Best Things To Do in Japan in the Summer: Festivals, Flower Fields & Seasonal Foods

By The byFood Team
Updated: April 25, 2024

While spring in Japan has an inspiring atmosphere, summer is the season for outdoor fun, so take it slow and enjoy the sun. If you’re visiting Japan during this jovial season, definitely make some time for quintessential activities, which range from summer festival fun to exploring Japan’s great outdoors. 

Keep reading for the top things to do in Japan in the summer.

7 things to do in Japan in the summer

  1. See Japan’s other blooming flowers
  2. Attend one of Japan’s best music festivals
  3. Sample Japanese street food at a summer matsuri
  4. Stay cool with kakigori and other seasonal summer foods
  5. Escape the heat and visit Japan’s northern prefectures
  6. Hike your way through Japan’s peaks and valleys
  7. Explore Tokyo by bicycle

1. Forget cherry blossoms — see Japan’s other blooming flowers


From hydrangeas in Kamakura to Hokkaido’s dreamy lavender fields, flower spotting is one of the most underrated summer activities you can do in Japan. And, just like sakura, you don’t need to stray from your itinerary to see them. Here’s a super simple breakdown of your options so you can put the petal to the metal. 

  • May: Wisteria
  • June: Hydrangeas and roses
  • July–August: lavender and sunflowers

Check out this comprehensive list of Tokyo gardens to see where you can see these seasonal blooms. 

2. Attend one of Japan’s best music festivals


July and August are the months of festivals — specifically music festivals. Now, to join the festivities takes some preparation (tickets go on sale months in advance), but if you’re a music junkie, it’s well worth it. There are many music festivals around Japan in the summer, but these are the most popular events:

  • Fuji Rock: Arguably one of Japan’s biggest music events. Expect a lineup of performances featuring Japanese and international artists. 
  • Summer Sonic: This music festival is an easy trip from Tokyo and Osaka and offers vibes similar to those of festivals in North America and Europe. 
  • Ultra Japan: An electronic dance music festival for those who like to groove their troubles away.

The Japan National Tourism Organization has an excellent guide to music festivals in Japan, which provides tons of helpful information. 

3. Sample Japanese street food at a summer matsuri


You’ll also see many cultural festivals happen in the summer, especially around Tanabata and Obon. Traditions and customs may change from one region to another, but one aspect of Japanese festivals is consistent throughout the country: street food

A summer matsuri is the place to try some of Japan’s signature grab-and-go treats, such as yakisoba, karaage, and yakitori

Pro tip: bring plenty of cash, as no street food vendor takes cards!

Check out our list of summer festivals in Tokyo!

4. Stay cool with kakigori and other summer foods


With temperatures reaching as high as 35 degrees Celsius on an average summer day, you will crave cold snacks and dishes. Luckily, Japan has many options to choose from. 

Chilled noodles like somen, soba, tofu, and many savory foods will also keep you cool. Sweettooths will enjoy kakigori (Japanese shaved ice), one of Japan’s many flavors of ice cream, ice bars, and smoothies. The best part? You can pick them up at your nearest convenience store for a quick, on-the-fly meal. 

Or, if you fancy, visit these kakigori shops in Tokyo for over-the-top, delicious shaved ice.

5. Escape the heat and visit Japan’s northern prefectures


Tokyo and Kansai, where Osaka and Kyoto are located, get especially hot and humid during July and August. If you can’t handle the heat, take this opportunity to head north. Japan’s northern prefectures, Hokkaido, Aomori, and Akita are popular summer destinations because they generally have milder temperatures than the rest of Japan. 

Not only that, these regions have their own culinary traditions and specialties, making it an excellent option for those visiting Japan for the second or third time. Go off the beaten track!

Read through our food guides for Hokkaido and Aomori to get inspired. 

6. Hike your way around Japan’s peaks and valleys


One of the most popular summer activities is hiking (or trekking). As a mountainous country, Japan has no shortage of destinations perfect for nature lovers. Cross the Japanese Alps, wander through Hokkaido’s Daisetsuzan National Park, or climb Mt. Fuji in the summer for fresh air and stunning naturescapes.

Not sure how to plan a nature getaway? Check out these experiences that boast great sights and delicious food:

Pro tip: Check out this comprehensive guide to every national park in Japan. 

7. Explore Tokyo by bicycle


If this is your first time in Japan, don’t worry too much about the hot weather. Stick to visiting Tokyo, Japan’s capital and most populous city. Consider exploring the streets of Tokyo on a bicycle to take advantage of the great weather while keeping it breezy — literally and figuratively.

Lucky for you, this bicycle tour is tailored to showcase lesser-known Tokyo neighborhoods, Nakano, Koenji, and Asagaya. It also includes lunch, which you’ll pick up at long-established vendors. 

Learn about the lifestyle in these Tokyo neighborhoods, fuel up with tasty morsels at carefully selected street food shops, and rub elbows with ravenous Japanese salarymen on their lunch break. 

This is an authentic peek into life in Tokyo that you can’t experience at the usual tourist attractions of Tokyo. So, climb onto one of our charmingly creaky (but very well-maintained) “mamachari” bicycles and prepare for a thrilling ride through West Tokyo. 

Book this Tokyo bike tour on byFood!

What to expect if you’re traveling to Japan in the summer


Be prepared to sweat

Most of Japan has sweltering and humid summers, except for the Aomori and Hokkaido prefectures, which have relatively milder temperatures. 

But if you’re visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka on your trip, remember to dress light and stay hydrated. Parasols, hats, and portable fans are all great things to carry while you’re out and about! 

Plan around Obon

Obon is a Japanese holiday dedicated to those who have passed. It is generally observed around mid-August; during this time, many take time off to return to their hometowns. 

Some businesses, especially family-run businesses and small businesses, may close during Obon, so make due diligence and check that the activities you’d like to do during this time will be open. 



When is summer in Japan?

Summer in Japan generally lasts from June to August, but depending on where you’re from and where you’re visiting, you might feel summer weather starts as early as May and stretches until the end of September.

For example, you may feel summer starts early in Tokyo but later in Hokkaido.  

How hot does Japan get in the summer?

The average summer temperature is between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius. Japan also experiences a few heat waves every year, during which the temperature can reach as high as 38 degrees Celsius.

What are some tips for beating the heat in Japan during the summer?

Stay hydrated, seek shade, and take breaks in air-conditioned spaces. Japan has plenty of gadgets for staying cool: hand-held fans, cooling sheets, and cool-feeling clothes are some of the most popular ways residents beat the heat in the summer. 


Is it true that Japan has a rainy season during the summer?

Yes, Japan experiences a rainy season known as tsuyu or baiu in June and July. If you're visiting during this period, be sure to pack and carry an umbrella.

How should I dress for the summer in Japan?

Light, breathable clothing is essential during the hot and humid Japanese summer. Opt for cotton fabrics, and don't forget your sunscreen! 

Are there any traditional summer festivals in Japan?

Yes, Japan is famous for its summer festivals, also called matsuri. From fireworks to traditional dances, there's something for everyone!


What are some popular summer foods in Japan?

Summer in Japan means enjoying refreshing dishes like cold noodles (somen) and shaved ice (kakigori). Here are our favorite summer foods to keep cool: 

  • Somen
  • Zaru soba (chilled soba)
  • Morioka reimen (cold ramen with cucumber and watermelon)
  • Kakigori (Japanese shaved ice)

Japanese companies love to release seasonal treats, so be on the lookout for limited-edition delights

Are there any outdoor activities I can enjoy in Japan during the summer?

Absolutely! From hiking in the mountains to river rafting and camping, Japan offers a wide range of outdoor activities for summer adventurers.

We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan's food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.
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The byFood Team
Sharing our love of Japanese cuisine and culture, with the mission of spreading happiness through food.
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