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Summer in Japan

Summer months of June to August can see high temperatures with high himidity throughout all but the north of the country caused by moist warm air currents from the Pacific.  This time of year can be quite uncomfortable to the visitor. However during the period from July to August some of Japan’s biggest, most spectacular festivals, or matsuri are held and there’s no better way to experience the sights, the sounds and the mystery of Japanese culture. (See picture below of Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri - 16/17 July)

Festival floats and portable shrines throng the streets, stalls selling all manner of foods and trinkets, girls wearing their brightly coloured yukata, traditional dances and music and spectacular fireworks displays, summer festivals are the perfect way to celebrate away the heat.

In northern Japan the summers are short but quite warm and on the eastern coasts the summers are wetter than the winters. In central and southern Japan the summers are very warm but excessively hot days are rare. The country is dominated by moist maritime air at this time so the summer heat is often sultry and oppressive, particularly in Japan’s great cities.

In the mountains temperatures are sufficiently reduced by altitude as to be quite pleasant in summer. Here on sunny days in spring and summer, conditions can be quite delightful.

In most places in Japan the daily sunshine amounts are only moderate because of the humid atmosphere and abundant rain. They are lowest in Hokkaido and Tohoku, where they average from two to three hours a day in winter to five or six hours a day in summer.

Farther south there is more sunshine with an average of six to seven hours a day around the year. Summer sunshine is often less than that in spring, which is a drier season. In summer and early autumn much of the heavy rain is brought by typhoons, or tropical cyclones, that move north from the South China Sea or the region east of the Philippines. In some parts of central and southern Japan there is a double rainfall maximum; one in early summer, the so-called Bai-U or plum rains, and a second in late summer or early autumn, brought by typhoons.

 

 
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