Things to Do in Japan in May: A Guide for Travelers

May is one of the best months to visit Japan. The weather is mild, the cherry blossoms have started to fade, and the country is gearing up for a slew of exciting festivals and events. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there are plenty of things to do in Japan in May that will make your trip unforgettable. Here are some of the top activities to consider:

1. Attend a Matsuri (Festival)

Japan is famous for its festivals, and May is no exception. Some of the most popular festivals during this month include the Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo, the Aoi Matsuri in Kyoto, and the Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo.

The Sanja Matsuri is one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals and takes place in Asakusa. It’s a three-day event that features parades, traditional music, and food stalls. The Aoi Matsuri, on the other hand, is a more formal affair that celebrates Kyoto’s history and culture. It involves a procession of participants dressed in Heian-period costumes.

The Kanda Matsuri, which takes place every two years, is a festival that celebrates the history of Tokyo’s Kanda neighborhood. Highlights include a parade of portable shrines and traditional music performances.

2. Visit the Gardens and Parks

May is one of the best months to see the beautiful gardens and parks in Japan. The weather is mild, and the flowers are in full bloom. Some of the best places to visit during this time include the Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa, the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo, and the Chidorigafuchi Park in Tokyo.

The Kenrokuen Garden is one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens and features a variety of flowers, trees, and ponds. The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a popular park in Tokyo that features a beautiful greenhouse, a Japanese garden, and a French garden. The Chidorigafuchi Park is famous for its cherry blossoms, but it’s also a beautiful place to visit in May when the azaleas are in bloom.

3. Take a Trip to the Countryside

Japan’s countryside is full of picturesque scenery, and May is a great time to explore it. Some of the best places to visit during this month include the Shirakawago Village in Gifu Prefecture, the Kawagoe City in Saitama Prefecture, and the Iya Valley in Shikoku.

The Shirakawago Village is a UNESCO World Heritage site that features traditional Japanese farmhouses with thatched roofs. Kawagoe City is known for its traditional Edo-style architecture, and the Iya Valley is a remote area in Shikoku that’s famous for its natural beauty.

4. Enjoy the Food and Drink

Japan is known for its delicious food and drink, and May is a great time to try some of the country’s specialties. Some of the best dishes to try during this month include the katsu curry in Tokyo, the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki in Hiroshima, and the fresh seafood in Hokkaido.

Katsu curry is a breaded and fried cutlet served with a curry sauce. Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is a savory pancake made with cabbage, noodles, and various toppings. Hokkaido is famous for its fresh seafood, including crab, salmon, and sea urchin.

5. Explore the Cities

Japan’s cities are full of excitement and energy, and May is a great time to explore them. Some of the best cities to visit during this month include Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.

Tokyo is a bustling metropolis that’s full of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Kyoto is known for its traditional temples and shrines, while Osaka is famous for its vibrant nightlife and street food.


Q: Is May a good time to visit Japan?

A: Yes, May is one of the best months to visit Japan. The weather is mild, and there are plenty of festivals and events to enjoy.

Q: What should I pack for a trip to Japan in May?

A: It’s a good idea to pack lightweight clothing, as the weather can be warm in some areas. You may also want to bring a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings. Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes and a travel adapter for your electronics.

Q: Are there any cultural customs I should be aware of when visiting Japan in May?

A: It’s always a good idea to respect Japan’s culture and customs when traveling to the country. In May, you may encounter people wearing traditional clothing for festivals and events. It’s important to be respectful and avoid interrupting any ceremonies or rituals.

Destination Events/Festivals Food/Dishes to Try
Tokyo Sanja Matsuri, Kanda Matsuri Katsu curry, Ramen
Kyoto Aoi Matsuri Tofu dishes, Matcha desserts
Hiroshima Hiroshima Flower Festival Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, Oysters
Kanazawa Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Festival Seafood, Sake
Hokkaido Noboribetsu Bear Festival Crab, Sea urchin, Ramen


Japan is a fascinating country that’s full of culture, history, and natural beauty. May is a great time to visit, as there are plenty of festivals and events to enjoy, the weather is mild, and the flowers are in full bloom. Whether you’re interested in exploring the cities, visiting the countryside, trying new foods, or immersing yourself in Japan’s rich traditions, there’s something for everyone in this amazing country.

So pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready for an unforgettable trip to Japan in May!

Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you again soon for more exciting travel articles.

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