Summer Survival Tips for Travelers in Japan


The Japanese archipelago is experiencing increasingly hotter summers. Days with extreme heat and tropical nights have become commonplace, with temperatures surpassing 40°C in recent years. As the number of days with temperatures higher than body temperature rises, so does the risk of heatstroke. Looking at the number of cases transported to hospitals due to heatstroke, July and August are the peak months, but incidents of heatstroke occur as early as May before the onset of the rainy season.

The seasons most susceptible to heatstroke are

Early summer
Clear spells during the rainy season
Peak summer

And the critical timings include:

Sudden temperature spikes
The day after a tropical night
Sunny days after the end of the rainy season

Among these, May is relatively cooler compared to midsummer, with lower humidity, leading to a tendency to let one's guard down. As the days become longer and the weather more refreshing, outdoor activities increase, but this is when caution is most needed. As it's a season when people are not yet accustomed to the heat, sudden temperature increases can lead to heatstroke as the body struggles to adapt.

The Challenge of Japan's Summer Climate

The Challenge of Japan's Summer Climate

Japan's summer is notorious for its relentless heat and oppressive humidity, creating challenging conditions for travelers exploring this beautiful country. In this chapter, we'll explore just how hot and humid Japan can get during the summer months and why it's essential to be prepared for these extreme weather conditions.

Understanding Humidity in Japan

Humidity in Japan during the summer months can feel like stepping into a sauna. With humidity levels often reaching over 80% or even higher, the air becomes thick and heavy, making it difficult to breathe and causing sweat to pour down your skin. In this chapter, we'll delve into why humidity is such a significant factor in Japan's summer climate and how it can impact travelers.

Coping Strategies for Dealing with the Heat and Humidity

Despite the challenging conditions, there are strategies travelers can employ to cope with Japan's hot and humid summers. From dressing appropriately to staying hydrated and seeking refuge in air-conditioned spaces, this chapter will provide practical tips and advice for staying cool and comfortable while exploring Japan's summer attractions.

Beating the Heat in Japan's Urban Jungles

Beating the Heat in Japan's Urban Jungles

Japan's bustling cities can feel like concrete jungles during the summer months, with skyscrapers trapping heat and exacerbating the already sweltering conditions. In this chapter, we'll explore how travelers can navigate the urban heat island effect in cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto and find relief amidst the towering buildings and bustling streets.

Embracing Japan's Summer Traditions

Despite the heat and humidity, Japan's summer is also a time of vibrant festivals, refreshing treats, and unique cultural experiences. From attending fireworks festivals to cooling off with traditional summer foods like kakigori (shaved ice), this chapter will highlight ways travelers can embrace the spirit of summer in Japan while staying cool and refreshed.

Beat the Heat: Making the Most of Japan's Summer Adventure

Japan's summer may be hot and humid, but with the right preparation and mindset, travelers can still enjoy all that this captivating country has to offer. By understanding the challenges of Japan's summer climate and implementing practical coping strategies, you can make the most of your summer adventure in Japan while staying cool, comfortable, and safe.

Surviving the Japanese heat

Summer is the season of adventure and fun! However, summer in Japan can be hot and humid, so it's important to stay cool. But don't worry. Read this guide to learn how to stay cool and have fun in the summer heat.

Drink lots of water!

On hot summer days, your body needs a lot of water to stay hydrated. So, drink plenty of water and juice to cool down your body. Tap water in Japan is safe to drink and readily available. You can find it at convenience stores, supermarkets, and vending machines.

Enjoy shaved ice!

Enjoy shaved ice!

Shaved ice can be found at summer festivals, food stalls, and specialty shops across Japan. With so many flavors to choose from, find your favorite and enjoy a sweet and refreshing treat.

Wear a hat!
When the sun is strong, wear a hat to protect your face. Find an affordable hat at 100 yen shops or souvenir stores and enjoy playing outside!

Let's play in a cool place!
When playing outside, find a shady spot, such as under a tree or in a cool park. If you sweat, cool down with a pleasant breeze! We also recommend taking a break in an air-conditioned place such as a convenience store, shopping mall, or museum.

Treat yourself to some delicious frozen snacks!
Popsicles and ice cream are the perfect snacks to beat the summer heat. Have fun with your family and friends! Matcha (green tea), vanilla, and strawberry are popular ice cream flavors in Japan. Convenience store sweets and ice cream are especially popular and can be easily purchased from vending machines.

Refreshing break!
On hot days, take a break indoors where it's cool and refreshing. Relax in an air-conditioned hotel room, inn, or any other indoor location.
Remember these tips and enjoy summer in Japan! Stay cool, have fun, and make lots of wonderful memories!

Chill Out with Kakigori

Shaved ice, known as "kakigori" in Japanese, is a beloved summer treat in Japan, offering a refreshing respite from the sweltering heat. Literally translating to "shaved ice," kakigori typically consists of finely shaved ice topped with flavored syrup.

This icy delight is enjoyed all across Japan and comes in a wide variety of flavors and styles. While traditional kakigori involves simply shaving ice and drizzling it with syrup, modern iterations have evolved to include toppings like fresh fruit, ice cream, condensed milk, red bean paste, or chewy mochi, providing a delightful array of flavors and textures.

During the summer months, kakigori specialty shops and stalls pop up all over Japan, providing a cool oasis for locals and tourists alike. Popular among people of all ages, kakigori is often enjoyed as a fun family or social activity, perfect for beating the summer heat.

Chill Out with Kakigori
What makes kakigori so appealing is its refreshing taste and vibrant appearance. The cool, velvety texture of the ice pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the syrup and toppings, offering a delightful treat that is both visually appealing and satisfying to the palate.

One of the charms of kakigori is its accessibility. Even without specialized equipment, kakigori can be easily recreated at home by simply shaving ice and adding your favorite syrups and toppings. As a result, it's not uncommon for Japanese households to host kakigori parties during the summer months, adding to the sense of community and enjoyment.

Beyond being a quintessential part of Japanese summer culture, kakigori is also a popular experience for travelers visiting Japan. Sampling the local kakigori flavors at neighborhood shops can be a delightful way to immerse yourself in Japanese summer traditions and create lasting memories of your trip.