Pick up some tips and tricks to help you beat the heat, deal with the crowds, make use of convenient services, and enjoy public viewing events throughout the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Tokyo 2020 is not just about the games.
You might be concerned about the heat and crowds, and you can choose to shut yourself in an air-conditioned room to escape them, but it’s all about perspective—what’s more fun than gobbling down some shaved ice under the shade of trees?
You can easily avoid crowds by stepping away from the main streets and exploring quiet back alleys or visiting lesser-known stations. It’s a great way to discover a new side of Tokyo.
Learn some fun tips to help you enjoy your visit even more!
Tokyo’s summers have been getting hotter in recent times due to the effects of climate change. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are set to be held from the end of July to the beginning of September—the hottest time of the year But if you look at the positive side, there’s so much summer has to offer. Summer days are longer, and since it’s warm, the evenings are perfect for taking strolls and eating outdoors. You’ll find mini-fireworks at convenience stores and supermarkets to enjoy with the whole family. Summer is also the best time to eat shaved ice and watermelon. Be sure to prepare well for the heat before you plunge into the Japanese summer!
Be sure to check the temperature and humidity before you head out, and prepare adequately for the heat.
Be sure to select cool, airy clothing when going out. Note that indoor spaces are generally air-conditioned, so it’s best to have something you can layer over your clothes. Japan has a variety of goods to help you cool down, so put them to use!
Carry water or sports drinks with you to stay hydrated. You can pick up drinks at any convenience store or vending machine. If you find yourself perspiring heavily, drink something salinated.
Make sure to take lots of breaks while you’re out and about during the day. At night, keep your room well-ventilated and try to use airy bed sheets and blankets.
It’s important to take well-balanced meals and have a proper breakfast to avoid dehydration. Japan has all kinds of nutritious delicacies, so eat to your hearts’ content to stay nourished.
In case of emergency, seek help immediately. Japan’s emergency number is 119. JNTO Safe Travels lists a number of medical institutions with multilingual services.
If the heat becomes unbearable, there are plenty of oases around Tokyo where you can cool down.
You can visit convenience stores, cafes, museums, aquariums, or night pools.
Convenience stores can be found around the city and are packed with all sorts of useful items. They are well air-conditioned, so you can drop in to pick up cold drinks, bento meals, snacks, ice cream, and deodorant. Some convenience stores also have atms and dining spaces. You can also use the washroom in most stores for free.
If you’re planning to do some shopping, head to a mall or department store—they’re fully air-conditioned throughout the day. In fact, they might even be a little cold, so bring something to layer over your clothes. You can find massive department stores near the stations in areas like Ginza, Nihonbashi, Shinjuku, and Shibuya. You’ll also find plenty near the game venues in Odaiba.
Packed with art and fascinating displays, museums are the ultimate summer oases. They can be found all around the city and the Ueno area in particular has an impressive selection of museums.
You can also make a family excursion to one of the numerous well-designed aquarium spaces in the city—you’ll find them in Shinagawa, Ikebukuro, Tokyo Skytree, and Kasai.
As the name suggests, the Tokyo Bay Zone venues are located by the Tokyo Bay. Nearby, you’ll find plenty of spots to enjoy seaside views, like beaches and sea walls. You can also opt to take a 30-minute train ride to the culture-packed port city of Yokohama. Even the urban sprawl of Tokyo has beautiful Japanese gardens filled with ponds and pine trees—the perfect places to enjoy a leisurely stroll.
You’ll find a variety of fun and useful items in Japan to make your summer even better.
They can rescue you from the summer heat and some make for great mementos to take home.
Drinks don’t stay cold for very long in the sweltering Tokyo heat. The solution for that? Frozen bottles of tea, water, or juice, available in most convenience stores. You can also buy bottles of ordinary drinks and freeze them in your hotel freezer. Another cold treat you can try is kakigori—fluffy shaved ice covered generously in syrup. It’s been a Japanese summer staple since ancient times, and recently, luxury kakigori has been gaining popularity. They come in all sorts of exquisite flavors, like green tea and strawberry.
The yukata is the ultimate summer outfit. These traditional kimonos, made of indigo-dyed cotton, are lightweight and airy, making them perfect for hot summer days. You can find a similar version for kids, known as jinbei. They are hassle-free and much more affordable than silk kimonos, and you’ll find a wide selection of cute, summery designs. You can even wear them to the games!
You’ll see plenty of people in Japan carrying multifunction umbrellas that protect them from both the heat and rain. They come in a variety of fun colors and patterns, and are available in most department stores and retail shops. If that’s not enough, you can fan yourself with delicate hand fans. You can choose from a wide range of designs and even get one to match with your yukata. Japanese hand fans also make for great souvenirs
The modern alternative to hand fans, portable fans are compact and ultra-light, making them easy to carry with just one hand. Some versions can even be placed around your neck or shoulders. These battery-operated devices can be found anywhere from general stores to electronic shops.
There’s no summer bummer like the combination of high humidity levels and sticky sweat. Cool wipes are an easy way to freshen up. Some even come with scents like mint and citrus. You can find them in most drug stores and convenience stores.
There’s plenty to do on summer nights after the sun has set and temperatures have dropped.
Here are some fun activities to make the most of your evenings:
The Yakatabune is a barge-style boat that cruises around Tokyo Bay from from the mouth of the Sumida, Edogawa, and Arakawa Rivers. They are usually decked with tatami mats and lanterns, and serve traditional Japanese cuisine. They are the perfect way to enjoy beautiful night views of the city.
Many pools on hotel rooftops and water parks stay open until late hours in the summer. Visit with your partner or friends to enjoy ambient lighting and delicious cocktails by the poolside.
Beer gardens, usually set at department store rooftops and city parks, are a popular place to spend summer nights. These outdoor hangouts are usually only open in the summer, and offer meals with all-you-can-drink packages. Although barbecued meat is the most common, you’ll find spots serving all kinds of dishes. There’s nothing like kicking back with some great views and a frosted mug of beer.
Families with children can pick up handheld fireworks in most convenience or home goods stores for some outdoor fun. You can take them to riverside areas, beaches, or parks, but note fireworks are not permitted in some public places.
The early morning hours tend to be relatively less hot and crowded. Take a leisurely stroll around the Imperial Palace grounds or a nearby park—you won’t see a lot of people before the morning rush hour. You can even start your day with an early morning jog or outdoor yoga class, followed by a sumptuous breakfast.
Various wards around Tokyo offer bike sharing services. They’re great for traveling short distances—you can pick up a bicycle at one port and return it to another. Anyone can sign up online.
Tokyo is dotted with all kinds of beautiful temples and shrines. Since they’re places of worship, you’ll find them to be much quieter than most places around the city. Take a stroll around a tranquil temple garden or pick up an omamori charm for good luck. Anyone is welcome inside when temple and shrine gates are open.
Tokyo offers great access to most parts of Japan. The ancient city of Kamakura, the onsen town of Hakone, the cool forests of Karuizawa, and the sandy Kujukuri beach are all just a train ride away.
Live Sites will be set up all around Japan in parks and other public spaces so that non-ticket holders can enjoy the games. You can get a taste of the Olympic and Paralympic atmosphere and experience a sense of unity with fellow spectators.
There are plenty of spots you can find free Wi-Fi around Japan—coffeehouse chains, convenience stores, buses, and even train stations. For most places, all you need to do is register your email address.
IC cards, including the Suica and PASMO, are rechargeable cards you can use to pay bus and train fares. You can even use them as a payment method in convenience stores and various other shops. Regular IC cards require a deposit, that is repaid with your remaining balance when you return them, but tourists can use the Welcome Suica or PASMO PASSPORT—they have a fixed validity period and don’t require a deposit. You can get them from ticket machines or counters at train stations.
If you’re planning to visit multiple places around Tokyo in a day, opt for a one-day pass which gives you unlimited rides throughout the day. JR, Toei Subway, Tokyo Metro, Toei Bus, and other transportation companies all offer their own passes. You can pick the one which works best for you depending on the area and stations you plan to visit.
You can temporarily store luggage in coin lockers around the city, allowing you to move around freely without heavy bags weighing you down. You can pay with coins or IC cards in most places. Hours can vary, but most are open until the last train.
*Note that lockers may be closed during big events as a part of anti-terror security measures.
You can travel hands-free and send your luggage straight from the airport to your hotel using baggage delivery services. You can even send them from one hotel to another, and select the time and date for delivery.
Japan’s railway networks are packed with auxiliary services. Massive stations like Shinagawa and Tokyo Station have facilities within the ticket gates that are on par with a mini shopping mall. You can find food, gifts, clothes, toilets, and ATMs and other services you’ll find useful on-the-go.
Most public places in Japan have toilets suitable for wheelchair users or families with strollers. These toilets are open to anyone—they are spacious, have no steps, and are equipped with diaper-changing tables and barrier-free sinks.
Explore interesting parts of Tokyo between games or plan a trip to lesser-known regions in Japan,
here are ideas to help you make the most of your visit!