When is the best time to visit Japan - especially its waterfalls?
Since Japan sees bitterly cold winters and is mountainous, it does receive more snow and manages to retain most of it. Thus, when the temperatures quickly rise in late Spring and Summer, there's enough snow to melt and drive some of the waterfall sightings. That was certainly the case in our visit.
Of course, Autumn is still probably the best time to see Japan and the waterfalls because of the autumn foliage as well as the ability to capitalize on the Summer rainy season, which is dense and lasts about a month from mid June to mid July (though I swear we saw our share of rain in late May and early June).
As for Winter, it's very cold and really not a good time to go waterfalling. But it does yield benefits like getting clear views of Fujisan from as far as Tokyo, skiing in the alps or in Hokkaido, and less crowds.
As for Summer, it's gonna be very muggy in most of Honshu though pleasant in Hokkaido. But it's also going to be wet whether it's humidity or precipitation induced. There's also a risk of typhoons, especially in the subtropical islands further to the south such as Okinawa.
So to reiterate, both Spring and Autumn are great times for waterfalling in Japan. And I'd say Japan is probably the exception with respect to Spring being a decent waterfalling season in Asia overall.
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