15 Best Things to Do in Japan in August

15 Best Things to Do in Japan in August

Summer in Japan is a wild time. It’s very, very hot and humid. If you’ve never been here, you probably won’t understand, but everything people say about this time of year is true. It’s rough. That being said, it’s also a time filled with festivals and amazing food. We’ve put together this list of the best things to do in Japan in August along with some tips for surviving the heat. 

Despite the weather, this is a popular time for summer vacation and family trips in Japan. Along with cherry blossom season and Golden Week, this is probably one of the busiest times in the country. These days, we’re also seeing a lot of international travelers, especially in the big cities. Plan accordingly for this peak season. 

Heads up – This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, and we may earn a very small commission if you make a purchase through an affiliate link.

Prepare for the Weather in Japan in August

The month of August is typically the hottest month of the year in Japan. It’s also incredibly humid. The average temperatures can range from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F) or even higher (it’s definitely been hotter than that this summer), especially in urban areas. If you’ve never experienced high levels of humidity at 35°C or above for days on end, you might Japan’s summer months overwhelming. 

Stay hydrated in Japan in August

It’s important to be prepared for the summer heat and humidity by staying hydrated and wearing lightweight clothing. Here, it’s common for people to use the following to beat the heat:

Keep in mind that, while the rainy season on Japan’s main island of Honshu is technically over, August is also near the start of typhoon season. so there might be occasional heavy rainfall and typhoons. It’s a good idea to stay updated on the weather forecast and travel advisories.

While the summer season is notoriously brutal, Japan does have four distinct seasons. If you want to avoid the heat and enjoy Japan in lower temperatures, come between September and May (before the rainy season begins). We actually really love the winter months here because the weather is good and everything is so festive. 

Enjoy the Summer Festivals in Japan

August is a vibrant month for festivals and events in Japan. Showcasing this country’s rich cultural heritage and providing unique experiences for visitors, the major festivals give everyone and opportunity to enjoy traditional dance performances, fireworks displays, and delicious food stalls.

Umi no hi Marine Day festival at Chigasaki Beach

Here are some notable festivals that take place during this month:

Edogawa Fireworks Festival

One of Tokyo’s major fireworks festivals, the Edogawa Fireworks Festival typically takes place in early August along the banks of the Edogawa River, offering a stunning display of fireworks lighting up the night sky.

Nebuta Matsuri 

The Nebuta Matsuri is held from August 2nd to 7th in Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture. Colorful and enormous illuminated floats known as “nebuta” are paraded through the streets, accompanied by taiko drumming and traditional music.

Yamagata Hanagasa Matsuri

This festival takes place in Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture, from August 5th to 7th. Participants wear distinctive straw hats adorned with artificial flowers and dance in a procession through the streets, accompanied by traditional music.

Sendai Tanabata Matsuri

Celebrated in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, from August 6th to 8th, this festival involves the decoration of streets and buildings with colorful paper decorations and bamboo displays to celebrate the Tanabata (Star Festival) tradition.

Yosakoi Festival 

Held in Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture, from August 9th to 12th, the Yosakoi Festival features dance teams performing choreographed routines to modern and traditional music. The festival has a lively and energetic atmosphere.

Awa Odori 

Awa Odori is a lively and colorful dance festival held from August 12th to 15th in Tokushima on Shikoku Island. Locals and visitors alike participate in traditional dance performances, creating a joyful and festive atmosphere.

Obon Festivals

While not a single festival, Obon is a Buddhist custom observed throughout Japan in mid-August. It’s a time to honor the spirits of ancestors. Many communities hold Obon dances and lantern-lighting ceremonies. Festivities vary by region so be sure to check the events in your area. It’s so beautiful.

Fireworks Festivals

August is also a month known for spectacular fireworks displays. Hanabi (fireworks) festivals are held throughout the country, featuring impressive pyrotechnics set against the backdrop of summer nights.

Soak Up Japan’s Beaches and Water Activities

With the hot weather, many people head to the coastal areas and beaches for swimming and water sports. Popular beach destinations include Okinawa, Ishigaki, and the Izu Peninsula. Japan in August is a great time to enjoy the beautiful beaches and clear waters of Japan.

Japan in August Kamakura

I’m going to be honest, with my OCD I’m not a beach person, so I don’t have a ton of experience here. I’m working on it, but the last time I went to a festival on the beach (a few weeks ago), I collapsed from the heat. So… it’s a work in progress. 

I have personally been to some of the most famous beaches, however, both decades ago as a teen and over the past year. Aside from Okinawa (which I plan to visit in February), here are some of the beaches I’ve enjoyed in Japan:

  • Shirahama Beach (Wakayama): This is one of the most famous beaches on the Izu Peninsula and it’s where my mom lived when I was a teenager. With its white sand and clear blue waters, Shirahama Beach is one of Japan’s most famous beaches. It’s a popular destination for swimming, sunbathing, and onsen (hot spring) relaxation. This is where I first soaked in a hot spring jacuzzi myself!
  • Kamakura Beach (Kanagawa): Located near Tokyo (and very close to my home!), Kamakura Beach offers a relaxed atmosphere and great surfing conditions, making it a favorite spot for beachgoers and surf enthusiasts.
  • Zushi Beach (Kanagawa): Can you tell I live in Kanagawa??? Another beach near Tokyo, Zushi Beach is known for its beautiful sandy shoreline, calm waves, and water sports options.
  • Ibusuki Beach (Kagoshima): Known for its unique hot sand baths, Ibusuki Beach offers a distinctive relaxation experience where visitors are buried in naturally heated sand.
  • Yuhigaura Beach (Kyoto): Located along the Sea of Japan, Yuhigaura Beach is known for its beautiful sunsets and is a peaceful destination for beach lovers.
  • Kujukuri Beach (Chiba): Stretching for about 60 kilometers, Kujukuri Beach is one of Japan’s longest beaches and is great for beachcombing, surfing, and relaxing. If you’re planning a visit to Tokyo Disneyland, consider stopping here since they are in the same city!

As mentioned, I’m planning to visit Okinawa in February. I’ll come back to this post and share my personal opinions about these beaches, but in the meantime, here are some of the most famous beaches in Okinawa:

  • Nishihama Beach: Located on Hateruma Island, part of the Yaeyama Islands in Okinawa, Nishihama Beach boasts pristine white sand and turquoise waters, making it a tropical paradise.
  • Sunayama Beach: On Miyako Island, Sunayama Beach offers stunning rock formations and clear waters, perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
  • Yonaha Maehama Beach: Known for its incredibly fine sand and vibrant blue waters, Yonaha Maehama Beach is a picture-perfect spot on Miyako Island. 
  • Ishigaki Island: This island is surrounded by beautiful beaches, such as Fusaki Beach and Sukuji Beach, where you can enjoy various water activities and relax in a tropical setting.
  • Manza Beach: Situated on the main island of Okinawa, Manza Beach offers coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and opportunities for snorkeling and diving. 

Climb Mountains and Get Out in Nature 

While the summer heat can make lower-lying areas uncomfortable, higher elevations in places like the Japanese Alps can offer cooler temperatures. This is a good time for hiking and enjoying the natural beauty of Japan. Just be aware that mountain weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to check the conditions before setting out.

Hakone Shrine Japan

Right now, we’ve got a bit of a crisis at Mount Fuji where people are trying to “bullet climb” the famous mountain. There are so many reasons to avoid this. First, ascending a mountain too quickly, especially a gigantic one like Fuji-san, can make you physically ill. Second, it’s dangerous if crowds of people are trying to race to the top of a mountain at the same time. Third, people live in that community and they are really unhappy. Please, be smart and be respectful of the locals.

That aside, there are many, many wonderful mountains, hot springs, flower fields, and national parks to enjoy in Japan. Here are some of the best national parks in Japan that you might consider visiting:


  • Shiretoko National Park: A UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its pristine wilderness, marine life, and stunning landscapes.

Tohoku Region

  • Towada-Hachimantai National Park: This park features the scenic Lake Towada and the Hachimantai plateau, known for its hot springs and alpine scenery.

Kanto Region

  • Nikko National Park: Famous for its ornate Toshogu Shrine and picturesque landscapes, including waterfalls, lakes, and forests.

Chubu Region

  • Chubu Sangaku National Park: Encompassing the Northern Alps, this park offers stunning mountain scenery and opportunities for hiking and outdoor activities.

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

  • Home to iconic Mount Fuji, as well as hot springs, lakes, and beautiful coastal areas. If you’re in the area, definitely make a stop in Hakone. My favorite Kuzuryu Shrine is there and the trail is perfect for forest bathing.

Kansai Region

  • Yoshino-Kumano National Park: Known for the sacred Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails and the picturesque Yoshino cherry blossoms.

Chugoku Region

  • Setonaikai National Park: Comprising numerous islands and coastal areas in the Seto Inland Sea, offering scenic beauty and cultural sites.

Shikoku Region

  • Shikoku Karst National Park: Featuring a unique limestone landscape and lush vegetation, with the scenic Iya Valley.

Kyushu Region

  • Aso-Kuju National Park: Home to the active Aso volcano and the Kuju Mountains, offering diverse landscapes and outdoor activities.
  • Kirishima-Yaku National Park: Known for its volcanic landscapes, hot springs, and the subtropical island of Yakushima.

Okinawa Region

  • Okinawa Kaigan Quasi-National Park: Encompassing the beautiful coral reefs, clear waters, and white sandy beaches of Okinawa.
  • Daisetsuzan National Park: Featuring a volcanic landscape, alpine meadows, and Japan’s highest peak outside of Honshu.

Minami Daito Island

  • Kerama Shoto National Park: A marine park known for its vibrant coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life.

Avoid Tourist Crowds

August is part of the peak tourist season in Japan, so popular tourist spots can be quite crowded. It’s a good idea to book accommodations and transportation in advance if you plan to visit during this time. If I’ve got my heart set on a specific place, like Kamakura, I get up early and usually have the place to myself (this picture is from 9am at one of the main shrines!).

Kamakura Japan Tsurugaoka Shrine

We’ve seen a lot of videos from one of our favorite YouTubers, Rion Ishida, showing just how deserted the streets of Osaka have been at times. The heat is borderline unbearable this year, so a lot of people are staying indoors or planning a trip for another time of year. 

Still, if you’re looking to avoid tourist traps, head to the smaller cities. You don’t have to go far and with Japan’s incredible train system, you can get around quickly and affordably. Instead of Tokyo, check out nearby Yokohama. Instead of Osaka, go to Kobe. Skip the big names entirely and visit Fukui Prefecture or Kumamoto Prefecture. There’s so much more to Japan than the major cities.

Seek Thrills at an Amusement Park

We love amusements parks around the world, but we especially love the ones in Japan. There is something for everyone — from the youngest kids to the biggest thrill-seekers. We’ve put together a list of the best amusement parks in Japan, so definitely check that out. 

Tokyo Dome City Thunder Dolphin Japan amusement parks

As a reminder, though, it’s very hot in Japan in August so please stay hydrated and take regular breaks in the shade. Don’t try to overexert yourself and then go on a roller coaster. That could be a terrible and dangerous combination, so have fun but stay safe!

Remember Cultural Etiquette

When visiting temples, shrines, and other cultural sites, make sure to dress respectfully and follow proper etiquette. Also, remember to take off your shoes when entering traditional accommodations, such as ryokan (traditional inns).

Overall, Japan in August offers a mix of cultural experiences, festivals, outdoor activities, and natural beauty. Just be prepared for the heat and humidity, and plan your activities accordingly.