Japan’s Rainy Season 2020: Travel Tips And What To Wear

Japan’s Rainy Season

Tsuyu in Japan 2019
Photo by Pixta
The rainy season (tsuyu in Japanese) is the period of severe rainfall and cloudy weather, annually occurring from the end of May and until the middle of July. This phenomenon occurs not only in Japan, but in southern China and South Korea, as well.

Geographically, the rainy season isn’t typical in Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture in Japan. The reason for this is because the rainy clouds, or the seasonal rain front, which take over Japan’s sky, get weaker as they move to the north of the country, so Hokkaido doesn’t have the long spells of rain typical of the rainy season.

The Beginning and End of the Rainy Season

Japan's rainy season
Photo by Pixta
The beginning of the rainy season is called tsuyu-iri, and the end of the rainy season is tsuyu-ake in Japanese. The exact dates of each event, as well as the period during which the rainy season occurs, differ each year. Below are estimates of when to expect this rainy period in Japan.

Area Tsuyu-iri Tsuyu-ake
Okinawa Around May 9 Around June 23
Southern Kyushu (Kagoshima, Miyazaki) Around May 31 Around July 14
Shikoku (Kochi, Kagawa, Tokushima) Around June 5 Around July 18
Kinki (Nara, Hyogo, Wakayama) Around June 7 Around July 21
Kanto (Tokyo, Shizuoka, Kanagawa, Chiba, Ibaraki) Around June 8 Around July 21
Northern Tohoku (Yamagata, Akita, Iwate, Aomori) Around June 14 Around July 28

*The data is from the Japan Meteorological Agency's report The Beginning and End of the Rainy Season as of Year 1951 (Showa 26) (Japanese)

Both dates (opening and end of the rainy season) are estimated and announced by the Japan Meteorological Agency every year.

The rain clouds first hit the southern parts of the country, slowly moving up to the north. The start and end of the rainy season begin in the south and moves north.

The table above shows the average dates of the opening and end of the rainy season for each area for the last 70 years. As displayed above, the rainy season in the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo, usually starts around June 8 and ends around July 21.

In 2020, the rainy season will be approximately the same time as it has been previously. Some regions may start the rainy season later and end sooner, however.

The rainy season usually lasts from one month to one month and a half. As soon as the rainy season is over, the gray sky transforms into the bright, blue one, and Japan experiences a sudden and significant rise in temperature.

Temperatures and What to Wear During the Rainy Season

Picture from Tokyo Weather In June And What To Wear
During the rainy season, the highest temperature in June in Tokyo is 26, and the lowest is 19 degrees Celsius on average. The weather during the rainy season can be confusing, as you may feel hot during a sunny day, but chilly when it rains. If there are long intervals of rain, especially if it is all day, the air gets very humid.

Although a short-sleeved shirt is ideal during the day, bring along a light jacket or a cardigan for the evening and when it rains.

How to Enjoy Japan's Rainy Season

Although the weather might not compliment your initial travel itinerary, there is no need to be devastated. Here are some must-visit spots and ideas on how to spend a great time during the rainy season.

1. Admire the Hydrangeas

Photo by Pixta

The blooming of hydrangeas accompanies the rainy season in Japan. There are numerous places throughout the country where you can admire its gorgeous blooms.

Raindrops make the vibrant purple and pink petals and green leaves look even brighter, so be sure to capture photos of hydrangeas on a rainy day!
Rainy season in Japan
Hakusan Shrine. Photo by Pixta

Tokyo’s East Gardens of the Imperial Palace and Hakusan Shrine in Bunkyo Ward are two spots famed for their mesmerizing hydrangeas.

2. See the Irises

Japanese irises
Photo by Pixta
Elegant irises also are in bloom during this time, and look especially phenomenal during the rainy season. The flowers can often be seen at traditional Japanese gardens, and at gardens at shrines and temples.
Meiji Jingu Inner garden
Meiji Jingu Inner Garden. Photo by Pixta

To see the irises in Tokyo, head to Meiji Jingu Inner Garden, or Hamarikyu Gardens, a traditional garden in the central part of the city.

3. Shop for Colorful Umbrellas and Rainwear

sushi umbrella
Picture from Shopping in Asakusa: 3 Recommended Umbrellas at "WAKEARI HONPO"

It is also entertaining to look for rain gear goods during this season. You can find a whole array of umbrellas, coats, and boots, from elegant to simply adorable designs. Shopping for something special when it rains is sure to brighten your mood.

Those who want to stand out with unique umbrellas can go to Wakeari Honpo, in Asakusa, Tokyo. You can take a pick among countless umbrellas filled with originality and charm, such as the folding one in the shape of kokeshi, a traditional Japanese doll, or an umbrella covered in sushi.

At Cool Magic SHU’S, a store in Tokyo's Jiyugaoka area specializing in umbrellas, customers can choose from a selection of around 5,000 colorful umbrellas. A compact and light folding umbrella would make a great souvenir.

Cool Magic SHU’S
Address: Tokyo, Meguro, Jiyugaoka 1-9-1 Google Map

Official Website: http://www.water-front.co.jp/index.html (Japanese)

Enjoy the Rain!

Japan's rainy season
Photo by Pixta
Japan’s rainy season doesn’t only have many rainy days, but also plenty of places to visit and enjoyable pastimes. Consider choosing different destinations and preparing rainwear, too, when planning your sightseeing experience in Japan.

Originally written by Sawada Tomomi
This article is a rewritten version of an article published on August 15, 2016.

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