The Best Japanese Summer Festivities and Food That No Traveler Should Miss!

  • It’s already the beginning of summer in Japan and summer is the season of festivals in all of the parts of the country. Japanese summer is so humid and it’s almost too hot to go out on sunny days. During this season, though, there is still plenty to enjoy. Most cities conduct summer festivals in which parades and dances are performed. People wear beautiful kimonos and yukatas during these festivals and participate in many activities. Another key point to summer is the special food we can enjoy too. Read on to find out what you should not miss out on during summer in Japan.

    Bon Odori


    This is the Japanese dance that is performed during many summer festivals. People wear traditional clothing and dance to the music with various gestures and steps. It is actually this dance that is performed during the three-day Obon festival whose purpose is to honour the spirits of ancestors. The music and the type of dance performance differ in various parts of the country.



    Almost all cities conduct firework festivals during the summer. Many of these, called “Hanabi Taikai” are elaborate and exciting. Some even last for a few hours with different styles of fireworks coloring the sky. Dances and other performances also lead up to these festivals in some locations.


    Beaches are the most visited places all over the world during the summer. Being a country of islands, Japan has many beaches where you could spend your humid and hot summer days. There are many famous beaches like those in Yaeyama or the Okinawa islands or those in other parts of Japan. You can select a trip to the most beautiful one or choose a conveniently located, fun beach for a summer excursion.

    Theme parks

    Japan has many small beach-themed parks and pool facilities. Spending a hot summer day in a water theme park is definitely refreshing and enjoyable.

    Music and dance events


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    Not only is Bon Odori often performed, but many other music and dance events are conducted during the summer season in various parts of the country. Take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the Japanese music and dance in your area this summer.

    Hiking, rafting and fishing


    Author’s photo

    Summer is the best season for hiking or climbing mountains like Mount Fuji. Enjoy the beauty and height of Fujisan or other less challenging climbs. Rafting and fishing are also fun options for a summer adventure in Japan.

    Summer food

    Japan has its fair share of summer specialties when it comes to food! Some of the most popular things to eat in the summer are listed below.
    1. BBQ

    Summer is the time for enjoying barbeques in Japan. You can make it an interesting get together with friends and enjoy the warm evenings. Choosing the seashores or riverbanks for a barbeque party is a great way to enjoy your food while escaping from the heat with an ocean (or river) breeze!

    2. Unagi rice


    Unagi or eel is said to provide good stamina in humid Japanese summers! These tasy pieces of grilled unagi pieces over rice with sauce is one of the most common Japanese summer dishes.



    Somen are very thin cool wheat noodles that are usually served with ice cubes and are garnished with chopped negi (spring onion) and ginger.

    4. Kakigori

    Kakigori, or shaved ice, is one of the most colourful summer dishes that is popular among children, but adults love it too! It is simple shaved ice coated with colourful syrups of various flavors from green tea to strawberry poured over it. The colour and the cool ice are really refreshing during the hot season. It can be seen everywhere during festivals too!

    5. Ramune


    This is a kind of soda that is very common in Japanese summers. It is enclosed in a glass bottle with a marble covering the mouth of the bottle. There is a plastic piece on the bottle which is used to push the marble down into the neck of the bottle, while the soda itself goes around it as it is drunk. Pretty cool, right?

    6. Hiyashi Chuka


    This ubiquitous summer dish can be obtained in almost all convenient stores of Japan when the weather is hot. It consists of cold noodles with vegetables, meat, eggs and several other toppings depending on the vendor!

    With all of the food and festivities to enjoy in Japan, are you ready to make a summer trip here?