Places to visit in Japan during summer are probably some of the most fun you could ever have in the country, and this guide has got it all.
Growing up in Japan meant I could experience some of the things I will be sharing with you, but I imagine it will be even better for you.
Japan is one of the top beautiful destinations in this world.
I’ve visited many countries, and I always enjoy that feeling I get when I’m experiencing something unique for the first time.
In this guide, I will share with you what to do in big cities like Tokyo, how to experience the temple culture, and even what foods to try.
So, let’s plan your summer trip to Japan!
Table of Contents
Japan in the Summer
Summer in Japan embodies a spirited ambiance, captivating festivals, and yummy food.
If you’re considering a summer trip to Japan, begin your adventure in Tokyo. The bustling capital seamlessly blends modernity with tradition.
Despite the hot and humid weather, Tokyo provides ample opportunities for exploration. As the sun sets, the cityscape illuminates, showcasing a dazzling skyline.
Let’s now discuss the summer festivals, known as “matsuri,” which are an absolute must-see during this season.
While the renowned Gion Matsuri in Kyoto spans throughout July, Tokyo also offers a lively festival atmosphere.
Regardless of the time of year, a visit to Japan would be incomplete without witnessing the awe-inspiring Mount Fuji.
You can take a day trip from Tokyo to the Fuji Five Lakes region and engage in activities such as hiking, cycling, or simply basking in the splendor of the UNESCO-listed natural beauty.
Another essential experience is the diverse culinary scene. Summer in Japan brings forth an abundance of refreshing dishes to combat the heat.
Indulge in cold somen noodles, a popular summer delicacy, or cool down with a delightful kakigori (shaved ice dessert) available in various flavors like matcha or strawberry.
Now, let’s move on to the temples. Exploring Japan’s temples during the summer provides a serene yet humid experience.
The vibrant green surroundings, the gentle hum of cicadas, and the scent of incense create a tranquil ambiance.
As you dive into the country’s rich cultural heritage, finding solace in the shade and cool breezes, beads of sweat gently trickle down.
Whether you’re strolling through Tokyo’s bustling streets, immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of summer festivals, marveling at the majestic Mount Fuji, or savoring the diverse culinary delights, a summer visit to Japan promises an unforgettable and cherished experience.
Experience a Tokyo Summer
Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital, is a city that seamlessly blends modernity with tradition, creating a captivating atmosphere for visitors.
Start your summer adventure in Tokyo with a visit to the iconic Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa.
As you step through the imposing gate, you’ll be greeted by a lively atmosphere, with locals and tourists alike admiring the temple’s intricate architecture and browsing the bustling Nakamise shopping street.
From the observation decks of Tokyo Tower, you can witness Tokyo’s glittering skyline in all its glory.
The cityscape lights up, painting a mesmerizing picture of urban life and capturing the essence of Tokyo’s vibrant energy.
For food enthusiasts, Tokyo is a haven that delights the taste buds. A must-visit destination is the renowned Tsukiji Fish Market, which is renowned worldwide.
Treat yourself to the freshest sushi and an array of delectable seafood, including succulent sashimi or irresistible tempura.
During your Tokyo exploration, make it a point to fully engage with the local culture.
Experience a traditional tea ceremony or pay a visit to the numerous art galleries and museums that exhibit a rich blend of ancient and contemporary Japanese art.
Of course, you can also take leisurely strolls through the animated streets of Shibuya, where a multitude of people gathers at the bustling intersection.
Tokyo in the summer is also a great time to experience unique events and festivals.
From the colorful Koenji Awa Odori to the lively Sumida River Fireworks Festival, there’s always something happening in the city.
Tokyo during the summer offers a blend of modern attractions, traditional experiences, mouthwatering cuisine, and vibrant festivals.
Visit the Temples
Japan is a land of temples, and during the summer, its temple culture is at its peak.
Kiyomizu-dera, Tōdai-ji, and the Senso-ji are all famous Japanese temples.
These temples combine historical and cultural significance with the vibrant summer festivals that take place there.
During the summer months, the Japanese flock to these temples to participate in various activities that are unique to the season.
One such activity is the traditional ritual of Omizutori, which takes place at the Tōdai-ji temple in Nara.
This ritual involves the lighting of large torches that are waved around to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.
The Senso-ji temple in Tokyo hosts the Sanja Festival, which is a colorful and lively event that features traditional dances, music, and parades.
Apart from these festivals, Japanese people also visit these temples to pray for good health, success, and happiness.
Visitors can purchase amulets and charms that are believed to bring good luck and protect them from harm.
You can also write your wishes on small wooden plaques called ema, which are hung up at the temple.
The temple culture of Japan in the summer is not just about religious rituals and traditions. It is also a time for socializing and enjoying traditional Japanese cuisine.
Because of the festivals, you will be able to try unique street food such as yakitori, okonomiyaki, and takoyaki.
The temple culture of Japan in the summer is a vibrant and colorful experience that is not to be missed.
From ancient rituals to modern festivals and delicious food, there is something for everyone to enjoy at these iconic Japanese temples.
Attend a Summer Festival
I was born and raised in Japan and grew up in Tokyo most of the time, and I can tell you that you do not want to miss the summer festivals.
Summer festivals, also known as “matsuri,” are an essential part of the season and offer a vibrant and captivating experience.
Among the most renowned celebrations is the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, spanning the entire month of July, and in Tokyo, the one to not miss is the Koenji Awa Odori, taking place in August.
The Koenji Awa Odori is a mesmerizing extravaganza that showcases traditional dance performances, dazzling costumes, and an atmosphere filled with joy and excitement.
As you immerse yourself in the festivities, you’ll witness skillful dancers moving gracefully to the rhythm of traditional Japanese music.
The performers’ colorful attire adds to the visual spectacle, amplifying the energy and liveliness of the event.
While the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto may be the most well-known summer festival, the Koenji Awa Odori demonstrates that Tokyo has its own share of remarkable celebrations.
Of course, there are a lot more festivals across Japan during the summer but definitely try to attend at least these two festivals.
Explore Mount Fuji
When exploring Japan during the summer, a visit to the magnificent Mount Fuji is an absolute must.
This is the highest peak in the country, and this iconic mountain offers breathtaking views and holds the esteemed distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage site.
I would say go on a day trip from Tokyo to the Fuji Five Lakes region, where you can immerse yourself in a variety of activities such as hiking, cycling, or simply appreciating the splendid natural surroundings.
While exploring the area, take advantage of the opportunity to discover the captivating Hakone, renowned for its picturesque landscapes and therapeutic hot springs.
Treat yourself to a tranquil soak in one of the many scattered onsen (hot spring baths) throughout the region, providing a rejuvenating experience for both body and soul.
You can also go on a scenic boat ride across the serene waters of Lake Ashi, relishing the awe-inspiring views it presents.
If luck is on your side, you may catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji in its majestic splendor on a clear summer day, leaving an indelible impression on your memories.
By incorporating Mount Fuji and Hakone into your Japanese summer adventure, you guarantee an unforgettable journey where natural beauty, cultural significance, and peaceful experiences converge.
Taste the Summer Foods
Naturally, it’s essential not to overlook the chance to relish its exquisite cuisine, which is a vital part of the experience.
During the summer season, numerous revitalizing dishes are available, providing a welcome relief from the scorching heat.
One must sample the cold somen noodles, a beloved seasonal delicacy that combines chilled noodles with a flavorsome dipping sauce, offering a truly tempting combination.
If you have a sweet tooth, it is a must to treat yourself to kakigori, a delightful shaved ice dessert that comes in various flavors like matcha or strawberry.
That said, the culinary adventure does not end there because the mouthwatering street food found at lively summer festivals is not to be missed.
Roam among the vibrant stalls and immerse yourself in a sensory delight.
Take a bite of the succulent yakitori, grilled skewered chicken glazed to perfection, or relish the scrumptious takoyaki, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, filled with octopus.
Every nook of these bustling gatherings guarantees an irresistible selection of flavorsome delights, ensuring a thoroughly satisfying experience for your taste buds.
From refreshing summer delicacies to the enticing street food found at lively festivals, the country’s food will give you an unforgettable gastronomic adventure that will leave you yearning for more.
One of the best summer destinations in Japan is Hokkaido. Visiting this island for the first time is a sensory satisfaction.
Your visit will be marked by green landscapes and pleasant weather. Summer averages 64°F (18°C), meaning not cold but not hot.
Likewise, the island’s colorful scenery comes alive with blooming flowers, picturesque meadows, and clear blue skies.
Sapporo, the capital, hosts the famous Yosakoi Soran Festival, featuring dynamic traditional dances.
Coastal areas offer fresh seafood delights, while the tranquil lakes give you serenity.
If you have time, explore the Shikisai-no-Oka flower fields and the mesmerizing Shikisai Park, which immerses you in a kaleidoscope of colors.
Meanwhile, adventure enthusiasts can engage in outdoor activities like hiking in the Daisetsuzan National Park or enjoying relaxing hot springs.
So, the summer charm of Hokkaido creates lasting memories for Japanese and foreign travelers alike.
As a Japanese, it’s not easy to think about what type of things foreigners will like in my country, but I think I’ve given you a good combination.
If you follow this travel guide, your summer trip to Japan will be filled with incredible manmade and natural structures, food, and intangible culture.
We Japanese don’t really like the hot weather, but we love the chance to be out and do things, including street festivals.
And, even though street food is not a typical thing for us, we do love to indulge in this period!
So, enjoy your trip to Japan, and let us know how it went!
Yuri Takahashi writes about Japan for Caravanzers.
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