Things to Do in Kyoto During Summer

Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan, is a city that is worth visiting any time of the year. However, summer is a particularly special time to visit Kyoto, with its vibrant festivals, stunning natural beauty, and delicious culinary delights. Whether you are planning a trip to Kyoto or you are already there, this guide will help you make the most of your summer experience.

Understanding Kyoto’s summer is essential to planning your trip. Kyoto’s summer is hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching over 30 degrees Celsius. However, the city’s natural beauty, including its many parks and gardens, provides a refreshing respite from the heat. Additionally, summer is a time of celebration in Kyoto, with festivals taking place throughout the season. From the famous Gion Matsuri to the lesser-known Daimonji Fire Festival, there is always something exciting happening in Kyoto during the summer.

Key Takeaways

  • Kyoto’s summer is hot and humid, but the city’s natural beauty provides a refreshing respite from the heat.
  • Summer is a time of celebration in Kyoto, with festivals taking place throughout the season.
  • Kyoto’s culinary delights are not to be missed, with many dishes and drinks unique to the city.

Understanding Kyoto’s Summer


If you’re planning a trip to Kyoto during the summer months, it’s important to understand what to expect. In this section, we’ll cover the climate and temperature in Kyoto during the summer, as well as the specific months that make up the summer season.

Climate and Temperature

Kyoto’s summers are known to be hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching over 30°C (86°F). The humidity can make the heat feel even more intense, so it’s important to take precautions to avoid heatstroke. Make sure to drink plenty of water and wear light, breathable clothing.

Summer Months

In Kyoto, the summer months are typically June, July, and August. During this time, the city experiences a rainy season from mid-June to late-July. While it doesn’t rain every day, it’s important to be prepared for the occasional shower.

Despite the heat and humidity, summer can be a great time to visit Kyoto. The city is home to many summer festivals and events, and there are plenty of ways to stay cool. Consider visiting one of Kyoto’s many temples or shrines, which often have shaded gardens and cool interiors. You can also escape the heat by heading to the mountains, the seaside, or one of Kyoto’s many rivers.

Overall, while Kyoto’s summers can be hot and humid, they offer plenty of opportunities for adventure and exploration. With the right preparation and mindset, you can make the most of your summer trip to Kyoto.

Exploring Kyoto’s Natural Beauty


Kyoto is known for its stunning natural scenery, and summer is the perfect time to explore it. From the lush greenery of Arashiyama to the cool waters of the Hozugawa River, there’s no shortage of natural wonders to discover. Here are some of the best places to experience Kyoto’s natural beauty during the summer months.

Arashiyama and Sagano

Arashiyama and Sagano are two neighbouring districts in western Kyoto that are famous for their natural beauty. The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a must-see attraction, with towering bamboo stalks creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere. You can also cross the iconic Togetsu Bridge, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and river. For a unique experience, take a rickshaw ride through the area and let a knowledgeable guide show you the best spots.

Kurama and Kibune

If you’re looking for a mountain escape, Kurama and Kibune are the perfect destinations. Kurama is home to the Kurama-dera temple, which is perched high on a mountain and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding basin. Kibune is a charming village that’s known for its Kifune Shrine, which is dedicated to the god of water. You can hike the scenic Kurama to Kibune trail, which offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys.

Hozugawa River

The Hozugawa River is a beautiful river that runs through western Kyoto. A boat ride down the river is a great way to experience the area’s natural beauty while staying cool in the summer heat. The Hozugawa River Boat Ride (Hozugawa Kudari) is a thrilling ride that takes you through narrow gorges and past towering cliffs. You’ll also get to see some of the area’s wildlife, including monkeys and birds.

Kyoto’s natural beauty is truly breathtaking, and exploring it during the summer months is an experience you won’t forget. Whether you’re hiking through the mountains or cruising down the river, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Spiritual Journey in Kyoto


Kyoto is known as Japan’s spiritual capital and is home to over 1500 temples and shrines. During your summer visit to Kyoto, take a spiritual journey and explore some of the city’s most beautiful and sacred sites.

Temples and Shrines

Kyoto’s temples and shrines offer a peaceful and serene atmosphere for worshipers and visitors alike. Some of the most famous temples and shrines in Kyoto include Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), Kiyomizu-dera, Yasaka Shrine, Shimogamo Shrine, Nonomiya Shrine, Sanzen-in Temple, and Tenryu-ji Temple.

At Kinkaku-ji, you can marvel at the stunning gold leaf-covered temple and its beautiful surrounding garden. Kiyomizu-dera, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known for its stunning views of the city and its healing waters. Yasaka Shrine is famous for its Gion Matsuri festival, held every July, and Shimogamo Shrine is known for its purification ceremonies and Tadasu-no-Mori forest.


Kyoto is home to many traditional festivals during the summer months. The Gion Matsuri festival, held in July, is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. The festival features a parade of floats, known as yamaboko, and culminates in the Yamaboko Junko procession.

The Mitarashi Festival, held in August, is a purification festival where visitors can wade through a shallow stream while holding a candle. The Gion Festival, also held in July, features a procession of people in traditional clothing, including yukata and kimono.

Traditional Clothing

During your spiritual journey in Kyoto, consider wearing traditional clothing to fully immerse yourself in the city’s culture. Yukata and kimono are popular choices for visitors, and many shops in Kyoto offer rental services.

Be sure to follow disinfection measures and use hand sanitizer before trying on clothing. Wearing traditional clothing can enhance your experience and make you feel like a part of Kyoto’s rich history and culture.

Culinary Delights


When it comes to culinary delights, Kyoto has a lot to offer during the summer season. From traditional Japanese cuisine to modern fusion dishes, the city has something for everyone.

One of the unique dining experiences in Kyoto during the summer is kawadoko. Kawadoko is a traditional Japanese dining style where you sit on a raised platform over a river or stream. The cool breeze from the water provides a refreshing atmosphere while you enjoy your meal. Some of the popular restaurants that offer kawadoko dining are Kibune and Kamogawa Kawayuka.

If you’re looking for a more traditional dining experience, Kyoto has plenty of options for that as well. Kaiseki cuisine is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner that features seasonal ingredients. Some of the top-rated Kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto are Kikunoi and Kitcho.

If you’re in the mood for something more casual, you can try out some of the local street food. Takoyaki, a ball-shaped snack filled with diced octopus, is a must-try. Other popular street food options include yakitori, grilled skewered chicken, and okonomiyaki, a savory pancake with various toppings.

Kyoto is also known for its tea culture. You can visit a tea house and try out some of the traditional Japanese teas like matcha or sencha. Some of the popular tea houses in Kyoto are Ippodo and Fukujuen.

Overall, Kyoto offers a diverse range of culinary delights during the summer season. Whether you’re in the mood for a traditional Japanese dining experience or something more casual, there’s something for everyone.

Tips for Travelling in Summer


What to Wear

When travelling to Kyoto during the summer, it is important to dress appropriately for the hot and humid weather. Lightweight and breathable clothing is essential to stay cool and comfortable. Opt for loose-fitting clothes made of natural fabrics such as cotton or linen. Avoid synthetic materials that can trap heat and make you feel even hotter.

It is also important to wear comfortable shoes or sandals as you will likely be doing a lot of walking. Make sure your shoes are well-ventilated and provide good support to prevent blisters and sore feet.

Staying Cool

To beat the heat, it is important to stay hydrated and cool. Carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. You can also cool down by visiting one of Kyoto’s many cool spots, such as Shimogamo Shrine, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest or Tofukuji.

Another way to stay cool is to visit less frequented areas, such as Kurama and Kibune. These areas are surrounded by lush greenery and offer a refreshing break from the city heat.

To conserve your energy, it is also important to take breaks and avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day. Plan your activities for the morning and evening when the temperature is cooler.

Overall, with the right clothing, shoes, accessories and a few precautions, you can enjoy all that Kyoto has to offer during the summer months.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some top air-conditioned attractions to visit in Kyoto during the summer?

Kyoto can get quite hot and humid during the summer months, so if you need a break from the heat, there are plenty of air-conditioned attractions to visit. Some top options include the Kyoto Aquarium, the Kyoto Railway Museum, and the Kyoto International Manga Museum.

What are the best outdoor activities to enjoy in Kyoto during the summer?

Despite the heat, there are still plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in Kyoto during the summer. One option is to take a bike tour of the city, which allows you to see the sights while getting some exercise and feeling the breeze. Another option is to visit one of Kyoto’s many beautiful gardens, such as the Katsura Imperial Villa or the Kyoto Botanical Garden.

What are some must-see Kyoto attractions during the summer months?

Kyoto is full of incredible sights to see, but some that are particularly enjoyable during the summer include the Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is surrounded by lush greenery, and the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which offers stunning views of the city. Another must-see attraction is the Gion Matsuri Festival, which takes place in July and is one of Japan’s most famous festivals.

What are some unique experiences to have in Kyoto during the summer?

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Kyoto during the summer, consider visiting one of the city’s many onsen, or hot springs. Some popular options include Kurama Onsen, which is located in a beautiful mountain setting, and Funaoka Onsen, which has been in operation since 1923. Another unique experience is to take a night-time boat ride on the Hozu River, which allows you to see the city from a different perspective.

What are some of the best festivals and events to attend in Kyoto during the summer?

Kyoto is home to a number of festivals and events during the summer months, including the aforementioned Gion Matsuri Festival. Other options include the Aoi Matsuri Festival in May, which features a parade of people dressed in traditional Heian-era clothing, and the Daimonji Gozan Okuribi Festival in August, which involves lighting fires on the mountains surrounding the city.

What are some great day trips to take from Kyoto during the summer?

If you’re looking to escape the city for a day, there are plenty of great day trips you can take from Kyoto. One option is to visit the nearby city of Nara, which is home to a number of historic temples and shrines, as well as friendly deer that roam the streets. Another option is to visit the scenic city of Himeji, which is home to a stunning castle that dates back to the 17th century.

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