Surviving the Rainy Season in Japan: 40 tips

soft cream, JapanNow that the rainy season has arrived, what perfect timing to discuss how to survive this time of heat, moisture and sweat. And now, 40 ways to survive the rainy season in Japan:

1. Buy an air conditioner. Although, you may find buying a car is a better investment.

2. Try an electric fan (or two, three… or ten). Fans are a great alternative if you wish to avoid using an air conditioner, because of its harmful effects on the environment. *Tip: put a bowl of ice in front of the fan for cooler air.

3. Go out. Take advantage of the A/C spewing out in every public building and mode of transportation – on the train, in restaurants, at the mall, in movie theaters. Sure, you have to spend a little, but it’s cheaper than buying an air conditioner (unless you REALLY like to shop).

4. Don’t go out. Contrary to #2, if you own and use an air conditioner, why not stay in?

5. Carry a “sweat” towel. Everyone uses them. You will need it. The day you forget is a day you’ll regret. (I know, so cheesy. But seriously, forgetting the towel can be miserable, especially when you resort to wiping sweat off on your already-sweaty clothes).

6. Drink lots of water. Carry a water bottle. Of course, vending machines everywhere make it nearly impossible to become dehydrated, but why not show the earth you care? Especially if you own and use an air conditioner. Either that or carry a crap-load of change (although, this is inevitable in Japan).

7. Buy a pretty hand fan (団扇, uchiwa or 扇子, sensu). Or just take the free, plastic ones people pass out at train stations.

8. Eat hiyashi chuuka. And zarusoba. And somen. Basically, just eat cold noodles.

9. Indulge in soft cream. Here’s your chance to try every flavor you’ve ever wanted for the sake of staying cool. Lactose-intolerant? Avoiding dairy? Uh, well, see #19. Try fro-yo or sorbet instead.

10. Use an umbrella. They aren’t just for rain in Japan! Then again, it IS the rainy season, so the umbrella is dual-purpose.

11. Camp out at the beach. Although, if the ground starts shaking: run. Away from the beach.

12. Get a haircut. As short as possible.

13. Accept the fact that your hair will not behave and frizz out for the next few months.

14. Go swimming. (does it even need to be said...)

15. Head to the hills. It’s just cooler. At least, in the woods, not on the face of a mountain with no tree cover.

16. Brace yourself for bugs. They come in droves.

17. Buy a mosquito net for your bed. If you are like me and attract mosquitoes all the time, especially at night while sleeping, get something. (alternatively, see the Mosquito Repellent post below)

18. If you don’t buy a net, accept the fact that you probably won’t sleep well due to mosquitoes until summer is over. If you sleep like a rock, well, you’ll just have to deal with itchy bites. Unless your one of those lucky jerks who seem to repel mosquitoes. I wish I was you.

*For a complete guide on how to keep away mosquitoes this summer in Japan, try A Survival Guide to Mosquito Repellent in Japan. And for those annoying bites, How to Find Anti-itch, Insect Medicine in Japan.

19. Buy an ice cream maker from (Be sure to check your freezer space first - if you even have a freezer…)

20. Take two showers a day. (No, this isn’t green, but you’ll need them).

21. Visit an onsen or sento. Clean off the sweat and whatever else is sticking to you.

22. Accept the fact that people will repeatedly say “atsui desu ne” (暑いですね, it’s hot, isn’t it) for the next few months. Even if you and they are all sweating in a room, with thick, stagnant air and it’s incredibly obvious that you are all experiencing heat exhaustion, someone will still pipe up, “it’s hot, isn’t it?”

23. Don’t sit in a school gymnasium with the entire student body if the sliding doors are shut. Don’t do it.

24. Drink ocha (green tea) and mugicha (barley tea) and the many other cold teas.

25. Wear deodorant. (Obviously)

*Can't find deodorant? Try, How to Find (Good) Deodorant in Japan

26. Take a trip. Go anywhere that doesn’t have a rainy season, or is currently in the middle of winter.

27. Accept the fact that your sweat will rarely leave your body unless you are carrying around that sweat towel.

28. Wear quick drying clothes. Spend tons on nice clothes through an outdoor retailer, or just go to Uniqlo.

29. Mold will grow everywhere. Keep your living area aired out. Put produce in a crisper or fridge.

30. Carry around wet wipes. These are great for any time of the year, but you may find them more necessary in summer when out and about.

31. Carry extra clothes. Always have a rain jacket, if not a small umbrella. Extra socks and/or sandals may also come in handy. An extra shirt and pants or shorts may also be useful if you find yourself soaked (either from rain or your own sweat).

32. Grab those packs of tissues everyone hands out near train stations. Never know when you’ll need them.

33. Buy a blender.

34. Make smoothies with the blender. Buy frozen fruit from The Flying Pig, and/or freeze your own, add veggies and whatever else for a nice chilled treat.

35. Wear crocs. Everyone wears them here, particularly during summer and the rainy season. Waterproof, cheap, and… stylish? When in Rome…

36. Buy some sweat pads.

37. Drink sports drinks. And eat food with soy sauce. Make sure you replenish the salt you’re losing, especially if you have low blood pressure. (Of course, if you have high blood pressure, forget this entirely.)

38. Take cold showers or baths. 

39. Use a Laundromat, an air dryer, or a dehumidifier to dry your clothes and bedding if you need them right away. You can hang them outside (as is custom here), but be prepared for longer drying time.

40. Live in Hokkaido. They don’t even have a rainy season. (Uh, but winter is an entirely different story...)

What about you, fellow Japan residents? How do you survive the rainy season?

What next? Subscribe for free updates: via RSS or email


Dave Little said...

Mosquitoes in bed: I point a fan at myself when I'm asleep. It blows them away if they try to get near me. Works just swell.

Ashley said...


Ah, yes! I forgot about this! Good idea. Somehow we still get bit sometimes with the fan... lol, but I do think it works! (I think I just seem to attract them no matter what obstacles they might face).

AnnaTrouble said...

Window screens! Force your landlord to install them. And always carry muhi with you for bites you get outside. And inside, get that plug-in repellent and keep it going 24/7. Just make sure it's always filled.

Ashley said...


Thanks for the tips! Good point about window screens. I've only lived in "newer" places that already have them, but it's true a lot of older places might not.

Yep, muhi definitely comes in handy! Thanks for mentioning it.

About the plug-in repellant: I know some people who swear by it. I've used it before but it didn't seem to do anything (granted, this was in an apartment next to some kind of swamp so the mosquitoes were ALWAYS around no matter what I did). I've been a little paranoid to try it again, since I haven't looked up all of its ingredients yet - do you know anything about what it's made of or what the "active ingredients" are? I should really look into that one of these days... :D

Christina said...

What? No kakigori? You are not doing summer right!

The other thing you need is a fuurin--the ringing makes you feel cooler!

Ashley said...


Ah yes, two more good ideas I forgot about! To be honest, I really don't like shaved ice (like tasteless koolaid with too much ice to me...), but lots of people do like it!

Now that you mention it, I remember reading something about fuurin being used to make people feel cooler. Havent tried it myself though. Thanks for mentioning it! :)

Paul said...

In addition to the soba suggestion, there's also stocking up on unagi as a reasonable alternative (there's no need to limit yourself simply to 土用の丑の日 anyways!)

Ashley said...


Great idea! Thanks for the comment and for reading. :)

For those out there that enjoy unagi (or eel), you'll be happy in Japan! Hamamatsu, Shizuoka (prefecture where I live) is actually quite well-known for eel. Good place to check out if anyone is in the area!

Anonymous said...

For mosquitoes, if you can find them, garlic capsules work well, and you will not be able to smell the garlic when you perspire - but the mosquitoes do.

If you are Type O blood, they may not be the "cure-all", but they do help.

Ashley said...

@ Anon,

Thanks for the suggestion! I have heard of this before, but does it really work? I often eat garlic capsules but I haven't noticed them to make any difference. I don't know my blood type, though. I seriously think there must be something about my blood that draws them, like I'm a mosquito magnet or something... lol.

Maybe it'll work for others though - let me know anyone if you try or have tried it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails