Surviving A Crowded City In Japan!

While traveling throughout Japan, avoiding crowds can become an important skill. Here’s some useful information that will help you to maximize your time in Japan!

Satisfaction with sightseeing in Japan is generally high, but many tourists say everywhere they go is crowded. In major cities, you’ll encounter tourists not only from overseas, but from within Japan. Avoiding the crowd is the key to success during your trip.

Now, let us give you some essential tips to make your trip to Japan a successful one.

Be Cautious When Planning Your Visit

Japanese people go on vacation during the school summer and winter vacation times, year’s end to New Year’s, and/or national holidays. Especially when there are consecutive holidays, people enjoy travel for their short vacation.

During these times, accommodations and restaurants can be fully booked and public transportation is packed! You need to make reservations ahead of time.

These are time periods that you want to avoid.

Year End to New Year 12/30〜1/3
Many people who live in the cities go back to their hometown, so getting air/train/bus tickets is the hardest part. Japanese people visit temples and shrines during this time of the year, so these places are always packed. On the other hand, cities are not so crowded.
Sakura Season End of March to middle of April
Many tourists from overseas come to see the fully bloomed cherry blossoms. Well known hotels are booked way before this season, so hotel reservations are a must!
Golden Week End of April to early May
This may be the most crowded season for sightseeing resorts. Throughout this week, there are consecutive holidays and weekends lined up that may lead to up to 10 days off, depending on the calendar.

Springtime in Japan means the weather is so pleasant that it’s enough by itself to justify travel. Some places are required booking 6 months prior. Not only hotels, but many other accommodations are fully booked in a month before the season, so make sure to get everything prepared!
Summer Vacation Second Week of August
Schools are closed in August, which means leisure facilities for families such as theme parks and amusement parks are impossibly much crowded. Also, the second week of the month is “Obon” (Japanese religious event to commemorate the souls of ancestors), when people go back to see families in their hometown. In this term, transportation is in high demand and all methods are crowded.
Silver Week Third Week of September
This is another week of consecutive holidays and weekends lined up. It is shorter than Golden Week, but still it can be up to 5 days depending on the calender. Autumn is a good time to see the leaves changing, so make sure to book places and tickets for where you’re going well in advance.
Christmas Season 12/23〜25
Christmas to Japanese is meant for lovebirds! Luxury hotels and restaurants are booked for this special and romantic time with loved ones. Also, there are many places that have beautiful views of fireworks and Christmas lights that are sure to draw a crowd.

We recommend you avoid visiting during these times unless you enjoy being in a crowd. However if you only can plan your visit in these time periods, prepare for it or take it as a chance to visit lesser known, less popular sights.

Busy Days And Rush Hour In The City

Especially in Tokyo, Osaka, or other major cities, you need to plan wisely which times suit you the best for avoiding a crowd.

Surely weekdays are preferable for visiting popular sightseeing locations. Asakusa area, Tokyo Tower area, and other popular or famous sights are unbelievably crowded on weekends. On Saturday and Sunday, you may want to visit some local places to avoid the throngs of people, or go to the park to relax everyone else is stuck in the crowd.

Even on weekdays, there are rush hours between 8-10am and 4-8pm filled with business people and students in the city. Unless you want to experience the famous Japanese crowds on Japan’s subways, you’ll want to avoid boarding trains at these times.

Please make sure to plan your visit not only where you go but when you go in order to maximize your limited time in Japan!

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Written by Nekko

I recently got married and I’m currently living in Tokyo. I will write about cheap shopping, and tips about fashion and lifestyle.