Japan has always been my dream destination, mostly because I’m quite a huge fan of anime, and watching anime growing up has made me intrigued about their culture. So, after a few years of slow saving and planning, I finally made my way there.
I went during summer, because it’s the least peak season, so I got better prices on flights and accommodation. Since I’m not good with cold places, it worked out perfectly. So, what can you do in Japan during the summer?
The word ‘festival’ always gets me excited, especially when you’re talking about Japan, because it usually means TAKOYAKI STANDS, EVERYWHERE. Of course, that’s besides the point. I’ve always wanted to try to go to a festival in the shrine like they do in anime, wearing a traditional yukata and all.
I went to the Tenjin Matsuri because it was near where I was staying in Osaka. It’s a boat festival that dates back to over a thousand years, and is a tribute to the arts patron Tenman Tenjin. Thousands of performers dressed in traditional attire perform, and carry portable shrines through the city. They also set out a hundred boats, and in the evening, fireworks would light the night sky. Although summer is a non-peak period, the place was still pretty crowded.
Honestly, I really went to Japan just to relive anime moments, and we all know there’s always that one episode where they go to the beach, run towards the sea and shout “Umi da!” (It’s the beach!). In case common sense hasn’t dawned upon you, no one does that in reality, so don’t do it, please.
Source: Eddy Chang
For my trip, I went to Suma beach, which is located in Kobe, just about an hour away by public transport. While most people would go to the beach to just laze around or play with water, this beach is surprisingly a popular fishing spot. Since I grew up in a fishing village, I thought I’d put my skills to the test. It made me really miss my childhood.
Hiking Mount Fuji
The hiking trail is only open during summer, and it’s usually packed when their summer holidays begin, so it’s more advisable to go early-mid July. The season you really want to avoid is mid-August, during the Obon Week, but if you’re a social hiker and wish to meet people who share the same interest, going during Obon Week would be a good experience.
Source: Brodie Karel
There are a few trails that you can follow depending on how much you want to hike. Naturally, being a person who is not so physically fit, I went for the shorter trail, which is the Fujinomiya Trail. It’s at an altitude of about 2,400 metres above sea level. Going up takes about 4-7 hours (I took about 6), and going down is about 2-6 (I took 4). It’s a nice route if you want to take things slow, because there are quite a few mountain huts along the way.
The food over there is good pretty much all year round, but there are some food that are best enjoyed during the summer. One of the best things to be enjoyed during summer would be the kakigori, or a Japanese take on the shaved ice dessert.
Source: Kazutaka Nakano
While you’re there, you just have to try their melon or green tea flavour. The taste of fresh melons there is very different from the ones we have here, and it’s just so refreshing and good. The green tea, on the other hand is definitely stronger than the ones we have here.
Source: Toshiyuki Imai
Other cold dishes you could try are the cold noodle dishes, one of which is somen, which is thin white noodles that are boiled in water, then dipped in soy sauce and cooled. In the hot weather, this cold dish can be a good substitute for a cold drink.
Again, something that is pretty much a year-round thing, but really, do you want to be walking around in thick winter clothing or jacket while shopping around for goods? Going Akihabara in the summer is probably the best decision I made, because I’m already used to the hot weather, and I feel comfortable just strolling around.
Source: Steve Nagata
If you are a big games and anime fan like me, you should try their gachapon machines over at the Gachapon Kaikan. All gamers know the additive feeling of gambling with gachapon machines digitally, so imagine the fun you’ll get in person!
Of course, while you’re there, you’ll also want to try out all the themed cafes, such as maid cafes, Gundam cafe, or even the Final Fantasy-inspired cafe. Since budget didn’t allow for me to go to so many, I went for the maid cafe, because it’s a relatively more affordable choice.
That’s about it for my Japan Summer Adventure. I’m thinking of going for Christmas and New Year’s next, so stay tuned for that!