A recently developed new particle formation (NPF)-explicit version of the Weather Research and Forecasting Chemistry (WRF-chem) model can explicitly calculate the growth and sink of nucleated clusters with 20 aerosol size bins from 1 nm to 10 µm in diameter. In this study, the model was used to investigate spatial and temporal variations in NPF event frequency and the concentrations of aerosols (condensation nuclei, CN) and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) within the boundary layer in East Asia in spring 2009. We found a distinct north-south contrast in the NPF frequency and mechanism in East Asia. NPF occurred mainly during limited periods over certain regions between 30° and 45°N (northeast China, Korea, and Japan, including regions around the active volcanoes Miyakejima and Sakurajima). In these latitudes, NPF was suppressed by high concentrations of preexisting particles under stagnant air conditions associated with high-pressure systems, although nucleation occurred more extensively during most of the simulation period. In contrast, south of 30°N, nucleation and NPF were both infrequent because of low SO2 emissions and H2SO4 concentrations. The period-averaged NPF frequency at 30°–45°N was three times that at 20°–30°N. This north-south contrast in NPF frequency was validated by surface measurements in outflow regions of East Asia. The simulated period- and domain-averaged contribution of secondary particles was estimated to be 44% for CN (>10 nm) and 26% for CCN at a supersaturation of 1.0%, though the contribution was highly sensitive to the amount and size distribution of primary aerosol emissions and the rate coefficient of the nucleation parameterization.