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[Special Edition] All About Japan’s Rainy Season and Ways to Enjoy It

There’s something you should always check when traveling: the climate of your destination. This article aims to do just that by bringing you some useful information about the rainy season in Japan. Here you’ll find some basic facts and discover how to prepare yourself to deal with this wet time of the year.

When Is the Rainy Season in Japan?

Called “tsuyu” in Japanese, the rainy season in Japan is a period when it rains frequently across the country, except for the island of Hokkaido* and the Ogasawara Archipelago. The time of the year when the rainy season takes place differs every year and depends on the region, but according to statistics, it occurs from early May to late June in Okinawa and progresses up north, reaching the most northern part of the Tohoku region during mid-June and ending in late July. It happens when spring is almost over and summer is about to begin.

* A weather phenomenon resembling the rainy season happens in some years in this area.

Temperatures and What to Wear During the Rainy Season

The days become extremely humid once the rainy season starts. Temperatures are relatively warm, but just like the weather, they can be unstable. You get a streak of hot days and then all of a sudden, it gets cold. You need to also be careful with the difference in temperature between day and night. That’s why it’s recommended you bring clothes that allow you to easily adjust to the temperature changes. You’ll be able to spend most of the daytime wearing short sleeves, but it’d be a good idea to have a jacket, cardigan, or parka just in case.

Handy Things to Have for the Rainy Season

You'll need to have some items to protect you from the rain in order to spend a pleasant day outside. An umbrella close at hand is a must, but a comfortable raincoat might also come in handy. It will free up both of your hands so that you can take pictures whenever you find something worthy of a snap.
Moreover, the high humidity during this season can cause your hair to frizz. Hair care products such as hair oil and hair wax come in handy to fix this problem, allowing you to easily tame your hair.

Things You Should Be Careful About During the Rainy Season

The high temperatures and humidity typical of the rainy season cause the proliferation of some bacteria responsible for food poisoning. So be careful when handling foods because they spoil easily. In order to avoid food poisoning, you should avoid carrying take-out food or raw foods for long periods of time, and you should always wash your hands well before eating or preparing any food.
You should also be careful about dehydration and heatstroke because your body loses fluids due to the heat. The best way to prevent these ailments is by hydrating yourself frequently with tepid water or other liquids close to room temperature.

What to Buy in Japan for the Rainy Season

When the rainy season begins, stores in Japan start selling a lot of products that can help you deal with the typical humidity of the period. You find a great variety of rain gear available: rain shoes and raincoats with stylish designs, highly functional umbrellas, and much more. The compact folding umbrellas are easy to carry and make a perfect gift!
Other handy goods for this season include deodorizers and dehumidifiers that you can put inside shoes to absorb moisture and unpleasant smells, and antibacterial sheets which help to prevent food from spoiling inside your lunch box.

Tourist Spots Perfect for the Rainy Season

If you’re coming to Japan during the rainy season, there are some locations that offer attractions unique to this time of the year. For example, there are some famous places where the hydrangeas and irises bloom beautifully especially during the rainy season. Two of the most famous ones are Mimuroto-ji Temple (Kyoto) for the hydrangeas, and Horikiri Iris Garden (Tokyo) for the irises.
Another recommendation would be to check two festivals that can only be seen during this season: the Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival* held in Iwate Prefecture on the second Saturday of June (June 8, 2019), and the Sanno Festival** which takes place in Tokyo in mid-June.

* A traditional event with more than 200 years of history to express gratitude to plow horses. Around 100 richly ornamented horses participate in the procession.

** One of the three largest festivals in Japan. The festival has many attractions, including Bon Odori (a traditional dance where people gather in a circle to dance to the rhythm of songs), Chigo Gyoretsu (a procession of children dressed in traditional attire), and Shinkosai (a Shinto procession held in alternate years, the next taking place in 2020).

Be sure to use this article to make the most of Japan during the rainy season!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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