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Do Your Research Before the Olympics! A Primer for Summertime Weather and Access Information for Tokyo and Sapporo

From among Japan’s numerous travel destinations, its capital city Tokyo and and city of Sapporo in Hokkaido are among the best-known. There are a few important pieces of information that visitors should keep in mind - so this article seeks to be an all-in-one resource for those visiting either city in July or August! Here you can find details about the climate as well airport access and public transportation.

When Is Summer in Japan?

While the weather starts getting warm around June and the heat lingers through September, July and August represent the true peak of summer, when days are filled with fireworks displays, music festivals, and a wide variety of outdoor events, and when people flock to beaches and outdoor pools.
Of the cities introduced here, Tokyo tends to experience the “heat island” effect during the summer due to being a large city, and days of high heat are common. Meanwhile, Sapporo is on the cooler side by Japanese standards. Both cities are set to host events in the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

Summer Weather in Tokyo

Tokyo’s summers are hot and humid. Since the city is covered by concrete and asphalt, the “heat island” effect, affecting large cities during times of high temperatures, is on full display. Temperatures can surpass 35℃ for consecutive days and even stay above 25℃ overnight. Thankfully, air-conditioned areas are very common, so take care to avoid heatstroke and drink plenty of water.

July in Tokyo: How to Dress

The average temperature is about 25.0℃, with a maximum of 29.2℃ and minimum of 21.8℃. The month is overall filled with sunny days where you can spend most of your time outdoors, though towards the first half of the month there tend to be more cloudy and rainy days, due to the aftereffects of the rainy season. Be prepared for this by carrying a portable umbrella, as well as a thin, long-sleeved shirt for when it gets chilly in the evenings. Later in the month, stick to short sleeves and short pants to beat the heat.

August in Tokyo: How to Dress

The average temperature is 26.4℃, with a maximum of 30.8℃ and minimum of 23.0℃. It’s the hottest period of the year with the strongest sunshine; always take care to fight off UV rays and the risk of heatstroke. Look out for sudden thunderstorms and typhoons as well. Make sure to wear thin, comfortable clothing that allows for air circulation. Hemp and cotton are good fabrics, while synthetic fibers with absorbent, quick-drying properties are good options as well. Lean into summery outfits like sundresses and sandals.

Getting to Tokyo

Tokyo features two international airports, Narita and Haneda, which are connected to the city center through a wide range of convenient transportation options, including rail, bus, and taxi. Traveling from Narita to downtown usually takes about 60 minutes; the fastest option is JR’s Narita Express service, which takes 60 minutes to reach Tokyo Station and 85 minutes to reach Shinjuku Station. Access to Haneda usually takes 30-60 minutes. The best option is to take the Keikyu Line to Shinagawa Station (11 minutes); from there the JR Yamanote Line goes to numerous destination spots such as Shibuya, Ikebukuro, and Akihabara.

Summer in Sapporo

Sapporo’s summers are comparatively cooler: days over 30℃ are the exception rather than the rule, and temperatures settle down overnight. Unlike Honshu, there isn’t much of a rainy season, and typhoons tend to pass by the area as well. Because of its pleasant climate, many visitors come to the area to escape the heat. Though the sun’s rays are less painful and UV rays less numerous, sunburn is still a very real concern, so make sure to take appropriate measures.

July in Sapporo: What to Wear

The average temperature is 20.5℃, with a maximum of 24.9℃ and minimum of 17.3℃. Rain is infrequent and the humidity is relatively low, so it’s pleasant even after the temperature begins to rise. Short-sleeves are enough for middays, but it’s best to keep a long-sleeve or scarf on the ready in case it gets chilly in the morning or evening. Keep a pair of long-sleeve pants on the ready as well, and sneakers might be a better option than sandals.

August in Sapporo: What to Wear

The average temperature is 22.3℃, with a maximum of 26.4℃ and minimum of 19.1℃. These are truly summertime temperatures, and chilly mornings and evenings are no longer a problem. Short-sleeves and short pants are enough for daily sightseeings, though carrying a thin long-sleeve layer might be a good way to prevent sunburn. There’s a chance that temperatures drop all at once in the latter half of August, so keep a long-sleeve and long-pants for backup.

Getting to Sapporo

Shin-Chitose Airport is the gateway to the city and carries direct flights to most major domestic and international destinations. The city center can be accessed through a wide range of convenient transportation options, including rail, bus, taxi, and rental car. The fastest option is to use JR’s Shin-Chitose Airport Station, which is directly connected to the terminal basement, and take the JR Rapid Airport service, which leaves every 15 minutes between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm and takes 36 minutes to go to Sapporo Station.

There’s so many interesting things to do in Tokyo and Sapporo, from tourist destinations to shopping areas to gourmet eateries. Make sure to keep the info from this article in mind as you plan your trip!

*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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