warm.

You’ll still be wearing summer clothes in September, especially during the first half of the month. By the end of the month, you’ll transition to more pleasant mild weather. September won’t be as hot and humid as it is in the summer months.

Winter is also another time when Japan is less crowded. But during the winter months, some attractions and tourist services may be closed. It’s also very cold with temperatures as low as 25 ยฐF, making it unpleasant to be outside.

See what visiting Japan in December is like.

3. September is known for traditional festivals.

Matsuri are big celebrations in Japan with cultural and religious significance. While the festival season varies by location, many matsuris are typically celebrated in August and September.

4. You can get better deals on accommodation costs.

Japan is one of the most expensive countries to visit in Asia, but with some due diligence, it’s also a popular destination where you can travel on a tighter budget. One way to save during your trip to Japan is by traveling in September.

Curious to know how much I spent in Japan in September? This Japan budget breakdown shares all my trip expenses.

๐Ÿ€ My Positive Experience With Visiting in September

I enjoyed Japan’s lush environment and warm weather in September. While my home country, the United States, was starting to turn cold in some regions, I was happily in shorts and tank tops in Japan.

Since I was visiting major tourist cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, I still had to account for crowds. However, I experienced significantly fewer crowds compared to what some of my friends had to go through in the spring and summer.

For example, the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto was crowded after 10 am in September, but it was virtually empty before 8:30 am, which was not the case during cherry blossom season.

A woman standing in front of many red-colored Shinto shrines stacked near each other.
Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto.

If you’re planning to enjoy Japan’s natural onsens (hot springs) in early September, I recommend either going to an indoor one or waiting until late September. I went to an outdoor onsen during the first week of September and found the weather a bit too hot to fully appreciate the experience.

๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป Downsides of Visiting Japan in September

Visiting Japan in September also has a few downsides:

1. September is not the time for beautiful fall foliage yet.

One of the best times to see Japan is when the trees turn bright shades of red and orange. But the fall foliage doesn’t happen until October.

In September, you’ll get glimpses of trees changing colors, but most of them will be green until the end of the month.

A pathway surrounded by trees leading to a small temple.
Japan is mostly green in September.

2. The weather can be unpredictable.

Typhoons are most likely to occur in Japan in August and September, so you may have to adjust your travel plans if you experience strong winds, heavy rainfall, or delayed transportation.

3. Silver Week has made September more crowded.

Silver Week is the counterpart of the better-known Golden Week, where Japan has several back-to-back public holidays that boost domestic travel.

Silver Week only occurs in some years and the next one is in 2026, so the crowds won’t be a problem until then.

๐Ÿ€ My Negative Experience With Visiting in September

I did miss Japan’s beautiful autumn foliage when I traveled in September. I saw a handful of trees starting to turn orange, but overall, Japan didn’t even remotely look like it was getting ready for the fall.

I also had to change my plans in Kyoto since the city had two heavy rain days when I was there. Luckily, the weather otherwise held up, so I was still able to hike to the top of Mount Fuji and cycle the Shimanami Kaido.

5 Great Things To Do in September in Japan

September is an excellent time to explore all the major cities, like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, because of the smaller crowds.

If you’re looking for activities that are more specific to September, here are five unique and great things to do in Japan during that month:

1. Hike Mount Fuji

๐Ÿ”๏ธ Why: Mt. Fuji is only open for hiking for two months every year, from early July to early September. The exact opening dates vary by year, but around September 10th is typically your last chance to climb this iconic landmark.

A woman next to a Shinto shrine above the clouds.
Hiking Mt. Fuji.

๐Ÿ“ Location โ€“ Mt. Fuji is about a two-and-a-half-hour train ride west of Tokyo.

๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ Admission โ€“ Free, but you can donate 1,000 yen towards conserving Mt. Fuji.

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Timing โ€“ The 2024 climbing season dates are yet to be announced.

I hiked to the summit of Mt. Fuji for the breathtaking sunrise view in September 2023 and it was one of my trip’s highlights. Here’s my thorough Mt. Fuji hiking guide.

2. Attend Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

๐Ÿ† Why: Once a year, Japan hosts Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, or Kishiwada Danjiri Festival, in mid-September. During this unique festival, 35 teams from different neighborhoods compete in a danjiri (wooden cart) race. The competing teams have to carry carts that weigh over 8,000 lbs., making it the must-see “strength and endurance” festival in Japan.

๐Ÿ“ Location: The festival takes place in Kishiwada City, which is an hour south of Osaka by train.

๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ Admission: Free

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Timing: The 2024 festival date is yet to be announced.

3. Watch Sumo Wrestling

๐Ÿ’ช Why: Sumo wrestling has been a culturally significant sport in Japan for thousands of years. The September Grand Sumo Tournament is one of the most important and high-level competitions in September annually.

๐Ÿ“ Location: The 2024 tournament takes place in Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Arena in Tokyo.

๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ Admission: Prices vary from approximately $25 to over $200 USD. Tickets go on sale starting August 10, 2024.

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Timing: September 8โ€“22, 2024

4. Visit Daisetsuzan National Park

๐Ÿ Why: While September is typically not known for fall foliage, there is one location where you can start seeing the leaves turn bright shades of red and orange: Hokkaido in northern Japan. The Daisetsuzan National Park in that area is particularly beautiful during this time.

๐Ÿ“ Location: Daisetsuzan National Park in Hokkaido

๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ Admission: Free

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Timing: September or later

5. Cycle the Shimanami Kaido

๐Ÿšฒ Why: The Shimanami Kaido is a beautiful, off-the-beaten-path biking adventure that can be enjoyed by both casual riders and professional cyclists. During this biking trip, you can enjoy a quieter side of Japan while gazing out at the ocean.

You can cycle the Shimanami Kaido year-round, but the best times are during the spring and autumn months, including September. I did it in early September and kept thinking to myself: “This is excellent biking weather.”

A woman posing in front of a modern bridge and blue sky.
On the Shimanami Kaido.

๐Ÿ“ Location: The Shimanami Kaido starts in Onomichi City, which is a two-hour train ride west of Kyoto.

๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ Admission: Free, but you will have to rent bikes

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Timing: Year-round, but particularly good in the spring and fall

Learn more about biking the Shimanami Kaido.

September in Japan’s Majors Cities: Tips and My Experience

If you’re concerned about the September weather in Japan and how the heat or typhoon may impact your travel plans, I share my first-hand experience of visiting in September 2023 below.

In most cases, the weather didn’t drastically change my itinerary, but it did influence it.

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ September in Tokyo

Of the six days I spent in Tokyo, it only rained one night, which forced me to mostly be indoors that night. I otherwise experienced sunny days when I was constantly in shorts or a romper.

Due to the summer heat extending into September, it’s a good idea to plan a mix of indoor and outdoor activities while in Tokyo. I enjoyed:

A lush garden with a small pond and Chinese-style building.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo.
A set of lit-up buildings with anime girls on it.
Akihabara in Tokyo.

September Events in Tokyo

Tokyo also hosts some interesting events in September:

  • Tokyo Game Show โ€“ an annual video games trade show hosted by CESA.
  • Kitazawa Hachiman Festival โ€“ a busy festival where you’ll see many portable shrines being carried around.
  • Fukuro Matsuri โ€“ another annual festival with a big parade.
  • Sumo wrestling tournament โ€“ Tokyo hosts one of the most prestigious sumo wrestling tournaments in September.
  • ULTRA JAPAN โ€“ one of the biggest EDM shows in the country every year.

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ September in Kyoto

I was in Kyoto for two days, and it rained both days in the afternoon. This compelled me to wake up early on both days, so I could visit many of the outdoor temples before the rain came around 2 pm.

Visiting Kyoto in September was great because there were fewer crowds. Popular spots like the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Fushimi Inari Shrine had significantly fewer people in the early mornings before 9 am.

A forest surrounded by bamboo.
The famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.
A stone carving of a fox with a Japanese building behind it.
Fox deity at Fushimi Inari Shrine.

September Events in Kyoto

Kyoto also hosts some interesting events in September:

  • Choyo no Sechie โ€“ a chrysanthemum-themed festival.
  • Seiryu-e Festival โ€“ another festival where you’ll get to see a dragon parade.

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ September in Osaka

My day trip to Osaka was blessed with clear skies, so the weather didn’t impact any of my plans.

I visited many of the top attractions, including eating at the Kuromon Ichiba Market and walking through Dotonburi. I also got to cool down a bit at the Osaka Aquarium, which is a well-designed, unique aquarium.

A busy, commercial street next to a canal.
Dotonbori in Osaka.

See other practical things to know about Japan, including how to find authentic food and tipping etiquette.

What to Pack for Japan in September

Remember that you will experience mostly sunny days in September in Japan, but you’ll also likely experience moments of rain. When packing for Japan in September, bring a mix of summer clothes and rain gear.

Here are some other things to remember to pack for a trip to Japan in September:

  • Reusable water bottle โ€“The summer heat means that you will need to hydrate. Japan has a lot of vending machines and convenience stores where I could buy refrigerated water to keep cool in my insulated water bottle.

Water fountains are unfortunately not common in Japan, except at parks. However, the tap water is safe to drink.

  • Rain jacket โ€“ If you don’t bring a rain jacket, be prepared to carry an umbrella around or start running when it pours. I brought my rain jacket which was especially useful during my trip to Kyoto.
  • Comfortable walking shoes โ€“ Don’t be afraid to pack waterproof hiking shoes that double as rainboots, especially if you’re going to do a lot of outdoor activities. You’ll see many tourists walking around in hiking shoes.
  • Breathable long clothes โ€“ Japanese people tend to wear more conservative outfits that cover a lot of skin. If you want to blend in more, bring breathable clothes to stay cool.

I’ve also written on what to pack for outdoor activities in their respective guides: see the Mt. Fuji packing list and the Shimanami Kaido packing list.

Japan Trip Planner 2024

To make your travel preparation easier, download the trip planner below. It has destination-specific travel information, itinerary, map, and packing list.

My trip planners are built on Notion, which I use for all my travel planning. I genuinely love this tool and creating an account is free.

Three Notion template screenshots are shown: travel information, itinerary, and map + packing list templates.
Preview of Japan trip planner.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below.

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2 Comments

  1. Kat

    Mt Fuji is not free anymore due to overtourism.

    1. Lukiih

      The new 2024 Mt. Fuji climbing fee will only be for the popular Yoshida trail (not the other trails, including the one I climbed). I’ll update with that information; thanks for the callout, Kat.

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