The Best Things to Do in Japan During Summertime
Full of incredible cultural festivals, firework displays and more, Japan is perfect to visit over the summertime, if you can withstand the heat that is. Here are the top things to do if you're visiting over the summer period.
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Hit Up One of Japan's Many Beautiful Beaches
Although not usually associated with Japan, this Pacific island country is flush with some gorgeous beaches along its vast coastline that are often highly underrated. While the weather can be stiflingly hot inland and in the cities, head to the coast for a comforting sea breeze while you bathe in the radiant sun.
For the ultimate beach getaway, head to the southern islands of Okinawa, not only will you find the best spots of sand and ocean in Japan around here, some of the beaches here are often remarked as the most beautiful in the world. Check out this list of incredible islands in Okinawa.
See the Incredible Flower Fields of Hokkaido
Japan's northern island might be most popular in the winter when the whole area is filled with powdery white snow, but it's completely different in the summer and in a good way. Not only is the weather perfect, much cooler than the blisteringly humid cities further south, you'll also find a number of great things to do that aren't possible during the winter season.
For one of the prettiest spots in Japan, head to Farm Tomita in Furano. Its lavender field is the largest in Japan and usually blooms from early to mid July, although you'll find a number of beautiful flower fields all throughout the summer usually lasting until October.
Attend a Summer Matsuri
All throughout the summer in Japan almost every town and city across the country puts on its own festival known locally as matsuri. These incredibly lively celebrations are the perfect way to get an insight into Japan's fascinating culture and even take part in it yourself. Some of the most incredible festivals you can attend are the Aomori Nebuta Festival up in the north of Japan and Kyoto's famous Gion Matsuri. Click here for a roundup of the best summer festivals you should visit in Japan.
Climb the Iconic Peak of Mt Fuji
For those feeling a little more adventurous then head to the top of Mt Fuji for a memorable experience. At an elevation of 3,776 meters, reaching the top is no easy feat and usually takes around five to seven hours. That being said, the paths up to the top are well maintained, with plenty of rest stops and even places to grab some food like curry or soba noodles at the top. Most people tend to start climbing during the night so that they can reach the summit in time for watching the sunrise. However it's also easily possible to climb up and down in one day.
The climbing season usually spans from early July to early September, the trails close outside of that period as the mountain peak is usually covered in snow. Try to avoid the Obon Holiday in mid-July as the trails can get quite crowded during this period.
Attend a Sumo Tournament
Most of July is host to a hugely popular sumo tournament held in Nagoya, one of Japan's central cities. There are six tournaments throughout the year for Sumo, and the summer one is always held at the start of July and lasts for 15 days. If you're interested in watching games during the tournament, make sure to book well in advance, as tickets can sell out quickly.
Slurp up Some Cold Noodles
The culinary symbol of summer in Japan, when the weather starts heating up you'll see everyone and their aunt slurping up somen, a kind of thin cold noodle popular all over the country. While cold noodles are often not so popular outside of Asia, you'll start to appreciate them once you feel the wrath of Japan's summer heat. Another popular summer food is kakigori, a kind of shaved ice that's flavored with syrup and often fruit.
Most people shy away from visiting Japan during the summertime after hearing about the dreaded heat that envelopes much of the island, It's worth braving the heat however for some of the incredible festivals that you won't find at any other time of the year. Another popular accompaniment to these spectacular showcases of culture are the huge firework displays that almost every city holds, often trying to outdo each other.