Japan is famous for its springtime cherry blossoms, colorful autumn days, and crisp snow-capped mountains in the winter, but summer is its best-kept secret.
While most summer travelers picture dreamy beaches and charming European towns for their vacation, there are many benefits to discovering other less popular destinations during this time of year.
With fewer tourists and better deals to be found, Japan offers some surprising reasons to visit this summer.
1. Travel Light
Japan Airlines (JAL) announced that as of July 5th, you can forgo checking a suitcase and simply borrow outfits through their Any Wear, Anywhere Scheme.
The concept was created to combat the increased number of travelers worldwide and the growing need for sustainability initiatives in the industry. The idea is that you won’t have to worry about losing your luggage, buying a new wardrobe for your vacation, or increasing your carbon footprint.
All you have to do is book a flight with JAL and log on to their website to reserve your desired outfits for up to two weeks, pack your carry-on necessities, receive your order at your hotel when you arrive, and return them to the hotel before you leave. This way, you can focus on the best parts of travel and leave the stress of luggage at home.
2. Find Savings
Not only have prices for flights within Europe been skyrocketing lately, but prices for everything from accommodation to excursions are also high during the summer months. By choosing Japan as your summer destination, you can find savings on airfare, accommodation, train tickets, and more.
Japan is usually considered an expensive destination; however, since summer is one of their off-seasons, you can find discounts on many of the popular places to visit and airfares. Low-cost airlines like ZIPAIR offer direct standard fares for around $350.
Every Friday this summer you can visit five different Tokyo museums at a discounted rate where you can learn about history and architecture and see the beautiful Japanese garden at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. This event is called Summer Night Museum 2023 and runs from July 20 – August 31.
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3. Explore Festivals
Summer in Japan is the best time to experience Matsuri, the Japanese word for festivals. These traditional ceremonies are used to ward off bad influences, remember ancestors, and to wish for peace.
Each festival varies, but they all normally include a procession of decorative shrines, traditional dances, street food, and local markets. The most popular Matsuri are the Gion Festival during July in Kyoto, the Tenjin Festival famous for its boat shrines in Osaka, and the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival.
This year marks the official return of the Matsuri after the past three years of restrictions, bringing high excitement levels amongst locals. It’s a great year to get to experience one of these ancient events.
4. Discover Mt.Fuji
Mt. Fuji is one of Japan’s most iconic landscapes, and while it can be viewed from afar at all times of the year, you are only able to climb to the peak from July to September.
There are a variety of trails for all skill levels and tours you can book to get the most out of your experience. You can explore the gentle trails of the lower half of the mountain and take in the local nature, or for the more experienced hikers, you can plan a trip to the summit of this active volcano.
With this year being the 10th anniversary of Mt. Fuji’s registration as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is the perfect time to watch the sunrise at the top.
5. Escape to Coastal Towns
When most people think of Japan, they think of bustling Tokyo, Buddhist Temples, and traditional tea ceremonies. However, what many people don’t know is that the southern part of the country is home to some stunning white sand beaches with clear turquoise waters.
Okinawa is a popular summer destination for locals and is home to some of the best beaches. Emerald Beach is perfect for swimming, and Mibaru Beach is known for its unusual rock formations and coral reefs.
Japan can be very hot and humid during the months of July and August, making these coastal areas the ideal spot to cool off and relax after exploring other parts of the country.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com