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Discovering Japan During the Rainy Season: A Guide for First-Time Visitors

May 20, 2024

Discovering Japan During the Rainy Season: A Guide for First-Time Visitors

Japan’s rainy season, known as "tsuyu", typically occurs from early June to mid-July. For first-time visitors, experiencing tsuyu can be a unique and memorable aspect of their trip. In recent years, tsuyu has evolved to include not just gentle drizzles but also sudden downpours and thunderstorms, sometimes referred to as "guerrilla rainstorms."

During tsuyu, the weather can vary significantly across the country. In regions like Tokyo and Kyoto, you can expect frequent rain showers, high humidity, and temperatures around 20-30°C (68-86°F). However, not all of Japan experiences the rainy season. For instance, Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, remains relatively dry and offers a different climate, making it a great alternative destination during these months.

Despite the rain, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your visit to Japan during tsuyu. Here are some tips:

  1. Explore Indoor Attractions: Japan boasts numerous museums, aquariums, and temples that offer shelter from the rain. The Tokyo National Museum and the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan are perfect for rainy days.

  2. Enjoy Shopping at Large Station Buildings: Connected directly to major hubs like Tokyo Station and Kyoto Station, these massive shopping complexes provide a comfortable environment to spend a rainy day. With countless shops and restaurants, you can easily spend the entire day here.

  3. Relax in Onsens: Japan’s hot springs, or onsens, are especially delightful during the rainy season. The soothing hot waters provide a perfect escape from the damp weather. Popular onsen destinations include Hakone and Beppu.

  4. Enjoy Seasonal Cuisine: Tsuyu is a great time to indulge in seasonal Japanese dishes. Warm up with a bowl of ramen or savor the delicate flavors of summer kaiseki, a traditional multi-course meal. Don’t miss the seasonal sweets, such as hydrangea-shaped wagashi (Japanese confections).

  5. Experience Traditional Arts: Participate in a tea ceremony, try your hand at ikebana (flower arranging), or watch a kabuki performance. These cultural activities are perfect for immersing yourself in Japan's rich heritage while staying dry.

  6. Marvel at Nature: While it might be wet, tsuyu brings vibrant greenery and blooming hydrangeas. Places like Kamakura and Nikko offer beautiful scenery enhanced by the rain. The contrast of the lush landscape against traditional architecture is a photographer's dream.

In conclusion, Japan's rainy season offers a unique perspective on its culture and natural beauty. By planning ahead and embracing the weather, you can enjoy an unforgettable visit regardless of the rain. So pack an umbrella, bring your sense of adventure, and discover the charm of Japan during tsuyu!

In the next article, we will introduce hydrangea viewing spots that stand out for their beauty during the rainy season.