Do you want to know what to wear in Hokkaido in Spring? Spring in Hokkaido is classified as March, April and May however the Spring temperatures in Hokkaido may surprise you. In this guide we tell you what to pack for Hokkaido in Spring for weather, special events and more.
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Weather in Hokkaido in Spring
Hokkaido is the Northern Island of Japan (the Southern is Honshu) and as such its Winters seem longer and it’s spring cooler than in the South.
So what can you expect from the weather in Hokkaido in Spring?
How cold is Hokkaido in Spring?
Although Spring is technically classified as March, April and May, the wintery weather can continue well into sakura season (cherry blossom season) which doesn’t start in Hokkaido until May. And the range of temperatures in the season are huge. In fact the temperatures can be as low as -3C/27F in March and as high as 17C/62F by the end of May which can make it a challenging season to pack for.
Therefore if you are traveling in Spring it is really important to be prepared for changable conditions.
How rainy is Hokkaido in Spring?
Hokkaido is not as rainy as Tokyo whatever time of year you are traveling. And Spring isn’t the rainiest season. Generally speaking March is the wettest of the Spring months with around 3.5 inches of rain falling across the month while April and May have c. 2 inches.
Does it snow in Hokkaido in Spring ?
It is still possible to get snow even in Hokkaido in Spring. March will see the most most snowfall out of the Spring months but even in May you may get snowfall on the ski resorts on the higher ground.
Note: For more specific guidance on what to wear across Japan in Spring check out our regional guides:
- What to wear in Japan in Spring
- What to wear in Sapporo in Spring
- What to wear in Tokyo in Spring
- What to wear in Kyoto in SPring
- What to wear in Osaka in Spring
Note: we always recommend checking the forecast at your destination(s) 7 days out from travel to make sure there are no expected weather fronts i.e. heatwaves or cold snaps.
How do local people dress in Hokkaido?
In March, locals will still be in thick trousers, jeans and big coats and even in May locals will still have a jacket with them at nights especially. So although by May you can transition into your Spring capsule wardrobe layers are still going to be your best friend.
And if you are visiting Hokkaido in Summer check out this post.
What to Wear in Hokkaido in Spring
As I said above, layers are going to be your best friend for Hokkaido in any Spring month. And while we recommend not overpacking, you don’t want to skimp on layers.
What to Wear in Hokkaido for Women
Coat / Jacket
Depending on the Spring month you are traveling in will depend on the thickness of coat you will require. In March your Winter coat is till definitely needed. However by May, you can go with a lighter jacket but you will still want a jacket especially in the evening.
For more information on how to pack Winter Coats for travel check out this post
Hat, Scarf and Gloves (March only)
Winter accessories are a must for Hokkaido in March, however. by the end of April these won’t be needed.
Trousers are a better pick than dresses or skirts for daytime sighting. Jeans are my number one pick for Spring, and in March I recommend picking a fleece lined pair for extra warmth. On top of jeans I would also recommend packing a pair of smarter trousers such as a cord or a wool pant.
By May regular jeans and black pants are great choices.
Skirts and Dresses
I normally wear dresses for dinner in cold weather rather than sightseeing and this is true in Hokkaido. For March I recommend a sweater dress but by May something like a wrap dress would be more appropriate.
I would also always pack some tights to pair them with as it can be cold in Hokkaido at night. AClick here to shop dresses for Hokkaido in Winter.
T Shirts are a great base for Hokkaido in Spring. At this time of year I recommend packing a mix of both long and short sleeve t shirts.
Layers are absolutely essential for Hokkaido even in Spring and the earlier in Spring you are traveling the more layers you will need. Depending on the activities you are doing will affect how formal the layers should be but I would usually pack a mix of sweaters, hoodies and fleeces for Spring.
Hoodies are a great casual top layer for sightseeing in the day at places such as museums, interactive spaces and galleries. However I like to have something smarter for evenings. My favorites are merino wool sweaters and cardigans that can be used to layer day to night transition outfits.
For those traveling to Hokkaido in Winter we recommend packing heavier weight nightwear.
No matter the season of travel I would always add some swimwear to your packing list. There are lots of spas and onsens to visit thought it is worth noting that some may require you to go nude
Underwear and Socks
Goes without saying. The best socks for Hokkaido have to be either hiking socks or merino wool socks that are insulating.
What to pack for Hokkaido in Spring for Men
The packing list for men is quite similar as the ladies packing list for Hokkaido in Spring and we recommend packing:
A practical coat with some insulation as well as being water proof and wind resistant is a good idea for Hokkaido in Spring. The earlier in Spring you travel, the thicker the coat should be.
T Shirts and Shirts
A mix of long and short sleeve t shirts are good for Spring. A button down shirt is also a good ide for fancier restaurants.
Jeans are great for sightseeing in cities. As well as jeans you may also want to add a smarter pair of chinos or smart wool trousers to the packing list too for nights out and fancier dinners.
However for more outdoor activities and going North in March you may want some fleece lined trousers too! For a winter sports packing list for Hokkaido click here.
A hoodie, fleece and sweater alongside your coat / jacket are the perfect layers to pack for 7 days in Hokkaido.
Underwear, Socks and Pjs
Including thicker socks.
Best Shoes for Hokkaido in Spring
Boots are absolutely the number one shoe to pack for Hokkaido in Spring. Now in winter snow boots are an essential, but by March some other waterproof boots with a good sole should suffice unless there is an unusual cold snap.
For tips on how to pack snow boots in a suitcase check out this post.
But on top of boots we also recommend packing:
These are good especially for April and May when the worst of the snow and ice is over.
What to pack for Hokkaido in Spring (Non Clothing)
- Crossbody Bag – I always travel with this type of bag as it is a great pickpocket deterrent anywhere in the world. I didn’t find Hokkaido a particularly unsafe place but this is a staple on all of my travel packing lists.
- Backpack – for storing items on your day trips.
- Universal Travel adaptor – Japan uses two types of plug a and b. Therefore you will absolutely need a universal travel adaptor whether you are coming from UK, USA or Australia.
- Power Pack / battery packs
- Lipbalm – absolutely an essential to protect your lips from cracking in the cold especially in March.
- Moisturiser – needed to protect your skin from drying out in the cold weather.
- Travel First Aid Kit
- Blister plasters
- Toiletries – for our essential toiletries packing list click here. These could be purchased in the big cities easily, however it can be easier when not familiar with language to have them packed with you
- Hand Warmers – this one is really only an essential for March in the North. By April and May the weather should have warmed enough that you can leave the handwarmers behind.
- Ice Scraper (optional depending on car hire) – If you are renting your own car then you may want to bring an ice scraper / deicer with you for driving in March. This way you can clear your windows and head off early in the morning.
FAQs About Hokkaido in Spring Packing List
So now you know what to pack for Hokkaido in Spring we will answer your most frequently asked questions,
Do you need winter boots in Hokkaido in Spring?
Boots are still definitely firmly on my Hokkaido Spring packing list, however you can probaly leave the snow boots behind. Instead we recommend packing waterproof boots with a good sole that can cope with some ice and snow. y
What to wear to see cherry blossoms in Hokkaido?
Seeing the cherry blossoms bloom, also known as the Sakura is a bucket list Japan experience for Spring. But the bloom happens in Hokkaido much later than it does on Honshu in Tokyo and Kyoto. Normally cherry blossoms appear in Hokkaido in May by which time you shoudl have transitioned into your Spring wardrobe and only be using your jacket and layers at night.
Can you wear jeans in Hokkaido in Spring?
Yes you can absolutely wear jeans in Hokkaido in Spring. For March you may still want a fleece lined pair while for March and April a regular pair would be fine.
Have you been to Hokkaido in Spring? What did you wear? We would love you to tell us in the comments below!