May, along with April, is the best season for spring tourism in Nagano Prefecture. Matsumoto and other major cities located in the basin enjoy sunny weather with comfortable spring temperatures. In mountainous areas such as Hakuba and Kamikochi, cherry blossoms begin to bloom in early May. The mountain ranges with snow still on the tops are very beautiful.

Overview of Nagano Prefecture’s climate (year-round)

Sightseeing scenery that simply shows the weather in Nagano in May2

Japanese Northern Alps with terraced paddy field.This place is Aoni area.Hakuba Nagano Japan.Late May = Shutterstock

In Nagano prefecture, there is a big difference in climate depending on the location such as mountainous areas and basins. So, first, let’s get an overview of the climate of Nagano prefecture throughout the year.

Mountainous areas are cold and snowy

In Nagano prefecture in the central region of Honshu, mountainous areas (Japanese Alps) with an altitude of 2,000 to 3,000 m are connected from north to south, and major cities such as Nagano City and Matsumoto City are located in the basin. Mountainous areas such as Hakuba, Kamikochi, and Shiga Kogen are cold and ideal as summer resorts, but in winter it is very cold and it snows a lot.

Basins have relatively little snow

On the other hand, in Nagano City, Matsumoto City, Suwa City, Iida City, etc., which are located in the basin, the maximum temperature is as high as in Tokyo during the daytime in summer, but it is cool in the morning and evening. It doesn’t snow as much as in the mountains in winter, but it’s colder than in Tokyo and Osaka.

Karuizawa does not get much snow in winter

Karuizawa, an hour away from Tokyo on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, is a popular highland resort area as a summer resort. However, Karuizawa has much less snow than Hakuba and Shiga Kogen. The entire area of ​​Nagano has less rainfall than other areas such as Tokyo. The cherry blossoms bloom a little later than in Tokyo and after early April.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I wear in Nagano Prefecture in May?

In May, if you are going to Matsumoto City or other major cities in Nagano Prefecture, you can wear spring clothes. You may want to wear a light jacket. If you are going to mountainous areas such as Hakuba, Kamikochi, or Shiga Kogen, you may need a light coat. For more information on spring clothing, please refer to the article below.

Can you play in the snow in Nagano Prefecture in May?

Basically, you cannot play in the snow in May. However, there is still snow in the mountainous areas. We recommend the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, which connects Omachi City, Nagano Prefecture, and Tateyama Town, Toyama Prefecture, by bus or ropeway. Visitors can see walls of snow dozens of meters high in the alpine region. In Hakuba, some ski resorts are open until early May.

Weather in Nagano Pref. in early May

Sightseeing scenery that simply shows the weather in Nagano in May3

May 1, 2012: Zenkoji Temple in Nagano, Japan = Shutterstock

Average temperature
Highest temperature
(Lowest temperature)
Total precipitation
(Total snowfall depth)
Nagano City 15.2℃  (59.4°F)
22.3℃  (72.1°F)
9.3 ℃ (48.7°F)
19.9 mm (0.78 inch)
Matsumoto 15.4 ℃  (59.7°F)
15.9℃  (60.6°F)
2.3 ℃ (36.1°F)
22.8mm (0.90 inch)
Hakuba 12.5 ℃  (54.5°F)
19.8℃  (67.6°F)
6.2 ℃ (43.2°F)
45.0 mm (1.77 inch)
Karuizawa 11.2 ℃  (52.2°F)
18.4℃  (65.1°F)
4.7 ℃ (40.5°F)
29.2 mm (1.15 inch)

※ Source: All figures are the average for 30 years of 1991-2020 announced by the Japan Meteorological Agency

Weather in Nagano Pref. in mid-May

Sightseeing scenery that simply shows the weather in Nagano in May5

Nagano, Japan – May 15, 2014 : Entrance area to Myojin Pond and Hotaka Shrine at Kamikochi. Even at this time of year, the mountains are still cold. = Shutterstock

Average temperature
Highest temperature
(Lowest temperature)
Total precipitation
(Total snowfall depth)
Nagano City 16.0℃  (60.8°F)
22.7℃  (72.9°F)
10.5 ℃ (50.9°F)
25.5 mm (1.00 inch)
Matsumoto 16.2℃  (61.2°F)
23.3℃  (73.9°F)
1.5 ℃ (34.7°F)
32.9 mm (1.30 inch)
Hakuba 13.5 ℃  (56.3°F)
20.4℃  (68.7°F)
7.6 ℃ (45.7°F)
51.5 mm (2.03 inch)
Karuizawa 12.0 ℃  (53.6°F)
18.8℃  (65.8°F)
6.1 ℃ (43.0°F)
36.6 mm (1.44 inch)

※Source:  All figures are the average for 30 years of 1991-2020 announced by the Japan Meteorological Agency

Weather in Nagano Pref. in late May

Sightseeing scenery that simply shows the weather in Nagano in May4

Matsumoto – May 25, 2019: Frontal view of the castle of Matsumoto, Japan

Average temperature
Highest temperature
(Lowest temperature)
Total precipitation
(Total snowfall depth)
Nagano City 17.9℃  (64.2°F)
24.4℃  (75.9°F)
12.6 ℃ (54.7°F)
23.9 mm (0.94 inch)
Matsumoto 17.7 ℃  (63.9°F)
24.7℃  (76.5°F)
11.9 ℃ (53.4°F)
38.9 mm (1.53 inch)
Hakuba 15.2 ℃  (59.4°F)
22.0℃  (71.6°F)
9.4 ℃ (48.9°F)
38.5 mm (1.52 inch)
Karuizawa 13.5 ℃  (56.3°F)
20.3℃  (68.5°F)
7.9 ℃ (46.2°F)
43.0 mm (1.69 inch)

※ Source: All figures are the average for 30 years of 1991-2020 announced by the Japan Meteorological Agency

What to wear in Japan during spring

For spring clothes, please refer to the following article.

Monthly weather in Nagano Pref.

Below are articles about the weather in Nagano Prefecture. Click on the month of interest to see articles about that month.

January February March
April May June
July August September
October November December

Weather in tourist destinations around Japan

Below are pages showing the climates of various regions in Japan at the same time of the year.

Tokyo Osaka Kyoto
Hokkaido Sendai Nagano
Nagoya Hiroshima Fukuoka
Okinawa

 

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