Summer in Japan can be beautiful—nature spots are lush with green foliage, and the end of the rainy season brings blue skies. But with the beauty comes a heat and humidity that can catch you off guard, and the asphalt is no help. With that in mind, GoConnect is here to help you keep your cool this summer, from day trip to night sip.
Cool Off at a Waterpark
Japan’s most well-known water attractions are often on the warmer side: scenic onsens are a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. However, as the humidity ramps up, a steamy hot spring getaway doesn’t have the same appeal. Opt instead for an outdoor water excursion that is sure to engage all ages.
A little ways outside of the center of the city is Tokyo Summerland, which combines waterpark attractions and amusement rides for an immersive and laid-back experience. Cruise down its lazy river, or turn to a misty field filled with pink sunflowers to bring down the temperature. The park has both indoor and outdoor facilities, and plenty of places to splash.
Younger kids can find similar thrills at seasonal attractions like Jabujabu Paradise, a summertime feature of Sagamiko Resort in Kanagawa, which attracts visitors with its campgrounds and adventure courses. Like Summerland, this waterpark was designed with small children in mind, so you can expect safety and fun for little ones.
Public Swimming Pools in Tokyo
If you’re looking for a more low-key swimming experience, visit one of Tokyo’s public pools. Many pools, including neighborhood sports centers, offer an indoor experience to keep out of the sun. Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium boasts an Olympic pool for sports enthusiasts, and if you’re looking for sunshine, you can enjoy Meguro’s riverside views from the Meguro Kumin Center’s outdoor pool, which is open to the public as of July 1. Most pools in Tokyo charge for two-hour sessions, and many offer classes and events during the summer months. Don your swimming cap and take a dip while the weather permits.
Get Out of Town
Are you tired of the city? Immerse yourself in the offerings of Japan’s extensive natural world. Close by is Yamanashi Prefecture’s Lake Motosu (Motosuko); its surrounding mountains make for optimal swimming, hiking, and camping, all within a couple hours drive from the heart of Tokyo. You can even rent kayaks, or try stand-up paddleboarding.
If you venture to the edge of Kyoto, the blue waters of Lake Biwa are a stunning sight. Achieve your sightseeing goals and relax in the gorgeous water all at once! Further north, Lake Toya in Hokkaido offers clear waters at refreshing temperatures, and the surrounding green hills are perfect for hiking and camping. There is no shortage of destinations, and the return of Japan’s Go To Travel campaign in July may make a trip to these spots even easier and more affordable.
Adventure-inclined folks can find their fix at Canyons. Featured in our green season activities, Canyons promises not only a window into Japan’s natural world, but a refreshing experience in the water. The group is based in Okutama and Minakami, and their Minakami base offers glamping opportunities for peak weekend tripping convenience. Try your hand at rafting on the water, or the canyoning for which they are named. See a side of Japan you’ve never seen before and get soaked in the process.
Best Summer Hikes in Japan
Swimming isn’t the only way to cool off this summer. Japan’s various mountain ranges and its diverse terrain enable pleasant hiking conditions all summer long.
Nagano Prefecture may be well known for the skiers that flock to them in the winter months, but when the snow thaws, the area’s rolling green hills and lofty mountains make for a beautiful sight. As they’re high above sea level, Nagano’s mountains offer a temperate respite from the heat that blankets other regions. Take on the slopes in the summertime for a hiking experience that brings you into the clouds and out of the swelter. You can feel the temperature drop as you ascend for an experience like no other.
In early July, the climbing season for Mt. Fuji begins again. This epic climb is closed outside of the summer period, so if you’re looking for adventure make sure to take advantage of the opportunity. Because of its altitude, Mt. Fuji offers a cool climate and a fantastic view. The journey is not for the faint of heart, but avid outdoors types can experience this hiking milestone and escape the heat.
For hikes closer to Tokyo, you can check out this lineup.
When you’ve had your fill of excursions, a popular way to wind down and cool off is to visit the many beer gardens that crop up all over Tokyo during the summer. Whether you’re on a rooftop or in a garden, the night air and cold drinks are a sweet relief from the sun and humidity that mark the hottest time of the year. It’s the perfect end to a summer day.