Climate of Japan

Brief Overview of Climate in Japan

Four Seasons of Japan

Beautiful Four Distinct Seasons of Japan
Japan is an island country with long archipelago extending from south to north; its climate varies from subtropical zone to sub-polar zone, while major part of Japan belongs to temperate zone with four distinct seasons. Japanese four seasons has beautiful contrast between each season, as a result of the “Monsoon (seasonal wind)” and two major oceanic currents. In regard to the Monsoon, southeasterly wind comes from the Pacific Ocean side in summer time, and northwesterly wind comes from the Siberian continent side in winter time. Also, the warm Kuroshio Current (also known as the Japan Current) flows northward on the Pacific side, warming areas as far north as Tokyo, and the cold Oyashio Current (also known as the Okhotsk Current) flows southward along the northern Pacific, cooling adjacent coastal areas. The intersection of these currents is a bountiful fishing ground.


Japan is Among the Snowiest and Rainiest Countries
The average winter temperature in Japan is 5.1 °C and the average summer temperature is 25.2 °C. The highest temperature ever measured is 40.9 °C and the lowest temperature ever measured is -41.0 °C.
The main rainy season begins in early May in Okinawa, and the rain front gradually moves north until reaching Hokkaido in late July. In most of Honshu, the rainy season begins before the middle of June and lasts about six weeks. In late summer and early autumn, five or six typhoons pass over or near Japan every year, sometimes resulting in significant damage. Annual precipitation averages between 1,000 and 2,500 mm except in the hyper-humid Kii Peninsula where it can reach 4,000 mm, which is the highest rainfall in subtropical latitudes in the world.

Snow of Zaou and Beach in OkinawaOnly Few Countries Have this much Varied Climate
Japan’s climate varies greatly with altitude and with location on the Pacific Ocean side or on the Sea of Japan side. Northern part of Japan has warm summers but long, cold winters with heavy snow. Central part of Japan in its elevated position has hot, humid summers and moderate to short winters with some areas having very heavy snow, and southwestern part of Japan has long, hot, humid summers and mild winters. As a result of this very much different climate in a country, Japan is well-known for its biodiversity and cultural diversity comparing to other same size nation.

Niseko Ski Resort
Niseko Ski Resort in Hokkaido
Tropical Ocean in Okinawa
Toropical Ocean in Okinawa
Snow Trees in Zaou
Snow Trees in Zaou
Hatenohama in Okinawa
Hatenohama in Kume Island
Aoike(Blue Pond) in Miei, Hokkaido
Aoike(Blue Pond) in Miei, Hokkaido
Sunayama in Miyako Island
Sunayama in Miyako Island
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"Japan, the Snowiest Country in the World" (27:14)

Six Climatic Zones of Japan

Japan's geographical features divide it into six principal climatic zones: Hokkaido, Sea of Japan, Pacific Ocean, Central Highland, Seto Inland Sea, and Ryukyu Islands.
Ski Plae of HokkaidoHokkaido (北海道)
The northernmost zone has a humid continental climate with long, cold winters and very warm to cool summers. Its long cold winter results powder snow. For this reason, Hokkaido is well known for among the best Ski resorts on the earth.
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Kurobe Tateyama Alpin Route Sea of Japan (日本海)
In the Sea of Japan zone where located in the Honshu's west coast, northwest winter winds bring heavy snowfall. In the summer, the region is cooler and little less rainy than the Pacific area, though it sometimes experiences extremely hot temperatures because of the foehn wind.
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Pacific OceanPacific Ocean (太平洋)
The Pacific coast features a humid temperate climate that experiences milder winters with occasional snowfall and hot, humid summers because of the southeast seasonal wind. hevy rain in the south, and in the north in the summer days.
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Kami KochiCentral Highland (中央高地)
The Central Highland has a typical inland humid continental climate, with large temperature differences between summer and winter, and between day and night; precipitation is light, though winters are usually snowy.
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Seto inland sea bridgeSeto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海)
The mountains of the Chūgoku and Shikoku regions shelter the Seto Inland Sea from seasonal winds, bringing mild weather year-round and having many sunny days. It is often mentioned the similarity with Mediterranean climate of Italy or Greece.
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Okinawa beachRyukyu Islands (南西諸島)
Ryukyu Islands have a subtropical climate, with very hot summers and warm winters. It has very heavy rain year-round, especially in rainy season and typhoon season in the summer.
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See Also
Encyclopedia of Japan