15 Plus Ways to Beat the Japanese Summer Heat & Humidity

I thought was looking all fresh coming to work, I had on my light colored khakis and a light green shirt to add a little grown-and-sexy flavor! By the time I got to school, though, umm…not so sexy…my shoulders were all sweaty, my light green shirt was now dark green, and I started to get that uncomfortable moisture underneath my armpits.

During the weekend I taught English lessons in Hitachi and that place was nasty humid, perhaps it’s because Hitachi is right by the sea or something, but ICK! No matter where I go, it’s almost like the heat keeps pestering me like “Hey, you gonna write something about me? Huh? Huh? Are you gonna?” FINE, MR. HEAT, YOU WIN! I am going to write a post right now.

15 Plus Ways to Beat the Japan Summer Heat & Humidity

1. Ice Cream…Loads of it!!- If you can stand the calories and the fat (it’s doing quite a number on me) it’s a great way to keep cool. They do have Cold Stone Creamery and Baskin Robbins here (or “31” as they say here in Japan), the good stuff. I don’t know if you’re a fan or not, but I recently started eating mint chocolate chip ice-cream and for some reason, that mint coupled with the cold ice-cream makes for a doubly refreshing dessert. I highly recommend it.

2. Go shopping- If you aren’t too keen on raising your energy bill or adding to the pressing energy problem, you can always mooch off of someone else’s air conditioning. Department stores, shopping malls, food courts, all of these places have cool, refreshing AC.

3. Stay hydrated- A cold drink of water with lots of ice can do wonders in the efforts to cool your jets. In addition, it’s calorie free.

4. Go swimming- I’m sure there’s some type of pool near where you live, it’s just about finding out where it is and how much it costs to use. What? You say you’re not in shape? Don’t let that stop you. Wear a t-shirt, do whatever you have to to feel comfortable, but this is one of the best methods to beat Japan’s sweltering summer! It’s great exercise, too. Get in shape and stay cool? You can’t beat that.

5. Cold showers/baths- When I’m feeling icky and sticky after a hot, humid Japan day, a cool shower keeps me feeling fresh and cools me down at the same time. As of late, I’ve been taking the warm showers to get clean and then making the water colder to rinse off, otherwise I get sweaty a few minutes after getting out of the shower…I HATE THAT!

6. Travel to other parts of Japan- If you have the cash/ingenuity and the time why not go traveling? I hear Hokkaido is pretty nice this time of year. I have heard it’s warm there, too, but probably not nearly as humid.

7. Travel to another country- If the Japan heat is REALLY making you uncomfortable…leave for a few days, go to some place where it’s cooler or less humid (parts of Europe, maybe? Alaska? Antarctica? The North Pole?)

8. Go to the beach at night- The beach, if you’re close enough to get there, can be surprisingly cool at night. You don’t even have to swim either. Just hiking up your pants and wading into just a bit of the expanse that is the Pacific will help you beat the heat.

9. Prickly Heat?!?- Okay this one is my personal favorite because it’s a bit more obscure. My good friend Robby put me onto this stuff, and it just may do the trick. This is a “cooling” powder that you sprinkle, SPARINGLY mind you, on your nethermost sweaty regions. Please don’t overdo it or you will have quite an uncomfortable start to your day. It tingles…uncomfortably so if you use too much (just trust me on this one, I’ve done it!). Try it, if you dare…MWUHAHAHAHAHAHA…sorry, here’s the website: www.britishdispensary.com.

10. Cool Mattress Pads- Japan sells these cooling pads to go on top of your mattress. It keeps you cool while you sleep. An alternative to this is to fill Hot Water Bottles with Ice Water, wrap them in cloth and put them in your bed. Nothing like a cool-refreshing sleep to leave you recharged and ready to go.

11. Go mountain climbing- I did this a couple of years ago during the summer. On a pretty hot day I went hiking with some friends on Mount Tsukuba. The initial hike was quite warm, but by the time we got to the top of the mountain, it was significantly cooler than it was at the base of the mountain. If you don’t feel like hiking, try the cable car if the mountain has one.

12. An ice scarf- This is just my nickname for them. But Japan sells these re-freezable ice packs (AISUNON or アイスノン) that fit inside of this cloth sleeve that goes around your neck. It does help quite bit.

13. A “Cold” Massage- Getting someone to put their hands in ice before massaging you or walking in ice and then walking on your back, is a creative way to cool down. If you have someone that’s willing to help you on this, it could be quite nice. It’s probably counter-productive for your muscles, but it would feel fantastic on a hot Japan day.

14. Open windows- Try opening two windows on opposite sides of your house or apartment (if you have the setup). This allows for a great cross-breeze if the wind is blowing.

15. Break out the summer clothing- Seems like common sense, I know, but it’s crucial. I own very few pairs of shorts, and I tossed some on for the first time in a very long time and was surprised at how much cooler it was. I felt like I was discovering them for the first time and wanted to tell everybody: “Hey man, they have these things called “shorts” that I tried and they really help you to cool off.”


16. You could have your real heart replaced with an ice one- This probably isn’t a good idea, even in theory. I guess on a really hot day, surviving would be pretty tough considering the melting and all.
17. Pull a Han Solo and freeze yourself in carbonite- You’ll be in suspended animation, but the only difference is there is no bounty hunter who’s trying to abduct you (I hope not).

18. Get a Mermaid Girlfriend/Merman Boyfriend- What’s the benefit of doing this you ask? Well you’re gonna want to see you girlfriend or your boyfriend during the summer, right? Well the cool thing about having a mermaid girlfriend is that she would have an underwater apartment that’s probably not at all effected by the humidity or extreme heat.

19. Go Skydiving-It seems like you’d get a nice breeze during the free fall part before you open your parachute.

20. Walk around naked!- Umm…this one’s not really to my liking, and if you’re worried about doing jail-time here in Japan, you may want to skip this one.

21. Make Ice Underwear-I’m sure it’s pretty simple to make plastic undergarments that you could fill with water and freeze. I guess the question here is, how comfortable do you really want to be? The crunching sounds when you sit down probably will draw some attention, too…but it’s about staying cool, not people-pleasing, right? LOL

22. Sit in a room full of roaches- The chill these dreadful insects send down your spine may actually be refreshing. Okay, I’m pushing it…I’ll stop there.

Well, maybe just two more…

23. Cryogenic Storage-This may be a good way to beat the heat. You can go into cryogenic sleep and just wake up when the summer is over. I wonder if that whole Vanilla Sky thing happens while you sleep…

24.Shave Your Head-Being bald can be a wonderful experience. Kids are drawn to it, you’ll never have to worry about coming or brushing again, and if you’re ever in a dangerous situation, the glare from your head can potentially blind a bad guy. All of these bonuses in addition to staying cooler? It’s a win-win!
(well without hair, there is nothing to stop the sweat…so you may want to tote a handkerchief or a beach towel (depending on your perspiration levels).

What are your thoughts? How do you beat the summer heat?

Donald Ash

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  • Nice Han Solo reference!! I make full use of the fridge in the teacher’s room. A liter of Lemon Tea, popsicles and my “ice scarf” ready for break time.

  • ice cream is pretty fattening. only for treats on occasion.

    for me it is kakigori, shaved ice.

    tonight i had umeshuu with kakigori. i was in heavennnnnn. :P


    • Donald Ash

      Shaved ice…that’s a tasty, far lower-calorie idea to beat the heat!!

  • Sean Patton

    Mint-chip ice cream is the greatest thing in the history of food.

    I often find going for a bike ride on hot days can be refreshing. Find an open stretch of road or path, build up speed, and then coast and enjoy the breeze. It’s especially effective if you have some downhill segments. Going back up, however, is another thing entirely.

    • Donald Ash

      I’ve just started eating it, I had no idea how good it really was. I would generally stick to my cookies and cream or prailines and cream and call it a day. But mint chocolate chip ice cream really did a number on me. That’s a great scene for a movie or commercial…a child riding downhill with the ice cream in hand, enjoying the breeze, happy music. Record scratch, no more music, all you hear is labored breathing, as he pedals uphill…with his ice cream all melted.

  • Sean Patton

    That reminds me of an amusing quote I once read about getting older:
    “Advanced age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of seeing your scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.”

    • Donald Ash


  • Nice list yo! You should have submitted this to the Summer Matsuri I did earlier this month )-: I think I might try number 17! Always wanted to be han Solo and there’s no better time then the sweltering present (-;

    • Donald Ash

      I appreciate that. Sometimes I’m just off in my own little world, especially when life’s a bit tough. I saw that Summer Matsuri thing and realized I was too late to join in. Classic Donald, I guess.

      #17, really? I don’t know why I thought #18 had your name written all over it :)

  • would #16 make you like iceman from the Xmen? I think that was his name.

    and #20 lol.. I don’t know, I’ve heard neighbors could be pretty nosy.

    My favorite way to cool off in the heat is to hop in my Bug and drive out for a sundae. ^ ^ *sweet tooth*

  • I made my own cool scarf….see here

    And mango shaved ice….I recommend, we made it, see here:

  • Alva

    Cheap way to cool off when you get home is having a stock of frozen towels in the freezer. All you have to do is use the washing machine, fold the wet towels, pop it in a freezer, and take it out to wipe your sweat when you get home from the heat. After wiping, just put the towel back in the machine.

    Oh, Psst!
    (In your case, Donald, your choice of hair-do will be an advantage here?)

    • Donald Ash

      LOL :) . Thanks for an awesome tip, Alva. I’ve never tried doing that before, but it sounds like a neat idea. It beats wearing ice underwear, anyway. My haircut does help in the fight to keep cool, but the sweat thing sucks because there’s nothing to stop it!

  • saninjapan

    I laughed until I cried and the tears actually cooled my face off….one day I want to meet you and buy you a cold beer in an air-conditioned restaurant inside an air conditioned mall….your posts make my day….

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