16 Things You Cannot Miss During Summer in Japan

Summer in Japan is hot and humid. But there are many exciting activities to blow off your dullness and to enjoy it all ! Here are a list of 16 must-do activities in Japan during summer.

Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!


1. Have fun at Summer Festivals (Natsu-Matsuri)

Masaki Tokutomi/Flickr


Summer is a season of traditional festivals in Japan. Join in the summer celebration to fully experience Japanese summer.

Also Check: The Best Way to Enjoy Japanese Summer: Matsuri

Participate in Bon-odori


Bon odori is a dance, traditional to Japan. As it is deeply related with the culture of the area, Bon-odori looks and sounds different in any region in Japan. 

Enjoy the food and activities at the stalls


There are many stalls out selling food like yakisoba (fried noodles), grilled sweetcorn, chocolate covered banana, etc. Also, there are many activities such as kingyo sukui (catching goldfish) or shooting games.

2. Make your wish come true at Tanabata Festival

Ville Misaki/Flickr

Tanabata is a festival held on the 7th July to celebrate the meeting of the Altair and Vega, lovers separated by the Milky Way. In some areas it is celebrated a month after according to the traditional calendar. People write their wishes on a strip of paper and hang them on bamboo branches.

3. Enjoy the impressive fireworks




There are many firework events all around Japan in the summer. Japanese fireworks bursts in different shapes and can express many different colours. The events not only have the fireworks but also use music and lighting to make it an exciting show.

4. Wear yukata


Yukata is a summer Japanese traditional clothing. There are many different colours and designs for both men and women, so find your favourite one.

5. Get Passionate at Summer Music Festivals


There are many outdoor music festivals in the summer season. Get yourself in the heat and enjoy the high quality music and performances. The biggest and the most famous of them is the Fuji Rock Festival held in Niigata on 24-26 July 2015.

Also Check: 15 Recommended Japanese Summer Music Festivals

6. Cool yourself down with Ice Shaves -Kakigori-

Norio NAKAYAMA/Flickr

Kakigori is one of the most popular sweets of summer in Japan. The ice is shaved finely and you can enjoy a fluffy taste. Even in such a representative dessert like kakigoori, there are many flavor variations such as strawberry, Blue Hawaii, cola, ramune, melon, lemon, orange, green tea, and more. Recently it’s becoming a deluxe, luxury sweet and that’s another reason why kakigoori is so popular.

Also Check: 15 Essential Kakigori (Shaved Ice) Shops in Tokyo

7. Crack open a watermelon! -Suika wari-


Cracking open a watermelon, or Suika Wari, is a game done in Japan in the summer. Blindfolded people, one by one, is guided by voice to the watermelon lying on the ground and tries to crack it with a stick. If they succeed and the watermelon cracks, then everyone enjoys the watermelon.

8. Try your best or you won't have noodles to eat! -Nagashi-Somen-


Out of the many noodles eaten in Japan, somen is the thinnest. It is a popular cold dish to enjoy in summer in Japan. Nagashi somen is one most exciting way to eat somen. Somen noodles flown down a bamboo slide filled with running water.

9. A Refreshing Drink at a Beer Garden

Norio NAKAYAMA/Flickr

A refreshing evening drinking in the open air during the humid summer of Japan. 

10. Get your personal artistic fan -Uchiwa & Sensu-


Use an uchiwa or sensu to cool yourself down with a steady stream of air. Some uchiwas are being handed out on the streets as advertisements, but many of them are traditional works of art.

11. Let Fireflies capture your heart


You can find fireflies all around Japan in the countryside during the summer season. The light of the fireflies are said to be a sign of romantic proposal from a male firefly. 

12. Catch a fish with your own hands

Have you ever caught a fish with your own hand, rather than with your fishing rod? You can enjoy catching it in the rich natural environment. And what’s best, you can grill it and eat it fresh there.

13. Look up to the stars and be mesmerized

Tomoaki INABA/Flickr

Summer nights are great times to stay outside and look up to the stars. Go out into the countryside where it is dark at night and forget the flow of time under the starry sky.

Achi village in Nagano prefecture is said to be the best spot in Japan to see the stars.

14. Put yourself in the vastness of the sunflower fields


Sunflower is a typical flower of summer, its brightness giving us power to overcome the summer heat. It can be enjoyed from July to August.

15. Ease yourself with the sound of the wind chimes -Furin-


The tingling sound you hear in the humid summer will definitely bring you coolness. Most of them are made of glass and when the wind blows, a gentle chime will ring.

You can experience painting your own pattern on the glass too!

16. Eat in the cool wind at Kawadoko

Party Lin/Flickr

Kawadoko is a style of restaurant in Kyoto where the floor is placed over and/or besides a river to welcome customers in summer. Kawadoko is a special seasonal way of eating that helps to cool you down, usually available from May to September in Kyoto. Having a meal while hearing the sound of a stream and surrounded by nature helps us to forget the hot, humid, summer!

Also Check: "Kawadoko" is a Stylish Way to Eat During Summer

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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About the author

University student living in Tokyo. Spent five years living in the UK during my childhood. I love to travel both in and outside of Japan.
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