Summer Travel Guide

Summer in Japan runs from June to August. The weather gets increasingly hot and humid, with the rainy season starting mid to late June. It does not rain every day however, nor all day long. Hokkaido and mountain areas are cooler than other areas. The typhoon season starts late August and affects southern Japan the most.

Public holidays

  • 15 July (Maritime Day)

Peak travel time

Japan’s school holidays start late July and continue through August; Obon week in mid-August is a major holiday time for Japanese people with many companies giving their staff time off.

The G20 summit will be held in Osaka on 28-29 June, with 30,000 delegates expected. There are likely to be traffic restrictions and additional security, so be aware of this if you are planning to be in Osaka at that time. Smaller G20 Ministers’ meetings are being held in Fukuoka, Okayama, Matsuyama, Nagoya, Niigata, Karuizawa and Kutchan.

Update: Here are some useful details on the impact of the G20 summit on travel in Osaka.

Sightseeing

Festivals and fireworks occur all over Japan; lavender fields bloom in Hokkaido, and summer flowers such as hydrangeas and irises bloom in gardens everywhere.

Outdoor dining is a feature in many places, with restaurants along the Kamo river in Kyoto erecting verandahs overlooking the river, and restaurants in nearby Kibune erecting dining platforms that span a stream.

The climbing season for Mt Fuji opens in early July and runs to early September.

Opening hours for many tourist attractions are extended in the summer with the longer daylight hours. If you are visiting outdoors sights such as gardens, you may want to consider going early in the morning to avoid the heat in warmer areas of Japan.

A sampling of summer events

Torigoe Matsuri, Tokyo – 8-9 June. Locals parade mikoshi, or portable shrines, around the streets of Asakusa. It’s colourful and crowded, and goes all day and into the evening on both days.

Setouchi Triennale Summer Gatherings – 19 July-25 August. This art festival on Naoshima and other islands is held every three years.

Sumo tournament, Nagoya – 7-21 July

Tenjin festival, Osaka – 24-25 July. This festival involves a procession of people dressed in historical costume, boats sailing up the river with fires lit, and fireworks.

Fuji Rock, Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata – 26-28 July. Japan’s biggest rock festival includes Japanese and international acts. The Cure and The Chemical Brothers are major acts announced for this year’s festival.

Awa Odori, Tokushima – 12-15 August. Traditional dance groups take over Tokushima’s streets during this festival.

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For further information, the ebook Japan Just for You is a practical step-by-step guide to planning your trip to Japan, starting with developing your own personal trip concept. It’s now available on Apple, Amazon and Kobo, with other ebook stores to come soon.