Visiting Japan in Summer Lets You Experience Things Few Tourists Do

Okinawa Japan

Winter here in Australia means summer in Japan. The season there kicks off in June and runs ‘til mid-November, with the country best known for its cherry blossoms and ski fields offering countless activities during its hottest months, too.

From meeting some of the 1,200 deer that roam Nara Park to snorkelling through the colourful reefs of Okinawa and experiencing a traditional street festival, complete with floats, dances and music, ahead are just a few of the many things you can do this summer in Japan.

Meet Deer at Nara Park

There are said to be around 1,200 deer roaming around Nara Park in Japan’s Kansai region, which is one of the oldest parks in Japan, established in 1880. Here, you’ll quickly find yourself surrounded by some of its many fearless and friendly deer — especially if you’ve bought a few deer crackers from one of the park’s many vendors. Spread over 660 hectares, Nara Park is also home to several shrines and temples and the Nara National Museum, with impressive displays of Japanese Buddhist art.

Nara Park
Image: Unsplash

Snorkel in Okinawa

Surrounded by clear warm waters, Okinawa is one of the most coral-rich regions in the world. It offers a range of world-class snorkelling, with many easily accessible from the beaches and in shallow water. Some of the most popular snorkelling sites include The Blue Cave on Okinawa’s main island, the Hatenohama sandbar near Kume Island, Kabira Bay on Ishigaki Island, and Yabiji Reef off Miyako Island. Glass bottom boat tours and guided snorkel tours are also available.

Okinawa Japan
Image: Unsplash

Join a Summer Festival

Summer festivals in Japan feature decorated floats, music and dance. Many take place at local shrines and temples in mid-August, each with its own charm. Major summer festivals to consider for your itinerary include:

Stay in Glamping Accommodation

Camping while travelling overseas might ordinarily seem like too much of a challenge, but glamping, on the other hand, lets you experience nature in a foreign country without the hassle. Fortunately, Japan has many glamping sites all around the country, including Circus Outdoor near Tokyo, Nature Tokyo, Grax near Kyoto, and Fujino Kirameki, which has spectacular views of Mt Fuji.

Walk Through Flower Parks

Summertime in Japan is one of the most picturesque times of the year as many native flowers begin to bloom in parks around the county. To experience them, simply stroll or bike ride through them. Highlights are Farm Tomita, Ashikaga Flower Park and Shikisai no Oka.

Japan flower parks
Image: Unsplash

Watch the Summer Fireflies

Firefly viewing has been a traditional summertime activity in Japan for centuries, with the glowing flies recognised as a metaphor for passionate love in ancient poetry anthologies and often featured in the country’s pop culture. If you’re in Japan in summer, visiting one of its firefly fields is a real must as these insects create a mesmerising performance of glowing light. Top viewing locations include Hotel Chinzanso, Tokyo, Tsukiyono Firefly Village, Gunma, Kemi Firefly Village in Nagano, and Nasu Fishland in Tochigi.

Enjoy Fireworks Festivals

Unlike other parts of the world, where fireworks usually only appear for special occasions, many cities in Japan hold fireworks festivals throughout the summer and sometimes throughout the year. Started in 1946, the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival in Niigata Prefecture is regarded as one of the top fireworks displays in Japan—usually held at the beginning of August—but there are plenty of others, too.

Related: 4 of the Most Stunning, Side Trip-Worthy National Parks in Japan

Related: The Case for Exploring Japan’s Hidden Gem of a City, Niigata

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