Have you ever wished to be a character in a fairytale?
Well, literally, it is not possible to fulfill this desire, but what the island country Japan can offer you in summer is not any less than the fairytale!
Summer in Japan is the most exciting and busiest time of the year when you can enjoy manifold festivals, delicious seasonal foods, and beautiful fireworks almost everywhere you go!
It is also the season for hiking Mount Fuji or national parks, relaxing on the beach, and viewing fascinating flower displays of this country.
So, why don’t you plan your Japan summer trip with us?
But how? Right?
Well, I am here to share the top 22 interesting and fun things to do in Japan in the summer.
Then why is the delay?
Let’s enjoy the most amazing summer experience in Japan!
Best Summer Activities in Japan: Beat The Heat
Don’t dislike the summer season (June to mid-September) because of its hotness and humidity, as there are tons of mind-blowing activities to blow off your dullness.
I will describe those fun opportunities by dividing them into different categories.
Make your summer trip a remarkable one by choosing a few from each criterion.
Chill with Some Cool Outdoors Activities
Try the following to-do things outside and stay chilled even in the scorching heat.
1. Climb The Mount Fuji
Love to try different adventurous things? Or does hiking seem fun to you?
If your answer is yes, then do not miss the never-forgetting experience of climbing Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan.
The summer season opens this door for you to experience this exciting trip.
So, I will suggest you grab this golden opportunity right away.
Keep in mind that the official climbing time is early July to early September.
Climbing the crest will take a couple of days.
Well, you can choose different routes for hiking.
But if you want my suggestions, I will recommend the most popular Yoshida Trail, followed by the Fujinomiya Trail.
You can also try the Gotemba Trail or Subashiri Trail, but they have comparatively fewer hikers.
Also, try to go there on a weekday to avoid the huge crowd, and don’t forget to go through a guidebook on climbing Mount Fuji to ensure a safe and trouble-free journey.
Don’t like mountains? Then, of course, you like the sea! Right?
2. Spend A Relaxing Beach Day
Being an island country, Japan is home to countless beautiful beaches.
Going to beaches is really something that can give you a vibe of the arrival of summer.
You can swim in the crystal-clear seawater, try marine activities or just take a refreshing stroll while enjoying the comforting sea breeze.
If you want a classic, tropical beach vibe, the smaller islands in Japan instead of Honshu can be your best bet.
On the main island of Honshu, there are also some popular beach spots like Odaiba Marine Park Beach in Tokyo.
Just outside of Tokyo, Kamakura and Enoshima beaches are within easy reach.
If you don’t mind going further, go to Okinawa that boasts numerous scenic beaches with classic bright blue water.
Yonaha Maehama and Nishibama are two such beaches.
And not to mention Ishigaki and Miyakojima, two wonderful islands in Okinawa that make for a great weekend getaway.
3. Explore Fascinating Floral Displays in Hokkaido
Hokkaido, the largest and northernmost prefecture, is one of the cold places in Japan during summer.
Here you won’t experience the hot weather of Tokyo’s summer. Everything is cool; the weather, foods, atmosphere, nature, landscapes, and people also.
Hokkaido waits to welcome you with its eye-catching flower arrangements throughout the summertime.
And firstly, you should head to Furano-Biei in central Hokkaido to watch vibrant and colorful flower fields.
You cannot take your eyes off the attractive lavender fields of Farm Tomita in the town of Biei as well.
The whole area wears a festive look with a delicate purple in the early to mid-July.
For more flowers, visit Asahikawa to the north, which has the fantastical gardens of Ueno Farm.
To add a colorful, fantasy-like touch to your trip, don’t forget to visit the sunflower field in Hokuryu Town also.
Sunflowers are the symbol of summer in Hokkaido.
You will see a magnificent view of a golden field with countless numbers of sunflowers.
The best time to enjoy this scenic beauty is mid-July to mid-August.
4. Watch Fireflies and Let Them Capture Your Heart
You can watch fireflies during the summer night in Japan.
However, rural or countryside areas where nature remains mostly untouched tend to offer more chances to observe these gorgeous tiny creatures.
They start glowing at night and light up the surroundings with peaceful color.
It seems like the sparkling stars from the night sky have come down to earth to create a heavenly atmosphere.
For watching this unworldly beauty, I recommend going to Tatsuno Town in Nagano prefecture. It attracts numerous visitors in the middle of June with thousands of wild fireflies.
They even hold an annual firefly festival on a large scale in July for the entire town.
The interesting thing is that the light of the fireflies is believed to signify a romantic proposal from a male firefly.
Hence, if you are looking for a way to propose to your beloved bae in a romantic place, you can consider this place.
Fireflies can also be seen in Tokyo at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo in Bunkyo Ward.
The glowing light from the fireflies against the cityscape is truly stunning.
Kyoto is also a great destination for firefly watching.
Head to the rural Ohara area, which is known especially for its beautiful fireflies lighting up the night sky.
5. Hike The Japanese Alps
If climbing Mount Fuji is not enough for you or you are somewhere near Nagano, Gifu, or Toyama prefecture, you can consider hiking the Japanese Alps.
Hiking in the high-altitude Japanese Alps is an ideal summer activity for nature lovers.
The most convenient thing is the elevation of these areas keeps the climate cool and comfortable even in the summer.
Hence you can enjoy your hiking without any difficulties.
Kamikochi in Matsumoto, Nagano, is a renowned mountain resort area where travelers can enjoy light hiking.
Another famous area is Hakuba, which has numerous areas and trails to enjoy nature.
World Heritage-designated Takayama is also situated in the Japanese Alps. It is also a recommended place for its traditional townscape, restaurants, and shops.
6. Enjoy A Day Camping
Prefer to keep in touch with nature and away from crowds?
Then outdoor camping is a must-try for you. It is a popular leisure activity in Japan.
From nearby Mt. Fuji to the Japanese Alps, campsites are available everywhere in Japan.
Fee campgrounds range from places where you can just pitch your tent to cabins for glamping.
Many of them offer hot showers, bathrooms, and sometimes even hot springs.
If you are in Tokyo and not interested in going far, try urban camping in Hikarigaoka Park.
You can also consider one of Japan’s thirty-four national parks for outdoor camping.
Check the official website to know the details on campgrounds and reservations.
Please be noted that some camping sites require reservations in advance. These become fully booked, particularly during summer. So make sure to plan ahead.
Don’t worry either if you have any budget issues. Simply do camping for free in the wilderness.
In this case, my recommended place will be Kamikochi in the Japanese Alps.
Get up high there and beat the heat.
7. Throw A Barbecue Party
Barbecue is one of the popular summer events in Japan to spend a memorable time with family and friends.
You can take part in this amicable custom too with some ingredients and planning.
It can be organized at home on the rooftop, but I think outdoor planning will be great to bring some exciting changes to your monotonous life.
Many parks and campsites have barbecue areas which you can rent out or use for barbecue.
To make your task easier, I can suggest some nice spots for this family or friends gettogether party.
Natural parks or some seaside parks in Tokyo like Showa Kinen Memorial Park offer a BBQ garden with everything you need.
Another modern BBQ spot in Tokyo is WILD MAGIC, situated within walking distance from JR Shin-toyosu station.
Makaino Farm Resort is a popular BBQ spot near Mt. Fuji which is a little outside of Tokyo.
With the BBQ, you can also enjoy beautiful flower gardens and a petting zoo with adorable animals here.
Now, if you are confused about the BBQ item, I think I can also help you in this case.
A traditional Japanese barbecue includes some types of fish and meat and seasonal produce like pumpkin, eggplants, etc.
Some traditional Japanese dishes like Onigiri (rice balls) and yakisoba (stir-fried noodles) are often included on the menu to have fun with a healthy and complete meal.
Enjoy Traditional Summer Festivals and Events
As I have said earlier, numerous festivals are held in this country throughout the year. Summer is not an exception to this also.
You can participate in some famous and renowned festivals to spend a remarkable summer vacation in Japan.
8. Catch A Firework Festival
If you come from a place or region where fireworks festivals are rarely celebrated, Japan’s beautiful hanabi (firework) festivals will be particularly worth seeing.
Here fireworks are traditional summer events.
So, you will find a number of fireworks events all over Japan during summer!
Don’t hesitate to grab the opportunity to view one of them.
I can suggest several places that are the best to enjoy a firework event.
If you are in Hokkaido, check out nightly fireworks on the shore of Lake Toya. Or, don’t forget to catch a front-row seat at the Omagari Fireworks.
And not to mention Sumida River Fireworks Festival, one of the most famous festivals, which takes place by Tokyo Skytree and Asakusa.
Another must-see hanabi is held in Osaka, known as Tenjin Matsuri. It is a grand summer festival centered around Tenmangu Shrine with a stunning fireworks display.
You may also count the Aomori Nebuta Festival for watching fireworks.
It is actually a festival of colorful massive floats where the festival ends with a fantastic firework display around Aomori Bay.
Seeing the glittering, colorful displays illuminating the summer night sky, of course, will be a magical, one-of-a-kind experience for you.
9. Attend Gion Matsuri in Kyoto
An ancient event in Japan is Kyoto Gion Matsuri, one of the biggest festivals in Japan.
This festival symbolizes the old tradition of Kyoto, which is colorful, fun, and in a word, unforgettable.
You may not be interested in Japanese culture, but still, I believe it will be a remarkable experience for anyone.
While describing this festival, I am quite confused about which one to cover first or which not.
What a sweet problem! Right?
July 17 is the most exciting day of Gion Matsuri as the grand procession of floats takes place on this day.
The festival is featured with different events, such as the grand procession of floats, parades, and so on.
I must share a few things with you that the festival begins every year in July and is celebrated the entire month.
10. Participate in Tanabata Festival & Make Your Wish Come True
This festival is celebrated annually all around Japan.
Some regions celebrate Tanabata on July 7, while others celebrate it on August 7 following the old traditional calendar.
It is a traditional custom, dating back to the Nara Period, that commemorates the ancient story of two deities in love but unable to meet.
On this day, colorful strips called tanzaku are hung on bamboo branches with wishes written on them.
As it occurs throughout Japan, look for the colorful streamers where you are and participate yourself by writing your own wishes.
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11. Join Music Festivals
Some of the country’s biggest music festivals are held in the summer season.
Two notable ones are Fuji Rock Festivals (end of July) in Niigata and Summer Sonic (mid-August) in Tokyo and Osaka.
World-class artists from overseas as well as Japanese groups perform at these multi-day festivals.
Another popular one, called Rock in Japan Festival, takes place at Hitachi Seaside Park for ten days in August.
It features domestic artists mainly. If you are a crazy fan of Japanese rock or pop, don’t hesitate for a second to attend this event.
Though these festivals are very popular, you may be surprised by the discipline and calmness of the crowds.
On top of that, the music experience will be one of a kind for you!
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12. Explore The Charms of Dance Festivals
A number of dance festivals take place during summer, especially in August. I am mentioning some of the attractive ones among them.
The city of Tokushima is very proud of its local event Tokushima Awa Dance Festival, which was founded in 1586 to commemorate the opening of Tokushima Castle.
A unique style of dance originated here in this festival, and that has become one of Japan’s popular folk dances.
Morioka Sansa Odori is a dance festival in Marioka that holds the world record for the biggest taiko drums ensemble.
Around 10,000 drummers participate each year in this traditional dance festival.
Domannaka Matsuri in Nagoya is a relatively new dance festival but quickly became one of the biggest summer events in the city.
It has a relatively flexible format that allows many international teams to participate.
You can go exploring these events to get a good idea about Japanese culture along with some international ones.
13. Join An Obon Festival
Obon is a Japanese cultural event that remembers the deceased ancestors of the locals.
This event generally takes place in July or August, depending on the region, and it generally starts with a festival of paper lanterns (chochin lanterns).
The lanterns are cast in a river that eventually floats towards the sea. Symbolically, it represents sending the ancestors’ spirits into the sky.
These events also cover dance performances.
The most popular Obon festival is the Daimonji Festival in Kyoto.
However, many cities and towns also have their own celebrations.
You can consider going to these places during summertime.
14. Have Fun Time at Sumo Nagoya Basho
Sumo is a great way to get an idea about traditional martial arts in Japan.
The most talented and professional wrestlers in Japan compete in the Grand Sumo Tournament.
It is held annually in July in Nagoya at the venue Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.
For the most traditional experience, make sure to book a box seat on the floor. Here you may take off your shoes and sit on cushions comfortably.
The great Nagoya Castle is not far away from the venue.
So, suppose you pay a visit to Nagoya to see the Grand Sumo Tournament. In that case, it will give you an opportunity to explore the Castle area and other attractive places located nearby.
15. Attend The Peace Memorial Ceremony for The Victims of Hiroshima
The Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima holds ceremonies and a lantern floating event every year on August 6. It takes place in remembrance of the victims and lasting damage from the atomic bomb dropped in 1945.
This custom includes speeches from government officials from all over the world.
Colorful paper lanterns holding personal messages are floated down in the Motoyasu River, which is next to Hiroshima’s A-Bomb Dome.
You can also participate in this ritual by adding a message to a lantern and lining up to set it afloat for a small fee.
Taste The Summer Season in Japan
Japan is famous worldwide for its exceptional and delicious culinary culture. If you dig deeper into the history of Japanese cuisine, you will be surprised by its diversity and versatility.
Now I will mention some foods that are perfect for enjoying in Summer.
16. Eat Nagashi Somen (Cold Japanese Noodles)
Enjoying the summer in Japan without having somen! It can’t happen.
Nothing can beat the heat in Japan better than a bowl of nagashi somen noodles.
Nagashi somen is a delicious Japanese summer dish that involves catching and eating chilled and thin wheat somen noodles.
Traditionally, somen noodles are slid down an excavated bamboo shoot with flowing water. The diners have to catch the noodles with their chopsticks, dip them in a bowl of broth, and eat.
It is a delicious and fun activity done in Japanese households during summer.
You can also find similar restaurants with different forms of nagashi somen, which includes the noodles rotating around in a large dish.
17. Eat Mochi Icecream
In summer, other cool things to do in Japan include indulging in a traditional frozen delicacy.
You can try mochi ice cream to cool yourself off.
Glutinous rice dough is formed into a ball, then filled with Japanese ice cream, and finally, it is kept to be frozen.
You will find frozen mochi in most sweet shops throughout Japan.
Tokyo even has some popular mochi sellers like Ginza Akebono or the top-class wagashi store, Toraya.
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18. Cool yourself off with Ice Shaves Kakigori
Kakigori, or shaved ice, is a popular summer treat in Japan that all visitors should try at least once.
There is something to please all tastebuds and dietary preferences. The ice is shaved finely, flavored with syrup, and topped with condensed milk and fresh fruits.
There are many flavor variations in kakigori like strawberry, cola, melon, lemon, ramune, green tea, orange, and many more.
You can enjoy its fluffy taste at traditional Japanese cafes and dessert shops.
Therefore, don’t forget to satisfy your taste buds and cool down with delicious and sweet kakigori on a hot day in japan.
Except for these three, Japanese summer fruits such as watermelon, pear, melon, peach, etc., are also worth trying.
They are so delicious that ‘yumm’ is the word that will come out of your mouth while eating.
Try Some Indoor Fun Activities
I have given the idea about outdoor summer activities, festivals, and events that you can attend or participate in.
If you visit Japan in summer, you may also include some indoor to-do things on your bucket list.
19. Be Closer to Culture & Tradition at A Museum
If you want to avoid the heat and learn something new, museums are must-see places in japan summer.
While enjoying the cool air-conditioned interior, you can explore everything from Japanese art, historical artifacts to the history of ramen.
I can suggest some interesting and worth visiting museums for your convenience.
Tokyo’s Ueno Park has six museums with different types of exhibitions, from sculptures to the city’s history.
Some other notable ones are TeamLab Borderless and Planets, filled with light and sound.
These two are worth seeing, too.
Besides, you will find a large number of museums in Kyoto too.
Kyoto Railway Museum and a museum on traditional Japanese desserts are worth mentioning among them.
20. Cool off at A Water Park
Want a refreshing vibe in the hot sunny weather?
Then, waterparks can be the best places to visit in Japan in summer.
You may beat the heat by going to these places, but you might have to deal with crowds at places like Water Amusement Island, Tokyo Summerland, or Tobu Super Pool.
Many water parks in Japan have a strict no tattoos policy.
So, you will be removed from the park without a refund if you are spotted with any tattoo.
However, don’t worry. I have tips for you.
Plan for your summer travel in June or September. Then, you can avoid the Japanese school vacation in July and August.
21. Go for Shopping at Underground Shopping Malls
Summer sales are common in Japan.
Hence, you can shop at a reasonable price from the ongoing summer sale.
Underground shopping malls are found throughout Japan.
They are usually connected to train stations. So, you won’t face any difficulties getting there.
Underground shopping areas are filled with restaurants, cafes, and stores, offering air-conditioning and entertainment to people passing by.
These areas are common in most major train stations in Japan.
Tokyo Station has long shopping streets and a street filled with ramen shops. Osaka’s Namba Station and Umeda Station also have hundreds of stores underground that are connected to stations.
You will even find large shopping malls on the basement levels at Kyoto Station.
Please be noted that these areas become crowded, especially on weekends. Still, they provide shoppers with a chance to find exciting gifts and relax in comfort.
22. Enjoy Swimming at Yunessun
Onsen or hot springs are very popular all year round in Japan.
But if you want to relax in cooler water, you should head to Yunessun in the gorgeous Hakone area near Mt. Fuji.
It is a theme park of hot springs and baths. You will find a large swimsuit area filled with different types of pools with different flavored water.
There is also a large-scale swimming pool in the center. Besides, an outdoor water park is also there, which will be great for summertime play.
So, go there to cool down in summer with family and friends and spend quality time with them.
Well, that’s all about today. I have nothing more to inform you.
If I cover all the things to do in Japan in Summer, a book will not be enough to enlist them.
Hence, I have included the most worthy or mentionable ones for you.
I know it is not possible to try all the things listed here, but I will suggest trying a few from each category to make your summer vacation a memorable one.
Lastly, happy traveling.