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How to Travel in Japan During Summer Time

Are you coming to Japan during summer time?  You can enjoy Japan any time but if you happen to come here in summer, there are several things it’s better to know beforehand.  Here are several tips.

1. Be Aware of the Heatwaves in Summer Time.

This year (2019), it becomes extraordinary hot in Europe and in the US in summer time.  It was unbelievable when the temperature of Paris was over 40 degrees while it was below 30 degrees in Tokyo.  But that was before the rainy season in Tokyo ends.  Now the real summer time comes to Tokyo and finally it gets really hot.

It is quite normal in Tokyo that the temperature gets over 30 degrees in summer time.  It is still not very surprising when it becomes over 35 degrees.  But at such a time, there is a danger of surfing from the heatstroke.  What’s worse, it is quite humid in summer in Tokyo.

If you travel in mountain side, it may be cool in the morning.  Maybe the temperature is something like 20 degrees.  But even in the mountains, unless it is extremely high over 2,000 meters, it becomes very hot in the afternoon.  So you have to be very careful.

A view from the scree near the peak of Asahidake Mountain

Always bring a hat with you and don’t forget a bottle of water.


2. Avoid Driving in the Middle of August.  Shinkansen, too.

August is when people enjoy summer holidays.  So wherever you go, there will be lots of people.  But especially in the middle of August, everybody in Japan moves around from north to south.  This is because during 13 – 15 August, many people go back to their hometowns for the family reunion.  This period of time is called “O Bon” when Japanese people welcome our ancestors to come back to our world.  This is based on the Buddhism custom and many Japanese people still follow the tradition.  As a result, highways are always packed at this time of the year and Shinkansen is also unbelievably congested.  It is better to avoid moving around at this time.  And sometimes, shops are closed during O Bon.


3. Rainy Season Might Last Long or End Early.

We have a rainy season in Japan except for Hokkaido.  If it is in Tokyo, it starts in early June and ends in mid July.  But it depends on the year and the region.  In Okinawa, it starts as early as May and ends before July.  Last year, it ended at the end of June in Tokyo.  But this year, the rainy season in Tokyo lasted until this week.

During the rainy season, sometimes it rains really hard.  So if you travel in Japan during the rainy season, get ready with your rain gear.

Sengen Taisha


4. When Does Typhoon Come?

There are typhoons during summer time.  Usually the high season of typhoons is between the mid August and the mid October.  The routes vary from time to time.  But when typhoons come to Japan, it often hits the southern parts of Japan.  Having said this, it does not mean it does not come to the north.  So it’s better to follow the weather forecast.


5. It’s a Festival Season.

Summer time is a festival season.  You can enjoy many kinds of festivals throughout Japan.  One of the most famous and popular festivals in Japan is Nebula Matsuri Festival in Aomori Prefecture.  During the festival, people carry large floats around the town.

Nebuta Matsuri Festival in Aomori By Fisherman – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2999715

You can find many firework festivals in summer time, too.  Among them, the firework in Sumida River is very popular and has a long history.  According to Wikipedia, the history of this firework goes back to 1732.

Fireworks Festival in Sumida River By Shin-改 T – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=248572

Here are the information of summer festivals in Tokyo.  If you have a chance to travel through the archipelago, try to find the festivals here.


7. For More Information…

Japan National Tourism Organisation has information on travel in summer time.

If you are a first-timer, please visit here.

There is Japan Official Travel App.

And this page provide safety tips to travel in Japan.

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