Weather & Temperature

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Here at HokkaidoGuide.com one of the most common questions we are asked is about the weather and the average temperatures for different months.
Please find below information that may help you.
JANUARY
Temp.-2°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
0°C to -7°C
Daily
Sunshine
3 Hrs
Rainfall80 mm
Rainy
Days
24 Days
Sea
Temp.
2°C
Weather Roundup

January is the month winter really kicks into high gear. With an average temperature of around -2°C and ranges of 0°C to -7°C, January will see very large snow falls with intermittent blizzards. It is a great month for all types of winter sports and the skiing areas including the famous NISEKO area will be in full swing.

Travel on roads by car or bus can be difficult, dangerous and sometimes delayed. Hokkaido is well used to these types of conditions though so the roads are well maintained and snow-cleared quickly. Those without winter driving experience are advised to take extra caution.

The month will see a lack of daylight hours here so expect very short days. Make the most of the sunlight and get up early! Although there can be pleasant bright days, the weather can turn very suddenly and very strongly. Nights will be well below freezing so caution should be taken when outdoors.

Sea temperatures will be a measly 2°C average. Towards the end of the month is the time of year to look for sea ice on the north-east sides of Hokkaido.

Central Hokkaido and the Taisetsu Mountain region will see the largest snowfalls and Eastern Hokkaido will see the coldest temperatures. (Temperatures here can drop to -20°C and below.) Buildings in Hokkaido are made for the cold weather and inside will be warm, however outside you will need, good thermal gear, hats and gloves.
FEBRUARY
Temp.-4°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
0°C to -7°C
Daily
Sunshine
4 Hrs
Rainfall63 mm
Rainy
Days
22 Days
Sea
Temp.
1°C
Weather Roundup

The winter marches on in February. Just like January, expect heavy snowfalls and blizzards. February traditionally sees the largest amount of snow in the Hokkaido region so those wanting to experience the fluffy white powder in the WINTER RESORTS areas need to book ahead to get in at this time. Resort areas can be fully booked out 6 months to a year in advance! So plan ahead!

February will however see some crystal clear days. These days, especially after a heavy snowfall the previous day, will make for some magical scenery. Skiing, snow boarding, trekking, sea ice watching and all things WINTER ACTIVITIES are the go in February. For those who don't mind bathing naked with others, a good hot spring bath is also a big recommendation at this time of year.
(For bathing etiquette please - CLICK HERE)

While winter resort areas will be packed, the rest of Hokkaido will be less so and many tourist places will be easy to access if you are willing to put up with the cold. There are many winter EVENTS in February, including the world famous SAPPORO SNOW & ICE FESTIVAL.

With sea-temps of a rather brisk 1°C, sea ice and ice bergs off the coast will also be visible in the north-eastern areas.
MARCH
Temp.1°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
5°C to -3°C
Daily
Sunshine
5 Hrs
Rainfall64 mm
Rainy
Days
22 Days
Sea
Temp.
1°C
Weather Roundup

March is the month of slight weather madness. Winter can still be in full force with snow and below freezing night time temperatures. However days can be sunny and even reach double digits, especially toward the end of the month. Roads will be icy in the evenings so take caution when driving. Ski fields will still be open and some great powder days can still be had, however as the month goes on the snowfall can become wetter and heavier.

March is a difficult month to pack for as a traveler. Layering your clothes is the name of the game in March. Wear clothing that can be added or removed as the conditions change during month and even the day. Low land areas will begin to see more rainfall in March and this can make Hokkaido a fairly wet, and slightly unpleasant place to be. The end of March and early April will be the least scenic time to visit the Hokkaido region, this does mean however, that tourist destinations can be easier to access.

Sea temperatures will however around the 1°C mark.
APRIL
Temp.7°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
11°C to 3°C
Daily
Sunshine
7 Hrs
Rainfall79 mm
Rainy
Days
18 Days
Sea
Temp.
3°C
Weather Roundup

April will see the first small indications of spring coming to Hokkaido. Snow in the city and low land areas will begin to melt early in the month and will mostly be gone by the end. Mountain areas will still be covered and the snow pack in these regions can be very unstable and prone to avalanches. It is strongly advised to NOT climb, ski or do other activities in the high mountain, wild areas in this time period. Most WINTER RESORTS will close in or be closed by April.

Average temperatures will climb well above freezing for the whole month of April, with a fairly wide range of 11°C to 3°C. This means, the day time can be sunny and pleasant with very chilly night times, especially when the wind picks up. Pack a range of clothing with an emphasis on layers.

Some early spring flowers and skunk cabbage will begin to show their colors in April. The trees and other foliage will still be bare during the early weeks but will start to come on toward the end. April is usually still too early for the famed Japanese cherry blossoms, however as world wide weather patterns are changing this is not always the case and flowers can come out in late April, especially in SOUTHERN HOKKAIDO

Sea temperatures will begin to rise from April but are still a frosty 3°C average.
MAY
Temp.12°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
16°C to 7°C
Daily
Sunshine
7 Hrs
Rainfall74 mm
Rainy
Days
17 Days
Sea
Temp.
7°C
Weather Roundup

May will see the true begging of spring in the Hokkaido region. Snow in the low land areas will be basically entirely gone and many of the early spring flowers will be out and showing their colors. Snow will still be visible in the higher mountain areas and the trees will not have full foliage until the late end of the month at least.

The cherry blossom front will be moving through Hokkaido during May and many EVENTS in relation to this can be found around Hokkaido, as well as other flower events. Obviously the cherry blossoms will start south and move north, so if you are trying to catch them plan your trip accordingly. If you are looking to see the full blooming flower fields of Furano and Biei, May will still be too early.

Average temperatures will increase significantly in May into the double digits. Heavy winter coats are usually no longer necessary but pack a light coat and a good sweater. Hokkaido's rainy season will begin in this month and the number of rainy days will increase. (Umbrellas can be bought cheaply at almost every convenience store in Japan if you are without one.) The rain will bring with it chillier temperatures that will have you wanting your warm sweater and maybe even your coat.

Sea temperatures will increase markedly in May which will bring to an end any chance of seeing floating icebergs in the NORTHERN HOKKAIDO areas.
JUNE
Temp.16°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
20°C to 12°C
Daily
Sunshine
7 Hrs
Rainfall84 mm
Rainy
Days
16 Days
Sea
Temp.
11°C
JULY
Temp.20°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
23°C to 16°C
Daily
Sunshine
6 Hrs
Rainfall117 mm
Rainy
Days
17 Days
Sea
Temp.
15°C
Weather Roundup

Summer is finally here! After the long winter and the off and on heat of the spring July will see consistently warm and even hot days, especially at the end of the month. The daytime will be sunny and warm and ,during the day at least, you can finally put away that jacket or sweater. July averages 20°C with highs of 23°C plus. The evenings will still see the temperatures drop off to lows of around 16°C though so it may be wise to keep something a little warm to put on if you will be out at night.

Rainfall will increase significantly in July which combined with hot days can create a lot of humidity but it is still much less and more comfortable than the southern regions of Japan such as Tokyo and Osaka.

With the warm temperatures the local Hokkaido population goes crazy for the outdoors with camping and hiking areas often very crowded. There are also plenty of EVENTS in this time period to help you celebrate the Hokkaido summer.

Sea temperatures will also be relatively warm, allowing for some swimming on the hotter days.
AUGUST
Temp.22°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
26°C to 18°C
Daily
Sunshine
6 Hrs
Rainfall156 mm
Rainy
Days
16 Days
Sea
Temp.
18°C
SEPTEMBER
Temp.18°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
22°C to 14°C
Daily
Sunshine
6 Hrs
Rainfall171 mm
Rainy
Days
19 Days
Sea
Temp.
17°C
OCTOBER
Temp.12°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
16°C to 7°C
Daily
Sunshine
5 Hrs
Rainfall101 mm
Rainy
Days
20 Days
Sea
Temp.
14°C
Weather Roundup

October is the month of color in Hokkaido. Autumn / fall really sets in and the trees will show their full mosaic of colors. This means getting into the great outdoors and open natural areas such as parks, mountain trails and the mountainous areas. With the average temperature at a modest 12°C and a range of 16°C to 7°C, October weather tends to be quite consistent and the real winter chill air will usually not arrive until November. A decent sweater or jacket, and you will be set to get out and get all those gorgeous nature lovers photos.

The days are shorter but less humid than the Summer months with mostly crisp, clear air. October is the end of the traditional harvest season and is also a good month for foodies as there are quite a few associated food and wine EVENTS to be enjoyed.

October is definitely a recommended month to visit as Hokkaido's beauty is truly at its peak, this does mean however that tourist numbers can also be very high, both international and local. Expect many places to be fairly busy.
NOVEMBER
Avg.
Temp.
5°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
9°C to 1°C
Daily
Sunshine
4 Hrs
Rainfall106 mm
Rainy
Days
24 Days
Sea
Temp.
10°C
DECEMBER
Temp.-1°C
Temp. Range
High to Low
3°C to -4°C
Daily
Sunshine
3 Hrs
Rainfall86 mm
Rainy
Days
25 Days
Sea
Temp.
6°C

– All measurements are AVERAGES provided by local weather sources.
– All measurements are given in DEGREES CELSIUS & MILLIMETERS.