Don’t underestimate summer in Tokyo and any cities in Japan. It’s boiling hot.
Some of you probably say, “That’s all right. Japan is in Temperate Zone. It might be hot for you, Kozue, but it cannot be so extreme.” Others will say, “I’m used to hot summer. I’m from Thailand and my friend is from Singapore!”
You will change your mind when you learn this TRUE story.
My English teacher in high school had an Indonesian friend. She planned a trip to Tokyo in summer and she was so excited. However, her trip went wrong. When she arrived at the hotel, she said that she would not be able to go out at all because it was too hot outside. She had to shut herself up in her hotel guestroom in the entire of her stay. The bus to the hotel, the hotel guestroom and the return bus to the airport became all of her trip to Tokyo in summer. My English teacher wondered, “Isn’t it hotter in Indonesia than in Tokyo?”
I do NOT think that it is a COMMON story. I see a lot of international travelers sightseeing in Asakusa, Harajuku or any place in Tokyo. How we feel the climate in a specific country depends on the individual.
However, it is also the reality that the trip of my English teacher’s Indonesian friend ended up being such a tragedy.
See weather forecast and you’ll find that the temperature rises to more than 30 degrees (= 86 F) every day. The important thing is that the temperature is gauged in a place 1.5 meters high, in a shade, over grass and where breezes go through well. That means it is much hotter in the city than weather reports.
Be careful of heatstroke. We can prevent it by
- Wearing a hat,
- Having some drink constantly (When you feel thirsty, it is the timing to drink. Avoiding the risks and keeping your good health are more important than one coin. Get some drink as soon as possible.), and
- Having some rest in shades when being out.
Japan Meteorological Agency informs us of the risks every day in weather forecast.
The problem is that school holiday is in July and August. As a result, many people must go traveling in Japan in summer.
It’s time for me to stand up. I started Tokyo Direct Guide to offer real, practical information for international travelers. It’s my earnest wish that you plan a trip to Tokyo easily, that you will never get lost in the city and really enjoy your precious holiday in Tokyo.
I’ll show you 3 Indoor Activities, things that I want you to know and some 6 Travel Tips. I believe that the Travel Tips will be helpful and interesting to people visiting anywhere in Japan.
The key is, “Laziness Saves You.”
1: An Aquarium in the hotel
I once wrote 5 Reasons to Stay near Shinagawa Station and one of them was that there is a cool aquarium INSIDE Shinagawa Prince Hotels. The aquarium went through a renovation and reopened as Epson Aqua Park Shinagawa in July, 2015. It became larger than ever!
|Renewed! Aqua Park Shinagawa|
Epson Aqua Park Shinagawa is not just a place to study sea life. It features the city-like atmospheres. Seeing is believing. So cool, isn’t it?
|A COOL aquarium|
If you stay at Prince Hotel, you can enter the aquarium just by walk in the hotel under air conditioners. Aqua Park Shinagawa is mostly indoors, so you don’t need to go anywhere under the sun! If my English teacher’s Indonesian friend had stayed at Shinagawa Prince Hotel, she could have bring back a good memory in the cool aquarium in Tokyo to her home.
What’s more, there are also movie theaters, bowling alleys, a swimming pool, tennis courts, golf, beauty & relaxation center, convenience stores, karaoke rooms and many souvenir shops; Shinagawa Prince Hotel is kind of a town for the guests. It is amazing for lazy and healthy travelers like us that they are indoor.
The best choice to avoid hot summer is to stay at Shinagawa Prince Hotel, but the other big hotels in Shinagawa are also very near. And remember, a Tokyo local is saying that Shinagawa is a convenient place to visit anywhere in Tokyo. The opposite is true, too. It is cool to visit this indoor aquarium in Shinagawa from somewhere else.
Don’t try to walk a lot. Don’t make a hard schedule. Laziness saves you from heatstroke.
2: Indoor Amusement Centers in Odaiba
There are four big shopping and amusement centers in Odaiba district; Venus Fort near Giant Wheel, Diver City Tokyo with Full-Length Gundam, Aqua City Odaiba and Decks Tokyo Beach. Decks Tokyo Beach is full of indoor amusement centers.
|Joy Polis, the Indoor amusement center|
Odaiba Takoyaki Museum
I have 2 more recommendations in Odaiba. The first is Odaiba Takoyaki Museum.
|Odaiba Takoyaki Museum|
It’s named “museum,” but it’s a food court. It’s a place to eat, not to study.
|Takoyaki Stands & a takoyaki ticket machine.|
Tako-yaki is a soul food in Osaka. (cf: Tokyo’s soul food is Monja-yaki.) It is made from flour and eggs. On a hot plate for takoyaki, they grill them into a ball and put a piece of octopus inside. They often add green onions, ginger, sea weeds, dry fish flakes: It depends on the shop. Brown sauce made from vegetables is put on takoyakis in most shops. I know that when people, especially travelers, confront a new food, the most important thing they want to know is the ingredients. No takoyaki ingredient sounds unbearable, does it?
Takoyakis are cooked on hot plates, but it is cool in the indoor food court! How comfortable!
|Takoyaki (around 420 yen – for 1 set)|
Personally, Takoyaki Juhachiban is definitely the best shop in Odaiba Takoyaki Museum.
Travel Tip: You might be able to get a discount coupon for Joy Polis in Takoyaki Museum. If you find it on a table or somewhere, take it.
Explore Old Local Tokyo
The other is Daiba Icchome Shotengai(= shopping mall.) This area is designed to be Old Local Tokyo in 1960s. It’s interesting for me. It must be interesting for you, too!
|Explore Old Local Tokyo!|
Talking about shopping, we can find a variety of things from old, local, cheap snacks for children to good, cool souvenirs. But I suppose the most important part is this. If you are a video game fan, you are so excited to see it.
|Old video games….?|
I think it’s too big a thing for video game fans, so I will write about them in another post before Tokyo Game Show in September.
(Attention! The new post was uploaded! See Must-Know Place & Tips for Gamers Visiting Japan: PLAY Original Arcade Space Invaders, Pacman, Mario Bros & more!)
You see, there are so many things to enjoy indoors in Decks Tokyo Beach. If you are fine enough, you can move to Venus Fort for other amusements. You need to go to Odaiba by some transportation unless you stay in Odaiba. However, once you arrive at Decks, you have a lot to enjoy indoors!
Laziness saves you from heatstroke.
3: Observatories directly connected to the nearest station
Finally it’s time for me to talk about Tokyo Skytree, the new symbol of Tokyo! I have told you several times that Skytree is not a very good observatory because of the inconvenient ticket reservation system for international visitors, but I’m not saying that Sky Tree is not a fun place! Its strongest feature for this article is that Skytree and Sola-Machi (restaurants, souvenir shops, events, etc.) are directly connected to Oshiage/Tokyo Skytree Station! Inside the observatory? It’s under air conditioners, of course!
|Skytree shadow from its observatory.|
Skytree is one of the biggest attractions in Tokyo. The shops, souvenirs, restaurants and cafes in Sola-Matchi are wonderful for any visitors including international travelers. There is an aquarium, too. You can enjoy Skytree for a day.
Talking about other observatories, Tokyo City View in Roppongi Hills is also connected to the subway station.
The air is not very clear in summer, so we can’t expect the view of Mt. Fuji. But the city doesn’t change in seasons. It’s just a minor problem! Laziness saves you from heatstroke.
These are 3 Coolest Indoor Activities I suggest here. Of course, if you are interested in cultural things, it is a great idea to enter museums. Or, once you enter a shopping center in Shibuya or department store, you can spend a COOL time.
But I know that if you are packing for your trip to Tokyo, and Kyoto, Osaka or somewhere in Japan, you have possibly chosen some places to visit which are under the sun.
Then, how can you spend a good time in Tokyo’s must-sees in summer?
Travel Tip 1: Advice for Asakusa Visitors
|Asakusa, one of the best tourist attractions in Tokyo|
In Asakusa, you can find some streets with arcades near Nakamise Street. After you stroll in Nakamise Street and Sensoji Temple under the sun, hide from the sun and take a rest to prevent heatstroke. There are also interesting shops in the streets with arcades.
Travel Tip 2: Must-Buy Drinks in Traditional Places
When you have a drink in Asakusa, I push a cup of cold green tea in Nakamise Street at least once. Don’t rush to a Coca Cola vending machine. Seriously, the cold green tea called Reicha is one of the iconic foods/drinks in Japanese summer. In many cases, it contains some matcha powder (= fine green tea powder). It tastes truly cool!
Cold green tea is available in traditional Japanese cafes in Japan. If interested, or even if you don’t plan to visit Asakusa, Never Miss Tip 6 as well.
Travel Tip 3: What Time Should I Go Out?
The peak of the temperature is around 14:00.
It is cooler (not much cooler) in the morning, so I suggest you to plan a trip early in the day.
How about evening after sunset?
Yes, it is better than the peak, but don’t underestimate it. Japan Meteorological Agency warned the risks of heatstroke again and again for Sumida River Fireworks visitors in July. As far as I know, I don’t hear that someone was carried into a hospital because of heatstroke during the fireworks festival. However, as the weather forecasters advised us, take some drinks even if it’s evening. Just having a bottle of drink in your backpack eliminates the risks. It is so easy, isn’t it?
Travel Tip 4: Plan to Walk a lot?
Never plan to walk a lot. It is not a good season to stroll in a large park under the sun, to walk a long distance to somewhere, and so on.
…In a cool season.
It is more than 1.6 kilometers in a straight line, so it takes 15 minutes even for locals. And I know that it is not always very easy to go somewhere as a stranger. I have experienced international traveling. I know how it is like.
To make the matters worse, the northern districts in Tokyo are known as places where people easily get lost because there are not many buildings that can be landmarks for walkers.
You can take Ginza Subway Line between Ueno and Asakusa.
Don’t underestimate heatstroke. It can cause death even if we are young and healthy. Do you take the risk that you wake up and waste your precious holiday in a hospital where everyone is speaking in Japanese after your painful attempts to see cheap lanterns by putting yourself in the unknown streets heated like a hot plate? I don’t recommend it.
I stand for the travel philosophy that each traveler is independent and mature. So what Tokyo Direct Guide & Diary are doing is to offer right and objective information from a local’s point of view. TDG project is for people who can make a decision by themselves based on appropriate information. So I do not stop you if you really, really, really want to walk a lot in Tokyo in summer.
I just say, “If I were you, I wouldn’t. Never.”
Travel Tip 5: Advice for Harajuku Visitors
Takeshita Street and Omotesando Avenue are under the sun. But there are so many shopping centers. All of them have air conditioners. Take a rest in a building.
If you hope to enter a Starbucks, check out this tip in Harajuku/Omotesando. It is not the season for a cool break in a rooftop garden, but how about a table in the artistic inside? B-Side Store must be checked out, too.
Fantastic cafes are all around in Harajuku. Personally, I cannot forget the shaved ice I had in Omotesando Hills. Unfortunately the shop has gone, but you will find other fascinating drinks and foods there.
Travel Tip 6: Bottled Drink Tips for Japanese Summer!
Tourist attractions are not all for a travel. Just a bottle of cold green tea will be a great memory.
When you get a bottled drink in summer in Japan – it will happen often – I really truly recommend summer limited cold Japanese green tea!
|Summer Cold Tea (Reicha in Japanese) by Itoen, 2015|
Every beverage company releases limited green tea every summer. They taste clearer than normal cold green tea for all the seasons. It sounds, tastes and makes you so cool, don’t you feel so?
It is not hard to find them at all; They are available at any convenience stores, super markets, vending machines in streets. When you are buying a bottled drink somewhere, why not choose them? They are produced only in summer, so when they get sold out, they disappear.
How can you tell whether it is normal or limited?
First, they are often in sky blue or navy package to feel cool.
Second, in many cases, there is an image of a glass of cold green tea on the label. Look at my photos. Both has the image at the bottom of the bottles.
At last, remember this instant Japanese lesson. Remember the shape of the letters. (If you read Japanese, or you read Korean or Chinese, you don’t need it at all.)
- “夏” = “summer”
- “冷茶” = “Reicha” = “cold green tea”
|Reicha of Iemon series by Suntory, 2015|
Personally, I really love those summer green tea so much. I don’t want to imagine summer in Japan without them!
How did you feel “3 Indoor Activities & 6 Travel Tips to Spend Hot Summer in Tokyo” by Tokyo Direct Diary? I hope it is helpful for you, and I believe it is.
I don’t want you to regret your travel planning and to get disappointed at your stay in Tokyo. And you CAN prevent them if you have good information. Let me repeat that it is my strong wish that you really, easily, comfortably enjoy Tokyo with the information by my sites.
Think of the ways that you don’t need to walk outside as possible. Don’t bear the heat. That’s the way to have a happy, healthy travel in Tokyo in summer. If you are lazier, you are safer.
Summer is a high season for traveling. In Japan, there are many events and traditional festivals to enjoy.
Prevent troubles with Tokyo Direct Guide/Diary and have a good trip!
Weather & Climate
About Odaiba District
Sightseeing Guides by Tokyo Direct Guide
A List of Hotels in Shinagawa & Descriptions
- Book Shinagawa Prince Hotel – A great hotel full of indoor amusements.
- Book Keikyu EX Inn Shinagawa – Just across from Epson Aqua Park Shinagawa.
- Book Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa – Neighboring to Shinagawa Prince Hotel
- Book The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo – Directly connected to Shinagawa Station. It’s a big advantage to go anywhere in Tokyo.
- Search Hotels in Shinagawa
- 5 Reasons to Stay near Shinagawa Station – My old post. Listen to a local and your travel will be far easier. That’s Tokyo Direct Guide.