Tourists have a lot to prepare for when they travel to Japan. If you are traveling anywhere from Okinawa to Tokyo, you should be prepared for the typhoon season.
Japan experiences several major typhoons each year. When these storms occur, people can expect a lot of wind and heavy rainfall. If you plan to participate in outdoor activities, you’ll want to plan accordingly.
Over the Pacific Ocean, roughly 30 typhoons or tropical storms develop each year. Seven to eight of them are likely to affect Okinawa, with just an average of three making it to Japan’s major islands. It is unlikely that your travel plans will be impacted but being aware of existing typhoons will help you better prepare for disruptions in air and land travel.
Before you visit any country, you should know what to expect with the weather. While the typhoons in Japan shouldn’t put a halt on your trip, especially if you know when typhoon season is at its peak.
Are you planning a trip to Japan? Then you should take a moment to learn more about typhoons in Japan from Okinawa to Tokyo. On this page, we’re going to discuss everything you should know about the typhoon season in Japan. Keep reading to explore the typhoon chances by region and season.
What is a typhoon?
A typhoon is a pressurized tropical storm that typically starts to form on the Pacific Ocean and moves towards the coast of Asia. These storms are quite similar to cyclones and hurricanes, bringing in heavy winds and rain. They are known to develop in the Northern Hemisphere anywhere between 180 and 100 degrees latitude with winds as high as 125 miles per hour.
An easy way to describe a typhoon is a giant rotating storm that could cause extensive destruction because of how powerful the winds can get. However, that is just during the peak of typhoon season.
On average, there aren’t very many typhoons that hit the mainland of Japan. Not to mention, Japan has very strict safety protocols in place for when these storms do affect the mainland.
Building structures in Okinawa are commonly made of concrete and the island recovers quickly in the aftermath of most typhoons. Most areas of the mainland are also well prepared for the event of a typhoon.
When is typhoon season?
In Japan, the typhoon season is between May through October. Now, this doesn’t mean that the country is expected to have typhoons all season long.
The season is split up into monsoon season and peak season. If you plan to visit Japan during peak season, you will have to plan your activities around the weather forecast. Luckily, peak season is much shorter.
Monsoon season isn’t such a problem. During monsoon season, there are not as many storms and the impact isn’t as severe. Typically, tourists don’t see too many intense storms other than some heavy rain when they travel during the monsoon season.
However, if they visit Okinawa, they may see more storms because it’s located at the tropical end of the country which sees more severe tropical storms than the mainland in Tokyo.
So, how do people know when it’s monsoon season and when peak season has arrived? Use the following chart for a better idea:
Is typhoon season different in each region?
Typhoons season is typically between May through October but is slightly different in each region. Where a city is located can determine how and when it’s affected by a typhoon.
As mentioned above, Okinawa will experience a more intense and possibly longer typhoon season than other areas of the country.
On average, there will be up to 8 typhoons each year in Okinawa. Since Okinawa is an island, it’s at a greater risk of harsh impact from tropical storms than mainland areas of Japan.
While this area may see storms throughout the season, areas like Tokyo, Hokkaido, and Osaka may only see a small amount of impact from the same storm.
When it comes to the mainland of Japan, areas like Shikoku and Kyushu see more impact from the typhoon season. These areas will get approximately 3 storms each year.
However, the impact isn’t as severe as it is on the islands. Actually, most tourists aren’t even affected by the storms that hit the mainlands.
When to expect the lightest typhoons vs the strongest typhoons
In Western countries, hurricanes are given names like Hurricane Elsa and Hurricane Henry. In Japan, typhoons are given numbers. The first typhoon of the year will be called typhoon number one, and the naming system continues in that order. In a sense, how powerful the typhoon is will also go in this order.
The first typhoon of the season is typically the lightest one. In spring, when typhoons first arrive, they are very light and don’t do a lot of destruction. In the mainland, people likely won’t notice they are even taking place outside of heavier than normal rainfall.
However, later in the season, the strength of these storms will greatly increase. The typhoons that arrive at the end of the season usually have a lot more force behind them.
What to expect in Japan for typhoon season?
When typhoon season is at its peak, you can expect a lot of heavy rain and winds. This often results in flooding in certain areas. One of the worst things that could happen during this season is landslides. When this happens, areas of rock and debris shift, which results in a steep-slope ground movement.
However, typhoons never appear out of the blue. They always start at a slower pace, which makes them easy to track. The Japanese media has many resourceful outlets that provide up-to-date information about incoming typhoons.
This includes the predicted path of the storm, how it could affect transportation and travel, and any warnings the public should know about.
If you plan to visit Okinawa Island during peak season, there is a chance that transportation may be at a standstill. This also includes incoming airplanes, which could affect your flight coming in or out of the area.
Since these storms are out of everyone’s control, most Japanese transportation companies are flexible about rescheduling at no extra cost.
When packing to travel during typhoon season, always be prepared for the weather. After the storm passes, the temperature is very hot and humid.
While you should make sure you have an umbrella and rain jacket with you, it’s also important to pack light clothes to wear after the typhoon passes.
What should tourists do when a typhoon hits Japan?
If you are traveling in Japan, it’s highly recommended to keep an eye on the upcoming weather forecast. Before you fly out to Japan, make sure you know what to expect. Typhoons can be predicted well ahead of time, so you will know before you travel if one is supposed to hit the area you are planning to travel to.
Narita Airport Tokyo Official Website
The winds of a typhoon can be very powerful, so it’s recommended to stay indoors during this time. Often, the high winds can last for up to 12 hours. While traveling, you should stay in your hotel or other accommodation when the storm hits.
Haneda Airport Tokyo Official Website
Even though indoor activities may seem like a fun way to pass the day, many of them will close early and there may not be any trains or taxis available.
Final thoughts On Japans Typhoon Season
Typhoon season in Japan starts in May and lasts through to October, with the peak storm times being August and September. These storms are strongest around the Okinawa area but don’t affect the mainland as severely.
Weather Warnings And Advisories Across Japan
When these storms hit, you can expect a lot of rain and wind, which could result in flooding. It is recommended to always stay indoors during a typhoon.
Typhoon Makes Landfall In Osaka