Riding the Train in the Japanese Summer | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Riding the Train in the Japanese Summer

By Yae Jul 29, 2018

Right now the hottest days of Japanese summer are rushing upon us. Many of you are already enjoying the weather by going out to see fireworks, attending summer festivals, or enjoying swimming at the beach.
If you’re inside with the air conditioning on full blast, you don’t have to worry about how hot it is outside. However, once you step out the door you might want to rush back in again and lock the door.

Maybe you’re worried about how to deal with the heat while riding the train or subway. This article will go over the kind of things Japanese people on public transport care about during the hot summer season.

1. Stay Away; I’m Hot Enough Already!


Many Japanese people, especially in the Tokyo area, use public transportation in their daily life, whether it be for the commute to work or going out after hours.

If you board a train in Tokyo during rush hour, you’re going to get up close and personal with everyone around you. The time will come when feeling hot and bothered, you’ll have no choice but to board a train and get much nearer to people than you’d prefer. There’s nothing you want to do less than to get on a crowded train during the summer but it’s worth remembering that everyone else feels exactly as you do. If you start to feel faint or sick, calmly inform the people around you and get off at the next stop.


2. Hot and BOTHERED

Getting on the train in rush hour is trying enough even when the weather is temperate. But when it comes to summer it feels like the train has shrunk in size somehow. Often the heat and crush of commuters makes everyone feel a little more irritated and having someone step on your toe can be the last straw. Again, everyone is in the same boat (or in this case train) and it might help to take a deep breath to help you relax, maybe visualizing icebergs or a giant tub of ice cream will tide you over until your stop.


3. Sweat and Body Odor


In the summer, everyone gets a bit hot on the way to the station, and we’re all happy to board the train and cool down in the air-conditioned train cars. It’s normal to perspire, but many people are still concerned about their hygiene on public transport.

“Do I smell okay..?”

Many Japanese people worry concerned about their body odor when riding public transport, even when it can’t be helped as it’s 35 degrees outside.

4. Any tips for a smooth ride to work during the summer?

The heat and humidity of the Japanese summer can feel endless, but there are some items you can carry to keep fresh on the train:

Be understanding of the people around you on the train. Everyone wants to get to their destination and enjoy their commute.

・Use a hand towel before boarding the train
During the summer season, a hand towel is better than a handkerchief. Towels are more absorbent — sometimes a handkerchief just won’t cut it, especially if you are going to be out all day.

・Handy wipes
All sorts of wet wipes are sold now at the convenience store for summer. You can find deodorized wipes, power wipes or even cooling wipes – a great refresher just before you’re about to ride the train.

・Wet paper towel 
There are public bathrooms everywhere in Japan: at the park, train stations, department stores, and so on. If you have time, stop by a bathroom and use a wet paper towel to refresh yourself.


The summer in Japan is more severe than you may realize, and many Japanese people worry about the heat and perspiration, especially when people are packed together on the train.

Good luck staying dry this summer in Japan!