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Archive for the 'Travel Japan' Category

Japanese Travel Phrases for an Enjoyable Trip to Japan

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Are you traveling to Japan and want to learn practical Japanese travel phrases? This article is designed to help you learn the most useful Japanese words for travel.

It’s always good to learn basic words when you travel to a foreign country. Not only does it make getting around easier, but it also allows you to enjoy communicating with the locals.

In general, Japanese people are not so good at speaking English, free wifi services aren’t very prevalent (especially outside of the central cities), and Japan is still more of a cash-based society than you may think. However, Japanese people are very kind; they’ll listen to you patiently and do their best to help. So just use these basic Japanese travel phrases to talk to Japanese people when you want to ask something.

When you speak even a little bit of Japanese, locals will appreciate your effort and will be more friendly. Here’s JapanesePod101’s list of practical Japanese travel phrases for your travels to Japan!

Table of Contents

  1. Greeting/Communication
  2. Asking for Directions
  3. Shopping
  4. Restaurants
  5. When You Need Help
  6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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1. Greeting/Communication

Airplane Phrases

To begin our list of essential Japanese travel phrases, we’ll go over greetings and basic travel phrases in Japanese for solid communication. These simple Japanese travel phrases can make a world of difference in your conversations and overall experience in Japan.

1- こんにちは

  • Romanization: Kon’nichiwa
  • English Translation: Hello

In terms of must-know Japanese travel phrases, you probably already know that this is the most common Japanese greeting word. You can say this to anybody for any occasion during the daytime.

2- はい/いいえ

  • Romanization: Hai / Iie
  • English Translation: Yes / No

Hai is “Yes” and it’s pronounced like the English word “Hi.” In Japan, saying yes also means that you understand. Iie is “No” and it’s pronounced ‘EE-eh.’

3- ありがとうございます

  • Romanization: Arigatō gozaimasu
  • English Translation: Thank you

Arigatō gozaimasu is the polite way to say “Thank you” in Japanese, and you can use this for any occasion. In case of a casual situation, you can just say Arigatō, or even more casually, Dōmo (どうも) which means “Thanks.”

4- いいえ、いりません

  • Romanization: Iie, irimasen
  • English Translation: No, thank you.

It literally means “No, I don’t need it,” in Japanese. At a restaurant, say this phrase when a waiter offers to fill your glass of water and you don’t want more.

5- すみません

  • Romanization: Sumimasen
  • English Translation: I’m sorry / Excuse me

This word is usually used to say “sorry” or “excuse me”. Say this when you bump into someone in a crowd or when you ask someone for directions. Japanese people also use this to mean “thank you,” in some cases, such as when someone picks up something you dropped.

6- お願いします

  • Romanization: Onegai shimasu
  • English Translation: Please

When you request something, it’s polite to say Onegai shimasu. When someone offers you something and says please, she/he would say Dōzo (どうぞ) in Japanese.

7- 私はXXです

  • Romanization: Watashi wa XX desu.
  • English Translation: I am XX.

Watashi is “I,” wa is “am/is/are,” and desu is a present-tense word that links subjects and predicates; it’s placed at the end of a sentence. You can put your name, or your nationality, such as: Watashi wa Amerika-jin desu (私はアメリカ人です) which means “I am American.”  

Many Different Flags

8- 私は日本語がわかりません

  • Romanization: Watashi wa nihongo ga wakarimasen.
  • English Translation: I don’t understand Japanese.

Nihongo is stands for the Japanese language, and Wakarimasen means “I don’t understand.” If you don’t know something, you can just say Wakarimasen meaning “I don’t know.”

9- 英語を話せますか

  • Romanization: Eigo o hanasemasu ka
  • English Translation: Can you speak English?

This is one of the most useful Japanese phrases for travelers. Eigo means “English,” Hanasemasu is a polite way to say “I speak,” and ka is a word that you add to the end of a complete sentence to make a question.

10- 英語でお願いします

  • Romanization: Eigo de onegai shimasu
  • English Translation: English, please.

This is another important Japanese travel phrase. De is the particle, and in this case it means “by” or “by means of.” The phrase literally translates as “English by please.” You can also say M saizu de onegai shimasu (Mサイズでお願いします) which means “Medium size, please.”

2. Asking for Directions

Preparing to Travel

One of the most important Japanese travel phrases you should know are directions. Here are some useful vocabulary words and two Japanese language travel phrases you need to know!

1- Vocabulary

  • 駅 (Eki) : Station
  • 地下鉄 (Chikatetsu) : Subway/Metro
  • トイレ (Toire) : Toilet
  • 銀行 (Ginkō) : Bank
  • 切符売り場 (Kippu uriba) : Ticket machine/Office
  • 観光案内所 (Kankō annaijo) : Tourist information office
  • 入口 (Iriguchi) : Entrance
  • 出口 (Deguchi) : Exit
  • 右 (Migi) : Right
  • 左 (Hidari) : Left
  • まっすぐ (Massugu) : Straight
  • 曲がる (Magaru) : Turn
  • 交差点 (Kōsaten) : Intersection
  • 角 (Kado) : Corner

2- XXはどこですか

  • Romanization: XX wa doko desu ka
  • English Translation: Where is XX?

Doko means “where” and you replace XX with the name of where you want to go.

For example

  • Toire wa doko desu ka (Where is the toilet?)
  • Deguchi wa doko desu ka (Where is an exit?)

3- XX e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka (XXへはどう行けばいいですか) : How can I go to XX?

  • Romanization: XX e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka
  • English Translation: How can I go to XX?

is “how,” e is “to,” and ikeba ii can be translated as “good to go.” When you want to know how you can get somewhere, replace XX with where you want to go.

For example:

  • Eki e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka (How can I go to the station?)
  • Ginkō e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka (How can I go to the bank?)

4- Other Examples

1. この道をまっすぐ行きます (Kono michi o massugu ikimasu.):Go straight on this street.

Kono michi is “this street” and ikimasu is the polite way to say “Go.” O is a Japanese postpositional particle which indicates an object (in this case, kono michi).

2. 次の角を右へ曲がります (Tsugi no kado o migi e magarimasu.):Turn right at the next corner.

Tsugi no kado means “next corner” and magarimasu is the polite way to say “Turn.” E is another postpositional particle that indicates direction; this can be translated as the English word “to.”

3. 交差点を渡って左へ行きます (Kōsaten o watatte hidari e ikimasu.):Cross an intersection and go to the left (direction).

Watatte is a conjugated form of wataru which means “cross.”

3. Shopping

Basic Questions

You’ll definitely love shopping when traveling in Japan, and some of the best Japanese phrases for travel are those related to this fun past-time. Knowing some useful Japanese words will make your shopping even more enjoyable.

1- XXはありますか

  • Romanization: XX wa arimasu ka
  • English Translation: Do you have XX?

When you’re at a store and looking for something, you can use this phrase by replacing XX with what you want.

2- いくらですか

  • Romanization: Ikura desu ka
  • English Translation: How much is it?

This is probably one of the most useful Japanese words for traveling and shopping. You can say Ikura desu ka in many situations, such as when you’re shopping, buying tickets, paying for a taxi, etc.

3- 免税できますか

  • Romanization: Menzei dekimasu ka
  • English Translation: Can you do a tax exemption?

Did you know that, as a traveler, you can get a sales tax exemption when you purchase things greater than 5,000 yen? Menzei is “tax exempted” and dekimasu means “can do.” Don’t forget to say this when you buy something big!

4- これは何ですか

  • Romanization: Kore wa nan desu ka
  • English Translation: What is this?

Kore is “this” and nan is another form of nani which means “what.” There are many unique foods, gadgets, and things which are unique to Japan, so when you wonder what it is, point to it and say this phrase.

5- これを買います

  • Romanization: Kore o kaimasu
  • English Translation: I’ll buy this.

Kaimasu is the conjugation of the verb kau, which means “buy.”

6- カードは使えますか

  • Romanization: Kādo wa tsukaemasu ka
  • English Translation: Can I use a credit card?

Kādo is “card” and you pronounce it just like the English word “card.” Tsukaemasu is a conjugation of the potential form of the verb tsukau which means “use.” This phrase is useful when you want to use your card at small shops and restaurants.

Man and Woman Shopping

4. Restaurants

Japan has an array of delicious foods, of which sushi and ramen are just the tip of the iceberg. Amazingly, Tokyo is the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, for several consecutive years. Enjoy yummy food at restaurants with useful Japanese words for restaurants and easy Japanese travel phrases related to food.

1- Vocabulary

  • 英語のメニュー (Eigo no menyū) : English menu
  • ベジタリアンのメニュー (Bejitarian no menyū) : Vegetarian menu
  • 豚肉を含まないメニュー (Butaniku o fukumanai menyū) : Menu without pork
  • 水 (Mizu) : Water
  • 白/赤ワイン (Shiro / Aka wain) : White / Red wine

2- XXはありますか

  • Romanization: XX wa arimasu ka
  • English Translation: Do you have XX?

When you want to ask if the restaurant has something you want, say this phrase (replacing XX with what you want).

For example:

  • Eigo no menyū wa arimasu ka (Do you have an English menu?)
  • Aka wain wa arimasu ka (Do you have red wine?)

3- XXをください

  • Romanization: XX o kudasai
  • English Translation: Can I have XX?

This is another very useful phrase. Simply replace XX with what you want. You can also use this versatile phrase in various occasions, such as when shopping, choosing something, etc.

For example:

  • Kore o kudasai (Can I have this?)
  • Mizu o kudasai (Can I have water?)

4- お会計お願いします

  • Romanization: O-kaikei onegai shimasu
  • English Translation: Check, please.

O-kaikei means “check.” In Japan, people often cross their index fingers in front of their face as a gesture to indicate “check, please” at casual restaurants. However, when you’re at a nice restaurant, simply tell a waiter: O-kaikei onegai shimasu.

5. When You Need Help

Survival Phrases

Sometimes you get faced with unexpected emergencies while you’re traveling. Japan is famous for being one of the safest countries in the world, but you might fall very ill or be caught in a great earthquake.

1- Vocabularies

  • 警察 (Keisatsu) : Police
  • 病院 (Byōin) : Hospital
  • 救急車 (Kyūkyūsha) : Ambulance
  • ドラッグストア/薬局 (Doraggu sutoa / Yakkyoku) : Drug Store/Pharmacy
  • タクシー (Takushī) : Taxi

2- XXを呼んでください

  • Romanization: XX o yonde kudasai
  • English Translation: Can you call XX?

When you’re severely ill or in case of emergency, let people know by using this phrase. Japanese people will kindly help you.

For example:

  • Yūkyūsha o yonde kudasai (Can you call an ambulance?)
  • Keisatsu o yonde kudasai (Can you call the police?)

3- どこでインターネットを使えますか

  • Romanization: Doko de intānetto o tsukaemasu ka
  • English Translation: Where can I use the internet?

Although large cities in Japan provide free public wifi at major stations, metros, and cafes, you may need to find internet access in smaller cities. Remember that there will be kind Japanese people who will share their personal hotspots, or look things up for you with their own phones, as well.

4- 電話を貸してください

  • Romanization: Denwa o kashite kudasai
  • English Translation: Can I use your phone?

Denwa is “phone” and kashite is a conjugation word of kasu, which means “lend.” This phrase is literally translated as “Please lend (me) a phone.”

5- 助けてください

  • Romanization: Tasukete kudasai
  • English Translation: Please help me.

I believe this phrase is the last thing you would ever use in Japan, but in case something does happen, this is useful survival Japanese for tourists.

Japanese Landmark

6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this article of Japanese travel phrases is helpful and that you’ll enjoy your trip to Japan!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

We also have YouTube channel: JapanesePod101. It’s fun to learn Japanese through watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation, so we recommend you check it out!

Don’t forget to study with our free Japanese vocabulary lists, read more insightful blog posts like this one, and download our mobile apps to learn anywhere, anytime! Whatever your reason for learning Japanese, know that we’re here to help and you can do it! Keep in mind that the best way to learn Japanese phrases for travel is repetition and practice.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about using these useful travel phrases in Japanese after reading this article. More confident, or still a little confused about something? Feel free to ask questions in the comments!

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8 Tips for a Solo Japan Trip

Solo Japan Trip

The Land of the Rising Sun is by far one of the most rewarding places for a solo adventure. Crammed into the island nation is old-world architecture, delicious food, stunning metropolises, incredible nature, and a culture unlike any other. Even though you’ve likely heard the adage “happiness is only real when shared,” we politely request that you disregard that: here are eight tips to ensure your first solo trip is filled with happiness.

Learn Some Basic Japanese Phrases

Learning Japanese

Although English (Eigo) is taught in most public and private schools throughout the country, everyday people are not usually well-equipped to have a full conversation. Japanese people are extremely helpful and will go out of their way to help, but just know that the language barrier is very often there. Things are manageable in the urban centers, but if you plan on heading out to the countryside, communication becomes increasingly difficult.

Knowing this, one of the best things you can do prior to your trip is to learn some basic Japanese phrases. There are plenty of apps out there, but JapanesePod101 is an excellent resource for fast-paced content that will get you up to speed before your trip. Take a quick scroll through their lesson library to discover survival phrases and other must-knows before taking off.

Know About Japanese Taboos

Sushi

There are entire articles (and books) written about navigating the nuances of Japanese culture, but here are a few major things to keep in mind while on your solo trip.

  • Take your shoes off when appropriate. This is especially common in homes but can be expected in public establishments as well.
  • Don’t talk on the phone while on public transportation.
  • Never stick chopsticks vertically (i.e stab) into your food, as this represents an offering to the dead.
  • Don’t point or gesture at people with just one finger.
  • Generally do your best to avoid loud and distasteful behavior in public. Japan is a place that prides itself on respect and order, so do your best to not stand out.
  • Tattoos are still associated with the nefarious underground culture of Japan, so err on the side of covering up anything that may be offensive.

Make Use of Exceptional Public Transportation

Transport

Public transportation in Japan is incredibly efficient and makes for an excellent solo travel experience. Japan Railways (JR Pass) is the public option that has routes all throughout the country, but you can also find private railway companies like Tobu, Meitetsu, Kintetsu, and Seibu.

Within the city centers, most people get around on subway lines. If you’re staying in Japan for a long period, consider purchasing a prepaid card ahead of time.

Always Carry Cash

Japanese Yen

For as advanced as Japanese society is, a surprising number of establishments still don’t accept credit cards. This has got better in recent years, but it’s still best to travel with a solid reserve of cash in case you get caught short.

Additionally, many ATM’s do not accept foreign bank cards. Consider bringing the cash you’ll need in your home currency and exchanging upon arrival (or doing so beforehand).

Where to Should Stay

Japanese House

For the solo traveler looking to link up with other friendly souls and adventure together, Japan has a great collection of hostels. They cater to the social crowd, they will help you organize tours, and they’ll be more affordable and allow you to stretch your budget.

If you’re looking for an authentic experience, consider booking a room in a traditional ryokan. Ryokans are Japanese-style inns found throughout the country, but commonly near hot spring (onsen) resorts. They usually incorporate elements such as tatami floors, futon beds, modern baths, and plenty of pillows.

Get Outdoors

Mount Fuji

Speaking of hot springs, one of the best things to do as a solo traveler in Japan is to explore the country’s illustrious collection of parks and natural treasures. Stunning mountains, dense bamboo forests, bucolic countrysides, and colorful springtime flowers.

Some of the most amazing outdoor experiences you can have in Japan include skiing on mountains with more snow than anywhere in the world, hiking through the Oirase National Park, dropping into waterfalls in Minakami, white water rafting at Okutama, and diving at Izu and the Ogasawara Islands. If you’re visiting during the winter months, check out Christmas in Japan: How to Celebrate the Holidays in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Get a SIM Card or Pocket WiFi

Pocket WiFi

Before setting off, be sure to establish a plan of action for communication. One route is to go with your local carrier’s travel package, but those can sometimes be quite pricey. Mobal is the most popular option for a SIM card, and the prices are fairly reasonable.

Another option is to rent or buy a pocket WiFi. Free WiFi in Japan is still fairly rare, so the safest bet (especially as a solo traveler) will be to always have a WiFi connection on the go. There are services that will allow you to pick up your device (a small rectangle about the size of your phone) at the airport upon arrival, or have it delivered to your hotel room.

Pack Light

Kyoto

As a solo traveler, you won’t have anyone else with you to share the load of your possessions, so packing light is a must. It’s definitely on the list of What You Should Know as a First-Time Solo Traveler, and in Japan it especially makes sense. Storing your luggage on trains, planes, and automobiles becomes that much less of an ordeal, and will allow you to move around with your hands-free. You should also be sure to make use of your accommodation’s lockers and safes if they are available.

Writer Dillon is a travel-hungry outdoor enthusiast originally from Encinitas, California. He recently moved to Medellín to begin his next chapter as a content writer for AllTheRooms, the world’s first vacation rental search engine. Besides writing, Dillon enjoys live music, fútbol, cooking, and backpacking.

October in Japan: The Weather, What to Wear, and What to Do

Are you planning to visit Japan in October? The very hot summer and typhoon season ends in September, and October is a great season for traveling to Japan with the perfect weather and beautiful attractions.

October is also a harvest season and there are many delicious foods to be enjoyed at harvest festivals all over Japan. Wondering where to see autumn colors in Japan? In northern areas such as the Hokkaido and Tohoku area, mountains start to turn red and yellow, the result of the beautiful autumn leaves.

In this article, JapanesePod101 introduces fun events and what to see on your trip to Japan in October. We’ll help you enjoy your trip with our culture and language learning materials! Here you’ll find everything you need to know about visiting Japan in autumn: things to bring to Japan in autumn, when to go hiking in Japan, and even about its fall festivals.

1. Holidays in October

There’s a holiday called Sports Day or 体育の日(Taiiku no Hi) in October. It’s on the second Monday of the month, and is a memorial day for the Tokyo Olympic Games held in 1964, which was the first Olympic Games in Asia. Many sports events are held on this day.

Since this holiday is one of the Happy Monday System holidays, and becomes a three-day holiday with the weekend, many people choose to celebrate by going on small trips. Hotels tend to be crowded and airplane tickets more expensive. Be sure to plan ahead of time if you want to travel to Japan during this three-day holiday.

If you need more information on Sports Day or are interested in Japanese holidays, please check out our “Guide of Japanese National Holidays in 2018: How to Celebrate?”

2. Japan Weather in October

Japan Weather in October

1- Sunset Time in Japan During October

The days start to get shorter in October. The sunset time is usually around five o’clock pm. This said, take note that daytime in Hokkaido is a little shorter than it is in other areas.

2- Weather and Temperature

October is a great season for traveling. The hot season has ended and, usually, temperatures become mild and pleasant. Also, the typhoon season starts coming to a close in September, and there are fewer rainy days in October. In particular, daytime temperatures and the temperatures of southern areas are nice.

However, you need to be careful about the weather and temperatures in October, because sometimes it’s unpredictable. It depends on the year and areas, where sometimes it gets cold and other times it gets very hot.

In October, the temperature difference between the north and south is quite extreme. Sometimes it snows in the northern areas of Hokkaido. In 2016, there was first snow in Asahikawa, the northern city in Hokkaido, in October and it remained without melting until next spring. So if you’re planning on going to Hokkaido, you need to be ready for snow. On the other hand, in southern areas such as Okinawa, it tends to be hot during the daytime.

You also need to be aware of temperature differences in daytime and nighttime. At nighttime, it tends to be cool—so be prepared for it to get a little chilly during your nightly strolls.

3- Weather in Sapporo, Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka, and Okinawa

Here, let’s look at the weather and temperatures in each area.

Sapporo, Hokkaido Weather in October

The summer is completely gone and ready for winter in Sapporo. The temperatures get colder day by day and the average temperatures fall down to 9.7°C (49.5°F) at the end of October. Further, the end of October usually holds the first snow. However, on sunny days, you can still enjoy sightseeing and activities.

  • Average temperature:11.8°C (53.2°F)
  • Highest temperature:16.2°C (61.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:7.5°C (45.5°F)

Tokyo Weather in October

The summer is gone but it’s still hot on sunny days. Sometimes, it might feel as though summer is really just dragging on. On the other hand, it’s cool in the morning and at night. You need to be ready for those differences in temperature when visiting Tokyo in October.

  • Average temperature:19.2°C (66.6°F)
  • Highest temperature:23.0°C (73.4°F)
  • Minimum temperature:16.1°C (61.0°F)

Tokyo Weather In October

Kyoto Weather in October

The city of Kyoto is in a basin and the temperature difference between day and night is extreme. In early October, it sometimes gets higher than 30.0°C (86.0°F) during the day, but goes down to around 10.0°C (50.0°F) during the night. In particular, you need to be careful about the minimum temperatures at the end of October. It usually gets down to around 5.0°C (41.0°F), and it gets colder than in Tokyo.

  • Average temperature:17.8°C (64.0°F)
  • Highest temperature:22.9°C (73.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:13.6°C (56.5°F)

Hakata, Fukuoka Weather in October

On a sunny day it’s warm, but there are also cool days in October. The difference between the highest temperature and the minimum temperature is extreme. You need to be ready for both summer weather and cool fall weather.

  • Average temperature:18.9°C (66.0°F)
  • Highest temperature:29.2°C (84.6°F)
  • Minimum temperature:11.3°C (52.3°F)

Naha, Okinawa Weather in October

Okinawa is still hot in October and the weather is like early summer. Especially in the daytime, when it usually gets to nearly 30.0°C (86.0°F) . Okinawa especially has strong typhoon influence in summer, but it usually ends by September. There are less rainy days in October, making it the perfect weather for sightseeing.

  • Average temperature:25.2°C (77.4°F)
  • Highest temperature:27.9°C (82.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:23.1°C (73.6°F)

4- What to Wear?

Full-length pants are recommended since they’re flexible and can be worn no matter the weather you encounter. For upper clothes, wear layers so that you’ll be ready for both warm and cold weather. In some places such as the Kyoto, Tohoku area and Hokkaido area, you might want to bring winter coats with you. Japan in autumn can certainly bring a mix of weather conditions!

3. Seasonal Foods

Seasonal Foods

Since October is the harvest season, there are many kinds of seasonal foods. Here are some examples of seasonal food you should try in October.

  • ぶどう (budō) or grapes
  • 栗 (kuri) or chestnut
  • 柿 (kaki) or persimmon
  • かぼちゃ (kabocha) or pumpkin
  • かつお (katsuo) or bonitos
  • さんま (sanma) or saury
  • さば (saba) or mackerel
  • 松茸 (matsutake) or matsutake mushroom

During the harvest season of chestnuts and grapes, there are some farms that offer chestnut gathering and grape collecting. These are fun activities, especially recommended if you’re with your friends or family.

4. Events and What to See

1- Food Festivals

Food Festivals

Food festivals are one of the most prominent and delicious types of October activities in Japan. October is harvest season, so it’s a great season for eating. There’s a popular Japanese phrase “Autumn’s Appetite” or 食欲の秋 (shokuyoku no aki).

Many food festivals are held throughout Japan to celebrate the new harvest. There are many kinds of food festivals. For example, Ramen Show is one of the most popular food festivals. There are also beer festivals, oyster festivals, BBQ festivals, and so on.

Octoberfest

Also, Oktoberfest, originally held in Germany, is becoming popular in Japan. If you’re a great beer drinker, Oktoberfest is a perfect event for you. You can enjoy drinking German beer with delicious German food such as sausages. There’s a big Oktoberfest held in Sapporo, which is a sister city of Munich, Germany, where the biggest Oktoberfest in Germany is held.

Hokkaido Food Festival in Tokyo

Hokkaido Food Festival In Tokyo

Although there aren’t many farms in Tokyo, many fresh and delicious foods are brought together here from all over Japan, and various food events are held in Tokyo.

One of the most popular food events in October is Hokkaido Food Festivals in Yoyogi Park. There are about 100 food stalls and about 400-thousand people visit each year. You can enjoy various Hokkaido foods, such as ramen noodles, fresh seafood, fresh vegetables, and meat. You can also try local craft beer, too. It’s usually held for four days, and in 2018 it’ll be from October 5 to 8.

2- Autumn Leaves

Autum Leaves

In October, trees start to turn red and yellow in northern areas such as Hokkaido and Tohoku. Since more than 70% of Japan’s land is mountains, autumn leaves are quite a special autumn feature.

The view is beautiful and amazing. We recommend going to see autumn leaves, especially if you don’t have autumn leaves around where you live. The peak season of each area is very short, so the more popular spots tend to be very crowded. Some mountains have only one or two roads leading to viewing sites, so it might be better to visit on a weekday if it’s possible.

Here’s a list of some of the best places to see fall colors in Japan:

  • 定山渓 (Jōzankei) in Hokkaido
  • 洞爺湖 (Tōyako) or Toya Lake in Hokkaido
  • 弘前公園 (Hirosaki kōen) or Hirosaki Park in Aomori
  • 抱返り渓谷 (Dakikaeri keikoku) in Akita

Toya Lake is a famous hot spring spot and you can also enjoy fireworks every night here around the end of October.

In Kanto areas, including Tokyo and south of the Kanto area, the peak of autumn leaves is in November. However, you still have a chance to see these color-changing beauties in more mountainous areas. For example, the peak season of 日光ひろは坂 (Nikkō hirohaa zaka) in Tochigi is around the middle of October.

3- Unique Autumn Festivals

Some of the most exciting events in October are autumn festivals. Many unique autumn festivals are held throughout Japan. At these festivals, you can see Japanese traditions such as dances and sports. If you use SNS and want to take unique photos of Japan, these festivals are great photo opportunities.

Here are some recommended festivals in October.

Kawagoe Festival or 川越祭 (Kawagoe Matsuri)

Kawagoe Festival

Third weekend in October
Kawagoe-shi, Saitama

The Kawagoe Festival is an annual festival of Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. It’s registered as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. The most attractive event of the festival is 曳っかわせ(hikkawase). People draw magnificent floats or 山車 (dashi) face each other and compete for traditional 囃子 (hayashi) dance, flute, and voice performances. Kawagoe is just outside of Tokyo, so if you visit Tokyo on this day, the festival might be one of the most exciting options for you. The hon-matsuri, which means “full festival” is held only once every two years.

Kurama Fire Festival or 鞍馬の火祭 (Kurama no Himatsuri)

Kurama Fire Festival

October 22
Kurama, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

The Krama Fire Festivals is one of the three major festivals in Kyoto. This festival is held to honor Yuki Shrine in Kurama Village. This is a very old festival which originated in the 10th century during the Heian period. Hundreds of people with flaming torches illuminate the mountain of Kurama and parade with 神輿 (mikoshi) or a portable shrine. The largest torches are as heavy as 100 kilograms or 220 pounds. It’s a very dynamic and exciting festival.

Nagasaki Kunchi or 長崎くんち (Nagasaki Kunchi) in Nagasaki

Nagasaki Kunchi

October 7 to October 9
Suwa-Jinja Shrine, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki

Nagasaki Kunchi is an annual festival of Suwa Shrine and is also registered as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. It’s an old festival with a history of about 400 years. In the period of national isolation in the Edo era, the port of Nagasaki was a trading hub. Therefore, Nagasaki has a unique culture influenced by Portuguese, Dutch, and Chinese. During this festival, people draw colorfully painted festival cars and perform music and dances. There are also Chinese-influenced dragon dances and western-style ship-shaped festival cars.

Halloween on October 31

The celebration of Halloween is relatively new in Japan and it has become bigger and bigger over the past two decades. However, Japanese Halloween isn’t like a traditional Halloween party in western culture, and trick-or-treating isn’t popular in Japan.

Halloween is more like a big cosplay party, and for many Japanese people, it’s a chance to wear unique costumes once a year. People dress up and go to parades held in the city or events held at nightclubs or theme parks. The downtown areas of big cities become crowded with costumed people. The biggest Halloween parade is held in Shibuya, Tokyo.

There are people wearing horrible costumes, such as witches, ghosts, and zombies. However, for Japanese people, the meaning of Halloween isn’t very important and many people wear fun costumes instead, such as characters of comics or animes. So if you enjoy Japanese animes, we’re going to bet that you’ll really enjoy the Japanese Halloween celebration.

5. Conclusion

October is a great season for traveling to Japan. There are many fun and unique festivals, both traditional and modern. When you plan for your trip to Japan in October, don’t forget to check the dates of those festivals.

You need to be prepared for temperature differences and wear layers in October. In many areas, it’s warm and pleasant weather during the day. So enjoy beautiful autumn leaves, delicious seasonal foods, and fun festivals in October!

August in Japan: Don’t Miss Fun Activities and Events

Are you planning to travel to Japan in August? It’s in the height of summer and very hot across Japan, though it’s also the best season for traveling.

In August, there are many fun events to look forward to such as summer festivals and firework displays. August is also a great month for outdoor activities like going to the beach, participating in water activities in Japan’s rivers, and hiking.

Table of Contents

  1. Weather in August
  2. What to Wear in August
  3. Summer Festivals
  4. Firework Displays
  5. Wearing Yukata
  6. Hiking and Mountain Climbing
  7. Beaches and Water Activities at Rivers
  8. Flower Fields
  9. Conclusion

August is one of the peak seasons for traveling in Japan, but in order to get the most out of it, you need to plan earlier. One thing to keep in mind is that Japanese students have summer vacation from July to August.

Also, there is お盆休み; おぼんやすみ (obon yasumi) or the “Obon holiday” in August, for which people go back to their hometown and visit their parents. The Obon holiday is usually from the 13th to the 15th. Some people take their summer holiday with the Obon holiday, so that it can last a little longer.

In this article, I’ll introduce you to things to do in Japan during August. I’ll also explain what the weather in August is like so that you can better prepare yourself in advance. Here you’ll find some of the best ideas for your fun trip to Japan in August.

Traveling

1. Weather in August

It’s very hot and humid in Japan during the month of August. The average temperature in August is around 26 to 28 degrees Celsius (78.8 to 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit). In many places, it even gets higher than 30 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day—and it gets higher still than 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in a few places.

Since Japan is long from north to south, there are differences between the weather in each of these two sections of Japan. The northe
areas—such as Hokkaido—are less hot. However, in early August, it sometimes gets higher than 30 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit).

Of course, the southe
areas, such as Okinawa, are hotter. Further, big cities like Tokyo and Osaka tend to be hot and humid, and so many buildings use air conditioners. So you have to be ready for the heat no matter where you visit in Japan during August.

The average temperatures of popular sightseeing areas are as follows:

  • Sapporo, Hokkaido: 22 to 23 degrees C (71.6 to 73.4 degrees F)
  • Sendai, Miyagi: 24 to 26 degrees C (75.2 to 78.8 degrees F)
  • Tokyo: 27 to 29 degrees C (80.6 to 84.2 degrees F)
  • Kyoto: 28 to 29 degrees C (82.4 to 84.2 degrees F)
  • Hakata, Fukuoka: 27 to 30 C (80.6 to 86 degrees F)
  • Naha, Okinawa: 28 to 30 C (82.4 to 86 degrees F)

Typhoons

In August, you should be careful about 台風,たいふう (Taifū) or “typhoons.” A typhoon is basically the same thing as a hurricane, but it occurs in the northe
Pacific.

Typhoon

Typhoons are very dangerous. Unfortunately, if a typhoon hits where you are during travel, you’ll have to stay inside of a building. When a typhoon comes, many domestic air flights get cancelled as well. Sometimes, a typhoon can cause Japan to get rain for up to a week!

You should be especially careful if you go to a southe
area like Okinawa, Kyushu, or Shikoku. Typhoons tend to get weak as they move north, and usually don’t hit the northe
parts, such as Hokkaido.

Summer Clothes

2. What to Wear in August

Since it’s very hot in Japan during August, I recommend you wear T-shirts or short-sleeved shirts. But keep in mind that you have to be careful when visiting a sacred place such as a shrine or temple, meaning especially that you shouldn’t wear sleeveless. Most religious places aren’t too strict about casual clothing, but sleeveless might be too casual for most.

3. Summer Festivals

In August, there are many summer festivals across Japan. In Japanese, summer festivals are called 夏祭り; なつまつり (natsumaturi). 夏; なつ (Natsu) means “summer” and 祭り; まつり (matsuri) means “a festival.”

1- Types of Festivals

Summer festivals were originally Shinto’s (神道; しんとう) religious events and most 神社; じんじゃ (Jinjya) or “Shinto shrines” have summer festivals. Each religious summer festival has meaning. For example, people pray for a bumper crop at some summer festivals.

Summer Festivals

At some festivals, you can see mikoshi (神輿; みこし). Mikoshi is a portable shrine and is a carriage for gods. People carry the mikoshi and walk streets, while yelling “Wasshoi, Wasshoi,” which can be a little overwhelming. The word Wasshoi (わっしょい) is just a word for shouting, and most Japanese people don’t know the meaning. There are several theories about the origin of this word. Some say that 和; わ (Wa) means “Japan” and しょい (Shoi) means “to carry.” This would make it mean “to carry the future of Japan.”

Today, there are many non-religious summer festivals, too. For example, there are many food festivals, during which you can enjoy the various local foods. Also, many young people enjoy summer music festivals.

2- Japanese Festival Foods and Activities

Foods:

At most summer festivals, there are many 出店; でみせ (demise) or “food stalls” so that you can enjoy walking around and trying various festival foods. You might be surprised by the crowd around demise; at some big festivals, it’s hard to even walk because of the crowd.

Japanese Food Stalls

There are many kinds of food at demise. Popular foods include:

  • 焼きそば; やきそば (yakisoba) — “stir-fried noodles with vegetables and meat”
  • 焼き鳥; やきとり (yakitori) — “Japanese style skewered chickens”
  • たこ焼き; たこやき (takoyaki) — “octopus dumplings”

I also recommend traditional festival food such as:

  • わたあめ (wataame) — “cotton candy”
  • りんごあめ (ringoame) — “candy apples”
  • かき氷; かきごおり (kakigori) — “shaved ice”

Activities:

At most festivals, there are no chairs or tables to eat on. People typically buy their food and eat around demise, which also has some activities for children such as:

  • ヨーヨー釣り; よーよーつり (Yōyō-tsuri) — “water balloon fishing”
  • 金魚釣り; きんぎょつり (Kingyo-tsuri) — “goldfish scooping game”
  • 射的; しゃてき (Shateki) — “shooting game”
  • くじ引き; くじびき (Kujibiki) — “lottery stall”

3- Festival Recommendations

If you enjoy big summer festivals, I recommend the following as they are some of the largest summer festivals in Japan:

  • 青森ねぶた祭り; あおもりねぶたまつり (Aomorinebutamatsuri) — “Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri”
  • 仙台七夕祭り; せんだいたなばたまつり (Sendaitanabatamatsuri) — “Sendai’s Tanabata Matsuri”
  • 秋田竿燈; あきたかんとう (Akita kantō) — “Akita Kantou”

These festivals are held in the Tohoku area, which is the north part of Honshu.

If you’re searching for summer festivals around Tokyo, I recommend:

  • 麻布十番納涼まつり; あざぶじゅうばんのうりょうなつまつり (Azabujūban’nōryōmatsuri) — “Azabu Juban Summer Night Festival”
  • 深川八幡祭り; ふかがわはちまんまつり (Fukagawa Hachiman matsuri) — “Fukagawa Hachiman Festival”
  • 浅草サンバカーニバル; あさくささんばかーにばる (Asakusa sanbakānibaru) — “Asakusa Samba Ca
    ival”

If you’re searching for summer festivals in the weste
area
, I recommend:

  • 京都五山送り火; きょうとござんおくりび (Kyōto gozan’okuribi) — “Kyoto’s Mountain Bon Fire”
  • よさこい祭り;よさこいまつり (Yosakoimatsuri) — “Kochi’s Yosakoi Festival”
  • 阿波おどり,あわおどり (Awa Odori) — “Tokushima’s Awaodori Dance”

4. Firework Displays

花火大会; はなびたいかい (Hanabi taikai) or “firework displays” are usually held in July and August. As one of Japan’s main summer features, there are many firework displays throughout Japan. Most foreign travelers are surprised by Japanese firework displays, despite the fact that they have firework displays in their own countries. This surprise is due to the fact that Japanese fireworks have a long history and developed uniquely.

More than ten-thousand fireworks are launched at the big firework display events. These usually take 1 to 2 hours. You can enjoy various firework displays, and most events are free to watch; however, keep in mind that you may be charged for a seat with a good view.

At most fireworks displays, you can also enjoy demise. Many people enjoy drinking chilled beer and eating various foods during the show.

Fireworks

If you’re searching for big firework displays in August, I recommend:

  • 大曲花火大会; おおまがりはなびたいかい (Ōmagari Hanabi taikai) — “National Fireworks Competition in Oomagari Akita”
  • 諏訪湖湖上花火大会; すわここじょうはなびたいかい (Suwako kojō Hanabi taikai) — “Nagano’s Lake Suwa Festival Fireworks Show on the Lake”
  • 洞爺湖ロングラン花火大会; とうやころんぐらんはなびたいかい (Tōyako-ko ronguran hanabi taikai) — “Lake Long-Run Fireworks”
  • At Lake Tayak-ko in Hokkaido you can enjoy firework displays every day during the season.

If you want to see firework displays around Tokyo in August, I recommend:

  • 江戸川区花火大会; えどがわくはなびたいかい — “Edogawa City Fireworks Festival”
  • あつぎ鮎まつり大花火大会; あつぎあゆまつりおおはなびたいかい — “Atsugi Ayu Fireworks Festival”
  • 八王子花火大会, はちおおじはなびたいかい (Hachiōji Hanabi taikai) — “Hachioji Fireworks Festival”

5. Wearing Yukata

Are you interested in Japanese traditional 着物; きもの or kimonos? If you visit Japan in August, you should try wearing a 浴衣; ゆかた or yukata. A yukata is a casual kind of kimono, and August is the best season to wear one. Many Japanese people wear it at summer festivals and firework displays.

Unlike normal kimonos, there are many inexpensive yukatas. Some yukatas are sold from about three-thousand yen at the cheapest. Also, there are rental yukata shops in big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. If you go there, they’ll dress you in a yukata.

6. Hiking and Mountain Climbing

August is also a great time of year for hiking and mountain climbing. Mountain climbing is a good way to get away from the summer heat.

During this season, there are many hiking tours throughout Japan. I recommend hiking tours on:

  • 知床国立公園; しれとここくりつこうえん (Shiretoko kokuritsu kōen) — “Shiretoko National Park” in Hokkaido
  • 屋久島; やくしま (Yakusima) — “Yakushima” in Kagoshima

The places listed above are World Heritage sites.

If you want to climb a mountain, I recommend Mt. Fuji, as it’s the highest mountain in Japan and is one of the symbols of Japan.

7. Beaches and Water Activities at Rivers

August is also the best month for beaches and water activities at rivers.

1- Beaches

You can swim on most beaches in Japan in August. The beaches in Okinawa and the small islands of Kagoshima are particularly beautiful. But do keep in mind that after the Obon holiday, beaches in the northe
Tohoku and Hokkaido areas might be too cold.

If you’re searching for beaches, I recommend:

  • サンビーチ (Sanbīchi) — “Sun Beach” in Atami Shizuoka
  • 宜野湾トロピカルビーチ; ぎのわんとろぴかるびーち (Ginowan toropikarubīchi) — “Ginowan Tropical Beach” in Okinawa

Atami, near Tokyo, is a wonderful place to enjoy hot springs. Also, Okinawa is very south and quite a ways from Tokyo, but the beach is absolutely beautiful.

Rafting

2- Water Activities at Rivers

You can also enjoy water activities on rivers throughout Japan in August. You can go away from high heat in August and enjoy the beautiful nature of Japan.

There are many things to do in rivers on this season. For example, you can enjoy rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and canyoning. There are many tours that you can enjoy these fun activities. At the most tour, you don’t have to prepare anything, but you can just go there and have fun.

Especially I recommend, river activities in Niseko (ニセコ) in Hokkaido. Niseko is the very popular sightseeing spot for foreigners and you can enjoy many more activities there. If you want to do water activities in Tokyo, Okutama is a good place.

Sun Flower

8. Flower Fields

If you like flowers or gardens, you can enjoy flower fields in August. There are many beautiful flower fields for you to see, especially in Hokkaido, the northe
island of Japan.

One of the most famous flower gardens is a lavender garden in Furano, Hokkaido. The most famous lavender field in Japan is ファーム富田; ふぁーむとみた (Famu Tomita) or “Farm Tomita.” Many foreign people visit this farm—even the 天皇; てんのう (Tenno) or “Emperor” of Japan himself has visited this farm.

Unfortunately, the peak season of lavender is in July and it’s a little late in August. But if you visit in early August, you still have a chance to see huge, beautiful purple flower fields. Don’t worry! Even if you visit in mid- or late-August, there are many other beautiful flowers to enjoy.

There are also many other flower fields near Farm Tomita that you’re sure to enjoy.

Other recommendations:

  • ひまわり畑; ひまわりばたけ (Himawari batake) — “Sun Flower Field: Himawari-Batake” in Gunma
  • 山中湖花の都公園; やまなかこはなのみやここうえん (Yamanakako Hananomiyako Koen) — “Yamanakako Hananomiyako Flower” in Yamanashi, near Mt. Fuji
  • 京都府立植物園; 京都府立植物園 (Kyotofuritsu syokubutsuen) — “Kyoto Botanical Garden”

Conclusion

If you go to Japan in August, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience. It’s very hot, but there are many fun activities and events.

Particularly, I recommend summer festivals and firework displays. At those events, you can enjoy traditional aspects of Japanese culture such as yukatas and various demise. If you want to enjoy the beautiful nature of Japan, August is one of the bests months to do so. You can also enjoy flower fields and summer foods.

Don’t forget to plan your trip ahead of time because many people travel during this season. That way, you can get tickets at far better prices, especially on weekends and August holidays when it becomes hard to reserve air tickets. So start searching for tickets as early as possible. I hope you have a great experience in Japan.

Conquering the Unknown with JapanesePod101

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I'm in the middle

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Carry a notepad

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