THINGS YOU CAN ONLY DO IN (JAPAN) SUMMER | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan


By JR Jul 16, 2018

This post is also available in: Vietnamese

The aromas of summer are here and its one of the best seasons to experience the country. The days come alive with the sounds and activities of the Japanese summer and its exclusive offerings. It’s time to jump for joy and bring a bottle of water with you because there’s much to do, no sitting around!



From dawn till dusk after an arduous rainy season, during late June and through the rest of summer you will hear the deafening harpy chirps, or calls, from one of Japan’s most iconic critters. Known as Zemi, these insects can be heard utilizing their mating calls throughout the cities and towns of the country. Annoying and loud for some and beautiful and hopeful for others, the cicada’s call evokes nostalgia for the Japanese summer. They appear in literature, poems, television shows and video games, the cicada is ingrained into the Japanese psyche and pop culture.

It’s not uncommon to hear of cicada fanatics who go out of their way to collect and harbour the left behind hollow shells of these insects, the husks are left sticking to trees and various fauna. An enjoyable activity for nature lovers includes cicada hunting where you explore a park or forest in search of these rather handsome giant yearly mini beasts. These bugs come in many different colors and have various call sounds belonging to their respective species with over 40 different variants to watch out for. The most recognisable cicada would be the ミンミンゼミ(Minmin Zemi), thanks to its use in popular anime and television commercials. But watch where you walk, as the summer drags on so do the carcasses of fallen cicada on the pavements around town, accidently crush one and you may shrivel up inside from the mere thought of it. Enjoy!



With summer comes the amazing firework displays that occur throughout the country. These joyful events are hosted throughout the summer period, mainly in July through to August and it’s the perfect time to dress up and bloat on lots of tasty Yakitori.
Every mid-July on the day before Marine day, the big Yokohama Fireworks display in Yamashita Park begins after the annual festival and glows up the Yokohama bay with dazzling lights and magic. The event draws enormous crowds and thousands upon thousands of fireworks are launched into the skies, alluring the eyes and announcing the joys of summer to all. Finding these events is easy to do and many are held right in the nest of Tokyo itself, a quick internet search will provide sufficient information for the countless firework displays up and coming wherever you may be. They’re a cultural event that one cannot miss!



You hear the drums and the atmosphere coming from miles away, the high energy matsuri is coming your way! The word Matsuri means festival or holiday and many are supported by local shrines and private sponsors. Matsuri tend to occur around traditional holiday calendar dates and some of the biggest most exciting Matsuri are held during the period of summer. You’ll be able to gobble up Takoyaki and Yakitori, go scooping for turtles and goldfish, have a go at karaoke and even spectate a sumo match within the vicinity of the festival and its travelling omikoshi, or travelling shrine that’s lifted on the shoulders in a parade of pomp and exalted cheers over the rhythm of heart pounding taiko drums. One of the biggest and most spectacular Matsuri is the Sanja (Three Shrine Festival) at Asakusa shrine, Tokyo. Three omikoshi are paraded during the 3-day mega festival of music, food and celebration that attracts millions of people each year in late May. Other Matsuri are held during June and the oncoming months. Another big and popular festival is the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto that lasts throughout the month of July. You’ll rub shoulders with traditional geisha, beautiful floats and the exciting parades that blossom in the old capital and booming city.



In July the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, also known as the Nagoya Basho, takes place at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. As one of six official Sumo tournaments that take place throughout the year, this huge, intense event is held during a total of 15 days and is even broadcasted on national television. Here you’ll watch the country’s greatest wrestlers clash on the grand stage to a crowd of thousands. In May, the Natsu (Summer) Basho is held in Tokyo at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan Hall to a capacity of 11,098 people. The sporting arena also houses a Sumo museum which protects the Banzuke, the official ranking of sumo wrestlers throughout Japan. At the museum you’ll discover the vibrant history of sumo wrestling including woodblock prints of the ancient heroes of the sport and inspiring embroideries worn by the greatest wrestlers of the time. Entrance to the museum is free and open to all.
Tickets to the Nagoya Basho range from Box Seats to Chair Seats. Box Seats being an area where you must remove your socks and footwear and sit within the cushiony box near to the action. Each box is suitable for 4 people and go from ¥ 11,700 to ¥ 17,500 depending on the number of guests.
The standard Chair seats go from ¥ 2,900 and ¥ 4,900 for seats closer to the stage.


Enjoy the summer period, it’s one of the most exciting times to be in Japan and each day is full of surprises and frills that are mere moments away.