Travelling to Japan in July
“What should I do and where can I go in Japan in July?”
July is a vibrant and energetic time of year in Japan. There are many festivals held in summer across Japan, from famous, popular and large-scale festivals to small local ones.
The beginning of July is in the middle of the rainy season, however this rainy season usually finishes in early to mid-July. From then, Japan heads towards the height of summer.
The Japanese summer is very hot and humid – especially Tokyo and the western and southern areas of Japan. Up north of the main island, the Tohoku region, and the north island of Hokkaido are ideal places to visit during July to avoid the humidity – see temperatures and clothing.
Why don’t you escape from the Australian winter and have some adventures in the vibrant Japanese summer?
What can you do in Japan in July?
● Visit some of the major summer festivals. You won’t want to miss –
Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri (Fukuoka) – July 1- 15
Gion Matsuri (Kyoto) – July 1 -31
Nachi-no-Ogi-Matsuri (Wakayama) – July 14 (*formerly “Nachi-no-Hi-Matsuri”)
Tenjin Matsuri (Osaka) – July 24-25
● Climb Mt Fuji – The Mt Fuji climbing season begins from early July up until early September. On average, the season is from 1 July to 10 September, however the opening date varies year by year depending on the weather and climbing route (there are 4 different routes to the top!).
● Travel to the north of Japan. Spend some time in these ideal places during the Japanese summer in July and August.
Tohoku – The north part of the main island of Japan. There are 6 prefectures in this region – Fukushima, Miyagi, Yamagata, Iwate, Akita and Aomori.
Hokkaido – The north island, the second largest island after the main island of Japan, but probably the most remote.
There is an abundance of magnificent natural scenery in these parts of Japan. You can experience unique cultures and history, discover hidden gems and feast on super fresh seafood and delicious local specialities!! Perfect for nature lovers, foodies and those looking for an adventure. The northern part of Japan is an ideal getaway, especially for those who have already been to Japan before.
Driving around these regions is an ideal way to explore and will give you lots of freedom. It’s efficient and you can easily access the many ‘off the beaten tracks’! If you don’t want to drive, there are many places you can explore using your national JR Pass – or the local area passes may be a better option, depending on your travel plans.
Here are some major stops and places in Tohoku and Hokkaido where you could you’re your next adventure –
Aizu-Wakamatsu and Ouchijuku (Fukushima)
Aizu-Wakamatsu is a samurai town in Fukushima with a rich history. The contrast of the stunning nature and the historical atmosphere of the town is just beautiful. You can take a day trip to Ouchijuku from Aizu-Wakamatsu. Ouchijuku is one of the station towns of the Shimotsuke Kaido trail (which is between Nikko and Aizu-Wakamatsu) and the village was built in the Edo period (around 1640). It’s still retains the old historical streetscape.
Check out more about Aizu-Wakamatsu and Ouchijuku, with their major attractions and local specialities, here on our “Aizu-Wakamatsu”.
Matsushima is one of the Three Great Views of Japan and is ranked three stars in the Michelin Green Guide due to its historical, dignified temples and stunning scenery of the bay.
This place of scenic beauty also has its own unique history and local specialities. You could also stop by Shiogama. Shiogama Port is one of the foremost fishing ports in Japan by virtue of the volume of fresh tuna landed! Make sure to visit Shiogama Shrine (which has more than 1200 year of history) and have sushi (its local speciality) for lunch or dinner
For more information on the highlights and delicious local foods of Matsushima visit HERE!
Yamadera is well known as the temple complex of Rissyaku-ji Temple, with multiple temples and halls in the area. Its appearance, with its temples and halls built on the scenic mountain, is just magnificent and the view from the Godaido Hall is absolutely superb. After climbing the 1015 stone steps, the stunning view of the valley beyond is a well-deserved highlight! There are some delightful local foods that can be enjoyed after climbing too.
Ichinoseki and Hiraizumi (Iwate)
Ichinoseki and Hiraizumi are two towns that are richly soaked in history, nature and culture. Visit Geibi-kei Gorge and Genbi-kei Gorge in Ichinoseki. Both are stunning examples of the natural scenery found in Tohoku.
Hiraizumi is designated as a World Heritage Site. The town prospered under the reign of four generations of the Fujiwara Family for about 100 years from the end of the 11th century and was the second biggest city after Kyoto in Japan. While it is now only a small town, the dignified atmosphere still lingers.
Oga Peninsula (Akita)
Without a doubt, the Oga Peninsula is a hidden gem. The drive along the coastal road provides a majestical coastal view. You’ll enjoy witnessing the history and culture of the folk legend of Namahage and cherish the sunset at the cape. The super fresh seafood and the delicious local dishes here in the Oga Peninsula are not to be missed!
Oirase Gorge/Oirase Stream (Aomori)
This place is one of the best spots for escaping from the Japanese heat. The crisp and refreshing air and the stunning natural scenery is delightful. You can hike or ride along the main trail of the stream (approx. 14.2km (between Mt Yakiyama and Nenokuchi)). Alongside the stream is the road which cars and the bus travel down. You could easily access the gorge by bus and choose the section you’d like to hike along. At the end (or could be at the start), is Lake Towada where you can spend some time relaxing on a lake cruise boat – or do some more hiking to the sights surrounding the lake!
Furano and Biei (Hokkaido)
Furano and Biei are located in the heart of Hokkaido, Japan’s north island. This region is famous for its gorgeous lavender and the patchwork of flower fields.
Lavender in Furano has three ‘blooming’ seasons – the first is from the end of June to early July (called “hayazaki” – early bloomers), the second is from early to middle July (called “nakazaki” – middle bloomers) and the last is from early/middle July to early August (called “osozaki” – late bloomers). Depending on the weather and conditions, all the three types of lavender are generally in bloom at the same time in mid-July (some are in full bloom and some are starting to bloom). Needless to say, that’s the best season in Furano!
At a similar time, in Biei you’ll see the colourful patchwork flower fields in July. The patchwork fields in Biei show different faces throughout each season, but each season is beautiful. You can see the colourful flower fields in summer, while white snow covers them in winter.
Find more places for adventures in Hokkaido in our “Travelling to Japan in August”. Stay tuned!