Getting through summers in Japan can feel like braving a furnace. Depending on your location within Japan, summer can become downright unbearable. Take Tokyo and Osaka, for instance; they’re notorious for their scorching temperatures. Thanks to the heat island effect, urban areas tend to sizzle even more compared to their rural counterparts.

Despite that, many people flock to Japan for their summer vacation, and there are tons of summer activities to enjoy. From summer parades to firework competitions and nature trails, there’s something for everyone. Picnics and beach trips also top the list of popular activities. It’s a fantastic time of year when everyone is out and about.

But what many people tend to underestimate is just how sweltering it can get in Japan. You certainly don’t want the weather to spoil your plans, so I’m here to share how you can prepare for summer in Japan.

Find out some nature spots in Japan, day trip ideas from Tokyo, campsites in Japan, and hiking spots in Japan.

One of the best ways to explore Tokyo is to visit the local areas and immerse yourself in the local culture. If you want to explore local areas, we have created scavenger hunt adventures personalised to your interests, filled with fun facts, clues and puzzles. If you’re curious, you can check out the games here!

Check out the Flip Japan Games here!

How To Prepare For Summer In Japan

Summer Accessories

Summer in Japan cold products

Japan offers a vast range of products to help you prepare for its humid summers. Many of these have a cooling effect designed to last for extended periods.

You can find wipes, such as those made by the brand Sea Breeze. Sea Breeze’s products focus on providing a refreshing sensation while keeping your body smelling fresh. Alongside wet wipes, they offer shampoo, body wash, spray, and liquid deodorant, available in various scents like mint or soap.

Cold wipes for summer in Japan 2020

When you step into your local drugstore during summertime, you’ll encounter products you may be familiar with, like cooling towels and portable handheld fans. Many home goods stores also stock cooling bedding, such as pillowcases or mattresses made from cooling materials, ensuring you stay cool both outdoors and indoors.

Additionally, you can purchase sweat pads for your sleeves and sprays designed to keep your clothes feeling cool. These come in handy on particularly humid days, especially if you’re out and about all day.

Cold spray amazon

As for controlling sweat and body odour, Japan offers various types of deodorant and antiperspirant, many of which provide a cooling effect.

However, deodorant and antiperspirant in Japan are relatively mild and not as widely used compared to other options mentioned earlier. Some people opt not to use any of these products, but in crowded train rides on hot mornings, things can get pretty sweaty. Ensure you’re the one smelling fresh by investing in one of these cooling products.

Summer Clothing

Generally, the Japanese tend to dress fairly conservatively despite the soaring temperatures. Women, in particular, opt for long skirts and dresses, often keeping their shoulders covered. However, as you venture further into the cities, you’ll notice bolder fashion choices becoming more prevalent.

Wearing a tank top won’t attract any stares either, as attitudes towards revealing clothing have become more relaxed over the years. Summer in 2020 differs from summers past, reflecting shifts in fashion trends. If you’re curious about these changes, why not check out my blog on Japanese Modern Fashion?

Linen is a popular choice of fabric for summer wear, as it’s loose-fitting and breathable. In Japan, you’ll find linen clothing in abundance – from shirts and trousers to dresses and even shoes. Give it a try and see how it suits you. With the hot and humid weather, linen makes for excellent summer attire in Japan.

Summer in Japan festivals

During summer festivals, many people seize the opportunity to don their yukata, the summer counterpart of a kimono. Don’t hesitate to wear your yukata, and don’t let a little heat deter you from experiencing the excitement of these festivals, which offer games and delicious festival food. To discover more about what summer festivals in Japan have to offer, check out our blog.

Yukata is a popular choice of summer attire in Japan, offering a much more casual alternative to the kimono and being far simpler to put on. While traditional yukata can be found in certain stores, you can also find more affordable versions online.

Summer Foods

Summer in Japan 2020

Japanese food is amazing, and there are so many fantastic summer Japanese food options for you to try. Here are some top picks for summer food in Japan! First up, we have zaru soba (ざるそば), which are cold soba noodles. Served with a dipping sauce called mentsuyu(めんつゆ), it’s a light, refreshing meal perfect for combating the summer heat.

Often accompanied by green onion and grated daikon radish, it boasts a distinctive flavour. You can find all the necessary ingredients at your local restaurant, but many high-end traditional Japanese restaurants feature zaru soba on their menus.

Japanese shaved ice summer 2020

After your main meal, if you’re craving something sweet for dessert, you’re in luck. Japan’s staple summer dessert is easily accessible and comes in a variety of flavours. Made with just ice and syrup, it’s incredibly simple to prepare. Shaved ice, or kaki-gōri(かき氷) in Japanese, is a summer delight found in restaurants, food stalls, and convenience stores across Japan.

Traditionally served in a bowl like ice cream, there are also kaki-gōri popsicles available. You can even purchase your own kaki-gōri machine, load in ice, and turn a handle until it’s all crushed up. Then, simply add syrup for flavouring, and your homemade kaki-gōri is good to go. The syrup comes in a variety of flavours such as strawberry, lemon, soda, watermelon, mango, and matcha. Adding condensed milk on top gives it a sweeter flavour, while fresh fruit is another popular topping.

If you’re in Japan during the summer, keep an eye out for a blue sign with the character for “mizu” (水, water) on it – that’s where you’ll find your shaved ice. What’s your favourite summer food in Japan? Let us know in the comments below.

Summer Drinks

Summer in Japan drinks in 2020

When it comes to everyday drinks, there are some specifically designed to help you combat heat stroke. Check out these summer drinks in Japan to help you cool down.

Sports drinks like Pocari Sweat and Aquarius have a high level of carbohydrates and electrolytes, ensuring you stay hydrated even when sweating profusely. Other brands with similar compositions include Green Dakara by Suntory and Salty Litchi by Kirin. Barley tea is also a popular choice in the summer as a refreshing beverage option. Although it may not be as popular among those who haven’t grown up drinking it, thanks to its distinctly “roasted” taste. Some liken it to cigarettes, and it’s certainly an acquired taste. You can find barley tea and the other drinks mentioned at any convenience or grocery store, as they are commonly available beverages sold all year round. They certainly make for great summer drinks in Japan.

Beating the Heat During Summer in Japan

Summer in Japan is stifling and humid, and you’ll find yourself wanting to take a shower one, two, or even three times a day. From the start of the rainy season in June to around early September, the mugginess can be unbearable. Warm rain isn’t uncommon in Japan, and it’s important to be careful not only of sunny weather but also stormy weather.

Because the humidity percentage is high at all times, it can feel uncomfortable being outside for even a short time. But now you know how to prepare for summer in Japan, with summer clothing, summer food, and drinks. You don’t have to let the summer heat get to you. Let us know your experiences in Japan and which products you love best!

Find out more about Japan travel: Shopping in Japan, the best souvenirs to buy in Japan, nature in Japan, camping in Japan, overnight & day trips from Tokyo, top museums to visit in Tokyo, local neighbourhoods in Tokyo, and beaches near Tokyo.

Stay tuned for more information about Japan travel, Japanese culture, moving to Japan, living in Japan, Japanese language, and more.