Does It Snow In Kyoto? Kimonos and Snowdrifts?

Kyoto is a city located in the central part of the island of Honshu, Japan. It has a population of 1.5 million people and is the capital of Kyoto Prefecture. The city is situated on the banks of the Kamo River in a valley between two mountains, Higashiyama and Kitayama. But Does it Snow in Kyoto?

Does it Snow in Kyoto?
Kiyozumi Dera, Kyoto, Japan

Does it Snow in Kyoto?

The short answer is…Yes, it does snow in Kyoto. The winters are fairly mild, but it can certainly get cold enough for snow.

Although Snowfall in Kyoto is uncommon, but the city does experience the occasional snowfall. 

This typically happens in the month of January, and snowfall usually only occurs for one or two days at most. 

However, even a small amount of snow can be enough to make the streets and sidewalks slick, Kyoto has around 24 to 25 days of Snowfall, and the city experiences around 7 to 8 inches of snowfall. So it’s always important to be careful when walking around during this time.

If you’re visiting Kyoto and hoping to see some snow, the best time to go is between December and February. However, even during this timeframe, there’s no guarantee that it will snow.

How Often Does It Snow In Kyoto?

In general, Kyoto experiences relatively light snowfall compared to other parts of Japan. The heaviest snows usually occur in late January or early February, with an average of around 20cm of snowfall during this time. 

However, it is not uncommon for there to be very little snow in Kyoto during the winter months.

When Does it Snow In Kyoto?

Kyoto experiences a fair amount of snowfall each year, particularly in the mountains. However, the city itself usually only sees a few centimeters of snow. 

The heaviest snowfalls usually occur in February, but it can snow as early as December and as late as March.

The Climate in Kyoto

Snowy Japanese Shrine, Kyoto, Japan | Does it Snow in Kyoto?
Snowy Japanese Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

The climate in Kyoto is temperate, with four distinct seasons. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit when the weather is mild, and there are fewer crowds.

Summer can be hot and humid, with occasional typhoons, while winters are cool to cold, with occasional snowfall.

The average temperature in Kyoto in January is around 5°C (41°F), while in July, it is around 28°C (82°F). The highest temperature ever recorded in Kyoto was 41.0°C (105.8°F) in August 1934, while the lowest was -9.4°C (15.1°F) in January 1900.

Precipitation is relatively light throughout the year but heaviest in June, when the city averages around 230 mm (9 inches) of rain. Snowfall is also relatively light, averaging around 25 cm (10 inches) per year. 

However, snowfall does occasionally occur in winter, so visitors should be prepared for cold weather if visiting during this time.

The Seasons in Kyoto

Seasons in Kyoto are relatively mild compared to the rest of Japan, with the exception of winter. The city sees a fair amount of rainfall throughout the year, but the showers are usually short-lived and followed by clear skies. 

Here’s what you can expect during each season in Kyoto.

Spring (March to May) is characterized by mild weather and sakura (cherry blossoms), which typically bloom around early April. 

This is one of the busiest times of year in Kyoto as domestic and international tourists come to see the blossoms. Summer (June to August) is hot and humid, with temperatures reaching up to 35°C (95°F). Many locals escape the heat by taking a dip in one of Kyoto’s rivers or swimming pools.

Autumn (September to November) brings cooler temperatures and clear skies, making it ideal weather for exploring the city’s many temple grounds. The leaves start changing color around mid-November, making for some stunning scenery. Winter (December to February) is cold but generally dry, with occasional snowfall. 

If you’re lucky enough to be in Kyoto when it snows, make sure to take advantage of the opportunity to see some of the city’s landmarks blanketed in white.

Things to Do in Kyoto in Winter

Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, Japan | Does it Snow in Kyoto?
Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is one of the most beautiful places in Japan, and it is especially stunning in winter. The city comes alive with lights and decorations during the holiday season, and there are plenty of things to do, even if the weather is cold. Here are some of the best things to do in Kyoto during winter:

Visit the temples and shrines: Kyoto is home to many famous temples and shrines, such as Kiyomizu-Dera and Fushimi Inari-Taisha. These religious sites are especially beautiful in winter when they are often covered in snow.

Go on a day trip: Kyoto is surrounded by a number of stunning places that make great day trips. Some of our favorites include Nara (home to a deer park), Arashiyama (known for its bamboo forest), and Kurama (a quaint mountain village).

Explore the city: There is plenty to see and do within Kyoto city limits. Stroll through vibrant neighborhoods like Gion or Pontocho, or visit some of the city’s famous gardens, such as Maruyama Park or Philosopher’s Walk.

Visit an onsen: A visit to a Japanese hot spring (onsen) is an experience not to be missed. There are several onsens located near Kyoto, such as Ishigaki Onsen and Houraikan Onsen.


In conclusion, while it is possible for it to snow in Kyoto, it is not common. If you are hoping to see some snowfall during your visit, late December to early February would be the best time to go. And even then, there is no guarantee that you will see any snow.

FAQs: About Snow in Kyoto

Does it snow in Kyoto?

Yes, it does! It usually snows in Kyoto in December and January.

How much snow does it usually snow in Kyoto?

The amount of snowfall varies from year to year, but generally speaking, it snows around 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) in any given year.

Is the snow in Kyoto heavy?

No, the snow in Kyoto is very light and fluffy. It’s not the kind of heavy, wet snow that you might be used to if you’re from a place like the UK or North America.

What’s the best time to see the snow in Kyoto?

If you want to see the snow while you’re in Kyoto, we recommend that you try to visit between late December and early January. This is when the chances of seeing snow are at their highest.