What Are Summers Like In Japan?
Summers can get pretty toasty and hot in Japan, especially in July and August. It’s easily more tolerable than spending summer in a tropical area or some of the prefectures down south.
If you’re planning a trip to Japan in the summer, it could be worth going outside of the typical tourist hotspots of the country and traveling farther north including Hokkaido, especially if you want to escape the heat.
Regardless of where you spend your summer in the land of the rising sun, there are some ways you can manage your Japanese summer without letting the heat get to you.
Average Temperature Range During Summer Months In Japan
Japan is known to get some pretty humid summers, with temperatures getting as high as 86 degrees Fahrenheit on the hottest summer days. While not as common, temperatures can climb to the mid 90s in some spots of the country.
You get a little bit of relief as the sun goes down, which can be a good time to head out to a variety of events or excursions you might plan on doing.
The nice thing about summers in Japan is they hold a lot of summer festivals and other exciting events to attend no matter where you might be visiting.
Does Japan Experience Distinct Seasons?
The country of Japan experiences four distinct seasons, but regions of the country experience the seasons a little bit differently.
The land that makes up the country does not sit at even elevations, which has a major impact on temperatures and seasonal weather conditions.
Summer officially kicks off in June and spans to August. June tends to be a bit more tolerable temperature wise, and also tends to be the month with the most rain.
It can get pretty muggy and humid in July and August, which can be difficult to manage with the heat, especially if you’re not used to high humidity.
That said, Japan doesn’t label their seasons the way that it’s done in the West, where there are four seasons. For instance, tsuyu is known as the rainy season in Japan, and it spans from the end of June to the beginning of July.
20 Important Things To Know About Japanese Summers
While Japanese summers will have their fair share of pretty miserable conditions, the weather and the heat aren’t so bad that there aren’t any ways to handle it.
There is a wealth of experiences to be had in Japan during the summer, and with a few tips, you won’t miss out because of the heat.
1. Summers Are Slower For Japanese Tourism
You’ll be happy to know that you’re not having to deal with big crowds in a lot of places in the summer. Spring and fall tend to be the busiest seasons for travel to Japan.
2. Stay Hydrated To Avoid Heat Stroke
Having consistent access to water is essential during the summer. You also want to take breaks to enjoy the shade and get out of the sun to avoid heat stroke.
Heat stroke and dehydration are serious health concerns, and you don’t want to spend your trip in a Japanese hospital. Thus, the need to consider travel insurance.
The good news is that common areas in Japan, like train stations, trains, and shops, usually have the air conditioning on full blast during the hottest days.
This makes it easy to find a place to rest outside of the sun and bask in the cold air while you refresh and rehydrate.
3. Prepare For High Temperatures
Be sure you’re not going for hikes or long outdoor excursions without your hot weather essentials, especially water.
Even though the temperatures might not soar to great heights, the humidity makes the heat a lot harder to handle.
4. Stock Up On Hot Weather Essentials
Outside of the typical sunscreen and hat, you may want to take a cue from the locals when it comes to strategies to beat the heat.
You’ll likely notice a lot of people with things like cold sprays, fans, and cold presses.
Should you happen to find yourself unprepared or in need of some cooling aids, drug stores or convenience stores will have what you need.
5. Pack For The Weather
Consider packing yourself a wardrobe that will account for humid conditions. You’ll want to focus on clothing made of light, breathable, and breezy fabrics that are going to keep you comfortable.
Be sure you pack some reliable footwear, especially if you’ll be enjoying outdoor hikes or heading to the northern parts of Japan for some relief from the heat.
It’s also a good idea to bring some sunglasses with UV protection, wide-brim hats, and plenty of sunscreen.
One thing to be cognizant of is whether or not what you wear is revealing, especially if you plan on visiting any temples or shrines while in Japan.
It’s not customary to show off a lot of skin in Japan, so you want to be respectful of the culture when entering a spiritual space.
6. Beware Of Typhoon Season
Japan is prone to typhoons, which combine strong and heavy winds as well as heavy rainfall. Be sure that you keep your eye on the weather each day and find shelter should a typhoon be approaching.
7. Bring/Buy An Umbrella
An umbrella can not only help keep the sun out of your face, but it’s, of course, very handy when it starts to rain.
You’ll likely notice droves of people in Japan walking around with umbrellas all summer, even when the skies are clear.
8. Seek Out Stamina Foods
Summer foods also referred to as stamina foods, are incredibly delicious, just like most Japanese cuisine.
These consist of refreshing chilled noodle dishes like somen and zaru soba and so many more light meals that are substantial in nutrients without sitting heavy on your stomach.
9. Indulge In Cold Desserts
You can’t go through a summer in Japan without trying kakigori, which is, thankfully, very easy to find.
Kakigori is shaved ice, but it’s done so much better in Japan than anywhere else. It’s the perfect hydrating treat that also feels indulgent.
10. Don’t Miss Summer Festivals
Summer is a fantastic season for a ton of festivals in Japan, which the country is very fond of. You can enjoy Japanese street food, music, performances, and much more.
Festivals give you a great chance to meet people and learn more about Japanese culture.
11. Try Out A Yukata
A yukata is a comfortable summer kimono that is often worn at Japanese festivals and events. It can be a nice way to indulge in the culture in an appropriate way while also staying comfortable in the heat.
12. Enjoy Some Fireworks
At night when it gets a little bit cooler outside (sometimes), you can find a whole variety of firework shows throughout Japan. Firework festivals happen very often in July and August, and are known as hanabi.
13. Check Out Japanese Beaches
Japan’s beaches are vastly underrated; they have pristine waters, soft sand, and you can find a lot of them throughout the country.
While the water will offer some reprieve from the heat, having plenty of water and sun protection is needed.
14. Have Fun In The Water
Anything in the water gives you an opportunity to be active outside while also getting the benefits of the refreshing water.
Whether you go to a beach or a waterpark, you can enjoy so many different activities in the water, from swimming to surfing to canoeing and so much more.
15. Bask In The Florals
While cherry blossoms are in full bloom during the spring, you may still be able to catch a glimpse of some sakura trees here and there.
You won’t miss out on the diverse beauty of the outdoors in summer, however, no matter where you go, you’ll find fragrant flowers, lush trees, and incredible landscapes.
16. Go To Mount Fuji
In summer, it’s the perfect place to venture to because the area is at a higher elevation so that you won’t feel the heat as much.
If you’ve dreamt of climbing Mount Fuji to any extent, the climbing season officially opens in July. If you can plan to visit during the week, you’ll be able to beat out some of the crowds.
17. Stay At Fuji Five Lakes
There are also a ton of destinations, hiking opportunities, and even a theme park in the expansive area.
If staying near the hot springs doesn’t interest you, you can take a two-hour train ride from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo to get to the mountain.
18. Check Out Lesser-Known Japanese Hot Spots
It can be overwhelming choosing where to go in Japan. Consider heading to worthy locations in Japan that aren’t as traveled, and are a little bit more tolerable climate-wise; there are a lot of them to choose from.
Karuizawa is the perfect blend of stunning scenery and indoor spots to hang out in, and since it’s farther up north in Nagano, you can enjoy the outdoors without being too hot.
The Nikko area is another example of a naturally beautiful spot that is cooler during the summer and features a wealth of historical sites.
19. Break Up Outdoor Time With Indoor Attractions
On days when the heat and humidity are both high, you should consider getting indoors and cooling down.
You don’t have to hide away in your hotel; you’re bound to find some nearby attractions where you’re staying. If all else fails, a quick train ride can take you somewhere with things you can do to escape the heat.
20. Enjoy An Outdoor Patio
There are restaurants in Japan that offer a unique outdoor eating experience known as kawadoko.
Essentially, you get to sit on an outdoor patio that is built above a river, so you can get the cool breeze from the water as you indulge in fresh seafood and a nice cold Japanese beer.