Flowers in Japan

Climate of Japan

Japan map

Japan map

The Japanese climate differs greatly from region to region. Although this is largely due to the country’s north-south length of 3,000 km which puts one of its ends in the subfrigid zone and the other in the subtropic zone, a complex topography and the influence of ocean currents are also important factors.

On the Pacific side, the summers are hot and humid with prevailing seasonal winds from the southeast. The winters are dry and marked by many celar days.  On the Sea of Japan side, north-westerly winter winds off the Asian continent bring regular, heavy snows that make this one of the snowiest regions on earth. In Niigata prefecture, for example, annual snowfalls of 4 to 5 meters (13 to 16 feet) are not unusual.

All areas except the northern-most island of Hokkaido have a hot and very humid rainy season that lasts from early June to mid-July. And between August and October, the southwestern part of the archipelago is often hit by typhoons.

The inland regions of Honshu and Hokkaido, particularly the basins in these areas, receive little rain and are subject to large temperature variations. On the other hand, the coastal regions of  the Inland Sea lying between the islands fo Honshu and Shikoku, though also quite dry except during the rainy season, have a moderate climate.

In almost all parts of Japan the best seasons are spring and autumn. The countryside is especially  beautiful during April and May when all is freshly green, between late September and mid-November when the air is stimulating and the leaves have changed color.

There is no pretending that the rainy season, the typhoons and the heavy snows are pleasant aspects of the Japanese climate. The typhoons for example, are respnsible for the major share of the wind and flood damage suffered by Japan and they are particularly worrisome for rice-farmers, as it is in the typhoon season that the rice plant blossoms and ripens. Still each of the aspects of the climate is in its own way a natural blessing: the rain which fall during this period are indispensable to a good rice corp and the precipitation that comes on the form of typhoon rains and heavy snows makes an invaluable contribution to Japan’s water resources.

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