Japan’s summers are hot and humid. Air-conditioning is wonderful, but who wants to stay indoors when there is so much to do and see outside? Luckily, Japan has many products to help you spend your time outdoors more comfortably. Try something traditional or go high-tech. Use this handy guide to help you decide how to keep cool.
BY Lori Ono
Summer in Japan is hot and humid. Temperatures in August can range from lower to upper 30 degrees Celscius (86 degrees fahrenheit). Whether you’re outside watching Olympic and Paralympic events or out and about getting to your event or sightseeing, it’s important to keep cool. Traditional or high-tech, these Japanese items to help you beat the heat and enjoy your trip. This list can help you decide which way you want to keep cool.
Sensu are made of bamboo or wood and paper or fabric. Since the fold, they are compact and easy to put in your day bag. Many Japanese use these in daily life. Prices depend on quality and craftsmanship and range from 100 yen to over 10,000 yen.
These fans are considered as an essential item for kimonos. Both men and women use sensu though styles differ.
Uchiwa are larger than sensu and have a leaf-like shape. They are made from bamboo or plastic and paper. They move more air than sensu but are harder to put in a day bag. Companies often hand them out with logos or ads as promotional items.
Many summer festival dances use these fans.
Many of these fans are foldable and compact enough to fit in your bag. They often have a clip or a strap. They use batteries or USB power.
When it’s really hot, a cool mist sounds heavenly. The mist fan is slightly larger so it can hold water or even a few ice cubes. This personal cooling device is battery powered.
This device has two small fans on each end of a strap that you wear around your neck. It is powered by battery or USB.
Whether you call it sun parasol, sun umbrella or higasa, if you spend a lot of time outside a sun umbrella provides more protection than a hat. Higasa have been a summer staple for women for a long time. Recently, men have been taking advantage of this summer protection. Higasa are made of traditional and modern materials. With the variety of styles and patterns anyone can make a summer fashion statement.
This thin, cotton can be used for almost anything. Use them as headbands, dry your hands or face or wrap bottles to keep them cool.
Most fabric designs are based on traditional Japanese motifs. They are a popular gift in Japan and make great souvenirs.
Visitors may already be familiar with cool towels and cool bandanas made from technical fabrics. Just add water, wring it out, and keep yourself cool.
You can spray your body with liquid that will cool your body by evaporation. Some sprays are for your clothes to help keep you cool.
Wipe the sweat away and feel refreshed with these sheets with cooling lotions.
These ice packs activate when hit and stay cool for hours.
Made from cotton or synthetic fabric with decorated with summer motifs. Both men and women wear yukata though the designs are different. You can wear a yukata anytime but most people wear them for festivals, fireworks or special events.
Jinbei is a casual set of summer clothes. The knee-length shorts and front-tied jacket are made from cotton, linen, blend or synthetics to create a cool, quick drying fabric. They can also be worn as pajamas. Some men create a retro style by wearing a straw fedora or trilby with jinbei.
Jinbei are mainly worn by men so are made in darker colors. Women and children also wear jinbei.
Many sports stores and some fast fashion shops have clothes designed to wick sweat, dry quickly, or block UV rays. These clothes can help keep you comfortable when out in the heat. Check labels and tags for the most accurate information.
For affordable quick drying and moisture wicking inner-garments, look for Uniqlo’s Airism line.
I’m a Canadian writer and photographer based in Tokyo. I love helping people enjoy their time in Japan.