In this chapter:
Japan has two different climates: a northern climate and a southern climate
The north is much colder in the winter and milder in the summer
The south has a hotter summer and a milder winter
Japanese weather is characterised by monsoons, heavy rainfall brought in by strong winds
Typhoons are also a feature of Japan's climate
Typhoons are tropical cyclones that originate in the Pacific Ocean
Japan receives quite a lot of rain throughout the year, between 100 centimetres and 300 centimetres falls each year
See image 1.
The warm, wet summers that Japan experiences mean that it has a monsoonal climate. A monsoon is when it rains heavily and there is a strong wind. The wind of a monsoon is from the south or the south-west. It is the rain that comes with these winds that is a monsoon. Most of Japan has a monsoonal climate, except for Hokkaido. Heavy rain will fall most days of the monsoon season, which lasts from June to September.
Typhoon means 'great wind'. This is a Chinese word. See image 2.
In addition to the monsoon rains that occur in Japan, there are also summer typhoons. A typhoon is a tropical cyclone that originates in the north-western Pacific Ocean. A typhoon will hit Japanese land approximately three times a year. Typhoons come in from the Pacific, which means that they blow in from the east. Typhoon season tends to be at the end of summer. This is when huge storms start to form. The wind of a typhoon is so strong that it can blow over trees and even some buildings.
Japan as a whole receives quite a lot of rain during the year. The most rain falls on the lower regions of Japan. In the far north, an average rainfall of about 120 centimetres is expected throughout the year. More rain is seen in the north in the summer season. Towards the middle of the country, around Tokyo, an average of 150 centimetres falls. This area receives most of its rain in the late summer. The south receives the most rain, with up to 190 centimetres falling. This rainfall includes over 30 centimetres in June, the early part of Japan's summer.
The rainy season in Japan begins in June. The rainy season begins in the south and makes its way north. See image 3.
Colours of the seasons
Japan is a very beautiful and colourful country. Each season has its own distinct colours. In the north, during winter, the land can sometimes be blanketed in white snow. This does not happen further to the south because it is closer to the Tropic of Cancer, which is near the tropical climate of the equator. In spring, the tree blossoms come out and the colours that are dominant are red and pink. The leaves of the trees in autumn are yellow and gold. The presence of the forest-covered mountains means that Japan often has a very green landscape. See image 4.