While the Alps still have snow until at least June, you can enjoy the remnants of winter from afar, surrounded by blossoming flowers and the brightness of new green leaves. Depending on the altitude, cherry blossoms can be seen in Matsumoto anytime between early April and early May, so you can view them here even when they have finished blooming in other parts of the country.
The Kamikochi park area reopens from mid-April and the mountains and highlands surrounding the city offer hiking, camping, and more, but the weather and temperature on the mountains can change suddenly and drastically, so prepare accordingly! Nights remain cool into May.
While other areas in Japan face sweltering heat, areas of Matsumoto, especially the Japan Alps and other areas at high elevations, provide cool relief thanks to the mountainous geography. There are numerous outdoor activities to choose from including hiking, rafting, cycling, paragliding, and more. See our Things to Do page for details. 10-meter-high snow walls can be seen in the highlands of Norikura between May and June. Summer skiers are able to take advantage of snow that remains there until August.
Lasting about one month, rainy season in Matsumoto usually begins around mid-June. This period can be quite humid and sudden downpours are frequent, but fortunately, Matsumoto is one of the sunniest cities in Japan. Sudden showers can just as quickly be followed by blue skies. The end of the rainy season marks the start of hot weather, so take advantage of the milder temperatures! Rainy season is also when hydrangea are in full bloom, and there is still plenty to enjoy during this period.
Kamikochi, Norikura Kogen, and other areas begin to glow with the reds, oranges, and yellows of changing leaves as early as late September. Leaves at lower elevations last until early November. Matsumoto has some of the most famous fall-leaf viewing spots in the country. Clear night skies during the fall and winter make for excellent star gazing and moon viewing.
Temperatures start to vary drastically between night and day, and the weather and temperature on the mountains can change suddenly and drastically, so prepare accordingly!
Typhoons typically occur from the end of August to the beginning of October. Although the mountains protect Matsumoto from the worst of the storms and many storms bypass the area altogether, strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding are possible during this period. That being said, the clean air and clear skies after a typhoon are invigorating (taifu ikka).
Winter is long in Matsumoto, but the city is a hot spot of winter fun. From relaxing dips in hot springs to backcountry exploring, the cold months are full of things to do. Depending on the year and location, snow falls from November to April. Ski resorts are open from December to April.
While snow does not accumulate in downtown Matsumoto often, certain mountain roads are closed in the winter because of heavy snowfall. Some areas may not be accessible even by public transportation. Dress warm and bring footwear that has good traction!
Fun in the Snow