The Plum Season!

What to do in Japan when it rains...

June and July is the season of the "plum rain" in Japan. The start of the season is much expected and advertised by the weather report. The plum rain front has reached Okinawa... they say with a very dark voice. And suddenly, it pours cats and dogs in Tokyo. There is no plum-rain in Hokkaido.

When I first came to Japan, I wondered why the rainy season was called was the plum rain. I first thought it was because the drops were so big that they had the size of plums. Then, I thought, no, of course not. It is because the falling rain sounds like plums... Of cooooouuuuurse, this is all wrong. Though Japanese is a very poetic language, the reason is much more prosaic: it is because there are plums in trees in this season...

So, what can you do during the plum rain season? (tsuyu, or baiyu, by the way).

The good news is that, yes, it does rain a lot, but it is not cold, nor too hot yet. It is just right... so,

...Well, you can do a lot of things. First, discover temple and shrines during rainy time is a new discovery of the Japanese minds who builded these sites. Be it shiny or rainy, they have their own particular beauty for you to discover.

You can also visit Kamakura as senpai Ruth suggests or any other place where they grow ajisai (hortensia in French). The color of the petals fades with the rain so you can enjoy various stage of these beautiful and huge flowers. Early June, they are still vividly colored but by the end of June, they will be white...

You can also decide to gear up like a Japanese, which will make shopping a real fun. Try to find some 3 coins shops unless you have Mary Poppins' purse.

The first gear is to get yourself an umbrella. Every shop sell them as soon as there is one drop of rain. you can get a plastic transparent one, or a fancy one. big ones or telescopic ones. There are umbrellas for all tastes here. But to use it like a Japanese, you need to learn to fold it properly back.

They even have small drying poach for their umbrellas. It looks like a funny microfiber pocket in which you insert your umbrella and you do not wet the flooring while keeping yourself all elegant...

You can also get plastic shoes. You find plastic shoes with a loose trimming and a lot of wholes, boots of every color or with grass design... Well, getting the plastic boots is a big leap toward Japanesehood. I have not yet tried it. But if you do, you sure will look the real part. You can also choose to use sandals with naked feet. They will get soaked but not cold.

I always wanted to get a shower cap for my hat, like every police men in town. I think it is neat to be able to protect your hat like that. But I have not yet tried it yet. Well, I do not have any hat either.

There are also a huge choice of raincoats and if you insist, I am sure we can find raincoats for your pet dogs too.

There are also very good conversations to have that will start with "it is so rainy today". No nonononono no, don't think "but of course, the plum-rain and all..." you need to think of an answer so that you can go on talking about other things than rain.

I am from Belgium, a country nearly as famous as England for its rain. So I have none of that, except only a few dozen plastic umbrellas home. And there are no plum-rain to stop me enjoying the rain, hoping for abundant crops and breathing the odor of wet soil and trees...

Claire image



Claire's other advice

Kasai Rinkai Park : enjoy the sea ! images

Kasai Rinkai Park : enjoy the sea !

If you want to get away from high-rise building without going too far, Kasai Rinkai parc is your place. One station before Disneyland (Maihama), on the Keiyo line, it takes you 20 minutes to get …

Enjoy the cherry blossoms images

Enjoy the cherry blossoms

Every spring, it is the same thing: everyone are getting very (positively) anxious and are looking forward to enjoying the cherry blossoms.Spring is there. 8 blossoms on a tree, and it's done. C…

Hot spring etiquette: Please, do hot-bath like a pro. images

Hot spring etiquette: Please, do hot-bath like a pro.

Hot springs are often marketed for their positive effects on health: skin, articulations, cardio-vascular system, muscular relaxation… depending on its mineral content, the hot water is supposed to h…

Indulge myself with a small luxury : a minitrip to Kusatsu images

Indulge myself with a small luxury : a minitrip to Kusatsu

Have you ever had that feeling that your mind is stuck with your work and you need to get away from the office for a while? Staying home is not an option because then, you will not stay focus on your…

A trip to hot springs? images

A trip to hot springs?

I remember one business meeting I attended and the quizzical look of my Belgian business partner when our Japanese host suggested a trip to hot springs together. We knew him very well, but…, a trip t…

Omotenashi - a tradition made famous by Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic 2020 images

Omotenashi - a tradition made famous by Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic 2020

Since Tokyo has been nominated to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, « omotenashi » has become the buzz word to epitomize Japan’s art of welcoming guests and attract tourists. But what do…

You might also like

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette images

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette

Attending a Japanese funeral can be stressful, even shocking, if you don't know what to do. The more you know beforehand the better, as you'll be able to comfort and support mutual friends and their …

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

Yurei, Yokai and Obake: Japan's Very Busy Ghost Scene images

Yurei, Yokai and Obake: Japan's Very Busy Ghost Scene

Ghosts and spirits hold a place in the folklore of many cultures around the world. In the western world, Halloween, observed on October 31st, is a time for scary, spooky tales, while Latin America w…

jdlawrence image


Love Stones at Jishu Shrine in Kyoto images

Love Stones at Jishu Shrine in Kyoto

Jishu Shrine is located near (or I would say within) Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple. Dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking, the love shrine is always crowded with many couples and especially young …

EmiOnishi image


Ride The Tokyo Metro Like A Boss With These Apps images

Ride The Tokyo Metro Like A Boss With These Apps

To people new to Japan, the Tokyo subway system, stylishly called "Tokyo Metro" is a confusing labyrinth of lines going every which way. Orderly thought and planning, it would appear, seem to be the…

jdlawrence image


The Top 8 Places to Beat Summer Heat in Japan images

The Top 8 Places to Beat Summer Heat in Japan

Where do Japanese love to visit to avoid summer heat in Japan? I searched the top 8 summer resorts loved by Japanese including Furano in Hokkaido, Okinawa, Karuizawa and Hakone, which are famous amon…

Alexlovetravel image


Ningyo-yaki: Little Baked Doll Cakes images

Ningyo-yaki: Little Baked Doll Cakes

Ningyo-yaki (人形焼) is very popular in Tokyo Asakusa where you can watch them being baked. This is one of my favorite Japanese sweets and a very good omiyage gift. Ningyo is the Japanese word …

David image