<2022> The Best 6 Summer Traditions in Osaka and Kyoto!


Summer in Japan is the hottest and most humid of the four seasons. In Japan, there has always been a very special way to forget the heat and stay cool.
We have picked up some of the typical things that everyone thinks of when they hear the words “summer in Japan”. In addition, we will introduce recommended events and stores in Osaka and Kyoto (along the Hankyu Hanshin line). Please experience the unique Japanese summer with its coolness and elegance, along with historical tidbits.


1.Yukata/[Umeda, Osaka]Umeda Yukata Festival
2.Shaved ice / [Ibaraki, Osaka] Ranran, specializing in ice and sweet potatoes
3.Fireworks/[Umeda, Osaka] Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Display
4.Sensu / [Kyoto, Karasuma] Kyoto Yuzen Workshop Marumasu Nishimuraya
5.Wind Bell / [Kyoto, Arashiyama] Matsuo-taisha Wind Bell Prayer Festival
6.Festival / [Kyoto] Gion Festival

1.Yukata/[Umeda, Osaka]Umeda Yukata Festival


Yukata is the most popular summer attire. Originally a loungewear worn after taking a bath, yukata has become a summer fashion item because it is easier to wear than a kimono. A wide variety of patterns are available, including not only classic patterns, but also modern patterns and designs that look like clothes. They can also be coordinated with obis and hair ornaments. Wear your yukata beautifully and enjoy the summer!


Fireworks displays and festivals are what you want to go to while wearing a yukata!
The “Umeda Yukata Matsuri” was held over two days at the end of July, and the entire town of Umeda was enlivened by a variety of events to fully enjoy the summer atmosphere. The photo shows “Uchimizu,” or sprinkling water on the ground to reduce geothermal heat and relieve the heat. It made Umeda cooler.


↓If you want to rent a yukata and enjoy walking around town, check this out too!
Higashiyama, Kyoto-1 Day Trip|Best Places for Kimono Rental♡

2.Shaved ice / [Ibaraki, Osaka] Ranran, specializing in ice and sweet potatoes


The cool, refreshing shaved ice is a must-have during the hot summer months. The history of shaved ice is very old, dating back to the Heian period (794-1192). At that time, ice was an extremely precious luxury item and was only available to aristocrats. Recently, shaved ice has become common due to improvements in ice-making technology and the spread of freezers, and nowadays, shaved ice has evolved to the level of sweets, not only the traditional simple shaved ice with syrup but also those with a particular texture of ice and those that resemble a parfait.
It’s not uncommon for the delicious taste to keep you spooning, and it’s not uncommon for your head to keel over from unintentional overeating.


The summer-only shaved ice at the popular ice and Ranran, specializing in ice and sweet potatoes in Ibaraki, Osaka, is extremely popular for its fluffy ice melt in your mouth, wide variety of flavors, and gorgeous toppings! The shaved ice made from carefully selected sweet potatoes offers a rich taste like no other.


There are plenty of other great shaved ice shops in Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe!
If you’re curious, check these out too!

9 Best Kakigori in Kansai! The Best Summer Sweets in Japan!



1-7-25, Masago, Ibaraki-shi, Osaka


15-minute walk from Hankyu Kyoto Line Minami-ibaraki Station

3.Fireworks/[Umeda, Osaka] Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Display


The dynamic fireworks display, with its loud booming sound and gorgeous colors in the night sky, is one of the joys of summer in Japan that can be felt with the whole body. Fireworks as we know them today are said to have originated in Florence, Italy in the late 14th century, and were first appreciated in Japan in the Edo period (1603-1867).


The Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival, one of the largest fireworks festivals held in the Kansai region, is a summer tradition in the water city of Osaka. The surface of the river shines brightly as fireworks are launched one after another to light up the night sky. The multicolored flowers bloom in the night sky and then fade away as if blending into the night sky, giving off a sense of both beauty and transience. It would be wonderful to watch the fireworks while wearing a yukata and eating shaved ice in the pleasant night breeze!

4.Sensu / [Kyoto, Karasuma] Kyoto Yuzen Workshop Marumasu Nishimuraya


The folding fan has long been used to keep cool during hot weather, and is an eco-friendly and convenient item that can be folded compactly and carried around. It is a traditional handicraft with a long history, an indispensable tool in classical arts and tea ceremonies, and a symbol of Japanese culture. The materials used for the fan surface, bone, and handle vary, and there is a wide variety of elaborate designs in the patterns and workmanship. They are recommended not only as a quick and easy way to cool off when you are out and about, but also as an easy and fashionable fashion accessory. The “spreading out” shape of the fan is also considered auspicious and good luck.


Buying a fan as a souvenir is nice, but how about making one yourself? At Marumasu Nishimuraya, the Kyoto Yuzen Experience Studio, you can casually try your hand at Kyo-yuzen in a tasteful Kyoto machiya (traditional townhouse) store. A Kyo-yuzen fan made with the traditional Kyoto technique of Kyo-yuzen dyeing is the perfect memory of your trip to Kyoto. In addition to fans, there are a variety of other hands-on activities available.


There are many other stores in Kyoto where you can try your hand at making things by hand!
If you’re interested, check them out too!

Kyoto-1 Day Trip|Enjoy Handmade Experience! Yuzen Dyeing, Umeshu (Plum Wine) and Wagashi (Japanese Sweets)



Ogawadori Oike Minami-iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto


Take the Kyoto Municipal Subway from Hankyu Kyoto Line Karasuma Station and alight at Karasuma Oike Station and 7-minute walk.

5.Wind Bell / [Kyoto, Arashiyama] Matsuo-taisha Wind Bell Prayer Festival


Wind chimes sway in the wind and make a sound at the eaves of houses. Wind chimes are a unique item for summer, easing the heat and bringing coolness to the home. Since ancient times, wind chimes have been used in Shinto rituals, and their tones are said to comfort the gods and purify people of their sins and defilement.


Every summer, Matsuo-taisha, an ancient temple in Arashiyama, Kyoto, holds a “wind bell prayer” in which about 600 wind bells are hung in the shrine grounds to pray for good fortune and to remove misfortune. The harmony created by the overlapping beautiful tones of the chirin-chirin~♪ is very comfortable and cool. It is very precious to be able to enjoy the sound of so many wind chimes now that we are rarely exposed to them. At the awarding ceremony, visitors can make a wish on a strip of paper (tanzaku) to be attached to the wind chime (tanzaku prayer fee: 500 yen).



3, Arashiyama Miyamachi, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto


Right by Hankyu Arashiyama Line Matsuo-taisha Station

6.Festival / [Kyoto] Gion Festival


The image of summer as a time for festivals…seems to have taken hold because most Japanese festivals, both traditional and new, are held in the summer. Festivals are held all over Japan. Along with the festivals are the stalls. Food stalls, goldfish scooping, yo-yo fishing, and more add to the festive atmosphere.


The Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is a Shinto ritual that began more than 1,150 years ago to pray for the repelling of divine pestilence and the elimination of calamities. Every year in July, the Gion music starts to flow out from the Konchikichin and various events are held over a period of one month. The biggest highlight is the Yamaboko event, in which gorgeously decorated floats are paraded through the streets. This festival is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. “Yoiyama” is another must-see event where you can see the floats lit up after the sun goes down. And…be sure to check out the festival’s delicacies, such as cotton candy, candy apples, and other food stalls.


We have introduced some of Japan’s summer traditions.
Wearing a yukata and enjoying a festival or fireworks display with a fan in hand is one thing! Or, enjoy shaved ice and feel cool while listening to the sound of wind chimes! Enjoy the uniquely Japanese summer.


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