Japan's Summer: What should you expect?

by Courtney Thompson

Summer in Japan is known for being very hot and humid, but for those prepared for the heat, there are a lot of fun activities to enjoy! Japan experiences summer from June to mid-September, and throughout this period the temperature ranges between about 70 to 90 degrees. Japan experiences a lot of rainfall in June and July, and August is typically the hottest month in Japan with the temperature sometimes spiking to over 90 degrees! Those who live in Japan have many great strategies for keeping cool to let them enjoy these hot Japanese summers and get the most out of their summer break.

 Japan Summer

In Japan, it is less common for adults to take extended vacations during the summer. On average, Japanese adults get 20 paid days off each year, and they tend to use about 10 of these days. Many adults do have a few days off in August for the Obon, or Bon, Festival, which is a traditional Buddhist holiday that celebrates ones ancestors.

When it comes to summer break for students, the Japanese school system differs from the American system in how their semesters are structured. Instead of having two semesters followed by a long summer break like in America, Japanese schools have three semesters with a break between each one. If you’re used to the American system, you may be surprised by how long summer break is in Japan. Japanese summer break usually lasts about 40 days for children and college-aged students. This break begins in the end of July and ends in the end of August, making it just over a month long. Since this break is shorter, it is common for Japanese students to plan different trips and activities to make the most of their summer break. However, students also tend to study during their summer break, so their breaks aren’t as carefree as some American students’ summer breaks may be.

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Because of the heat, when it’s summer in Japan, it’s important to find great ways to cool down. This can be found in the form of foods, with ice cream mochi and other cool treats being extremely popular at festivals and shops. Japan also has a number of beautiful beaches that see a lot of traffic during the hot summer months. Because the cities tend to experience the most extreme heat, many people also choose to vacation in the Japanese mountains, where you can enjoy nature in the comfort of shade and a cooler breeze.

Other ways that people stay cool include dressing appropriately, which means wearing sandals and swapping out thicker kimonos for summer yukatas during summer festivals, which are extremely popular and are known as matsuri. In addition to the Obon Festival, there are a number of summer matsuri that draw large crowds each year. Many of these take place in July, including the Gion Matsuri which takes place in Kyoto, the Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka, and the Sumida River Fireworks Matsuri in Tokyo. These festivals are some of the most exciting activities during summer in Japan, and if you happen to be in Japan during the summer months, they are well worth a visit!

Sunset in Japan

Summer is an exciting season in Japan, with a lot to do and see. Those who live in Japan do have a shorter summer break than you may be used to, so they make the most of all the activities, including summer matsuri, trips to the beach, some time in the Japanese mountains, and more! If you’re looking to visit Japan in the summer, keep the heat in mind and be prepared, but don’t let it stop you from having a great time!

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