There’s a reason why Japan is known as the land of the rising sun – their summer days are long with plenty of sunlight hours with temperatures averaging 30-ish degrees celsius. Although many come for the crazy culture of novelty restaurants, cat cafes and shopping, there’s a lot to explore once you leave the big cities. So leave the comfort of the air conditioned shopping centre, buy a train ticket, rent a bike or car and try one of these favourite summer activities:
1. Check out a Matsuri (festival)
Summer in Japan consists of a myriad of matsuri festivals, held every weekend all over the country. Characterised by parading floats, dancing, performances, colourful yukatas (cotton kimonos) and food stalls, the atmosphere at festivals is not one to forget. Be sure to visit during the day and night as there are commonly firework displays as well.
2. Visit a flower farm
Various flowers sprout up all year reflecting the differing seasons, and summer is no different offering fields of lavenders and sunflowers as far as the eye can see. Visits to flower farms typically include other activities other than viewing such as floral flavoured treats and field mazes. Definitely a must do for those with a keen eye for photography.
3. Hike up a mountain
Summer days can be unforgivingly hot and humid, but for outdoor buffs, hiking up a mountain will be a cooling change with the comforting shade of trees and higher altitudes. Mount Fuji is at its busiest during summer, so why not try a smaller mountain instead that isn’t crowded and that can be easily done in a day. If you’re lucky with a clear weather day, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping panoramic views.
4. Visit a beer garden
Summer and a cool pint of beer go hand in hand, so it’s not a surprise that Japan offers some fantastic local brands. Beer gardens commonly pop up during summer, frequented by locals looking for an after work social activity coupled with snacks. Typically sponsored by Sapporo, Kirin or Asahi, it’s a great way to finish off a hot summers day. Note though that the legal drinking age in Japan is 20 years old.
5. Reward yourself with some ice cream
Soft serve ice creams are a common sighting in Japan, and are even famous in the Hokkaido region given the high quality dairy that is produced there. It’s the perfect way to reward your inner child and to also experience some different flavours such as milk, matcha (green tea), houjicha (roasted green tea) or red bean. If you visit one of the flower farms, you may even find lavender or sunflower flavoured ice cream!
Have you been to Japan during summer? What’s been your favourite activity to do? Let us know if the comments below!