Summer in Japan can be really hot and humid. Temperatures in August can range from lower to upper 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), and in some cases, hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Whether you’re outside watching the Olympics and Paralympics 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 stay in Japan. This list can help you decide which way you want to keep cool.
Folding Fan (Sensu)
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.
Fixed Fan (Uchiwa)
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.
Portable Handheld Electric 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.
Electric Neck Fan
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.
Higasa/Parasol (traditional and high-tech)
Whether you call it 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.
Tenugui (Thin cloth towel)
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.
Cool Bandanas & Cool Towels
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.
Cool Body Sheets (Hiya Sheet)
Wipe the sweat away and feel refreshed with these sheets with cooling lotions.
Chemical Ice Pack (Hiyaron)
These ice packs activate when hit and stay cool for hours.
Yukata (Casual Summer Kimono)
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 pyjamas. 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 colours. Women and children also wear jinbei.
Cool Clothes, Technical Fabrics
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.
These are all the ways and methods to keep cool during any Japanese summer, but most importantly, please drink water at all times! Stay cool!