What to do in Kuala Lumpur – The Unmissable Top 10 Experiences

Kuala Lumpur – A unique flavour of Asia

What to do in Kuala Lumpur – The Unmissable Top 10 Experiences

The Top 10 in What to see, do and experience in Kuala Lumpur was a difficult selection to make because there are so many more sights which also warrants a visit. My decision rested upon selecting experiences that will give my readers a flavour of Malaysian multi-ethnic multi-cultural society, it’s rich Islamic heritage, and a unique history that was influenced by the British Empire.

Kuala Lumpur, literally translates to “muddy confluence” originated from the fact that the city was founded near where the rivers of Klang and Gombak intersect. Today, you can see this “confluence” just behind Merdeka Square. As the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur boasts gleaming skyscrapers, a blend of modern and colonial architecture, warm, welcoming, charming locals, and a myriad of natural attractions. Divided into districts, the City’s main hub is the Golden Triangle – Bukit Bintang, KLCC and Chinatown.

An Introduction to Diversity and Culture in Malaysia

Having grown up in Malaysia prior to moving to the UK, I know first hand the culture of this nation. Malaysia’s rich culture is reflected by each ethnic group who preserve and maintain their unique cultural identities yet live together respecting the differences that exist between them. It is the same rich culture and its heritage that dictates the cuisines and gastronomy in Malaysia.

I grew up experiencing one of the most flavourful cuisines in the world. A country which is often referred to as “the crossroads of Asia”, Malaysian cooking uses ingredients and cooking styles which reflects a fusion of Indian, Chinese, Indonesian and Thai.

Although, they are not spicy-hot, they are full of flavour and has contributed to me having an adventurous palate when it comes to culinary delights and the mouth-watering dishes I get to enjoy during my travels.

In my selection of places to visit, I have suggested a couple of activities where you can experience the fusion and flavourful cuisines of my homeland.

A brief background to Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia. Malaysia is located in South East Asia and consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by South China Sea into Peninsula Malaysia and East Malaysia. It is home to over 30 million and is the 44th most populous country. Tanjung Piai in Malaysia is the southernmost point of continental Eurasia. Malaysia is one of seventeen megadiverse countries, home to large numbers of endemic species.

As mentioned, Malaysia is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. About half the population is ethnically Malay. The other half consist of Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indians and indigenous peoples. Each play a large and influential role in Malaysian politics. The government system is modelled on the UK parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law.

On religion – Islam is recognised as Malaysia’s established religion. The constitution grants freedom of religion to non-Muslims.

Being multi-ethnic and multi-cultural means Malaysia is also multilingual. The official language here is Malay, also referred to as Bahasa Melayu. English is an active second. As a visitor, you need not worry about language barrier as Kuala Lumpur is well versed with tourists and almost everyone in the touristy places speak and/or understand English.

If you are visiting Kuala Lumpur for longer than a day or two, you may want to consider purchasing a City Pass. There is no doubt that the City Pass is great value for money where you can skip the line, and visit attractions at a discounted price – a huge saving on time and money. However long you choose to spend your time in Kuala Lumpur, make the best of it by ensuring you experience the following unmissable top ten activities.

The Unmissable Top 10 Experiences in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The following list of top 10 in Kuala Lumpur are listed in no particular order. They are all popular tourist attractions and should top any itinerary if you are visiting Malaysia.

[KLCC – Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre]

1 | Petronas Twin Towers, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Twin Towers, KLCC Malaysia
Petronas Twin Towers, KLCC, Malaysia

Petronas Twin Towers is Kuala Lumpur’s crown jewel and dominates the City’s skyline. The Twin Towers are an iconic landmark and are the tallest twin towers in the world. The postmodern architecture and style of a pair of glass-and-steel-clad skyscrapers uniquely designed with Islamic motifs stands at 451.9 metres. This majestic eighty-eight storey twin structure offer a public sky-bridge connecting the two towers and an observation deck. A visit to this iconic structure is highly recommended.

This is a popular attraction and prior booking is advisable. Skip the line and buy your tickets now. Click on the links below to find out more on what the ticket includes and not.

Skip-the-Line Petronas Towers Tickets with Hotel Delivery

2 | A stroll in KLCC Park, Kuala Lumpur

Just below the Petronas Twin Towers, is an area of much needed green space in the city of Kuala Lumpur – KLCC Park. It is a specially designed park that stretches 20 hectares. It has jogging and walking trails, a large lake and fountain features. No visit to Kuala Lumpur is quite complete without a visit to this peaceful haven in the middle of the City.

3 | Suria, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

No visit to Kuala Lumpur is complete without a shopping experience in the heart of the City. Kuala Lumpur is neither New York nor London but the shopping complexes here will definitely give the larger cities a run for their money.

Suria KLCC is a six storey shopping complex that sits within the gigantic Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre that is also home to the Petronas Twin Tower. There are varieties of high-end fashionable labels such as Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, cinemas and food courts. If you are looking for labels, this is the place to be – to shop till you drop!

See what’s more is offered by Suria KLCC, here

3 | Menara KL Tower

The KL Tower or officially known as Menara KL is the seventh tallest structure in the world and the tallest in South East Asia. It stands at 421 metres, atop Bukit Nanas, surrounded by the oldest forest reserve in the country, Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve. The forest houses age-old trees as well as flora and fauna indigenous to Malaysia’s tropical climate. 

KL Tower
Menara KL, Malaysia

Menara KL has been outshone by the Petronas Twin Towers but remains an important architectural marker. A visit to the viewing deck here will give you spectacular views of the city. The viewing deck is at least 100 metres higher than the Petronas Tower’s Skybridge, so it’s worth a visit. The visitor’s deck is also the highest point of the city that is open to the public. Popular times are at dusk as you witness the sun set over the city’s skyline.

TTS tip: Have a meal or enjoy high tea with spectacuar views over Kuala Lumpur’s skyline at the famous revolving restaurant, Atmosphere 360. Book Early to avoid disappointment.

The Tower is another unique architecture which reflects Malaysia’s vibrant Islamic heritage. with Arabic scripts, Islamic tiles, and archetypal Islamic floral and abstract patterns.

There are a couple of Best Seller choices here for you to choose from should you decide to visit this iconic landmark for a memorable experience. Highly recommended that you purchase your tickets before the start of your vacation as some of these activities may be sold out.

Buy our Bestseller – A combined ticket giving you access to the Observation Deck + A Buffet at the infamous revolving restaurant serving local cuisines. Find out what it includes and what it does not with free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts.

Menara KL Observation Deck + Buffet at revolving restaurant + night tour

Menara KL Tower Information:

Address: Jalan Puncak, Off Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur City Centre

Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 – 22:00

5 | Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur

At the heart of Kuala Lumpur, is the colourful and vibrant Chinatown, a part of the City that never sleeps. Chinatown is based in Petaling Street, and is deeply immersed in oriental culture, history and heritage. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most popular tourist spots.

Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Chinatown is a bargain-hunter’s paradise – you will find all sorts here, from Chinese medicine shops to imitation goods of high brands such as Chanel, Rolex Yves Saint Laurent and many more. Just remember not to pay the asking price!

At dusk, Chinatown turns into a vibrant market stall, offering all kinds of goods at very low prices. It’s a kind of nightlife that is quite different to other parts of the country. More happens here at night than during the day.

TTS suggests: I would highly recommend a visit to Chinatown, both during the day and at night as it offers two differing experiences for you.

Chinatown is practically filled with Chinese restaurants and hawker stalls! You will find all sorts of delicacies from steamed buns to seafood, barbecued meats, steamboats, stir-fries and delicacies which are unique to this particular Chinatown than anywhere else.

The best thing about this part of Chinatown is that it is open till late, until the wee hours of the morning.

You might want to take advantage of the following Best Sellers and experience the authentic cuisines of Malaysian culture.

6 | Central Market, Kuala Lumpur

A short walk from Petaling Street, along Jalan Hang Kasturi, is the Central Market, a cultural landmark and a designated World Heritage Site. It is one of the familiar landmarks for tourists and boasts local artistic community of handcrafts, boutiques and souvenir stalls. These are authentic local crafts, mostly handmade and a great selection of uniquely designed Malaysian batik.

One thing to note when visiting the Central Market is the “zoning” of the market. The Market is divided into different zones and each is distinctive by race/culture. The reason for this zoning is to let visitors experience and get an insight into the diverse culture of Malaysians.

Central Market, Kuala Lumpur Information:

Address: No. 10, 1st-3rd floor, Jalan Hang Kasturi

Opening Hours: Daily, 10:00 – 22:00

7 | Alor Street (Jalan Alor), Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur

For the best hawker food experience, head to the cultural heart of Kuala Lumpur’s local cuisines, Alor Street. You will find it just behind Jalan Bukit Bintang and a short walk away from Changkat Bukit Bintang. Alor Street is a food haven! The variety of food available is amazing, from barbecued meats to desserts and most of these dishes cannot be found in restaurants – even if they are, they are not as tasty.  

Jalan Alor serves you not just authentic tasty food but also traditional charm of bright fluorescent signage lighting, mini red Chinese lanterns, plastic tables and chairs spilling out onto the road and food served on plastic plates. The place is loud and vibrant with hawkers furiously fanning grills of chicken and beef on skewers, the clanging of metal pans, frying woks, the thick air with charcoal smoke and the seemingly endless row of stalls on a five-foot walkway – all adds to a memorable experience of Kuala Lumpur not to be missed!

Although Jalan Alor is popular, it is in a hidden spot and not many tourists find this location easily. From the Bukit Bintang monorail stop, you can head north along Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Alor is about a minute’s walk.

8 | Batu Caves, just outside of Kuala Lumpur

Batu Caves is located just a stone’s throw away from Kuala Lumpur, about 13 km north of City Centre. It is a 400 million-year old limestone hill and is home to a 100 year old temple carved within it. The caves and temples are Hindu shrines and is a focal point of pilgrimage for the many Hindu residents of Malaysia. In particular, it is a focal point of the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam.

42.7 metres high gold painted statue of Muruga stands at the foot of 272 steps that leads to the temples within the limestone hill, Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
42.7 metres high gold painted statue of Muruga stands at the foot of 272 steps that leads to the temples within the limestone hill, Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Temples carved into the limestone at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Temples carved into the limestone at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Thaipusam is an annual Hindu celebration by the Tamil people. Devotees of the Hindu god Subramaniam pay homage by carrying “kavadis”. “Kavadis” are colourful framework, decorated with peacock feathers and flowers carried on the devotees shoulders or head. Some of these “kavadis” can weigh up to 100 kilos. These devotees also have various metal hooks and skewers pierced through their skin, cheeks and tongue. Some walk on a short trail of fire barefooted. It is a colourful celebration and one that attracts up to a million visitors, making it one of the largest celebrations in the world.

Date for the celebration of Thaipusam in 2021 is January 28. At time of update, February 2021, there are no dates available for 2022.

Read more on Thaipusam here.

Outside of Thaipusam celebration, visitors can marvel at the huge 42.7 metres high gold painted statue of Muruga standing at the base of the 272 steps leading to the temple within the caves. Explore the limestone cliffs that are dotted with caves and carved temples such as Cathedral Cave, Dark Cave, Ramayana Cave and Cave Villa.

While exploring, be mindful of the cave-dwelling bats. Keep your belongings close as the wild monkeys that inhabit the area will not hesitate to help themselves to it!

To get to Batu Caves seamlessly from Kuala Lumpur and to experience one of the major attractions in Malaysia, book one of the Best Seller tours below. For me, these are such great value for money tours and I am certain Batu Caves will not disappoint. Click on link to find out more on what it includes and does not!

Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur Information:

Opening Hours: Daily, 06:00 – 21:00

Address: Batu Caves, Sri Subramaniam Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

How to get there: Located 13km north of Kuala Lumpur

Public transport: Take Intrakota bus No 11D from the Central Market or the Cityliner bus No 69 at Jalan Pudu to get to Batu Caves. Taxis are also available anywhere around the city.

9 | Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Kuala Lumpur

Sultan Abdul Samad Building is one of Kuala Lumpur’s famous landmark which was originally built for the colonial British administration in 1897. Today, it is home to the offices of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia. It is conveniently located next to Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. Despite the changing skyline of Kuala Lumpur, Sultan Abdul Samad Building remains a popular tourist attraction.

sultan abdul samad building unmissable top 10 in kuala lumpur
Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

It’s attraction features a construction entirely of brick, strong gothic, western and an earliest Moorish-style architecture. Beautiful arches, curved colonnades and a 41.2 metres clock tower makes this Building a “must visit” destination when visiting Kuala Lumpur.

Take a City Tour and learn all about the Old and New Kuala Lumpur, Click on link to find more.

Kuala Lumpur: Half-Day City Tour

10 | Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, Petaling Jaya

Sunway Lagoon, Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur.
Early morning at Sunway Lagoon, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Sunway Lagoon Theme Park is located in Petaling Jaya, about 15km southwest of the Kuala Lumpur city centre. It’s slogan, “Come Feel the Fun” and visitors can truly experience the fun this theme park offers – from whirl and twirl waterslides to man made surf beaches, a 360 degree revolving pirate ship and places to relax to grab a bite plus a zoo! Sunway Lagoon sits in an 80 acre site and has activities to suit everyone!

Kuala Lumpur: Sunway Lagoon Ticket & 1-Way Transfer

Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, Petaling Jaya Information:

Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 18:00

Location: Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa

Address: 3, Jalan PJS 11/11, Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya

You may also wish to consider these other attractions in Kuala Lumpur

Aquaria KLCC – A state of the art aquarium located beneath the convention centre. Read more here

Kuala Lumpur Railway Station – No longer a railway station but a museum. It is now home to antique fire engines and steam trains. For me, it was the architecture that won my heart, somewhat fairy-tale, a mix of European and Asian built around 1886.

Address: Kampung Attap, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Royal Selangor is somewhat a hidden gem. Founded in 1885, a visit here and you will be welcomed with a free guided tour and a journey through its history.

Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park – If you are looking to have a slow day, do nothing else than head over to the Butterfly Park and marvel at over 120 species of colourful butterflies with educational information. This attraction is set within a modelled jungle-forest experience with walkways, lakes and ponds.

Take a look at the following tours to enhance your experiences in Kuala Lumpur

Private Magical View With Petronas Tower & Cultural Dinner

From Kuala Lumpur: Private Fireflies Tour and Seafood Dinner

From Kuala Lumpur: Batu Caves and Little India Private Tour

Day Trips from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Genting Highlands and Batu Caves Day Trip

Full-Day Trip to Historical Malacca

Taman Negara National Park Overnight Tour


Ready to book your trip?

Take a look at the following 6 Steps and the resources page to design your vacation your way for a stress free trip.

6 steps to stress free vacation
Resources

Final say…

Malaysia represents a unique flavour of Asia – its colours, the science-fiction like sky-scrapers, ancient Thaipusam celebrations, the dignified architecture and cling-clang of metal pans accompanied by thick air of charcoal smoke will all paint a kaleidoscope of memories of traditions, religions and bright smiling faces. Enjoy this wonderful country!

As always, I am more than happy to answer any of your questions. Drop me a question via my Contact page here.

Happy discovering Malaysia!

Georgina xx


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what to do in kuala lumpur
what to do in kuala lumpur

A Simple Introduction to Kuala Lumpur and a list of 10 experiences represents a unique flavour of Asia. It's gleaming sky-scrapers, ancient religious celebrations, the dignified architecture, the cling-clang of metal pans accompanied by the thick air of charcoal smoke plus the welcoming nature of its people will all paint a kaleidoscope of memories for you to take away. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/A Simple Introduction to Kuala Lumpur and a list of 10 experiences represents a unique flavour of Asia. It's gleaming sky-scrapers, ancient religious celebrations, the dignified architecture, the cling-clang of metal pans accompanied by the thick air of charcoal smoke plus the welcoming nature of its people will all paint a kaleidoscope of memories for you to take away. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

When is the best time to go to Japan?

Best time to go to Japan

A bi-monthly weather guide | What to Expect | Events/Festivals | National Holidays | Clothing Guide to support your travel plans

From spring blossoms to autumn leaves and winter festivals, Japan is a country that can be visited at anytime of the year. Typically, late spring, March – May and late autumn, September to November is ideal as the temperature is mild and rainfall is low. December and January are the driest months with January and February being the coldest in Japan. However, to pick the best time to go to Japan will depend very much on what you want to see, do, and experience in this Land of the Rising Sun.

When planning a visit to go to Japan, note that although Japan has all four seasons, it also has a rainy season and a typhoon season. Japan’s weather changes dramatically from one month to another and from one region to another. Given that the Japanese archipelago stretches 3000 kilometres (1800 miles) from north to south, the changes from region to region can be quite drastic even within the same season.

To support your travel plans to Japan, here is a complete and detailed bi-monthly guide for you to use. This guide includes Japan’s national holidays calendar for you to peruse, tips on what to pack and festivals/events to look forward to.

January/February | Best time to go to Japan

Temperatures:

January: High 9.6℃ (49.2°F)/ Low 1.8℃ (35.1°F)

February: High 10.3℃ (50.3°F)/ Low 2.7℃ (36.9°F)

What to expect in January and February

January and February are the coldest months of the year in Japan and sees the ground covered with a blanket of snow. Northern regions of Japan such as Hokkaido sees a thick blanket of snow and welcomes winter sports enthusiasts. A perfect time to hit the ski slopes in northern Japan. These months are the perfect time to see the snow monkeys in Nagano as well.

Snow-monkeys, Nagano, Japan | Best time to go to Japan
Snow monkeys in Nagano, Japan

During these winter months, in cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima located in the middle part of Japan, the Honshu island, get lighter snow. Days are short during winter but January has been recorded to be the sunniest in Tokyo due to little or no rain or snow.

February marks the second coldest month in Japan and people are often indoors or some may indulge in winter sports. February also kicks off the diving season in Japan with sea turtles, sharks, seahorses and manatees can be spotted easily during this season.

As for notable events and festivals, February sees the popular Sapporo Snow Festival.

Why you should visit in January/February

Winter months of January and February are one of the best time to go to Japan as it presents one of the best picturesque landscape. Mountains covered in snow. Still temples and castles covered in snow and drip in icicles. Lit-up snow-covered stone lanterns flicker in the dark to pave the path to the shrines. So peaceful, so serene.

Kinkakuji in Winter, Kyoto, Japan | Best time to go to Japan
Kinkakuji in winter, Kyoto, Japan

If you are willing to brave the cold, then this is your perfect opportunity for a more personal experience of Japan as there will be less tourists, less crowd at all the touristy spots.

Clothing guide:

Keep yourself warm. You will need a thick coat at the very least and a scarf, woolly or knit cap + mittens. Layering is recommended towards latter February


March / April | Best time to go to Japan

Temperatures:

March: High 16.4℃ (61.3°F)/ Low 7.9℃ (46.1°F)

April: High 19.2℃ (66.8°F)/ Low 10.8℃ (51.2°F)

What to expect in March and April

Early March is still relatively cold and the snowboarding season still continues in some places although it has passed the peak season.

Tokyo sees warmer weather all month and spring days start to appear. In Okinawa, the sea is warm but the waters can be chilly for a dive without a wet-suit.

Daytime temperatures in March are quite refreshing and there are warmer days as well.

April brings pleasant spring weather all across Japan. It is the peak of cherry blossom season in most regions of the country. In Okinawa, the beaches start to open.

Hanami

March is a popular time to visit Japan as the weather is mild and the onset of the cherry blossom season draws many visitors to the various locations. By mid-march, you can see the budding blooms on the trees, signalling the beginning of the Hanami season. Hanami is the tradition of viewing and appreciating the beauty of the sakuras. Hanami has long been adored by locals as well as people across the globe as it is regarded as a symbol of renewal, vitality, and beauty.

cherry blossoms in Japan
Pink Cherry Blossoms at the beginning of Spring, Kyoto, Japan | Image: georgina_daniel

In late March to early April, you will be able to catch the cherry blossoms at their best. If you are planning a trip during Hanami, dedicate some time to planning your travels. The sakura are in full bloom for only 2 to 3 weeks in Spring, between 20th March and 14th April, so you don’t really see them in full-bloom for a full month. Cherries peak at different times and are very weather dependent but they generally peak on 1st April.

Himeji Castle during hanami
Himeji Castle, Japan during the cherry blossom season | Image: georgina_daniel

Milder climate in the southern region means first blooms are produced in places like Okinawa, and blooming progresses northward. Wind, rain, and temperature can cause the blossoms to appear either earlier or later than average and can lengthen or shorten the blooming season.

If you are planning a trip to witness the hanami, then you may want to consider the following:

  • Where will you be going to for the Hanami: Kyoto is a popular destination for hanami and so is Osaka, Himeji and Tokyo;
  • When will you be going – you need to visit as close to the time as possible. You also need to decide where you want to witness the hanami as cherries bloom at different times depending on the region;
  • As well, consider your accommodation – where would you stay?

It’s worth noting that March and April are expensive months, so plan ahead and book your flights and accommodations well in advance of your travels. Take a look at the 6-step guide to an awesome vacation.

graphic for cherry blossoms article

Clothing Guide:

Early March is still cold so you might want to have a warmer coat. Latter March and April might require a medium weight/spring jacket with a liner. Keep your feet warm as well during these months. April is comfortably warm, so you can wear light clothes, like t-shirts with jeans, long-sleeve shirts and pants, and thin cardigans.


April through to June are the most comfortable months

May/June | Best time to go to Japan

Temperatures:

May: High 24.1℃ (75.2°F)/ Low 16℃ (60.9°F)

June: High 26.5℃ (79.4°F)/ Low 20℃ (68°F)

What to expect in May and June

The weather in May is almost perfect with the right temperatures. Days are warm and sunny at almost every region. It is a popular time for tourists as well. If you can’t make it to Japan in March and April for the Hanami, then head over to Hokkaido in May to catch the white and pink hues of the cherry blossoms. However, avoid travel during the Golden Week where prices soar and flights, hotels and activities get booked up quickly.

In Okinawa, rainy season begins in May.

Notable Festivals in May: Meiji Shrine Spring Festival (Tokyo) | May 2 – May 3

Golden Week typically falls during the last weekend in April and the first week of May. [In 2020, April 29 falls on a Wednesday. Festivities and travel are expected to continue through Tuesday, May 5. l

June sees the beginning of the typhoon season in Japan. Typically the first week of June is the rainiest, with rain continuing on till September. Rainy season is a period of grey, humid and wet weather. Every region in Japan plunges into a rainy season in June except Hokkaido.

Hokkaido has no rainy season. No rain means it is perfect for hosting events and festivals.

YOSAKOI Soran Festival | Best time to go to Japan
YOSAKOI Soran Festival | Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan | by Sapporo Travel

Sapporo holds the largest event called Yosakoi Soran Festival, a dance competition to take advantage of the good weather.

Tokyo sees a lot of rain and is one of the rainiest cities in Japan. Despite the rain, the city continues to be lively.

In June, head to Osaka around the 15th where on the nearby sacred mountain of Koyasan, hundreds of priests celebrate the birth of Kukai, the grand master of Japanese Buddhism.  

Clothing Guide:

In May, with pleasant and moderate temperatures, lightweight cardigan or sweater for early mornings and late evenings are ideal. Long skirts, dresses and short-sleeved shirts will be perfectly okay during the day. June sees the start of the rainy season in Japan. It rains quite heavily at times and unexpectedly. Humidity is high. Best to bring along a light raincoat and waterproof shoes.


Get the latest on Japan’s weather here – Japan Meteorological Agency


July/August | Best time to go to Japan

Temperatures:

July: High 31.4℃ (88.3°F)/ Low 24.2℃ (75.8°F)

August: High 33.2℃ (91.9°F)/ Low 26℃ (78.9°F)

What to expect in July and August

July is the start of summer in Japan. In most regions, the rainy season ends around mid July. This is also the start of school holidays. The beaches open and is the beginning of summer festivals throughout the country as well.

The weather turns very hot and humid.

Hiking Mt Fuji | Best time to go to Japan
Hiking Mt Fuji, Japan | Pixabay

Mount Fuji opens its doors to climbers on July 1st. If you are a climbing/hiking enthusiast and wish to climb Mount Fuji, then late July through to late August is the best time for you to do so. The weather conditions are ideal for climbing but this also means that the mountainside is congested.

The last weekend in July sees Japan’s largest music festival kick off – Fuji Rock Festival at Naeba Ski Resort in Yuzawa, Niigata, featuring both international and national artists.

August is Japan’s hottest month with varying highs of 90 in places like Okinawa and 72 in Hokkaido but less humid. Osaka and Kyoto can get much hotter. Nightlife is busy during these times with festivals, fireworks and events.

There is a three-day Buddhist custom called “Obon Festival” which falls in the middle of August. This is a much celebrated festival where the Japanese believe that the dead and the living are re-united on this day to celebrate, drink and be merry. The streets will be blocked off to the festival and dancing. The dancing, “Bon Odori” is a traditional dance performed throughout Japan. It is a fun time to visit Japan to experience this part of their culture.

The southern regions of Japan such as Okinawa, Kyushu and Shikoku are exposed to strong typhoons during August.

Honour a special and moving tradition on August 6

You may wish to go to Japan early August, in particular to Hiroshima.

Hiroshima Floating of Peace Lanterns | Best time to go to Japan
Hiroshima Peace Lanterns Floating on August 6

On August 6, you could participate and honour the moving tradition of setting paper lanterns off adrift on the River Ota to commemorate the anniversary of the atomic bomb that fell on the city of Hiroshima on August 6. About 10.000 lanterns float past the A-Bomb Dome in the Motoyasu River every year on August 6th.

Clothing Guide:

Light, breezy clothes are best for July. Short sleeves, skirts etc. As it is festival time, kimono and yukata are popular attires as well. Wear a summer hat to protect from the strong sunlight. Use sunscreen as well.

Plan ahead to secure best deals

Holidays and festivals in Japan also means that it is a favourite time for travellers. Flights and hotels are usually booked up months in advance. If you are planning a visit to Japan in August, make your bookings well in advance so you can secure the best deals on flights and hotels.


September/October | Best time to go to Japan

Temperatures:

September: High 28.8℃ (83.9°F)/ Low 21.8℃ (71.1°F)

October: High 23℃ (73.2°F)/ Low 17℃ (62.8°F)

What to expect in September and October

The weather cools down a touch in September but still with some fluctuating showers. There are occasions of long period of rain and typhoons. Tokyo experiences the rainiest month of the year.

Mount Fuji closes its hiking trails by the 2nd week of September. One of the largest professional Sumo tournaments takes place in Tokyo in September. September is also a time to avoid travels during Silver Week. End of September sees the first of the falling leaves, making way for the onset of the renowned Japanese autumn.

Mt Fuji in Fall | Best time to go to Japan
Mt Fuji in the Fall, Japan | Pixabay

October is a perfect time to visit Japan! The weather is mild, drier and cooler. The start of autumnal colours are spectacular at this time – perfect atmosphere to enjoy the natural sights. Exploring the countryside is highly encouraged during this season.

Japanese Maple | Fall Colours | Japan
Japanese maple, Fall colours, Japan | Pixabay

Kyoto is a popular destination to see the momijired maple leaves. But there are beautiful colours throughout Japan especially in the parks and gardens.

October 9th /10th – Takayama Festival takes place. On 22nd Kyoto’s Jidai Festival takes place when 2,000 people in ornate costumes depart from Kyoto Imperial Palace towards Heian Jingu shrine.  A colourful and vibrant event which you may want to see.

Clothing Guide:

Early September is still warm and summer clothes are ideal along with kimono or yukata. It gets cooler from mid September onwards and thicker/warmer fabric would become necessary. While October is pleasant and you can wear a variety of clothing, always bring along a light sweater or a cardigan as temperatures may drop.


November/December | Best time to go to Japan

Temperatures:

November: High 17.4℃ (63.2°F)/ Low 9.8℃ (49.4°F)

December: High 12.1℃ (53.9°F)/ Low 4.9℃ (40.9°F)

What to expect in November and December

The weather in November is generally dry, crisp, sunny and cool but this can change to become colder. Typhoon season ends. Full autumn takes hold. Japan’s gardens, parks, temples and natural landscapes look spectacular. As well, it is harvest time in Japan and there are a number of harvest festivals.

Ear of Rice, Fall Harvest | Japan
Ear of Rice, Fall Harvest, Japan | Pixabay

December sees the first sign of snowfall as winter begins. It is colder and snow begins to settle. It is the third coldest month in Japan. Ski slopes in central Japan and Hokkaido open for business in December.

Japan's picturesque landscape in winter
Japan’s picturesque landscape in winter | by MarkD, Pixabay

While it is cold and snows almost everyday in Hokkaido, and you definitely need to wrap up, don’t let this deter you. Japan has one of the most picturesque landscape in winter, blankets of snow covered castle roofs and temples – a sight to behold!

However, do keep in mind that between 29th and the first week of January, Japan has lots of New Year’s activities and holidays. You may want to either join in the celebrations or avoid these dates.

If you are planning travels to Japan, try and avoid these dates because the public transport will be overcrowded, hotels will be on full occupancy, and at a higher rate. Temples and shrines may also be closed for winter, so best check on what you want to visit.

Clothing Guide:

Bring along a sweater or a jacket in November. Be prepared for colder evenings. You may need a scarf as well. December calls for winter clothing of thick coats, sweaters and many layers. Woolly/knit hats and gloves are highly recommended also. Be prepared for occasional gusts of wind so it does not blow your hats off!


Japan’s Calendar of National Holidays and Observances

Japanese holiday calendar 2021

  • New Year’s Day – January 1
  • Coming of Age Day – January 11
  • Foundation Day – February 11
  • Emperor’s birthday – February 23
  • Vernal Equinox Day – March 20
  • Showa Day – April 29
  • Constitution Day – May 3
  • Greenery Day – May 4
  • Children’s Day – May 5
  • Sea Day or Marine Day – July 19
  • Mountain Day – August 11
  • Respect for the Aged Day – September 20
  • Autumnal Equinox Day – September 23
  • Sports Day – October 11
  • Culture Day – November 3
  • Labor Thanksgiving Day – November 23

Timeless Travel Steps suggests: Take note of the national holidays and observances in Japan. Book your flights early, book your accommodation early and buy your Japan Rail Pass before leaving home.


My thoughts…

Japan’s distinct culture and striking natural landscapes makes it a rewarding destination to visit at anytime of the year. Whilst it is recommended that you avoid travelling during the Golden and Silver Week, it is also one of the best times for festivals and events. It all depends what you want to experience and what you would like your visit to be. I sincerely hope the information on this page will support and guide your travel itinerary.


What do you think? Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to Japan? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Scroll all the way down for more ideas and inspiring travel stories. Subscribe to join us at My Timeless Footsteps to receive all the latest news and events.

Have a great time discovering Japan 🙂

Georgina xx


Learn more on places to visit in Japan

Tokyo | Best time to go to Japan
Hiroshima | Best time to go to Japan
Himeji | Tokyo City Guide | Best time to go to Japan
Best time to go to Japan

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