How To Enjoy Japan's Rainy Season
WEATHER

How To Enjoy Japan's Rainy Season

2016.10.11

The rainy season is the period between the last half of May and the middle of July, when it rains almost every day in Japan. There are many activities and views that can be enjoyed only during this season! Find out more about them here!

Translated byJay Issei Karslake

Hi, I spent part of my childhood living in Japan and decided to come back as an adult. I'm looking forward to experiencing more of Japan

Written by Sawada Tomomi

What Is the Rainy Season?

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Tsuyu (the rainy season) is an especially rainy period in Japan between the months of May and July. It's a weather phenomenon that occurs not just in Japan, but also in South Korea and the Southern regions of China as well. An interesting fact about this seasonal weather is that Japan’s northernmost region, Hokkaido, doesn’t experience this rainy season.

Switching to the Rainy Season

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The length of the rainy season, when it starts, and when it ends differs year by year. Japan's Meteorological Agency decides and announces these days based on the meteorological information they gather. First, tsuyu tends to start from the southern region and works its way up through Japan towards Hokkaido. The end of the rainy season also starts from the south and works its way up north. For example, in an average year in Japan's southernmost island, Okinawa, the rainy season starts around May 9th and ends around June 23rd.

The Kyoto area, which is further north than Okinawa has its rainy season start around June 7th and it continues until around July 21st. In Tokyo, the rainy season starts around June 8th and finishes around July 21st. Normally the rainy season lasts from around a month to a month and a half, but there are times when it lasts two weeks longer than usual. Once tsuyu is over there's a long period of sunny weather and high temperatures.

*Data reference: Meteorological Agency

What to Wear During The Rainy Season

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Even though June is before the start of summer in Japan, it's relatively warm and on sunny days you might feel that it’s rather hot. But then there will be continuous days where it rains heavily and becomes very humid - making it quite muggy out.

On the other hand, it may feel rather cool on rainy days too. There is likely to be a vast temperature difference between day and night during this season, so visitors to Japan should be extra careful of how they dress. Short sleeves will be great during the day, but come evening a light jacket or cardigan will be necessary.

How To Spend the Rainy Season?

You might not feel like going out during tsuyu because of the many rainy, overcast days and muddy puddles all about, but there are plenty of spots throughout Japan where you can enjoy views and activities only possible during the rainy season.

1. See the Hydrangeas

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Hydrangeas only grow during this rainy period. This flower is the perfect symbol of Japan's rainy season. The light hues of the flowers and the bright green leaves become even more attractive once wet with rain. There are many hydrangea viewing spots to enjoy during the rainy season. Here are two peaceful hydrangea viewing spots within Tokyo.

Hakusan Shrine (Bunkyo ward)

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One of the most famous hydrangea spots in Tokyo, Hakusan Shrine, prides itself with its roughly 3,000 colorful hydrangea plants. During the tsuyu season, a hydrangea festival is held and there are even events held over the weekends here.

The Imperial Palace East Garden (Chiyoda)

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Located on the east side of the Imperial Palace, in the East Garden you can enjoy flowers from all four seasons in a historical atmosphere. The perfect timing for hydrangea viewing is from the start of June to mid-July.

2. See the Irises

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The iris’s appeal is its elegant and dignified atmosphere. During the rainy season these blooms are especially beautiful. There are two places in Tokyo where you will find these refined flowers and you will to visit them especially when it’s lightly raining.

Meiji Jingu Park (Shibuya ward, Tokyo)

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A quiet, green oasis that makes you feel miles away from the city surrounding it, Meiji Jingu Park is home to Meiji Shrine and many incredible gardens. The brightness of the greens and purples of these flowers will fill your eyes and heart; here you can enjoy a peaceful and refreshing break from the modern world amid the seasonal flowers that spread out in one section of the park.

Hamarikyu Garden (Chuo ward, Tokyo)

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Hamarikyu Garden is a historical garden near the famous Tsukiji fish market. You can enjoy here both hydrangeas and hundreds of beautiful irises during the rainy season.

3. Buying Japanese Rain Items

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This is a unique umbrella, which can be purchased at an umbrella specialty shop in Asakusa

Though there are plenty of goods to choose from all year round, the number and variety of rain items available is at its peak during tsuyu. One of the joys of the rainy season is finding something cute and reasonable to help pass the rainy days away.

In Tokyo's Asakusa there is an umbrella specialty shop called Wakeari Honpu. Here you will find umbrellas with Japanese patterns, Japan-specific umbrellas made in a style used since the Heian era and many, many others. Foldable and portable umbrellas from this shop make perfect souvenirs too.

Why not get your things together and head outdoors during the next rainy season?

Read also:

Flowers in the Rain: Five Tōkyō Spots to Admire the Hydrangeas

Ashikaga Flower Park, Tochigi: A Dream Destination

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