When I lived in the UK, I always used the BBC website to check the weather. Come rain or shine, the BBC was my go-to source for finding out how the Weather Gods would be treating me.
But on moving to Japan, I realised that I would have to find a new way to check what was coming – the BBC website does cover Japan in its weather section, but for really accurate results you need something a bit closer to home. So, let’s take a look at some of the top websites you can use for checking the weather forecast in Japan.
This is a very simple website that is easy to use and with a good English translation. Weather forecasts are updated three times a day, and also updated instantly with important warnings. As well as daily weather forecasts, you can check up on information such as warnings for volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunami’s and see what the forecast is for falling ash.
While there is not an English version of Yahoo.jp, you can use online translation tools to read the weather in English. Yahoo Weather is generally spot on and one of the most reliable websites. However, their mobile APP version isn’t so user-friendly, so it’s best to stick to the standard PC version. Also, while this website has reliable information, Yahoo pages are often crammed full of adverts and so results are not so clear as on a dedicated weather site.
Yahoo Weather Japan*Japanese Only
Another website with an excellent English version, Wunderground is easy to use and easy to navigate. Not just for Japan, this website offers reliable weather forecasts for all around the globe. Wunderground is packed full of information – not only can you view the 10 day forecast on a daily or hourly chart, you can also track historical weather to see what the weather is typically like on certain days of the year (great for planning ahead if you want to know what the weather will be like on your birthday…) Other nifty features include local astronomy, extreme highs and lows from around the country on the day before, and a large collection of weather photos from users around the world.
You can tell by the website name (tenki – the Japanese word for weather) that this is a dedicated local site about the weather in Japan. Despite no English version this website is easy to use as it is designed in a clear way, without too many adverts confusing the screen. Click through the locations from area to prefecture to city, and the weather will be easy to work out from the pictures in the table – they even have a different cartoon to differentiate ‘rain’ from ‘light rain’ – very convenient.
While all of the above are websites, I couldn’t leave this Android App off the list – Weather Timeline is a great resource for Android users who need to find out what the weather will be like. For 99 Yen this app is a bargain, and good value for money with its 4.5 out of 5 rating (with almost 10,000 people rating it 5 out of 5). Displayed in a handy timeline, you can look at historical weather reports or check what the weather will be like years in the future… but who knows how accurate it will be that far in advance! Either way, if you prefer checking the weather on your Android device, this is the App for you.
*This app is not available any more.
So there we have it – a handful for useful websites for you check the weather on during your time in Japan. In a country prone to typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, it’s a good idea to be aware of the weather, even if you don’t live in a particularly disaster-prone area. Japanese seasons are pretty clear cut and you don’t often get unseasonal bouts of rain or sunshine when you weren’t expecting them… but why take the risk? Check the weather and never be without an umbrella when you need one.