The fall is a wonderful time in Japan; there are many festivals and sites to see, as well as inviting weather. From admiring the leaves that have changed colors, to many festivals (like the Takayama Autumn Festival, the Niihama Taiko Festival, the Nagasaki Kunichi Festival, and a lot more), to the Tokyo Car Show, there really is never a dull moment in Japan. Almost all of these festivals have major components that take place outside, and knowing how to dress is very important to make sure you get the most out of your trip. To help with your adventures in Japan, here is what you should wear in the month of October, where temperatures fluctuate from day to night and as the month goes on.
Average High: 16˚C (61˚F) Average Low: 7˚C (45˚F)
October fluctuates in temperature throughout the day, so you will want to bring different types of clothes with you; layers are the key to staying comfortable. In the mornings you will need a light jacket, cardigan, or sweater, something that can be shed as the day goes on. If the middle of the day, it can get warm enough to just wear a long sleeve shirt. At night, however, you will want a jacket, not a heavy one, something like a windbreaker will suffice. Many natives wear jackets that go to their knees or mid-thighs when it starts to get chilly out. Jeans or other lighter pants work well to keep your legs warm, and closed toed shoes in the beginning of October will work fine, but towards the end, you will want to wear socks with shoes to keep your toes warm. When the sun goes down, so do the temperatures, so a thin hat may also be necessary as October comes to a close and November begins.
Average High: 19˚C (66˚F) Average Low: 9˚C (48˚F)
This region is located in the northern part of the country, meaning that its average temperatures are usually one the colder side; however, with the fluctuation of temperatures in the fall, it really does not get too cold. The same dress from Hokkaido applies to the Tohoku region as well. Tights, jeans, or khakis, are suitable pants (leggings would work as well). Fashionable boots are very much so in style and are comfy and keep your feet warm. A heavier jacket is not really needed on most days, but towards the end of the month, it is usually something you will want to bring along if you plan on being out after dark.
Average High: 16˚C (62˚F) Average Low: 7˚C (45˚F)
Kanto has about the same temperatures and Hokkaido, but, as Hokkaido is located in the north part of Japan and Kanto is in the eastern region, Kanto is usually a little warmer throughout the month. Because of the warmer temperatures, light jackets are needed for the mornings and maybe the afternoons. During the evenings, especially as the months go on, you will need a light jacket, possibly some thin gloves and hat. For your feet, any shoe is appropriate as long as your toes are covered. As the month progresses, you will definitely want to wear socks to stay warm, so most wear fashionable boots.
Average High: 23˚C (73˚F) Average Low: 15˚C (59˚F)
In this western region, the summer heat lingers, since typhoons most likely occurred here during the summer. The temperature fluctuates, and the weather is unstable here, but it is still a wonderful place to visit no matter what the temperature. During October, temperatures are still fairly high due to the summer heat (September is more of a summer month than anything). For clothing, long sleeves can be enough to keep you warm at the beginning of the month, but as the month goes on a windbreaker or cardigan works just fine. Any pants or skirt that covers your legs is perfect for this weather and closed toed shoes are necessary to make sure your toes don’t get too cold.
Average High: 25˚C (77˚F) Average Low: 21˚C (70˚F)
Kyushu has about the same temperatures as Kansai, being a little warmer as it is further south. The lingering heat means that at the beginning of October short sleeves can be worn throughout the day, but as the month goes on, the same guidelines that Kansai visitors follow should be used here.
Average High: 27˚C (80˚F) Average Low: 20˚C (69˚F)
Being the furthest south out of any of these regions, temperatures here do not get very high during October. Shorts and t-shirts can be worn at the beginning of the month most years. When it starts to get a little chillier, long pants (or just covered legs) and a t-shirt are fine. Closed toed shoes would be best, as your feet get cold the fastest. Some years, this outfit, with the occasional cardigan or windbreaker for the night time, will keep you warm until the end of the month and even into November. A heavy jacket is not needed during October at all.
These clothing selections are for hanging around in cities and going site seeing. If you plan on hiking up the mountains, you will want to wear extra layers (and even a heavier coat if you plan on going to the top) along with some broken-in boots and thermal socks. October is one of the top months for tourism in Japan since the weather is so nice and the trees all around are exploding with color, just be sure to dress appropriately so that being too cold or too warm does not get in the way of your experience in Japan.