Understanding “The Rainy Season”

When you think of June and July, for most countries in the northern hemisphere the word summer will come to mind but in Japan the first word you would think of is “Tsuyu”, the Rainy Season. Tsuyu translates as “Plum Rain” due to plums ripening best during this time of the year.

The rainy season in Japan marks the beginning of more humid weather coming to the country and the chirps of cicadas being heard in every green area nationwide.

Rainy Season effects different parts of the country at different times with the exception of the northern island of Hokkaido which sees very change in weather.

You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the rainy season means torrential rain everyday but in actual fact the average amount of rainy days in Tokyo in June is only 12. Because of this there are fewer international visitors during this time making attractions and public transport less crowded making it ideal for tourists compared to the busy times of summer holidays or cherry blossom season.

Regardless, Japan’s rainy season offers a unique perspective around the country. Mountainous areas particularly are a sensory delight during this season with fog and moisture bringing vegetation and flora to life and colour, The Kii peninsula Mountain Range being the perfect example.

Temples and Shrines are also atmospherically appealing in the rain. Walking around historical shrines to the chants of Shinto Priests while rain bounces of its ancient roof tiles is an aesthetic people cross the globe for.  Mount Koya, Fushimi Inari Grand Shrine and Meiji Shrine are surrounded by nature making them the perfect backdrop for this type of raw experience.

Areas around Mt. Fuji such as Hakone also take on a new life during this season. Although visability of the famous mountain might be reduced due to fog and mist, the local vegetation and surrounding take on a new beauty in this climate.

The Old Town and streets of Kyoto at night look particuarly stunning in the rain as the light of paper lanterns reflect on the wet ground, making for a therapeutic stroll in the rain. Just remember to bring your umbrella, which luckily can be bought in every convenience store you come across during this season.

And what could be better than having a good soak in an outdoor onsen hot spring, relaxing in thermal hot waters as steam floats up and droplets of water fall from above, listening to the patter of raindrops hit the water.

Below you can find the average times and areas that the rainy season hits Japan.

Region Start End
Okinawa May 8 June 23
Kyushu May 29 July 13
Shikoku June 4 July 17
Kansai  June 6 July 19
Kanto  June 8 July 20
Tohoku June 12 July 27





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