Travelling to Japan during the rainy season

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So you’re going to Japan during rainy season. What a shame is most likely your first thought, spring or autumn would’ve been so much prettier! If it were summer you could go to the beach, see one of the many summer festivals, hear cicadas singing in the trees… If it were winter you might see snow, the onsen would feel great, New Year in another country!

But what does the rainy season have going for it?

Rainy season in Japan is roughly from mid-June to mid-July and is referred to as tsuyu, “plum rain”, because it coincides with the season of plums ripening. Despite its name, the “rainy season” isn’t actually Japan’s rainiest month, that honour goes to September, but there are grey skies most days.

If you booked your tickets during those dates without knowing about the weather or if it is simply the only time you can travel: not all hope is lost. Tsuyu comes with many great things too!

Misterious misty mornings are one of the highlights!


Spring isn’t the only season with flowers, in June and July there are also many to look out for! Hydrangeas are the most common, seen at many different temples and gardens. Like most flowers, they usually start earlier in the south and then start moving north. In Tokyo they will still look good the first few days of July, but in Hiroshima they’d be mostly wilted by then. Irises and lotus can also be found in many places. Sunflowers also start to appear in early July.

Besides flowers, the mountains, grass, gardens and parks are all very green and lively.
This is also a great time to visit a smaller town or take a train ride through some rural areas, it’s the rice planting season. While most rice planting happens earlier in June, it’s very easy to see the fields full of water and the rice starting to grow. In August the rice is already very tall and it can be hard to see the water in the fields, during other months they are simply dry, but in June and July you can see the reflection of the sky and trees and houses on the water. So beautiful!


June isn’t high season and doesn’t coincide with any big Japanese holidays. You are likely to find accommodations easier, sometimes even cheaper, than other times of the year. Compared to cherry blossom season, when reserving a month in advance may prove quite difficult since many places will be full, especially in Kyoto, it’s good to not have to worry about not finding a place to sleep. Sometimes I’ve even contacted a hostel that same day asking if they had any empty beds and easily found a place to sleep.

When it rains tourists usually prefer indoors’ activities, so often you get to see all the lovely shrines and temples outside with few other visitors or even have the place completely to yourself.


It may seem a bit strange that I mention weather as a positive point, but it is because June has the ideal temperature. You won’t have to suffer through the summer heat of August nor wear countless layers like in winter. Either shorts or long pants are okay, and I often wear just a shirt (I take a thin jumper for the mornings and evenings). The luggage will be extra light with only a few clothes to carry!

The sun rises early and doesn’t set until much later in the day compared to other seasons (around 6-7pm), so you get plenty of daylight hours too.

Tips for travelling during the rainy season

Here are some things that might make the rainy season a bit easier to deal with:
– Since it is quite humid in Japan, anything that gets wet will be hard to dry on its own. You may want to use a dryer.
– Umbrellas can be found at any convenience store as well as many other shops. You can easily buy one once you arrive to the country.
– There are many indoors activities if you really want to avoid the rain. It sometimes pays off to have an alternative itinerary depending on the weather.Well, those are my thoughts and experiences.
I really like travelling during tsuyu because I think the rain gives many places a scenic and interesting feeling. It is a great month to travel to Japan!
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