Things to Do in Tokyo – Summer 2016
Don't let the heat condemn you to a summer spent indoors. With our guide to thing to do in Tokyo this summer, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to refreshing, cooling and fun activities.
Summer in Tokyo can be hot and unrelentingly humid, but it’s also the season for top festivals, folk dancing, mountain hikes and enjoying a cold beer on a city rooftop (among much more). If you’re looking for things do in Tokyo during summer 2016, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a full guide to what you should be doing in the summer sun, all right here!
Waterparks and Attractions
Cool yourself off at Tokyo DisneySea, a separate nautically themed theme park within Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba – just a few miles from Tokyo. Enjoy water rollercoasters and attractions inspired by the myths and legends of the sea and beat the humidity at the same time. Tokyo DisneySea is unique to Japan, so don’t miss your opportunity!
Closest Station: Maihama Station
Business Hours: 8:30am – 10:00pm (Summer time)
Price: Adult: 7,400 yen, Junior (12-17 years old): 6,400 yen, Child (4-11 years old): 4,800 yen
The bio-dome at Tokyo Summerland is set to 30 degrees year round, regardless of the weather outside. Although the summer is endless here, the best time to visit is during (real) summer, when the outdoor pool area, Adventure Lagoon, is opened to the public. The waterpark features one of the largest pools in Japan (650 meters) where you can try the Great Journey water course, a 30-minute ride through a giant innertube.
Address: 600 Kamiyotsugi, Akiruno-shi, Tokyo
Closest Station: Akigawa Station. Then take the bus for 5 minutes.
Business Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Price: Adult: 3,500 yen (4,500 yen including rides), Child (7-13 years old): 2,500 yen (3,000 yen including rides), Toddler (2-6 years old): 1,800 yen (2,000 yen including rides)
Oiso Long Beach
Located in Kanagawa, just a few miles from Tokyo, Oiso Long Beach is an interesting fusion of water park and beach. Perfect for young families, it boasts a wave pool, a lazy river, plenty of places to lounge, a number of different pools, Jacuzzis and an Olympic sized diving board – everything you need for adrenaline rushes and relaxation in the same day.
Note: due to Japanese customs surrounding tattoos, any tattoos may need to be covered before entering.
Closest Station: Oiso Station. Take the shuttle bus from Oiso Station to Oiso Long Beach.
Business Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm (open from July 5th – September 15th)
Price: The pricing system varies. Regular tickets for adults are 3,700 yen but 2000 yen after 2pm.
Toshimaen is both a theme park and waterpark, though each could easily occupy a day to themselves. With 26 waterslides and six different pools (including a full Olympic sized pool) you’ll never have a chance to dry off. You can even swim with life-sized robotic dolphins in one of the pools. The theme park, although not quite as large, is complete with three exhilarating rollercoasters and two haunted houses.
Closest Station: Toshimaen Station
Business Hours: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Price: adults: 1000 yen (elementary school students: 500yen, children under 3; free) Pool season (July to September): Pool plus unlimited rides: Adults 4,300 yen, Kids taller than 110cm: 3,300 yen and shorter than 110cm: 2,400 yen.
Comiket is one of Japan’s biggest comic fair held twice a year in August and December, with this year’s summer event being held at Tokyo Big Sight. The focus of the event is ‘dojinsha’ – independently created and published manga. Expect to be amongst thousands of amateur and professional manga artists from around the country, all promoting a wide range of genres and styles of this most Japanese of art forms. Comiket runs from Friday, August 12th until Sunday the 14th at Big Site in Odaiba, Tokyo.
Address: 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku,Tokyo
Closest Station: Kokusai-Tenjijo-Seimon Station
Business Hours: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Price: Free (800 yen if you come in a cosplay put outfit)
Hitting the beach is a summertime classic, even in a city as large as Tokyo. Check out a couple of recommendations below or read our full guide to Japanese beaches.
Odaiba is home to the only beach within the Tokyo city limits, although, it is man made. Visitors can swim, relax and play some volleyball, as well as check out the excellent views of the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower in the distance. Those wanting a better view can also head to the nearby observation deck. You won’t beat the crowds here, but you will beat the heat.
Location: Tokyo Bay, Tokyo
Closest station: Shimbashi station (Yamanote Line) or Daiba Station (Yurikakome Line)
Kamakura, a coastal town less than an hour south of Tokyo, is an excellent beach getaway from Tokyo. During the summer you can play on the sandy beaches or take refuge on the shaded hiking trails in the surrounding hills. Throughout the year you can visit the town’s biggest attraction, the Great Buddha and explore a large number of ancient temples and shrines, including the Hokokuji Temple and its serene bamboo forest.
Location: Kamakura, Kanagawa
Closest Station: Yuigahama station
Summer Festivals and Fireworks
Traditional Summer Festivals
Summer festivals are an enduring part of Japanese culture and eagerly looked forward to every year. Normally, summer festivals take place around temples, shrines, parks, public squares, streets, at the beach or on riverbanks. Each is unique, imbued with local flavor, traditional meaning and importantly, packed with people having a great time. Watch the processions, music, dances and try some food – it’s what summer’s about.
We’ve got a full guide to Japanese summer festivals, right here.
Summer Music Festivals
The Japanese music festival scene has been steadily growing over the past few years, now beginning to rival the dominance of both Europe and America. Not only does Japan offer music festivals showcasing a wide variety of genres and styles, the gorgeous Japanese landscape as a backdrop is hard to beat. International and domestic acts alike are drawn to Japan’s summer music festivals, so why don’t you join them? If you want to know the best music festivals in Japan for this summer, check out our article about
Read out Japanese summer music festival guide for more info.
Dance festivals (Bon Odori) are traditional summer festival to honor ancestors who have passed on. It is believed that during Bon Odori, ancestors return for 3 days to visit their relatives they left behind, encouraged by the ceremonial dancing.
These festivals take place up and down the country but some of the best are in the capital. Check out our recommendations below if you can:
Asakusa Samba Carnival
Closest Station: Tawaramachi Station or Asakusa Station
Date and Time: IAugust 27th, 10:00am – 8:00pm
Noryo Bon Odori
Taking place near the famed Tsukiji Fish Market, the food at this festival is particularly delicious. The main event is the mesmerising traditional drumming.
Closest Station: Tsukiji Station
Date and Time: August 3-6th, 7:00pm – 09:00pm
Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi
Date and Time: August 27-30th, 10:00 am – 06:00 pm
Nature and Parks
The great outdoors under the summer sun – what could be better? Although Tokyo is pretty much as urban as you can get, it still offers much in the way of nature.
Our Guide to Tokyo’s Parks and Gardens has everything you need to know about the city’s best green spaces and we’ve got a couple more recommendations below:
We’ve written about the beautiful Mount Takao here before, a sign of just how much we like it. With its various trails, cable car, monks, waterfalls and bridges (not to mention the beer garden) – Mount Takao feels like a real getaway from Tokyo, despite being less than an hour away. It attracts crowds, but for good reason.
For access info and more, check out our article.
Nippara Limestone Cave
If you can no longer take the heat, head underground in these limestone caves, where it remains refreshingly cool all year round. About 800 meters in length, a walk through the caves takes around 40-minutes. Just enough time to bring your temperature down to a reasonable level.
Closest Station: Okutama Station
Business Hours: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Price: Adults and High School students (over 16) 700 yen, Middle School students (ages 13–15) 500 yen and Elementary School students (ages 6–12) 400 yen
During summer many specialties can be found to compliment the weather.
One summer favorite is a cold noodle dish using very thin noodles. The thought of eating cold noodle may not appeal to some, but it is a surprisingly refreshing meal. It is served with a dipping sauce and sides such as chopped cucumber, ham, tomatoes and shredded egg.
Find a big selection of summer specialties at summer festivals, where dishes such as yakisoba, yakitori, takoyaki, okonomiyaki and ikayaki dominate the various food stalls.
For a cooling dessert, try out Kakigori: shaved ice flavored with sweet syrup, condensed milk and topped with sweet beans, fruit and a scoop of ice cream. Standard syrup flavors include strawberry, lemon, green tea, yuzu and more.
From Early June to early September Japan’s beer gardens scene is in full flow, attracting the weary after-work crowd, party groups, students, families and tourists looking to stave off the heat and relax.
Beer gardens are usually all you can eat and drink, though deals vary from place to place. Typically, prices start at around 3500 yen. Many beer gardens are to be found on the rooftops of major department stores and hotels, or within parks.
Take a look at a couple of the best:
Takaosan Beer Mount
Mount Takao’s charms don’t stop with nature, as a reward for climbing to the summit treat yourself to an ice cold beer (or two). The beer garden is open from 15th June to 15th October, giving you plenty of time to check it out.
Address: 2181 Takaomachi, Hachioji-shi
Closest Station: Takao Station
Business Hours: 03:00pm – 09:00pm (Weekday) and 01:00pm – 09:00pm (Weekends)
Meiji Kinenkan Sekirei
Meiji Kinenkan Sekirei is a famous beer garden managed by the Meiji Shrine and apparently the first of its kind in Japan. Located in the Outer Gardens of the Meiji Shrine, it’s the perfect spot to take a break after a stroll through the grounds.
Address: 2-2-23 Motoakasaka, Minato-ku
Closest Station: Shinanomachi Station
Business Hours: This beer garden is open from July 1st to September 14th 05:00pm – 10:30pm (Weekdays). Closed on Weekends.
Tokyo Dome City Port Garden Terrace
Tokyo Dome Beer Garden is located on the 2nd floor of the Meets Port on a green terrace bathed in sunshine. Enjoy a beer and some fine food prepared by the chef at the Tokyo Dome Hotel and relax!
Closest Station: Suidobashi Station
Business Hours: This beer garden is open from July 1st to September 30th 05:00pm – 10:30pm (From Friday to Sunday only)