A Summer Vacation in Japan
When is the best time to visit Japan? I would say at the time when the sun above is shining its brightest rays and the sound of cicadas is echoing all over the city. It will always be during summer that Japan brings its warmest welcome for those who want to pay a visit to the land of the rising sun. So what makes summer the best season to visit Japan? Let’s look at some opportunities that you can most likely get only during summer in Japan.
1. Summer School Programs
Cheers for those who want to get some experience of studying abroad in Japan, because during summer there are a lot of educational institutions in Japan that offer various summer school programs for foreign students. These summer school programs aim at introducing Japanese culture to foreign students while also organizing a cultural exchange between them. This kind of summer school program is a great opportunity for all Japan enthusiasts out there who are willing to learn more about Japanese culture.
Of course, summer school is also great for learning Japanese language in an immersive environment. There are no better ways to learn the language than meeting native speakers and practice talking with them. It's much more fun than studying Japanese in a classroom while facing your text books and trying to memorize every new word in your dictionary! Furthermore, there are a lot of summer school programs in Japan that include cultural tours as part of their field trip program, which means you have the opportunity to travel around some popular destinations in Japan with your classmates.
The admission fee for enrolling to summer school in Japan varies from one school to another. It depends on the popularity of the school, the rank of the institution, the facilities or accommodation provided, and the duration of the program itself. Some popular schools will charge a little bit higher than others and they often require you to register two or three months before summer.
However, not every popular school charge very high admission fees for their summer program. There are still plenty of popular schools that will provide you with a decent accommodation and interesting courses, for example Meiji University. Meiji University offers summer school programs for international applicants every year with a quite reasonable price around ￥150,000 for two weeks, including on-campus accommodation and hotel fee during the field trip to Kyoto. It is not a bad deal for a summer school program from one of the top rank universities in Japan, isn’t it?
2. Natsu Matsuri
Japanese summer festivals are one of the main reasons to lure foreign visitors from all over the world. Surely, summer is the best time to see a Japanese traditional festival. During that time, the whole country will celebrate summer by holding a lot of traditional summer festivals or Natsu Matsuri. Almost everywhere in Japan, from the serene village areas to the most crowded cities, there are summer celebrations. It is true that you can get the experience of attending a Japanese festival not only during summer, but also in winter or spring. However, the atmosphere is completely different for each season and summer is definitely the most popular season for festivals.
Almost every city in Japan have their own official website to provide a lot of useful information to tourists including event calendars about their local festivals. Make sure to check it out before you plan to join the crowd at the nearest festival from your hotel. Come earlier to watch the omikoshi parade while enjoying the various foods from yatai (festival food stall). Don’t forget to grab a bottle of cold Ramune water that will chill you out from the humid temperature and remember that it will not be a summer festival without hanabi (fireworks).
Among Japanese people, watching the most beautiful fireworks at the end of the matsuri is one of their favorite summer activities. So what are you waiting for? Go grab your yukata now and join the crowd! What? You don't have a yukata!?
Ok, do not worry : many stores sell yukata for all prices during summer. It's also possible to rent one in some popular tourist areas!
3. Japanese Summer Snacks
Japan is well known for its seasonal snacks and foods, the delicacies that you can only taste during a particular time of the year. Especially during summer, there is a wide variety of special seasonal snacks that can be found in the nearest convenient store. Make sure to bring back home some of those summer snacks, it could also be one of your choices for a unique souvenir for your family and friends.
4. Summer Music Concerts
It is time to join the crowd! Prepare yourself for the wonderful music that the biggest summer live concerts have to offer. Summer in Japan is a heaven for music addicts because of the significant number of music events held all over the country. International and local artists hold their live tours and concerts mostly during summer. Major recording labels and indie record labels in Japan even hold a join event to promote their best bands on stage. They also often surprise you with the number of famous names in the line-up for their international events.
Summer Sonic and Fuji Rock Festival are two of the biggest annual summer concert festivals in Japan. Both of these two music festivals have the best line-up among the other summer concerts in Japan. Have a look at this year's line-up !
Summer Sonic 2015
Fuji Rock Festival 2015
If you consider yourself a music fans you should definitely go there : it will be worth every penny.
Japan always offers different experiences for visitors during each season. Some of you might love the colour of autumn leaves during fall or the pink colour of sakura flowers in spring. But for those of you who love to experience the warm atmosphere that only Japan can offer, summer is the time for you. Make sure to experience the heat at least once in your life, it’s worth every drop of your sweat!