“No one said Japan was so sunny,” a friend visiting from the UK remarked in March this year. “I wish I’d brought my sunglasses,” they added. Japan, the land of the rising sun and ample bright days. Except for June, of course. Sometimes, the rainy season comes with enough lashings of sky water to incur flood warnings on the ever-prepared Japanese news channels. But rain shouldn’t stop you from having fun. Here’s how to live your best rainy season life.

What Is Tsuyu?

Tsuyu (rainy season) is a period when the majority of the year’s precipitation occurs. This is thanks to a phenomenon where moist air from the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean blows over to East Asia. Although it doesn’t rain every day during tsuyu, the season marks the start of peak annual humidity.

This can lead to weather-change illnesses, as your body adjusts to the hotter, rainier climate. Some people start to feel weak or have headaches, so it’s important to be aware and listen to your body. You may observe physical changes too. On a personal note, my skin always goes dry or spotty, and I’m left wondering why this has suddenly happened, until I realize the weather has changed once again.

When Is the Rainy Season?

The arrival of tsuyu depends on where you are in Japan. It moves from south to north, showering and pouring as it goes. Okinawa is always the first to be hit, often resulting in torrential rain and the odd flood warning around the end of May to the start of June.

The rain then moves up through Kyushu, on to Kansai and then hits Tokyo and the rest of Kanto from around mid-June, before heading up to Tohoku. It depends on the year, but once the rainy season starts, it can last for up to a month.

Essential Rainy Day Goods

Even if it’s raining cats and dogs outside, the show must go on.


Get yourself a snazzy rain poncho. Available all over the place, one plastic poncho can set you for life. Be wary of the environmental impact and try to only buy one, as they contain more plastic than your average shopping bag. They are great for when you have to cycle in the rain.

Where to buy: Convenience stores, 100 yen shops, drugstores
Price range: ¥


In Japan, people favor see-through plastic umbrellas, and you’ll find yourself swallowed in waves of them anytime you venture outside. Join the rush and get your own.

Where to buy: Clothing shops, convenience stores, 100 yen shops, drugstores
Price range: ¥

Rain Boots

You bet people will have rain boots. Don’t get the cheap ones, as you’ll probably fall over at some point.

Where to buy: ABC Mart, shoe shops
Price range: ¥¥

Rain Suits

Head to toe in fashionable rain gear is where you want to be. And my gosh, Japan has some funky rain suits. Long pants in durable nylon, with matching raincoats — get them in any color you desire. Match with friends for added fun. Look out for ones with ventilation.

Where to buy: Workman, large clothing stores
Price range: ¥¥

Waterproof Sprays for Shoes

Don’t ruin your lovely shoes after getting caught out once. Get some waterproof spray (or balm) for your leathers.

Where to buy: Drugstores, supermarkets
Price range: ¥

Closet Dehumidifiers

Made of charcoal, you can pop these in your closet and keep your clothes smelling fresh.

Where to buy: 100 yen shops, drugstores
Price range: ¥

Hair Smoothing Sticks

All that humidity can make hair go frizzier than a static ball. Grab a smoothing stick to keep those flyaways in line.

Where to buy: Drugstores
Price range: ¥

Antifog Sprays

For anyone wearing glasses, there’s an antifog spray (and glue), so you can still see through the humidity.

Where to buy: Drugstores, online
Price range: ¥


Dehumidifiers work even better than the dehumidifying setting on the air conditioner, plus you can put them in specific places to target areas especially susceptible to mold.

Where to buy: Electronics shops, online
Price range: ¥¥

Rainy Day Activities

When it’s raining, you might feel restricted from doing your normal touristy or daily activities. While I personally prefer the look of the park in the rain, it’s not very practical if you want to play soccer or do something wholesome like yoga.

It is the season when hydrangeas bloom, though, and there are other sweet things to do, such as admiring reflections in puddles and lights reflected on the streets at night. It’s also a great time to take part in some of the exciting indoor activities that Japan offers. From making your own pottery or wagashi to going to exhibitions or catching the latest trendy menu at a new café, there’s a wealth of things to do.

Check out this indoor activities article for more ideas.

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