Dodge the Downpour: 10+ Indoor Activities for Japan's Rainy Season

By Ryan Noble
Updated: June 6, 2024

Don’t let Japan’s rainy season stop you from exploring all this beautiful, diverse country has to offer. Usually spread across June — though this can vary slightly from the southernmost and northernmost points of Okinawa and Hokkaido, respectively — the rainy season in Japan signals the true start of summer.

It shows up hand in hand with blooming hydrangeas, plentiful in both Tokyo and Kyoto, iconic summer foods, and exclusive seasonal Japanese snacks, but if you’re not prepared, it can be a bit of a dampener for your Japan trip.

Get a head start by reading our Japan rainy season survival guide and then start planning your trip around these fun-filled indoor activities. 

1. Spend an afternoon in one of Japan’s best museums

The digital waterfall at teamLab Borderless Museum, where the water flows around guests' feet.

No matter where you are when the heavens open, there’s sure to be an interesting museum nearby. Step inside and expand your mind with all manner of history, culture and art exhibitions.

There’s the Mori Art Museum and teamLab Borderless: MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM, featuring contemporary art and digital displays that will leave you in awe — the latter of which requires buying tickets ahead of time, but is well worth planning into your Tokyo itinerary.

For a taste of more traditional art elsewhere in Japan, there’s the Nara National Museum (near Kyoto), National Art Center Tokyo, and the Otsuka Museum of Art (Naruto, Tokushima), if you find yourself in the southern islands of Shikoku.

Hungry for history? Head to the Tokyo National Museum if you’re in the capital for insight into the art and antiquities of this modern day metropolis, set in breathtaking grounds. Or hoof it to Hiroshima for the moving Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, detailing the events and aftermath of the WWII atomic bombing. Warning: Bring tissues.

And if you find yourself over on the western coast of Honshu and love dinosaurs, spend a day exploring the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, one of the most influential areas in Japan for the discovery of fossils.  

2. Relax in one of Japan’s cozy cafes

A woman in a hat drinking a coffee and looking out the window of a Japanese cafe.

Cafe hopping in Japan is a great way to spend a day regardless of the weather, but there’s something especially atmospheric about holding a hot mug of coffee or tea close while watching the (wet) world go by.

Depending on what you’re looking for in a cafe, you could explore our list of Tokyo cafes with killer coffee, snap a few Feed-worthy pics at Kyoto’s most Instagrammable cafes, or get your game on at these permanent game cafes.

3. Make memories at Japan’s unique indoor theme parks

The entrance to Puro Village at Sanrio Puroland, where Sanrio's popular characters take the spotlight.

Did you know there’s such a thing as an indoor theme park? Before coming to Japan, neither did we! One such example is Sanrio Puroland, putting Japan’s kawaii power on full display with a focus on the popular, cute characters of Hello Kitty, Gudetama and friends. There’s a Hello Kitty musical, child-friendly rides, restaurants, and, as you might expect, plenty of chances to purchase irresistible merch. 

Back over on the manmade island of Odaiba, a great spot for taking in the rainy scenes of Tokyo Bay, there’s the indoor LEGO Discovery Center. Again, this family-friendly indoor attraction has something for everyone, ranging from LEGO factory tours and a LEGO building workshop to a 4D theater and LEGO cafe.

The SEGA Joypolis entrance, showing off a minimalist, futuristic design and logo.

Still raining after LEGO? Simply pop into Joypolis nearby, an indoor haven for gamers. Spread across three floors, you can jump into a world of gaming with 21 different arcade games, indoor roller coasters, and free-roam VR gaming courtesy of Zero Latency VR — which requires a reservation and an additional fee, separate to the entry ticket. 

4. Dive into the deep at one of Japan’s best aquariums

A crowd staring up at the whale shark tank in Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, dwarfed by their size.

Hailed as the best aquarium in all of Japan, head to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium when your beach day is postponed by dark clouds. It has the hands-on experiences you might expect — letting you touch seashells and starfish, ideal for family-friendly days out — but this aquarium’s main draw has to be its immense Kuroshio Tank, where you’ll discover multiple awe-inspiring whale sharks.

Another of Japan’s impressive aquariums is Osaka Kaiyukan, with a wondrous whale shark of its own, plus exhibits showing off penguins, sea lions, otters, dolphins, jellyfish, and so many more residents of the deep.

A girl's silhouette at a Japanese aquarium, pressing her hands against the glass.

Is the rainy season dampening your day out in Tokyo? Step into Sumida Aquarium, spread across the 5th and 6th floor of Tokyo Skytree. Once you’ve seen all of its swimming spectacles, head to the observation deck of Tokyo Skytree for panoramic views of the city looking extra dramatic in the rain.

Alternatively, Tokyo Sea Life Park by Kasai Rinkai Park is another pleasant way to pass a rainy day in the city.

5. Make it a mega mall day (with a cinema trip!)

The exterior of a mall in Japan, showing off the different floors and shops through its windows.

There’s no shortage of indoor shopping spots in Tokyo, like Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, Shibuya109 and Shibuya Parco — where you can find the Nintendo, Pokemon, Capcom and Jump stores, by the way — Yaechika Shopping Mall, an underground shopping mall underneath Tokyo Station with 180 shops and 60 restaurants or cafes!

Over in Osaka, there’s the covered shops of Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street, while in Kyoto you’ll find the Aeon Mall only a few minutes from Kyoto Station and keeping you dry with the wares of 150 different shops, from fashion and baked goods to arcades, gaming merchandise and a food court. 

The unique design and colors of Canal City, an eye-catching mall in Fukuoka.

Down in Fukuoka, there’s Canal City, a shopping mall so pretty that you never really need an excuse to spend a day there, and the majority of these malls have one extra bonus in common: they’re connected to a cinema, meaning you can catch pass the time with the latest blockbusters, popcorn, and most importantly — dry shoes. 

Book an indoor food tour or cooking class (with instant confirmation!)

When you don’t want to wait around, our food tours and cooking classes with instant confirmation mean you’ll know within seconds where you’re going next to avoid Japan’s rainy season.

6. Asakusa live music performance with dinner

A group of musicians facing the camera, ready to perform traditional Japanese music.

For an experience that’ll make you happy it rained, join our unique live music performance with dinner in Asakusa. Although you’ll spend a short period of time exploring Asakusa’s unmissable spots, including Sensoji Temple, Kaminarimon Gate and Nakamise shopping street, the majority of this experience is indoors.

Once you’re safely indoors, you’ll be poured a welcome drink at a Japanese restaurant and enjoy the musical stylings of a live band. While they entertain you with traditional Japanese instruments, you’ll also embrace the flavors of classic Japanese food, serving up the kinds of dishes you might expect in an izakaya (Japanese bar).

7. Grandma Junko’s kitchen: Nagoya specialties

A top-down shot of Nagoya dishes made in a cooking class, featuring sushi, egg, pickled vegetables, chicken, and an udon bowl.

There’s nothing cozier than coming out of the rain and into grandma’s house for a hearty meal, which is exactly what you’ll get at Grandma Junko’s cooking class in Nagoya. Born and raised in Nagoya, you’ll start with an appetizer of Nagoya’s local history and how it inspires the dishes you’ll learn to make.

Grab your apron, because you’ll soon be cooking up tebasaki chicken wings, kishimen flat udon noodles and tenmusu onigiri (deep-fried shrimp tempura rice ball). After enjoying your handmade creations, you’ll master the art of making matcha, paired with the delicate flavors of wagashi Japanese sweets.

Want to keep the Japanese cuisine going after leaving Japan? You’ll get an English version of the recipe as a souvenir, allowing you to bring the joy of Grandma Junko’s cooking home with you.

8. Tea ceremony, matcha and wagashi making in a Kyoto

A group sat on tatami mats with a Japanese garden behind them. A woman in a kimono is showing them how to make matcha.

Looking out over a picturesque garden while brewing Japanese tea in a traditional Kyoto home might sound like the setting of a Studio Ghibli movie, but it’s what you’ll discover when you step in our tea ceremony in Kyoto.

With every turn of the whisk, you’ll be learning about the centuries-old tradition of tea ceremony in Japan, including how to prepare the subtle wagashi sweets that matcha pairs so well with. When it rains, you pour!

9. Members-only Japanese bars: Sips and secrets in Ebisu

Four colorful cocktails lined up on a bar, showing off a range of drinks and garnishes.

In this bar-hopping tour in Ebisu, you’ll stay dry while wetting your whistle. Feel like a VIP as you’re invited into some of Tokyo’s most exclusive, members-only bars. At the first bar, an expert mixologist will mix, mash, and pour two drinks alongside a small bar snack.

Onto another intimate bar, where you’ll sip on 2-3 drinks — depending on how expensive your tastes are — and try a warming bowl of homemade dashi (Japanese soup stock).

Don’t forget to smile because your tour guide will also be taking photos throughout, in addition to handing over a few souvenirs before you leave.

10. Make your own plastic food keychain or magnet in Osaka

Keychains featuring realistic plastic sushi, set against a coral background.

If there’s one thing we learned from our rainy day arts and crafts blog, it’s that making something inside when it’s raining outside is a great way to spend a day. Especially if it’s a unique experience like that of our Japanese plastic food workshop in Osaka.

Learn how to make the lifelike food samples that you’ve likely been seeing in restaurant and cafe windows all over Japan, choosing between a keychain or a magnet in the style of takoyaki or sushi. 

Perfect for everyone from solo travelers to families looking for an escape from the rain, this experience in downtown Osaka is a workshop you won’t soon forget — especially since you’ll have a reminder on your keys or fridge!

Explore ALL our instant confirmation food tours and cooking classes

11. Tuna Cutting Show with All-You-Can-Eat Fresh Tuna Sushi

12. Make Nigiri, Sushi Rolls, and Japanese Side Dishes

13. Vegan Wabi Sabi Bento Box Making with Dessert in Nara

14. Traditional Japanese Cooking Class with Grandma Junko

15. Sushi Making Class with Japanese Grandma in Nagoya

16. Cute Japanese Bento Workshop with Japanese Grandma (Nagoya)

17. Osaka Tea Ceremony, Tasting, & Culture Tour

18. Washoku: Authentic Japanese Cooking Class (Fushimi, Kyoto)

19. Dessert-Making in Kyoto: Mochi Ice, Dango, Matcha, & More

20. Learn How To Cut Sashimi From a Master of Japanese Knives

21. Sake Tasting & Takoyaki Cooking Class in Osaka

22. Make the Perfect Bowl of Ramen in Kabukicho, Shinjuku

23. Sushi Making Class in a Professional Kitchen Studio (Tokyo)

24. Omakase Sake Tasting Guided by Sommeliers in Chiyoda (Tokyo)

25. Soba Noodles Making Class Near Karuizawa Station (Nagano)

26. Shibuya Guided Sake Tasting with 10 Sake Varieties

27. Takoyaki Cooking Class Near Shinjuku Station

Remember to read up on how to survive Japan’s rainy season and keep a few Japanese comfort foods nearby for those especially rainy days.

Rainy season FAQs

People crossing a road in Tokyo on a rainy day; a sea of umbrellas.

What is an “instant confirmation” experience on byFood?

If one of our Japan food tours or cooking classes has the “instant confirmation” ability, it can be booked immediately as long as there’s availability — no waiting for a host to confirm! This is especially useful during Japan’s rainy season, when a sudden downpour can have you feeling trapped inside your hotel.

Stay dry and entertained at one of our instant confirmation food tours or cooking classes.

How should I prepare for Japan’s rainy season?

For starters, we’d recommend reading our blog of 10 tips to survive Japan’s rainy season. Once you’re done with that, you’ll already know everything you need to know, including what to pack:

  1. Umbrella
  2. Waterproof shoes or rain boots
  3. Spare socks
  4. Raincoat or poncho
  5. Waterproof bag
  6. Small towel or handkerchief
  7. Extra bag for wet clothes
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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Ryan Noble
Ryan’s love for Japan may have begun with Naruto — something he refuses to hide — but it only grew once he truly understood the beauty of this country’s language, culture, and people. He hopes to use that passion to bridge the gap between Japan and the rest of the world, shining the spotlight on its hidden gems and supporting the revitalization of rural regions.
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