Summer is Natsu (夏) in Japanese. It is a very hot period with extreme humidity levels but will also experience a rainy period. Nevertheless, it is still considered one of the most liveliest seasons of the year in which we list out 10 amazing reasons why to visit Japan during this season.
To hike Mt. Fuji
You have probably seen loads of photos of Mt. Fuji’s peak. The clear and crisp point of the summit on a day with no cloud cover. Amazing isn’t it?
Why not catch the view from the summit then? Yes, it is possible. Actually, Mt Fuji opens yearly from July to Mid-September for their climbing season so it’s your only chance to do so. At this time, it is ideal for climbing since the weather is milder, and you have less chance of snow, making it suitable for an enjoyable climbing experience.
The hike itself is a rigorous one, in which you should be well prepared. It involves putting together your essentials and locating a proper guide to lead you to the summit. Within this preparation stage, you also have to construct your route thoroughly. It requires detailed planning and movement, but just imagine the views when you get there! An adventure above the clouds and catching the sunrise. Definitely worth it!
Cool off in the crystal clear waters!
It’s no surprise that temperatures in Japan can reach over 35 degrees celsius during the summer months, and you would definitely by any means find ways to cool down. For sure, going to the beach is one activity you cannot miss, and with Japan’s beautiful coastlines, you can find one nearest to you not only to battle the heat, but enjoy the picturesque views.
If you are visiting the popular, subtropical Okinawa Prefecture, then the beach is right around the corner! Famous for its white, sandy beaches, turquoise waters and much warmer temperatures, you can enjoy and have “fun under the sun.”
Don’t worry if you are in Metropolitan Tokyo! A small trip outside the city leads you to the Izu peninsula where it holds a variety of gorgeous beaches for your adventuring spirit.
There are also an array of water sporting activities you can join in on not only for the thrill, but great fun and cooling off! Go kayaking, scuba diving or snorkelling with some trained professionals and make memories to last you a lifetime!
To enjoy watermelon splitting
If you go to the beach and see people smacking a watermelon with a stick, do not fear! It’s not being murdered! (lol). In fact, one activity the Japanese people will not miss to cool down in summer is Watermelon splitting, called Suikawari (スイカ割り).
Similar to playing the Mexican game known as piñata, someone is blindfolded and spun around multiple times. Then, guided by their friends and family shouting instructions, the goal is to split the watermelon. Once the watermelon has been cracked open, everyone can then enjoy it together.
Now you are maybe wondering why is this activity so popular for a fruit? Well, that’s because fruits are very expensive in Japan, so having watermelon is considered a luxury item. Thus, everyone is excited to split open this fruit and partake of it as they may not see any until the next summer season.
Enjoy unique cold treats
When it comes to summertime, Japan takes their cold treats a step ahead, which they look too beautiful to even eat.
If you happen to pass this flag along your travels, STOP IMMEDIATELY! Why? Because you cannot miss out on a delicious treat.
Have you ever heard of Kakigori (かき氷)? It is more than just your regular shaved ice, but a packed mountain of shaved ice filled with various flavours and Japanese toppings such as anko paste, mochi or even boba pearls. There are even Matcha flavoured Kakigori! (Count me in!)
Another cold treat you are bound to find is a Japanese Parfait, which is as delectable as Kakigori, but smoother. Made with cream, and topped with lots of delicious treats such as mochi, Anko but even cake, biscuits, and fruits, you can indulge in one of these treats at cafes nearby. Kyoto is well known for its Uji-Matcha parfaits that are becoming more popular now.
Enjoy a meal at Riverside
If you come across a “Kawadoko”; a Kyoto-style restaurant with outdoor seating arrangements found next to a river or waterfall, I would definitely recommend enjoying a meal here.
This restaurant-style of eating is very popular during the summer season, in which one can sit and enjoy their meal, keeping cool while they soak in the sounds of the roaring streams and the rushing wind. It will definitely make you forget all about the hot and humid summer.
Would you not want to enjoy a meal surrounded by beautiful nature? What a dream for myself being such a lover of outdoor settings, so this will definitely be within the top 5 of my bucket list!
To marvel at Hanabi Matsuri
The word Hanabi 花火 translates to “fireworks” while Matsuri means “festival”, thus Japan celebrates with various fireworks festivals almost every weekend in summer. It is quite popular to find people dressed up in Yukata; a casual kimono made of cotton to combat the hot summer days.
Catch any one of these summer festivals for a unique outdoor experience. Streets are lined with many food stalls and gaming activities, and after you have enjoyed, you will find there is a rush to find the best viewing spots for the firework show. Of course, the closer the view the better as a spectacular show awaits, with some even lasting up to 2 hours.
Catch a cultural experience from the Nebuta festival!
One of the largest summer fire festivals in the Tohoku region, Aomori lights up into an array of colours in the early days of August each year! The Aomori Nebuta festival (ねぶた- Nebuta meaning ‘floats’) fills the streets with a beautiful parade, displaying huge illuminated floats which are based off kabuki plays or mythical stories!
A contribution to the colourful atmosphere also includes the beating sounds of the Taiko drums, musicians and the haneto dancers! Both locals and tourists can participate as a haneto dancer once you wear the proper attire that can be bought or rented nearby.
As the evening sun sets on the horizon, these larger than life floats make way to the streets, pulled along by the amazing strength of the local residents. It’s quite a beauty of skilled artwork and should not be missed. At least once, you should make your mark in this festival and take back with you a memory never to be forgotten!
Make a wish at Tanabata Matsuri
Have you ever heard of the old Chinese story involving the weaver princess star and the cow herder star? It’s quite popular actually and takes place on the 7th day of the 7th month in the lunar calendar. This day was given by the Sky King so the lovers would stop neglecting their duties, and thus, it’s the only day that marks the meeting of these two stars.
This event is known as Tanabata Matsuri, also known as the “Star Festival”, is celebrated in Japan for a few days, where people will write their wishes on colourful pieces of paper (called Tanzaku) and hang them onto bamboo or other decorations. In some public spaces, you can see many vibrant ornaments or streamers floating about in the summer wind.
A traditional food associated with this festival is Sōmen. Eaten in a light dipping sauce, their long, intertwining threads of noodles were thought to resemble the Milky Way but also the weaving threads of Orihime; the weaver princess.
See Hokkaido’s flower fields
Are you one who likes to imagine themself roaming through fields of beautiful flowers while the wind grabs your soul away into another atmosphere? Trust me, I did… many times (lol). If you head to Northern Japan in the Hokkaido prefecture, you can actually make your imagination come to a reality.
Look at these beautiful lavender fields grown in Furano, Hokkaido. Along with a variety of other flowers, it makes it an attractive tourist destination, with flower-viewing season between June to September.
You can catch a glimpse at the beautiful Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park in Yubestsu town; western Hokkaido, or travel to Hokuryu town to gaze at the golden field of sunflowers; the symbol of Hokkaido’s summer.
Rock out at an outdoor music event
For all Japanese music lovers out there, look out for the largest outdoor music event with over 100,000 spectators each year. This three-day festival has taken place in the Niigata Prefecture each summer since it began in 1997. It is a weekend event which means things go crazy when it comes to getting solid accommodations booked and your tickets secured.
If you are all for the after-hour parties, don’t be surprised that many people actually opt to pay a fee allowing them to set up their tents on the camping grounds. Not to worry! This includes access to washroom facilities and nearby food stalls. Definitely cannot miss all the chances to see famous bands and artists performing in Japan.
So from Spring we jumped into the hot season of summer. Did you enjoy reading of 10 amazing reasons to visit Japan during summer? I definitely had a great time writing this as I think summer is filled with such lively events despite the sweltering weather that it makes you seem to forget you are melting (haha).
Join us for a refreshing Cocktail tour during your Summer trip to Tokyo!