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Is June the Worst Month in Japan?

What month is filled with rain, high humidity and plenty of bloodsuckers? Welcome to June in Japan.

By 5 min read

June has arrived, and with it comes a contender for the worst month of the year. Surely, other times test our limits. Japan’s most important holidays are Golden Week from late April to early May, Obon (commemorative days for remembering ancestors) in mid-August and the New Year holidays. Vacationing during these periods can be chaotic as the number of travelers explodes, especially in major cities. But, at most, they only last for about a week and life returns to normal. But not in June.

June in Japan is unique for its impact on our daily lives, from choosing our outfits for the day to going to bed. Inside and outside, at work and at home, June can take a toll on our bodies and minds, not to mention our wallets and homes.

Here are a few reasons why June might be the worst month of the year.

It’s The Rainy Season

Expect weeks of gloomy skies.

Simply put, June in Japan is wet. From Aomori in the north to Okinawa in the south, June is the rainiest time of year. The East Asian rainy season affects several countries, except Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido.

For roughly six to eight weeks during the transition between spring and summer, opposing cold and warm air masses collide to create a band of precipitation. The rainy season ends when the subtropical front gathers enough strength to continue its journey northward. Because these fronts are migratory, the rainy season can begin and end on different dates across Japan. In 2023, Okinawa’s rainy season started on May 18 and ended on June 25, while Aomori’s northern location meant a later start on June 9 and ended on July 22.

Of course, it doesn’t rain every day in June, but the humidity is sky-high on many days. In June 2023, Fukuoka had an average relative humidity of 76%, while Tokyo hovered around 80%. For some, that muggy feeling is worse than the rainy days. To add insult to injury, government subsidies for electricity consumption end at the end of May, making your air conditioner use in June more expensive.

Mold and Mosquitoes

Best to take anti-mold measures before it gets this bad.

June’s rising heat and humidity welcome two more unwanted guests: mold and mosquitoes. Mold loves warm and wet places, which means the rainy season is one of its favorite times of the year. It can come in many colors, but pink, black, gray and green are the most common hues you’ll encounter. And you’ll run into it everywhere. Shower rooms and the kitchen may be the most obvious places, but other surfaces, from your air conditioner to towels, become more susceptible to fungus in June. Buying appropriate cleaning products and having a good dehumidifier are your best bets at keeping the mold back.

As for mosquitoes, they also love stagnant water. What better time of year to emerge for their mating period than the rainy, humid month of June? Rising temperatures in recent years mean their active season has shifted slightly earlier to April and later to October. But mosquitoes can’t resist a warm water source, and June abounds in these potential breeding grounds. Luckily, with tips from drying up water sources to the best repellents, we’ve got you covered with a guide on getting rid of mosquitoes and other common bugs.

No Public Holidays

A long, long month indeed.

While June brings a deluge of rain and humidity to many places across Japan, it also comes with a drought of public holidays. In fact, from the end of the early May Golden Week period to the next holiday, August 12’s Mountain Day, there are almost 70 straight days of no government-sanctioned days off. Combined with the grueling weather outside and its carryover indoors, June can be a tough month for everyone.

Some grassroots movements are hoping to add a June holiday. Although it wasn’t a public holiday, Time Day on June 10th was once celebrated in the early 20th century to commemorate the 7th-century Emperor Tenji, who supposedly introduced the water clock to his domain. Tamada Hisao, who represents an Osaka-based non-profit organization dedicated to all things timekeeping, hopes to have this day officially made into a public holiday by the Japanese parliament.

Unfortunately, not everyone in positions of power laments the absence of an extra day off in June. At least one Cabinet Office official has stated that days off aren’t necessarily good as the economy slows down and businesses close.

How to Stay Prepared

Buy a good pair of rain boots. Thank us later.

Despite the increase in rain and humidity, life goes on in Japan and being prepared is your best bet of getting through the month.

Here are a few things that can make that extra bit of difference:

  • Keep a small cloth on hand to wipe yourself and your belongings off if you get caught in the rain
  • Buy a poncho with a hood if you ride a bike that also covers your front basket
  • Carry deodorant and/or deodorizing body sheets to keep smelling fresh
  • Prepare an extra pair of socks (or even a set of clothes) in your bag or office in case you get drenched

The Upside to June in Japan

It can’t be all that bad.

Although June in Japan certainly has much working against it, there are also things to look forward to. For one, the rainy season is also ajisai (hydrangea) season and these colorful plants look almost more beautiful when drenched. The Tokyo area alone has plenty of ajisai gardens that are awash in vibrant pastels this time of year.

Japan’s summers in recent years have also become characterized by extreme heat. As such, comparatively temperate June is like a breath of fresh air before the scorching heat emerges during July and August.

How do you feel about June? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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