What is Japan’s rainy season?
Japan’s rainy season called tsuyu or baiu usually begins in early May in Okinawa. In other regions, it runs from early June through around mid July. Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture of Japan, officially does not have tsuyu, although some parts experience consecutive cloudy and chilly days resemble tsuyu in early summer. Its weather tends to be nicer than other regions of Japan.
The weather during tsuyu is unstable. It is important to prepare for rain at anytime. Although it’s typically rainy with lower temperatures, sometimes it has less rain and can be hot.
…The main problem during the rainy season is the humidity. People tend to become irritated by it. Taking a bath or shower often helps you keep comfortable. Also, things are easily covered by mold. If you are staying in Japan, it is important to air your closets or houses when the sun is out. As many cases of food poisoning occur during this season, it’s also important to watch out what you eat and not to leave food out of the refrigerator.
1. Cute umbrellas
Of course one of the essential items for the Japanese rainy season is an umbrella. Whether you’re the type to have a short one you can easily stow away or a long elegant one with frills and lace (or both!), there’s no denying that you’ll need a cute umbrella during this time since you’ll be using it more often than you want to.
Hydrangeas, or ajisai in Japanese, grow abundantly during the rainy season. While they are pretty even without the rain, they are especially beautiful while full of raindrops. Large, flourishing hydrangeas are a sign of tsuyu and also a sign that you should take lots of pictures of them before they shrivel up in the dry heat.
3. Tourist spots that look good in the rainAresio/Flickr
Furthermore, some sights can be very attractive in rain, especially some temples, gardens and hot springs. All you need to enjoy traveling in the rain, is the right attitude and rain protection.
Hot spring resorts, Mt. Koya and areas such as Hakone with its mountain vegetation and lush flowers are all good places to visit during tsuyu. The rain might bring your mood down, but don’t forget that it can make normally pretty places extra beautiful.
4. Fewer crowds while travelingTokutomi Masaki/Flickr
Nevertheless, the rainy season is not the most suitable season for visiting Japan, even though it can have its advantages. For example, travel activity is rather low during June, which clears many popular outdoor attractions from the many visitors that are usually present.
5. Time to stock up on refresh sheets
“Refresh sheets,” such as the Biore “Sarasara” powder sheets, are sold in Japan during the hot and humid seasons. When you get sticky and sweaty from the humidity, using a refresh sheet can help make you feel better and will wipe away the sweat from your body. Gatsby, a popular men’s cosmetic brand, also produces sheets that feel “icy” to help with the heat.
While refresh sheets are used more often in the later summer months, you might still use them during tsuyu when it can get just as humid and disgusting outside. It would be good to stock up on them for the whole summer!
Teru teru bōzu (Japanese: 照る照る坊主、てるてる坊主; literally “shine shine monk”) is a little traditional handmade doll made of white paper or cloth that Japanese farmers began hanging outside of their window by a string. In shape and construction they are essentially identical to ghost dolls, such as those made at Halloween. This amulet is supposed to have magical powers to bring good weather and to stop or prevent a rainy day. “Teru” is a Japanese verb which describes sunshine, and a “bōzu” is a Buddhist monk (compare the word bonze), or in modern slang, “bald-headed”; it is also a term of endearment for addressing little boys.
Teru teru bōzu became popular during the Edo period among urban dwellers, whose children would make them the day before the good weather was desired and chant “Fine-weather priest, please let the weather be good tomorrow.”