22 Jun 2018 in In immersion
Experience Japan’s summer to the full without traveling too far from Tokyo!
Sure, the summer can be hot, humid and rainy in Japan. But there are plenty of reasons why it’s a great time to visit. Spectacular firework shows, fun festivals, mountain sports and seaside relaxation are just some of the highlights. Get inspired and plan your trip now!
3 days in Tokyo: urban energy in the sun
Your first stop is Tokyo. If you’re looking for a little luxury, check into HOSHINOYA Tokyo, where you’ll be treated to ryokan hospitality in a prime location.
Or, if urban attitude is your thing, head to the new Hoshino Resorts OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka.
Of course, the capital city has endless sightseeing options in any season, for all tastes and at all times. What’s special about the summer is that Tokyo’s festive side comes alive.
Firework shows are a big deal in Japan in summer – and Tokyo’s Sumida River Fireworks Festival is the biggest and best.
Held on the last Saturday of July, it’s a 90-minute extravaganza of bangs and bright lights over the Tokyo skyline. With over 20,000 fireworks, it attracts a million spectators – many dressed in traditional yukatas.
The atmosphere is electric, the show mesmerizing, and it’s worth planning your trip around this event alone.
Summer is also prime time to catch a matsuri, the typically Japanese festivals usually organized by local shrines. The most spectacular? Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri in mid-August features a procession of dancers, musicians and teams carrying mikoshi (portable shrines) – all being soaked with water from the crowd!
What started as a purification ritual is now akin to a mass water fight, with local fire stations joining the party to hose down participants.
The most exotic festival? The Asakusa Samba Carnival, which celebrates Japan’s surprisingly close links with Brazil. Join the crowds to watch befeathered dancers shaking their bodies to the beat of Brazilian drums.
All that festival-going is thirsty work. Fortunately, Tokyo is awash with beer gardens in summer. The Forest Beer Garden in the grounds of the Meiji Shrine offers an idyllic setting with outdoor seating for 1,000 people, while the Tokyu Rooftop Premium Beer Garden puts on regular live music. Both offer all-you-can-eat and -drink options, so come hungry and thirsty!
2 days in Fuji: mountain air & activities
After 3 active days, it’s time for a change of pace. And there can be few better places to come down from the urban buzz of Tokyo than HOSHINOYA Fuji. Set above Lake Kawaguchi with picture-postcard views of Mount Fuji, this is the perfect spot to recharge your batteries and sample Japan’s great outdoors.
You’ll have your own private glamping cabin, elegantly decorated and with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Japan’s most famous mountain.
Step outside and wander among red pines and conifers, in the heart of a vast National Park. If you’re in the mood for relaxation, chill in the resort’s grounds and learn to smoke food over an open fire.
For the full summertime experience, an outdoor activity is a must. The resort offers early morning canoeing on the lake or a horse trek in Fuji’s foothills.
And if you’re feeling particularly energetic, you could attempt to climb Mount Fuji, the holy grail of hiking for many Japanese.
2 days on the Izu peninsula: sea & sand
Just an hour on the train from Tokyo, Atami is a coastal city that makes a great base for exploring the rugged coastline of the Izu peninsula.
For a traditional ryokan experience, complete with hot spring baths and geisha show, book into Hoshino Resorts KAI Atami. Or, for a family-friendly option, head to hilltop Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Atami, which offers splendid vantage points for the summer firework shows!
The city of Atami has its own small beach, while nearby Nagahama Beach is less crowded – and there are many sandy stretches for sunbathers and swimmers further south.
One of the best introductions to the Izu peninsula is the Jogasaki coast, a well-marked trail that hugs the coastline and provides spectacular ocean views.
If you want to explore the sea in more depth, how about scuba diving or snorkeling? Outings are available for beginners and experienced divers, who can explore an old shipwreck near Atami. And surfers can look forward to reliable waves and exceptional reef breaks.
To complete your summertime vacation, one final experience remains: sampling a fresh catch of seafood. Finish your stay on a high by treating yourself to the exemplary cuisine of Shigeru Konno at Villa Del Sol.