Summer in Japan with Kids

Japan in summer with kids

Last Updated on July 18, 2024 by Kay

Summer in Japan is something I was not prepared for the first time I experienced it. I’m Canadian and unlike in Canada, Japanese summers are very humid and hot, making temperatures like 28 degrees Celcius and above feel unbearable. Add kids into the mix and summers in Japan can become challenging.

To give you an idea of how hot it gets, here are the average summer temperatures in Japan:

June

20°C to 23°C (68℉ to 73℉)

July

25°C to 31°C (77℉ to 88℉)

August

24°C to 32°C (75℉ to 90℉)

These temperatures can also last well into September. And keep in mind that the temperatures above are only the average, meaning that they include temperatures from cooler places in Japan such as Hokkaido. In the first week of July of 2024, many cities in Japan were over 35 degrees Celcius and Shizuoka was over 40°C.

Children don’t have as high a tolerance for heat as adults, especially babies and toddlers, making them more susceptible to heatstroke. In fact, many children (and adults) in Japan experience heatstroke every year. And if your children are not accustomed to traveling in countries with hot and humid climates such as Japan, they may be at greater risk.

Personally, I do not recommend traveling to Japan during the summer with kids if you’re not from a similar climate. But if you have no choice or you live here, there are still ways to help beat the heat when experiencing summer in Japan with kids and plenty of fun things to do.

(Also, I really don’t recommend going to Kyoto unless you are going to do indoor activities. I spent a summer at Kyoto University a few years ago and it was so hot and humid during the day that I couldn’t even walk outside for more than 30 minutes.)

Japan can be quite crowded during summer due to kids around the world being on vacation, so be prepared for that as well. If you’re looking for less crowded places to visit during summer, read this article.

How to Stay Cool with Kids in Japan

When it comes to staying cool, here are some tips and products I recommend as a mother and resident of Japan. These apply to all ages but if you have a very young child, you may also want to read my article on how to keep your baby or toddler cool during summer in Japan.

Search for air-conditioned places

This might seem obvious but try to stay out of the heat as much as possible.

One great way to do this while outside is to look for convenience stores. They’re plentiful in Japan and are an air-conditioned haven for travelers. You can also use the washroom at most and maybe pick up a few cool treats for the family.

If you need help deciphering how to use your air conditioner in your accommodation in Japan, here’s a translation I made:

air conditioner japan label english

Wear appropriate clothing

This goes without saying that everyone should be wearing airy, cool clothes and hats to help battle the heat.

I am not a hat person but it makes such a difference that I can’t be without it if I’m outside during summer. I also make sure my daughter wears one.

In terms of cool clothing, everyone should wear shorts, short-sleeved tops, or a dress.

I also recommend going to Uniqlo and picking up some of their Airism clothes, especially inners. It seriously makes a difference!

Use a parasol

Parasols make you feel like you have your own personal shade. They can be annoying to carry but are absolutely worth it.

Wear sunscreen

This is pretty obvious. If you need to find sunscreen in Japan, small bottles are sold at convenience stores and drug stores in Japan. Sunscreen is called hiyakedome (日焼け止め) in Japanese.

Sunscreen for babies usually has “baby” written on it while kids has…kids! And yes, in English so it’s easy to tell.

 

 

Now that my daughter is older, I use Nivea and Biore sunscreen for the entire family (which yes, you can find at any drugstore and most convenience stores in Japan).

 

Use cooling spray

I love this Biore cooling spray!

 

 

Spray it on your skin (or even your clothes) to help cool down. It doesn’t have a strong scent, either, and is gentle on the skin. Note that it isn’t too long-lasting, so you’ll need to use the spray throughout the day.

Use cooling wipes

 

 

Similar to cooling spray, these wipes provide a cooling and somewhat tingly sensation on your skin. The only drawback is that you need to keep the used wipe until you find a trash can.

Try it on your skin first before using it on your child to get an idea of how your child might react to it. And when you use it on your child, wipe a small part of their skin first and see how they feel. Some kids might not like how it feels so you don’t want to take any chances!

Also, note that some of these are scented (it will have the kanji 香り on it).

Wear a cooling towel

 

 

These disposable towels keep you cool for about an hour and are gentle so it won’t irritate your skin. Kids can use it as well! (My daughter does not like wearing cool towels around her neck, though.)

These can be found at any drugstore in Japan, but they can sell out when it’s very hot outside.

You might also see stores selling cool neck rings like the ones pictured below, but I have not heard good things about it, so I would avoid it.

cool neck rings for kids in japan

Use a portable fan

 

 

This is a must in Japan during the summer. These are charged with batteries or a USB cable.

There are several types in Japan, including ones that you can attach to a lanyard and hang around your neck, or have a strap similar to a purse’s.

There are also fans that you can wear around your neck, which my in-laws quite like. I’m considering getting one myself!

 

 

I also bought this cute Hello Kitty fan for my daughter from Universal Studios Japan and she’s in love, especially because it’s a spray bottle as well! (She likes spraying me and her father.)

hello kitty fan from USJ

Use a spray bottle

Buy an empty spray bottle at 100 yen stores or bring one from home and fill it up with water. Then you can lightly spray yourself and your kids to help cool down.

Make sure to check that the water inside hasn’t become too hot throughout the day.

Stay hydrated

Another seemingly obvious tip but sometimes when we’re busy, we forget to take a break and hydrate.

Drink plenty of water and carry a water bottle with you.

There’s an app called MyMizu (mizu meaning water in Japanese) that will let you know where you can find places where you can refill your water bottle.

Watch the video below for a brief explanation of the app.

These jellies are also a great way for kids to stay hydrated while enjoying something tasty. My daughter is a huge fan.

Eat salt charge tablets

 

 

These tablets help you rehydrate after sweating. These are something I used quite frequently at my previous job when we held events during the summer.

Go outside at night

 

Japanese summer nights are quite lovely and were pretty much the only time I went out before I had my daughter.

If you have older children who don’t have as early of a bedtime as younger kids do, consider going outside at night. There are lots of beautiful lanterns and near rivers, you can sometimes see fireflies.

Just make sure you use insect repellent, called mushi yoke (虫除け or 虫よけ) in Japanese, because the mosquitos here are no joke!

If you want to know about the different types of insect repellents for young kids in Japan, read this article.

Essential Japanese Summer Vocabulary

When shopping for cooling products in Japan, look for the words below:

  • 保冷 (ほれい ・ horei) : To keep cool
  • ひんやり: cooling
  • さわやか:breezy, airy
  • 快適 (かいてき ・ kaiteki):comfortable
  • クール:cool
  • 冷感 (れいかん ・ reikan):cooling sensation, cool feeling
  • 冷却 (れいきゃく ・ reikyaku):cooling

Indoor Playgrounds and Activities in Japan

universal studios japan usj with kids

There are lots of indoor places in Japan for kids to unleash their energy.

In fact, I’ve written several articles about them!

Summer Festivals in Japan

fishing game at summer festival in japan

Although summers in Japan are very hot, that doesn’t stop the country from enjoying summer festivals.

To know more about summer festivals in Japan, you might want to read these articles.

Beaches with Kids in Japan

hotel monterey okinawa beach

Beaches in Japan can be nice places to go with kids to help beat the heat.

However, make sure you have some shade, whether it be from a rented parasol or a pop-up tent, and do not leave your child unattended.

Personally, my favorite beaches in Japan are in Shirahama, Wakayama and in Okinawa.

Wrap-up: Summer in Japan with Kids

I hope this look at how to handle summer in Japan with kids is helpful to you! As you can see, there are plenty of ways to stay cool and battle the heat.

Make sure you pay attention to the temperature and any extreme heat warnings. Although all of us want to make the most of our time in Japan, it’s important to change plans and choose the safest option if there’s a high risk of heatstroke, especially with kids.

Thanks for reading and have a great summer!

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As a small token of my appreciation, I'll also send you a FREE Japanese and English printable to help your little one learn all about words associated with Summer in Japan