We won’t lie to you — summer in Tokyo can be pretty intense. As temperatures soar and the humidity reaches rainforest levels, the city is united in its one goal: staying cool.

Luckily, this can be achieved in a number of ways. Some choose the ice-cold beers, steady supply of ice cream, and minimal movement option. Others embrace the season, taking advantage of the myriad festivals and events scattered across the city. Whatever your tactics, we’ve got you covered with our guide to surviving Tokyo summer. Things to do, what to eat and drink, the best festivals and events, all right here.

Things to do in Tokyo in the summer

Whether you want to enjoy the sunshine or beat the heat, there’s lots of things to do in summer in Tokyo. One of the most popular Tokyo summer activities is visiting a festival, so we’ve given that its whole own section. And of course, indulging in seasonal summer foods also deserves its own category. But those aside, there’s still much more to talk about. So, here’s what to do in Tokyo in summer.

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1. Hit up the beach

Sunset at a beach near Enoshima. | Photo by Getty Images

While Tokyo isn’t known for its beaches, there are plenty within easy day-trip distance of the big city. You can head east to Onjuku Beach in Chiba Prefecture, or west to Enoshima, Zushi Beach, or Hayama. If you’ve got a whole weekend to spare, head on over to the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture for white sand beaches, onsen (hot springs), and stunning hikes.

2. Retreat inside

The popular teamlab Borderless is in Azabudai Hills. | Photo by Aimee Gardner

If you’d rather head indoors during summer, Tokyo has plenty of options to keep you entertained. The city has plenty of great museums and galleries where you can get your fix of art and culture, or you can hit up a shopping and entertainment complex like Azabudai Hills or Harakado. Karaoke is another great option, and it’s quite affordable during the day on weekdays.

3. Check out some summer blooms

Don’t miss the hydrangeas in June. | Photo by Getty Images

Cherry blossoms aren’t the only seasonal flowers you can enjoy in Japan. Tokyo summer brings with it hydrangeas, lotus flowers, and sunflowers to name a few. Head to Hakusan Shrine for its annual Hydrangea Festival in June, or for lotus flowers, drop by Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park during July. The best sunflowers in the Tokyo area, don’t miss the Kiyose Sunflower Festival in August.

4. Take a day trip to somewhere cooler

Escape the Tokyo summer in Okutama. | Photo by Aimee Gardner

When the Tokyo summer heat is getting you down, it’s time to head out of town. There are plenty of great summer day trips from Tokyo, with something to suit all tastes. The outdoorsy types can head out to Okutama, while the city-slickers can head to Matsumoto instead for a quiet urban escape.

5. Or travel even further to cooler parts of Japan

sea turtle in okinawa waters
Okinawa’s waters make for superb snorkeling. | Photo by iStock.com/petesphotography

If you’ve got the time to travel even further from Tokyo, there are some fun summer destinations awaiting you. Head north to Hokkaidō for milder weather and visit some of the famous lavender fields. Or go the opposite way to Okinawa for beachy vibes or blood-pumping adventure activities — the choice is yours.

Summer events and festivals in Tokyo

With so much going on in the summer, we couldn’t possibly list it all here. Do check the Tokyo Cheapo events page, however, where you’ll find detailed listings of absolutely everything that’s worth checking out in the city.

Tokyo fireworks festivals

summer fireworks in Tokyo
Summer means fireworks. | Photo by iStock.com/Torsakarin

Fireworks (hanabi) festivals are a summer staple in Japan, giving everyone the opportunity to don their yukata, eat some street food, and gaze at the sky for an hour. At the larger festivals, the Sumidagawa Festival, for example, some people make a whole day of it, although the main event only comes to life in the evening. The displays are always impressive and can last upwards of an hour, though it’s the party atmosphere and sense of occasion that tends to make the lasting impression.

Firefly-viewing and festivals

firefly festival tokyo
Keep an eye out for the fireflies. | Photo by iStock.com/Diana Radicchi

In June, just as the summer is revving up, a natural phenomenon that never fails to astound sparks into life — the fireflies. Although urban Tokyo isn’t the greatest place to see the glowing bugs, there are still a good few places where you can check them out.

Summer Sonic

Rock your socks off at Summer Sonic. | Photo by Victor Gonzalez

Summer Sonic has quickly become Japan’s premier rock festival — a 2- or 3-day event that pulls in some of Japan and the world’s top acts and always lively crowds. For all the info on this year’s event, take a look here. And for info on other summer music festivals, see our quick guide.

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Ueno Summer Festival

The Ueno Summer Festival lasts for a mammoth 5 weeks between July and August every year. Consisting of all kinds of special performances and events, the festival has something for everyone. The highlight of proceedings is always the colorful Ueno Natsu Matsuri Parade, which features 38 different teams of dancers and is not to be missed.

Summer food and drink in Tokyo

japanese summer foods
Nothing better than a shaved ice to keep you cool on a hot summer’s day. | Photo by iStock.com/Satoshi-K

Refreshment is the name of the game when it comes to both food and drink in the summer. And what could be more refreshing than ice? Japan’s most persistent summer food is ice, shaved and drenched in flavored syrup and labeled kakigōri.

Living off kakigōri alone probably isn’t the best idea, though. Other good food options for the summer include sōmen noodles, served cold, as well as the street food (yakitori, takoyaki, yakisoba, etc.) you’ll find at all the summer events and festivals.

You could also turn up the heat with a barbeque. Head to the mountains, rivers and lakes or check out the top inexpensive Tokyo BBQ spots.

As for drinking, two words: beer gardens.

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Tokyo summer itinerary: A perfectly cool weekend

Looking for an in depth guide for what to do in Tokyo in the summer if you’re stuck in the city? Then look no further. Here’s a full morning-to-evening itinerary for the perfect Tokyo summer weekend.

Saturday

Morning: Take a walk through Todoroki Valley

Todoroki Valley start
Todoroki vallery. | Photo by Lily Crossley-Baxter

Make the best of the cooler morning air and get out into nature. A walk in Todoroki Valley close to Shibuya will make you feel like you’ve departed Tokyo and stepped into a Ghibli movie. Here, you will hear the gentle sound of the stream flowing through the ravine as the sunrays pierce the dense, green foliage above.

Todoroki Temple
Todoroki Fudōson Temple. | Photo by Lily Crossley-Baxter

The walk takes about 20-30 minutes and ends at Todoroki Fudōson Temple. If you walk down the steps of the temple, the path will lead you through a bamboo forest and finally to a simple park, which is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch break.

Afternoon: Cool off with some kakigōri

Tokyo Kakigori
Kakigōri time. | Photo by Felix Wilson

Now it’s time to cool off. Head to Shimokita Chaen in Shimokitazawa for their matcha foam-topped kakigōri served by Japanese tea sommeliers. Prices start at ¥864. It’s a 5-minute walk from Shimokitazawa Station, on the way back from Todoroki towards the city center.

Evening: Take a cruise around Tokyo Bay

tokyo bay cruise
Tokyo Bay. | Photo by iStock.com/KEN226

Wrap up your evening with a summer cruise around Tokyo Bay on a traditional yakatabune boat. We love this yakatabune cruise which has a variety of food and drink plans to choose from including an all-you-can-drink option.

From the boat you can enjoy views of Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge, while you chow down on some local specialities like monjayaki.

Sunday

Morning: Explore Odaiba

A view of Odaiba Marine Park
Odaiba Marine Park. | Photo by Maria Danuco

Tokyo’s man-made island of Odaiba has plenty to keep you entertained on a warm summer morning. The malls are full of entertainment options including the indoor amusement park Joypolis, the Unko (poop) Museum, and a Legoland Discovery Center.

Alternatively, simply bring a picnic brunch to Odaiba Marine Park and enjoy the sun, stunning views of Tokyo, and a gentle breeze. Shade is not available on the beach, only under the surrounding trees, so if it is a very hot and sunny day, bring some sunscreen and a hat.

Afternoon: Get crafty

Nothing like a fan to keep you cool. | Photo by via Getty Images.

When it comes to surviving the summer in Tokyo, a fan is an essential piece of equipment. And with this unique fan making workshop you’ll create your very own. You can choose from a round or folding fan, and use stamps and pencils to make your own custom design.

Evening: Finish off your weekend at a beer garden

Kyoto Brewing beers
Belgian Stout, Belgian IPA, and Saison from Kyoto Brewing. | Photo by Gregory Lane

End a weekend of summer fun the traditional Tokyo way: with a cold one at a beer garden. And Tokyo has a lot of beer gardens to choose from. Since you’re already in Asakusa, Eki Beer is a solid option. This beer garden is on top of the Ekimise Building at Asakusa Station.

Other options include the Forest Beer Garden and Mt. Takao Beer Mount.

Summer weather in Tokyo

From June to September, average temperatures hover at around 25°C (77°F). Averages, however, hide the often far more uncomfortable (and sticky) truth. If you’re in Tokyo for August or September, average temperatures are solidly in the upper 20s and it’s not uncommon for the 30°C mark to be broken. It’s not just the heat either, the humidity is arguably the real killer. At the height of summer, humidity levels can approach an unforgiving 80 percent. Bottom line: it’s really hot.

Enoshima main beach
Enoshima main beach. | Photo by iStock.com/gyro

Rain, however, can be a partial relief. June and September are particularly wet, though the whole season does see a significant amount of rainfall. Typically, summer rain comes in short, sharp bursts rather than a slow drizzle, giving everyone a much-needed cold shower and simultaneously breaking the humidity for a while. Bliss.

How to deal with the heat

It may be tempting to waste the summer indoors, cowering underneath the air conditioning unit. But we won’t let you. We’ve devised a few tricks over the years for beating the heat.

Generally, make sure you’re wearing light, breathable clothing and if you’re going to be out all day, it may be a good idea to take a spare t-shirt or something with you. Take advantage of the free promotional hand fans that are given out on the streets and don’t stop fanning until your wrist aches. Most important of all — drink a lot (we mean a lot) of water and sports/electrolyte drinks.

Frequently asked questions

What months are summer in Tokyo?

June, July, and September are Tokyo’s summer months.

Is Tokyo worth visiting in summer?

Yes! There are a lot of things to do in Tokyo summer that make it worth visiting. But, if you really can’t deal with heat you might want to move your trip to another time of the year. See our full article on the best times to visit Japan to help you work when you should visit.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Post first published in May, 2017. Last updated in July, 2024.

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