Kyoto is one of the most attractive sightseeing spots in the world. Therefore there are visitors coming not only from Japan but also from across the globe.
If you have ever been to world famous destinations such as London, Paris, Bangkok, New York and Hawaii, you must have noticed that wherever you go, Traveling In Japan Peak Period For New Year Holidays. I have. Unfortunately, if you visit Kyoto, it will likely happen here too. However in case you have a freer travel schedule, I’ll list a couple of seasons where you can expect less tourists.
1. February: It is very cold and possibly snowy. But there will be less tourists even on the weekends. It has a less festive atmosphere, but there are a few events especially Setsubun on February 2nd and 3rd, which celebrates the end of winter (the festival at Yasaka Shrine is very famous).
2. June: It is the rainy season. However temperature-wise, it is not bad at all. It is hot but not quite as hot as summer. But be sure to bring a compact umbrella or a rain coat. To enjoy your trip, even it’s a rainy day, check my article “How to Enjoy Kyoto When It Rains“.
3. Weekdays: Except for certain times including New Year’s holiday season, cherry blossoms season, Golden Week (end of April to May 6th usually), July and August, autumn leaves season and three day weekends, weekdays are usually less crowded. However a lot of high school students from all over Japan visit Kyoto on weekdays for school trips. Plan well so that you can outperform them. Hint: Use trains/subways as much as possible because they stick to buses and walking.
You can find much more useful and complete information in my Kyoto Guidebook which is now available on Amazon sites. Click here to buy the Kyoto Guidebook (ebook) on Amazon.com (You can find the Kyoto Guidebook on your local Amazon site).