How to Spend Summer in Osaka – Unique Activities and Tips for Surviving the Heat!


If you are visiting Japan during the summer, then Osaka is a must-visit destination. Japanese summers are known for their wonderful festivals, where people dress in yukata (casual kimonos) and gather to watch fireworks, and there is no shortage of festivals to be found in Osaka.

When you attend any summer festivals in Japan, you’ll also have the opportunity to try local festival food such as takoyaki (deep fried octopus balls) and Kansai-style okonomiyaki—a savory pancake dish with cabbage and other ingredients. Dishes such as these originated in the Kansai region making it the best place in Japan to try eating them!

In this article we’ll explore why Osaka should be included within your summer travel plans with some suggestions of unique and exciting activities you can try, along with some recommendations on how to stay cool during this hot season.

Where to Stay in Osaka

Osaka’s Umeda district is a convenient location to stay as a base for exploring the city. For example, Umeda is served by several important stations and train lines, providing direct access to the city’s attractions such as Osaka Castle, Universal Studios Japan, and the Namba entertainment district. Additionally, the Umeda area provides easy access to other neighboring cities such as Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara.

Summer Climate in Osaka

Most of Japan is typically quite hot during the summer months, with temperatures in July and August rising anywhere between 25 and 35°C (77- 95°F) with a very high rate of humidity that can be hard to handle if you’re not used to this kind of climate.

However, the good news is that there is plenty of respite to be found from the heat, whether it’s a day trip up to the many mountainous areas that Japan has to offer or exploring the city’s cool air-conditioned shopping malls. There are also some great products you can buy to help you stay cool which we’ll shortly introduce.

5 Unique Things to Do in Osaka in Summer

1. Rent a Yukata and Attend a Summer Festival

Without a doubt, one of the top activities to do in Japan during the summer is to attend a summer festival. It’s common to see Japanese people of all ages dressed up in summer kimonos known as yukata, and it’s an experience that tourists and visitors to the area can also easily participate in.

One of Osaka’s top annual summer events is the Umeda Yukata Festival (website is Japanese), usually held from mid-July to August. In 2022, it will be held from July 11th to August 10th! The festival first began in 2012 and has already become a beloved summer tradition in the Umeda area in an event that showcases unique Japanese summer culture—you can even see decorations in the shopping centers and staff dressed in yukata.

During a special two-day event during the Umeda Yukata festival, you can expect to see obon odori dancing (a type of traditional folk dance performed during the summer Obon Festival). You can also see live musical performances, enjoy local summer food, and watch the uchimizu ceremony, the ritual sprinkling of water on streets to cool them down.*
*It is possible there may be some variation in the festivities held this year.

For out-of-town visitors planning to attend the Umeda Yukata Festival, you can find a yukata and Japanese-style accessories from the nearby Yamato store located inside the HANKYU SANBAN GAI shopping mall.

Yamato has been in business for more than 100 years and has a wide range of formal and casual kimonos and accessories, like zori shoes, and special socks known as tabi in Japanese. The staff are also available on hand to help you dress if you’re unsure how to correctly wear the kimono and offer kimono wearing lessons. Their English-language website is also full of useful tips and videos on how to wear a kimono.

Shop: Yamato
Floor: Minami-kan (South Building) B1F
Business Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

2. Relax At a Summer Outdoor Dining Terrace

It’s not that common to find restaurants and cafes with outdoor dining areas in Japan, particularly in large cities like Osaka. However, the exception to this is during the summer months when many shopping complexes, hotels, and restaurants open special dining venues, often held on rooftops. Be sure to keep an eye out for these special seasonal dining venues if you’re visiting during this time.

3. Enjoy Japanese Summer Foods

During the summer months it’s traditional in Japan to enjoy dishes such as kakigori, a dessert made from shaved ice, and seasonal fruits such as watermelon. In Osaka you’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy these summer dishes, as well as delicious ice cream and gelato to help you stay cool.

In the GRAND FRONT OSAKA mall, you’ll find BAR & GELATERIA RAFFINATO, an authentic Italian gelato restaurant serving exquisite gelato made from seasonal fruits, as well as Italian coffees such as espressos and cappuccinos.

Floor: Umekita Plaza B1F
Business Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
*There may be some changes to business hours.

Alternatively, nearby at the HANKYU SANBAN GAI mall, you can visit SILKREAM, a dessert store offering delicious soft serve ice cream. SILKREAM’s menu also includes uniquely Japanese flavored soft ice creams such as matcha and Hokkaido milk, and flavors for each season, as well as parfaits in a range of flavors.

Floor: Minami-kan (South Building) B2F
Business Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Last order 9:30 p.m.

4. Watch Japanese Fireworks

During many of the events that take place in Japan during the summertime, fireworks are often included as part of the festivities. Known as hanabi in Japanese, fireworks have a long history in Japan and were originally used as way to ward off evil spirits.

In many cities, including Osaka, there are also popular fireworks displays that are launched from barges on the river or ocean, so you can sit by the water and watch the colorful explosions.

The biggest and most popular fireworks festivals in Japan have spectacular displays and are often very crowded, so a good tip is to get there plenty of time in advance to secure a good viewing spot. Pick up some snacks and drinks from the food stalls or convenience store and set down a ground sheet before settling in for the evening.

5. Take a Yakatabune Cruise

Another pleasant way to spend a summer evening in Osaka is to take a cruise on a yakatabune. These are traditional Japanese boats that have been enjoyed by people since Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868). During the evening, the wooden boats are lit with traditional hanging lanterns and often have tatami flooring to create a traditional atmosphere whilst guests admire the views and riverside scenery.

Onboard a yakatabune you can usually select a cruise according to your preferences. For example, in Osaka you can find boats that offer different dining options from sushi to tempura, with some offering entertainment too.

Must Have Japanese Summer Accessories and Where to Find Them

*This photo shows examples of summer accessories, and does not represent specific shop items.

It may sound surprising but one of the best places to spend time indoors during the summer in Osaka is within the city’s shopping malls. Here you can enjoy shopping, dining, and a range of entertainment options in air-conditioned complexes without working up a sweat! The shopping malls in Osaka’s Umeda district are also the perfect place to pick up some useful items and stylish summer accessories.

For example, in Francfranc, located in the HANKYU SANBAN GAI mall, you can find a range of useful items for tackling the summer heat, such as electric handheld fans and parasols. You can also find beautiful homeware items and other useful travel items such as stylish drink bottles so you can stay hydrated whilst out in the sun.

Shop: Francfranc
Floor: North Building (Kita-kan) 1F, 2F
Business Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Nearby at the HEP FIVE shopping mall, you can pick up some cosmetic and drugstore products at PLAZA, located on the fourth floor. Here you’ll find a range of sun care items such as cool patches, sun hats, and Japanese sunscreen. Japanese sunscreen is famous for its high-quality formulas featuring botanical ingredients combined with the latest in skincare technology.

You can also find makeup and other cosmetics with built in sun protection that are designed to withstand the humid climate. Another useful item to keep an eye out for are ‘sara sara’ sheets, these are cooling powder sheets which are fragranced and used to wipe off sweat and grime, leaving your skin feeling instantly refreshed.

Floor: 4F
Business Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

After exploring the stores and dining options, you can also enjoy some cooler temperatures by taking a ride on the mall’s rooftop Ferris Wheel, located 106 meters above ground and offering fantastic views of the downtown area and Osaka harbor.

For some special summer accessories, visit the GRAND FRONT OSAKA mall. Here you’ll find Kaneko Glasses Store, where you can purchase high-quality sunglasses made in Japan. The company’s dedicated craftsmen have been handmaking eyewear since 1958, so you’ll be sure to find a premium pair of sunglasses that will keep your eyes protected from harmful UV rays.

Shop: Kaneko Glasses
Floor: Minami-kan (South Building) 2F
Business Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
*There may be some changes to business hours.

Another convenient item that you will find many Japanese people using in the summertime is a small hand towel that can be kept in your pocket or handbag and used to wipe away any sweat. At the Iori store in GRAND FRONT OSAKA, you can purchase luxuriously soft hand towels made in Imabari, Japan’s largest and most-famous towel producing region. Imabari towels are renowned for their softness and high water absorbency, using manufacturing techniques that have been perfected over 120 years.

Shop: Iori
Floor: Kita-kan (North Building) 2F
Business Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
*There may be some changes to business hours.

In addition to the summer activities mentioned within this article, Osaka’s Umeda district also has plenty of other attractions that can be enjoyed all year round, such as enjoying the cityscape views from the Umeda Sky Building, to exploring the traditional neighborhood of Nakazaki-cho with its art galleries and independent cafes.

Come enjoy the Japanese summer here in Umeda, Osaka!

If you are visiting Osaka using the bullet train, you can access Osaka’s Umeda district by taking the JR train (4 minutes) or Midosuji Subway Line (6 minutes) from Shin-Osaka station. From Osaka’s Namba Station take the Midosuji or Yotsubashi Subway Line to Umeda or Nishi-Umeda Station.

For more information on Umeda, check out some of our Trip Ideas.

*Due to the state of the pandemic, some shops may have different business hours.

*Information in this article is accurate as of the date of posting. There is a possibility that details regarding these products and services have changed, or that some shops have since closed.


All Mall Coupon

500 yen off

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