What to do in summer in Japan 

Planning a summer trip to Japan? You're in luck! Sure, you'll have some humidity to contend with, but there are a plethora of things to do, foods to indulge in, and festivals to go to - and that's just the start! Here are some of the best things to do in summer in the land of the rising sun:

via www.flickr.com

Fireworks and festivals

A great way to get a unique cultural experience is to attend a festival. One of the best known in Japan is Obon - a chance to honor loved ones that have passed, and celebrate life in the here and now. Love a good dance? This is the festival for you.

Tanabata is celebrated yearly on the 7th day of the 7th month, and is a festival all about love. Make a wish, write it on a piece of paper, and hang it on a tree at a Tanabata festival - it might just come true.

Cap off a fun day of sightseeing with some hanabi, or fireworks. Japan embraces fireworks in the summertime, and you'll find displays of them from big cities to smaller regional areas. Hanabi celebrations are a point of local pride and draw in plenty of spectators, so if you're heading to one, get there early to secure a spot! 

There's also the modern festival variety that screams summertime. Summersonic and Fuji Rock Festival are two of the biggest outdoor music events, not just in Japan but globally. Every year their lineups boast massive names. 
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The summer of Japan is filled with events and festivals. Firework festivals belong to the highlights of this time of the year and you can find them everywhere around Japan. So let us take a look together and find out what you can experience when visiting a Japanese Summer Firework Festival. Japa...more...
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Japan is a wonderful place to visit year round, for a number of reasons. The seasons are all so diverse, and different times of year have their own unique beauty and traditions. Festivals are one of those traditions that you can look forward to no matter the time of year you visit - there's just ...more...
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If traveling to Japan during July, mark your calendar for two of the grandest celebrations of the year: Gion Matsuri and Tenjin Matsuri. These two festivals take place in Kyoto and Osaka respectively, and are fantastic opportunities to experience firsthand Japan’s lively festival scene and deep h...more...
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Most cultures have their own versions of the tale of star-crossed lovers.  There is Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Hawaii's Ohia and Lehua, and Rome and Egypt's Mark Antony and Cleopatra, among many others.  Japan is no different, though their lovers really live up to the description of "star-cr...more...
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Obon is an annual Buddhist celebration which sees families remembering and honoring their ancestors. It is held throughout Japan in either July or August, but generally speaking, the main period of celebration is the 13-16th August. There are a variety of ways the Obon period is celebrated but fo...more...
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In Japan, summer time means that it is festival time. People come together to celebrate the warm weather and each other’s company. These festivals happen in every single prefecture of Japan. Many people are drawn to the larger ones in cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Don’t get me wrong, these festiva...more...
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Summertime in many places around the world means one thing in particular - great outdoor music festivals. Japan is no exception to this, hosting a number of awesome events with some pretty epic lineups. Here's a bit of a rundown of three of this summer's best events!(image credit: Flickr User Tak...more...
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Keep your cool this sticky season in one of Japan’s traditional summer garments, now making a resurgence in popularity with fashion-forward youth. Embrace an ancient custom, from bath to street, and literally transform yourself as a local when  enjoying festivities and matsuri during the summer s...more...

Can't-miss summer treats

You could base an entire trip to Japan around food - and your summer vacation makes the perfect opportunity to indulge. Cold noodle dishes like somen, hiyashi chuka and tsukemen are all readily available, and might sound preferable to piping hot ramen at this time of year.

Festival food is also something to add to the must-do list. Something found at just about every summer festival is yakitori - Japan's take on a barbecue, you could say!

Prefer something icy, to cool you down? Convenience stores have you covered, with loads of budget friendly ice creams and popsicles. Across your travels you might also come across kakigori, which is a traditional Japanese sweet treat - shaved ice, flavored with syrup and condensed milk.

Another fun foodie option is sampling some seasonal summer goodies. Japan is amazing for this - head anywhere and you'll find a range of limited edition foods, drinks, chocolates, and more - if you blink you'll miss them.
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Get your chopsticks ready! Nagashi Somen, also known as flowing somen, is the perfect fun and cooling way to enjoy a meal on a hot day. But first, what exactly is somen?Somen are Japanese noodles made of wheat flour. The thin, white noodles are very popular in summer as the dish is traditionally ...more...
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If you’ve visited Japan before you know how hot it can get and if you haven’t yet, you’ll definitely want to keep cool while visiting. Something that can help you while you’re on the go is eating and drinking the right things to make sure you don’t over heat. So here are 10 foods, drinks, and des...more...
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 For a literal taste of summer, look no further than the summer-edition food items popping up on convenience stores and supermarket shelves across Japan. While some of these products come back every summer, many of them are only available for the next few months only, so make sure to grab a few o...more...
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Summer is here and with that comes warmer temperatures - and if you're like me, a much lessened desire to really eat hot foods. A piping hot bowl of ramen (whilst delicious!) is probably not my immediate go-to in July or August. Thankfully, there are a number of cold noodle dishes that are availa...more...
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Summer is here - and with that, there are a few hallmark events that signify the start of the season. Spending time at the beach or by the water, enjoying a bit too much ice cream, and barbecuing are some of my favorite things about this time of the year.  Countries all around the world have thei...more...
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Japanese summers are notorious for being hot and humid. Thankfully, there are great ways of dealing with the heat that have become a big part of the culture here. Items like beautiful sensu (fans), lightweight patterned yukata to wear, and furin (windchimes) to give out a relaxing sound are all i...more...
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Ramune?Perfect for a hot summers day or an evening watching fireworks and more exciting than cold barley tea, Ramune is a refreshing lemon flavoured soft drink (or soda) which is loved by young and old. Head for a festival and you'll no doubt find this iconic symbol of a Japanese summer, its dist...more...
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Although "soft cream" may seem like it holds the mantle as quintessential cold treat in Japan, there is one seasonal delicacy that is truly Japanese: kakigori, or shave ice.  You know, when I was a kid growing up in Japan, there were several distinctive sounds of summer--the buzzing of semi, or c...more...
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Summer is finally here! Need a refreshing frozen dessert to beat the summer heat?   “Shimokita Chaen” is exactly the place for you!  Located in Tokyo Shimokitazawa, this historical matcha shaved ice cream store has made headlines on several international newspapers, with the two most famous dishe...more...
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Summer in Japan can get pretty hot and humid, but it's also a great excuse to stuff your face with cold, sweet Japanese desserts! If you're travelling to Japan during this time, here is a list of desserts to look out for to keep cool as you explore.AnmitsuThis is a traditional Japanese dessert ma...more...
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When it comes to foods that beat the summer heat, one of my favorites is watermelon. Perfectly juicy and delicious, it's one of those things that immediately seems to cool you down. Japan is on the bandwagon too, with a range of super tasty watermelon flavored goodies that you can grab at this ti...more...

Incredible nature experiences

For many summer travelers to Japan, climbing Mt. Fuji is a bucket list goal. There are other great mountains to explore too - an added bonus is that Japan's mountainous areas have cooler temperatures if the humidity is proving a little much! More of a water lover than a mountaineer? There are great options for you too. Water parks, scenic lakes, and pristine beaches - you're spoiled for choice. 
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With its caps coated in winter snow, Mt. Fuji is an impressive sight. While at around this time of year it may be best to gaze at it from afar, possibly while soaking in an onsen in nearby Hakone, it is truly an unforgettable experience to take the climb up to the summit during climbing season, ...more...
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Okinawa.  Sun. Sand. Surf. History. Shopping. No trains....wait, what?!Yes, you read it right - beautiful, fascinating Okinawa is a vacationers paradise for many reasons - but unlike other parts of Japan where there are trains aplenty, getting around this stunning island takes a little bit more p...more...
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If you are travelling in Japan this summer you might be hearing reports that the weather is crazy hot and humid and wondering just where you can go to avoid the heat and enjoy your trip. Never fear, there are plenty of options for enjoying and experiencing the country to its fullest, even at this...more...
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“Seek on high bare trailsSky-reflecting violets...Mountain-top jewels” ― Bashō Matsuo, Japanese HaikuIt is well known that Japanese summers are hot, humid and energy-sapping, particularly so in the hustle and bustle of the mega cities, surrounded by concrete. A visit to a water park or hitting up...more...
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With beaches, lake-side temples and castles, as well as scrumptious food galore, Lake Biwa is a wonderful watery retreat within the Kansai region. With its closest point within 30 minutes from Kyoto, it is an easy day trip, though you may find that you want to stay longer.  Beach-going and Water ...more...
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Summer means different things for people all across the planet. In Nagasaki, summer means the annual Spirit Boat Procession. This is truly an event like non-other in Japan, and one of Nagasaki’s must see cultural events. What is it?Nagasaki has a very diverse and mixed cultural history. Having h...more...
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Bodhidharma (known as Daruma-Daishi in Japan) was a wise and sage monk who lived in the 5th-6th centuries. The legend goes that in his intense search for total enlightenment, he sat outside for a total of nine years in deep meditation. After almost a decade of contemplation, it was in the depths ...more...
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Car windows rolled down, your favorite music playing, and an ice chest full of cold drinks in the back and you're all set for the summer road trip of a lifetime. Japan has many wonderful places you can visit by taking to the highway, but one of the unexpected pleasures of driving in Japan are th...more...

Stay cool

It's easy to forget how hot and humid it can get out there when you're having fun – here are some handy tips to stay nice and comfy while exploring Japan in summer.
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Unlike many European and western nations, Japan is very conservative when it comes to dress. Urban areas like Tokyo or Harajuku are generally more liberal in what you can wear, but if you plan on going to more rural areas of Japan there are some things you should keep in mind before packing.The s...more...
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Atsui, desu ne (Hot, isn’t it)?  Japan gets hot and humid during the summer months, especially in big cities like Tokyo, where the concrete sidewalks trap even more of the heat. The end of June to July is also tsuyu, or rainy season, when sudden storms can drop in without warning and may stick a...more...
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Summer in Japan can get pretty oppressive. Late July through August are the hottest months in Japan with temperatures reaching an average of 80° Fahrenheit. This may not seem that hot to some, but the heat isn't the worst part about Japanese summers it's the humidity. On average, humidity during ...more...