Summertime in Tokyo: What to Know & How to Prepare
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Summertime in Tokyo: What to Know & How to Prepare
Summer in Tokyo will be here before we know it! While you may have lived through summertime elsewhere, it's a unique experience here. From what to wear to what to eat, we've broken down some tips on how to make the most of this season.
Though it's getting warmer each day, you haven't seen anything yet! Temperatures in July and August average about 30 or 31 degrees and it won't get much cooler than 22 degrees at night. Humidity averages around 75 percent, as well. It gets hot and sticky in the city, but work and life must go on! It's very important to drink a lot of water, as even short commutes or outdoor activities can dehydrate you quickly in that kind of weather.
Tokyo has a rainy season as well, usually beginning in mid-June and lasting about a month. Days on end of drizzles put a literal damper on the summertime vibes (and don't do too much to really cool you off, either). Later in the summer, typhoons are also a fact of life, dumping large amounts of rain over short periods of time. It's wise to have an umbrella with you just in case a storm breaks out unexpectedly. Learn alternate routes for your daily commute as well; train and bus systems are often temporarily suspended due to inclement weather.
The combination of warm weather and lots of water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes. It's a good idea to invest in a hand-held zapper and plenty of bug spray. These will be especially handy if you plan on escaping the city heat for the nearby countryside.
Considering the weather outlined above, what you choose to wear during summer in Tokyo can go a long way in keeping you comfortable and happy. While the city, and Japan in general, tends to be more conservative than many Western countries with regard to clothing, as long as you work in a casual environment (as in, no "salary man" suits) or are taking a holiday, you can wear relaxed outfits without worry.
Clothing made of moisture-wicking material will help keep the sweat at bay, as will loose, flowing pants and tops. Shorts and tank tops are acceptable to wear around town, but keep in mind where your travels will take you! If you plan to visit a temple or shrine, or a nice restaurant or friend's home, it's still a good idea to dress less casually even if it's hot out. A yukata, or traditional summer robe, is a good choice for these occasions. They're lightweight and breathable, but more formal than jeans and a t-shirt. Not to mention, very stylish!
And, keeping the aforementioned rain storms in mind, versatile clothing is a good idea. Bring extra layers and wear shoes that won't become impossible to walk in if they get soaked. Having an extra poncho in your bag never hurts, either.
Holidays and Festivals
Summer is festival season throughout much of Japan and Tokyo is no exception. In addition to the many niche and regional festivals that will take place (which we'll tell you all about in an upcoming article), the Star Festival in early July and Obon in mid-August are two of the bigger ones. Star Festival celebrations include tying notes with wishes to bamboo trees. Obon is a time to reflect upon loved ones who have passed. Many people in Japan will return to their hometowns during this time to observe with their families.
In addition to the months-long summer break for international schools and the five-week long vacation in July and August for Japanese ones, there are also two public holidays in the summer. Marine Day (15 July) is similar to Greenery Day, though specific to enjoying the ocean. Mountain Day ( August 11) is also similar but, of course, focused on mountains. All this free time is a good reason to safely enjoy the outdoors with hats, sunscreen, water and sturdy shoes!
With the festivals of summer come the foods. While you can pretty much find any cuisine you'd like any time of year in Tokyo, some dishes are much more widely available and more delicious when they're in season.
A summertime staple, kakigori is shaved ice with various toppings - ranging from bean paste to Blue Hawaiian syrup. Most festivals will have at least one, if not several, kakigori vendors on hand. Watermelons are also in abundance. They're a fairly pricey treat; uniquely shaped varieties can cost of north of 10,000Y. But, they make wonderful host gifts and are extra tasty in Japan, where the farmers grow them as delicacies rather than dime-a-dozen fruits.
If you're more into the savory, chilled Somen noodles are a delicious way to stay cool in the summer heat. Some restaurants even offer "nagashi-somen:" the noodles are slid down an ice-water-filled bamboo shoot for diners to snag before they hit the bottom. Outdoor beer gardens also begin to pop up all over Tokyo. Many have tons of food options (edamame is a popular snack) and non-alcoholic beverages as well, making them a fun option for the whole family.
Summer in Tokyo can be a bit of a wild ride, but if you're prepared, there's no reason you can't enjoy all of the fun things the city has on offer. And as always, CareFinder is here should you need a helping hand while taking it all in. Our sitters are highly qualified and perfectly suited to help you and your family have a successful summer!
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