Surviving Summer the Japanese Way

It is no secret that I loathe summer in Japan, and even though it’s already September, the heat is far from over.

The humidity makes it feel like you’re constantly in a sauna for about three months, the sun shining on you makes it feel like you’re roasting in an oven, and everything smells extra bad – the sewers, the rubbish, and also people.

That said, it somehow feels like this summer isn’t as bad as last year’s, especially at night, but loads of people have died or been admitted to hospital, so it’s no joke.

There are a few ways that Japanese people use to beat the summer sun.

Sunscreen – this is a necessity, and luckily, there are all kinds of different ones available on the market, from SPF 15 to SPF 50, you’re really spoilt for choice:

Gel based – these come in a clear gel formulation that can feel cooling on the skin, but I find that they tend to dry my skin out a lot.

Milk based – like a thin lotion, I find these to be slightly more hydrating than the gel based ones. Alcohol is often an ingredient as Japanese women aren’t into the greasy look. Well, I don’t think any woman is into the greasy look, but I feel like Western sunscreens tend to be greasier on the skin than Japanese ones. I’ve been using La Roche-Posay’s Uvidea XL for a couple of years now and I love it, but everytime I have it on my dermatologist tells me my skin is so greasy. As I have sensitive skin though, I’m hesitant to use one that has alcohol in it, even if that will mattify my skin. I’m trialling Shideido’s Sunmedic at the moment, as it it one of the few that doesn’t contain alcohol, and have to say I really like it. It hasn’t caused any reactions or breakouts, so this has definitely won a place in my heart. It’s also cheaper than the Uvidea XL one I usually use so I’m very happy, and so is my bank account.

Sea Breeze – this stuff is the shiz. You just spray it on and whenever there is a breeze you feel so much cooler. The citrus one promises -5 degrees when you use it. I don’t know what I would do without this. It also smells nice, and has talc in it, so it acts as a deodoriser as well.

Cooling wipes – you can get all kinds, but I love the super fashion Daisy Duck ones. The purple ones are Cool Berry scented and smell very nice. If you’re feeling hot and bothered, all you have to do is open the pack, take out the wipe and just swipe it where you need it (back of the neck is lovely) and it will cool you down if there is a bit of a breeze.

Of course I always use my trusty hat, sunglasses, and parasol when I’m out and about, and try to avoid being in the sun from around 11 am to 3 in the afternoon, although this is not always possible. Mostly I try to stay in air-conditioned spaces as much as I possibly can.

The humidity has gone down over the past couple of weeks, and it’s honestly the first time I’ve ever experienced that so early on, so I’m hoping the worst is over.

But I’ve survived the past two months, I can stick it out for one more. Wish me luck! What do you do to keep cool where you are? I’d love to know.

Love you, darlings!

Chuuu xoxo


I love iced lattes, soy or otherwise when the heat gets unbearable.


Surviving Japanese Summer

Ice cream is essential to beat the heat! No better reason to indulge.

Surviving Japanese Summer

Sun umbrellas/parasols really make a difference. I need to buy a new one. My feeling is that you can never have too many.

Surviving Japanese Summer

Sea Breeze – this is essential! I keep one at home, one at work, and I sometimes tote one around with me if I’m going to be outside for any length of time.

Surviving Japanese Summer

Sunscreen is absolutely necessary! Don’t leave home without putting some on (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway).

Surviving Japanese Summer

Mini Sea Breeze.

Surviving Japanese Summer

More sunscreen and cooling wipes.

Surviving Japanese Summer


14 thoughts on “Surviving Summer the Japanese Way

  1. I love the heat, so our South African summers are generally not a problem for me at all. When I traveled the humid heat in Singapore and Myanmar were really awful for me though. It was tough! In Myanmar I bought some handcrafted handheld fans which were really cute (and touristy) and kind of worked alright. I’ve never even heard of cooling sprays and cooling wipes – so cool!

  2. I thrive in the heat. (The cold doesn’t bother me, either.)

    On my last trip to Spain, two years ago, it was 45 degrees and I was on a bicycle getting things done while everyone else took their siesta. 🙂 Absolutely no traffic and the shops were near empty.

    The only way the heat bothers me is when I sleep. It has to be cold. So if I have any secret to beat the heat it’s crank down your a/c t0 20 degrees before bed.

  3. This is so interesting to me, as I feel like I live in a country where tanning skin is more important than self-care, cancer prevention, and actually beating the heat. I love the concept of carrying around parasols. So chic . 🙂

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