JAPAN SELLS ITSELF to tourists (and its own people) as the only place in the world to experience four true seasons — it certainly is one of the few countries in Asia to have a climate allowing for snow, blooming flowers, and fall foliage… after the nightmare that is rainy season.
1. “Cool Biz” ends
Ten years ago, the Japanese government started the “Cool Biz” campaign to save on energy costs during the summer, suggesting companies maintain their thermostat to a toasty 28 C and adopt a looser dress code during June, July, August, and September, as opposed to the more formal dress code required during the rest of the year. Starting September 30th, for many employees, it’s back to suit and tie five days a week…
2. Autumnal Colors
Japan may be more well known for flower viewing during cherry blossoms season, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its share of leafpeepers as New England does. During mid-late November, the leaves turn so fiery red it’s a wonder the country doesn’t have more visitors from across Asia, where the seasons aren’t as distinct.
3. You don’t have to change clothes three times daily
Japan is infamous for its insanely hot and humid summers (nothing compared to Vietnam or Thailand, but still…). Because form business attire is still required before Cool Biz kicks off in June, you can see salarymen in full black suits when the temperature is over 35 C, and humidity is off the charts. Even tourists might feel like they need to rinse off after walking outside for ten minutes. This all stops in September.
4. Sumo Season
September kicks off one of the three times of the year for the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament. Tourists to Japan may think they can just waltz into the country and buy sumo tickets from a scalper, but the truth is unless their trips are planned in January, May, or September in Tokyo or March, July, and November for Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka, respectively, they’re going to be out of luck. In the off season, it’s difficult to arrange tickets to the practices if you’re not a Japanese speaker. Once September comes around sumo is open for business!
Summer festivals in Japan are known for their hot weather, cold beer, and attire: men and women riding trains in loose yukata robes on their way to see some fireworks and eat deep-fried octopus in batter (takoyaki). Though there are certainly unique festivals, all the way from Tanabata in July, to Nebuta in August, some would say the ones that come out afterwards have a bit more pizzazz to them: there are actually fire festivals in which the side of a volcano is set ablaze (controlled, of course).