Why you should come to Japan in July

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The month of July in Japan is notoriously hot and humid. But there are many great things to see, do, and add to your Japan summer itinerary.

From ancient festivals, delicious food, and rare opportunities to experience the great outdoors. There are plenty of unique reasons to book your trip to Japan in July that you won’t come across anywhere else – read on to find out more.

People watching fireworks at night around Japan in July.

Japanese summer activities

Coming in at the tail end of the rainy season, it might surprise you that there are many summer activities you can only enjoy outdoors in July. The locals don’t let the idea of rain stop them from having a good time, and neither should you!

No matter where or what time you visit in July, there are bound to be a few Japanese festivals for you to attend! Let’s explore the most popular ones.

Experience Japanese matsuri

A Japanese experience is incomplete without going to a few festivals. Luckily for those who are in Japan during the summer, as mentioned above there are plenty of festivals, or matsuri (祭), to choose from!

Typical Japanese summer festivals include the Bon Odori (盆踊り), bon dance, and fireworks festivals, with world-famous firework displays. All of which you can experience while wearing yukata (浴衣). A more casual and lighter version of the kimono (着物) that is worn in summer.

The major summer festivals include the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto and Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka. As well as Nebuta matsuri in Aomori and the Tanabata star festival celebrated all around the country. If dance is more your thing, then there are several Awa Odori (阿波踊り) festivals that take place throughout Japan in July. The largest in Tokyo is the Koenji Awa Odori, where more than 10,000 dancers take to the streets to entertain hordes of onlookers.

For a Japan summer event with a younger vibe, there are music festivals like Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic. These concerts are summer seasonal and offer a more electric, less traditional festive atmosphere.

One thing that you’ll find at all of the above-mentioned festivals, is a variety of delicious food stalls selling summer limited dishes.

Women in yukata at a food stall.

Eat summer food

As temperatures soar within Japan in July, so does the amount of kakigōri (かき氷) consumed. This shaved ice treat is hugely popular across Japan during the warmer months. Kakigori is simple and sweet, consisting of shaved ice, syrup, and a sweetener. More elaborate versions include toppings like red bean, fruit, and dango (sweet dumplings made out of sticky rice).

Another popular summer food is nagashi sōmen. Sōmen are thin flour noodles and nagashi somen involves catching the noodles with your chopsticks as they float down a bamboo waterslide. You can also order regular somen at restaurants if you don’t want to try and catch it!

Other cherished summer foods in Japan include watermelon, grilled freshwater fish, and a cold ramen noodle dish called hiyashi chuka (冷やし中華).

Drink at beer gardens and eat BBQ.

Drink at beer gardens and eat BBQ

If you have already been to a few festivals, an alternative for those of legal drinking age (20 in Japan) is beer gardens. These beer gardens pop up all over the place in summer, especially on rooftops of shopping malls and in parks. It’s common to go with a large group and eat BBQ while enjoying all-you-can-drink packages (飲み放題, nomihōdai). Festive and tasty, it’s something everyone needs to do at least once if they come to Japan in July.

Go for a dip

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Japan has some wonderful beaches, with Okinawa offering up some of the best for swimming in. If you’re in Tokyo, don’t expect to find as pristine beaches as you would in Okinawa. But, venture a little bit further out to the Izu peninsula and you will find some decent spots that you can dip into.

If you don’t want to go that far out to be near the water, you can visit one of the several fun water parks located around Japan. Yomiuri Land and Spa Resort Hawaiians are some of the most famous ones.

Note that many beaches and water parks in Japan forbid tattoos, so please check before going. If you do have tattoos, you will need to cover them up. 

Places to visit in July in Japan

July offers more than just festivals, food, and fireworks though. There are special outings unique to Japan that can only be enjoyed during the summer months. From endless lavender fields to hiking an active volcano in the dark, there is an adventure to be found for everyone, everywhere!

Mt Fuji behind a freshwater lake.

Climb Mt Fuji Day Trip

While technically an activity packed into a trip – adding climbing Mt Fuji to your summer itinerary is an experience you likely will never forget. The climbing season for Japan’s beloved icon usually starts in July and ends at the beginning of September. This is the best and safest time to climb Japan’s most photogenic volcano. All the facilities will be open and, the weather will be more stable. 

Visit Hokkaido

While this northern prefecture is best known for its snow, it can be unbearable to visit during winter for those who don’t like the cold. But if you go during summer, you get pleasant temperatures and good conditions for tackling the area’s diverse hiking trails. Hokkaido is also famous in summer for its stunning lavender fields.

Get your summer study on!

Take a time out from the July heat, and take advantage of a golden opportunity offered in Japan, try your hand at studying Japanese.

Student writing in a textbook.

Prepare for the JLPT

If you arrive in July,  you will have 6 months to prepare to take the winter JLPT exam, which is in December. Or, if you need more time, you will have one year to prepare for the summer JLPT exam in July. Studying Japanese in Japan will help you better prepare for the test. You will be fully immersed in Japanese through school and your daily life.

Enjoy Japan’s other seasons

There are plenty of reasons to come to Japan in July. Many of Go! Go! Nihon’s partner schools offer July terms, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to study Japanese while experiencing summer in Japan.

Coming to Japan in July to study long-term, will allow you to experience the country’s other seasons too. In particular autumn with the beautiful changing of leaves. If you stay until spring, you will also experience sakura, or cherry blossom season with cherry blossom festivals.

If you’re unsure about studying long-term, why not try one of our Study Trip courses? Study Japanese for a short time while also taking part in fun cultural activities. Visit our website to find out more!

To read more about Japanese culture, seasonal activities, and more, follow our blog.

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