Top 7 things to do in Japan during August to enjoy the summer as Japanese do!
Thursday, August 16, 2018
From rock festivals to cracking open a watermelon - make the best of this season!
August is such a challenging month when you live in Japan - on one hand, you have to learn how to deal with 夏バテ (natsubate, summer fatigue); on the other hand, there are so many interesting and amusing things to do! If you manage to take down the laziness caused both by heat and humidity, we prepared a list of our favorite ways to get the most out of the hottest month in Japan. Ready to take this challenge?
- Fireworks as you have never seen before...
花火 (hanabi, fireworks) is probably one of the most beautiful Japanese traditions. If you happen to be fascinated with the delicacy of the 花見 (hanami, contemplating the cherry blossoms in spring), prepare yourself for falling head over heels for the mesmerizing beauty of Japanese fireworks. If you want to fully experience fireworks, we strongly recommend you to prepare an ice-box full of cold drinks and to…
- Wear a yukata!
Fireworks and 浴衣 (yukata, Japanese summer garment) is the best couple in the whole Japanese culture - alright, maybe the second one, just after beer and 枝豆 (edamame, raw young soybeans). Sure, you noticed all those people admiring the colored night skies, perfectly dressed in their summer traditional clothes and perhaps curiosity bit you. If you want to experience a traditional festival as a real Japanese, flea markets are your best friends in this matter. Run down to the nearest one and check the stands out - you can find gorgeous, almost new yukatas for a fraction of their original price. If you are not into second-hand clothing, you can easily find inexpensive yukata sets - with 帯 (obi, Japanese traditional sash) and 下駄 (geta, wooden clogs) included - near tourist attractions such as Senso-ji in Asakusa or even Akihabara.
- Climbing Mt. Fuji
富士山 (Fujisan, Mount Fuji) is the highest mountain in Japan and the start of its climbing season is quite an event for mountain enthusiasts! Its four trails opened last month and will remain accessible until early September. If you love outdoor activities and have a weekend to spare for an adventure, challenge yourself and dare to climb up its whole 3,776 meters. Plus, contemplating the sunrise from Fuji-san summit will surely become a life long and precious memory.
- Music Festivals
Every summer, the music scene in Japan goes literally cra-zy. Festivals are great to meet new people and enjoy the beat. If you have a thing for music, check out the festivals held throughout the country: from jazz to pop, there is a music event for everyone, no matter what genre are you into. IZANAU’s team picks for August are Summer Sonic and Rock in Japan. Check them out and dive into the Japanese scene!
- Refresh yourself with kakigori
Another classic of Japanese festivals - this iced, delicious treat is perfect to cool down during the warm summer days. かき氷 (kakigori, shaved ice flavored with syrup) can be found with no effort pretty much everywhere in Japan, but especially in parks, festivals and so on - look for a white flag with blue waves and a big 氷 (goori, ice) red kanji.
- Dance till the end of the night at Bon Odori festivals
I remember the night I joined for the first time a 盆踊り (Bon Odori, Bon dance) festival. In the beginning, I was pretty much like “these are dancing classes for grannies”. Just a few hours later, those lovely ladies were wiping the floor with the remains of my pride and my sense of rhythm. After that first game-changing lesson, they kindly taught me how to perform like a pro and nowadays I am an addict to these festivals! Bon Odori festivals are such a great way to immerse yourself into the Japanese culture and experience the real spirit of Japan: don’t be shy and start practicing your best choreography right now! Every region of Japan has its own dance, videos websites will be your friend to practice at home.
- Crack open a watermelon
It is almost impossible to picture the Japanese summer without スイカ割り (suikawari, watermelon splitting). This delicious twist of a piñata is actually a funny game - the splitter has to be blindfolded and spun while the observers shout them out directions, which can be correct… or not! Once the splitter manages to crack open the watermelon, everybody takes part in eating it and refresh themselves along a river or the sea. Even if it is just a game, please be careful and play it in an open space - you don’t want to hit anybody by mistake!
What about you, what is your dream summer in Japan? Contact us and tell us your best plans for this season! (We might even find you a job for your autumn).
About the Author
Half writer, half reader. Tokyo based and deeply in love with - you can easily find me meandering around Shibuya or Shin-Okubo. Communication and marketing assistant by day, video game localizer by night.