Jun 21, 2022

How to experience summer with all your senses in Japan

Summer in Japan can be a really beautiful (albeit humid and sweaty!) time, and I've learned over my years here to try and appreciate it with all my senses. This is my guide for how to experience the summer months here with all your senses.


One thing that always makes me think summer in Japan is just how green everything gets. It's literally the thing I noticed first about Japan when we moved here in June 2013 -- coming from Australia where the landscape is quite dry, the almost neon green of summer was incredible to see. Also, another common sight that reminds me of summer (and that I enjoy each year!) is fireworks! We have one of the country's best fireworks festivals close to where I live – the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival – which draws in great numbers of crowds each year.

How to experience summer with all your senses in Japan photo

Pic Credit: Koichi_Hayakawa/CC By 4.0 


One sign to me that summer is on its way is when I hear furin, or windchimes making their trademark sound in the breeze. I love that the purpose of them is for you to think yourself cool -- I don't know that it is all that effective, but the clinking sound they make is ultra relaxing nonetheless!

How to experience summer with all your senses in Japan photo

Furin, or windchimes, are meant to help "think yourself cool". Jury's out on whether they work, but the sound is soothing nonetheless!


There are so many foods that provide a taste of summer, but one of my favorites has to be kakigori. Shaved ice topped with a variety of flavored syrups and other yummy goodies like fresh fruit is a wonderfully refreshing treat as the weather warms up. Another taste of summer is unagi, or eel, which is said to have energizing properties, perfect for those days where you're feeling completely zapped from the weather.

How to experience summer with all your senses in Japan photo


A dip in the sea is always my preferred way to experience summer through touch, and there are some great beaches to enjoy across the country. In Niigata we like Kashiwazaki Beach, but further afield some favorites include Shirahama Beach in Shimoda, and Okuma Beach in Okinawa. 


With a number of festivals reappearing on the calendar this summer (yay!), one thing I'm looking forward to smelling again is yakitori grilling! It's one of those things that always reminds me of summertime events, and I'm looking forward to not only smelling some, but tasting some, too!

Do you have any suggestions on how to experience summer in Japan through your five senses?



Love to travel, interested in J-beauty products and consider myself a convenience store snack aficionado. Navigating the ever-present challenges of expat life, particularly about my TCK's (third culture kids).