You’ve probably experienced some kind of summer fatigue, known as natsubate if you’ve spent a summer in Japan. The biggest challenges in the Japanese summer are staying hydrated, avoiding mosquito bites, keeping the apartment cool, and staying protected from the strong Sun. Here are some ideas and products that can help you avoid natsubate and enjoy your summer in Japan.
1. Stay hydrated with barley tea
Barley tea is one of the most popular drinks for summer in Japan. You’ll see children with cold bottles of barley tea – mugicha – and a lot of families will enjoy a pot of barley tea both in summer and winter. It’s caffeine-free and said to have many benefits beyond helping you stay hydrated, such as helping digestion, weight loss, and regulating blood sugar. A pot of barley tea is an easy Natsubate recipe to help you stay healthy during the summer months.
The beloved Pocari sweat and other sports drinks are good for replenishing ions and water lost in the heat. Sports drinks do have sugar so it’s best to enjoy them in moderation.
Alternatively, the Kabaya ‘charge tablets’ are a popular product for anyone getting active during summer in Japan. They are salt tablets available in most supermarkets and convenience stores. By rapidly increasing the amount of salt in your body (that you may lose from sweating), they can help reduce the risk of heatstroke. Make sure to drink water or barley tea alongside the tablets in order to stay hydrated when you’re engaging in outdoor activities.
2. Keeping cool and avoiding natsubate
You’ll often see people outside with a wet towel around their neck. This is an easy and low-cost way to help you keep cool, it functions as your own portable aircon.
The handheld cooling fan, found at 100-yen stores and household goods stores, has become an increasingly popular way to stay cool. Having a cooling fan to hand can help you feel instant relief from the heat when you’re outside. People working outside during summer in Japan often have jackets with a built-in cooling fan.
Instead of a portable cooling fan, you’ll still find many people using beautiful hand fans to keep cool. Keep your eyes peeled at artisan stores to find hand fans with intricate designs.
The Gatsby Ice Facial paper will give you an ice-cool boost and can help you feel refreshed and clean if you’re caught on a whim, they can easily be kept in your bag for when you’re out in the summer heat. You’ll find these at convenience stores and drugstores, as well as stick-on cooling sheets that work in the same way, but you stick them on your body instead of using it as a wipe.
3. Summer products for Japanese apartments
If you’ve not yet heard of Nitori’s beloved N Cool bedding, you are in for a treat! It’s a popular product amongst many people in Japanese apartments, with technology to help balance your body temperature.
To keep your main living space cool and to save energy, it’s best to keep doors and curtains closed. A portable aircon can boost the rooms and areas in Japanese apartments that aren’t kept cool by the AC if you are stuck for other ideas. A portable aircon can be quite expensive, averaging around ¥35,000. Though not a replacement for AC, a portable aircon is a good alternative to a fan.
A dehumidifier is a great alternative to a portable aircon and it can be particularly helpful during tsuyu, the rainy season, this is when apartments are most at risk for mold. A dehumidifier can help draw out the humidity that could cause mold. Having a dehumidifier can also help to dry clothes during the rainy season when it’s harder to dry them outside. A popular dehumidifier with an air-purifying feature is the Iris Ohyama dehumidifier.
4. Avoiding mosquitos
The mosquito coil is a special type of incense used to ward off mosquitos. The mosquito coil can be used inside, but we recommend keeping your apartment ventilated when you’re using a mosquito coil since it can get quite smoky.
It’s worth investing in a mosquito coil holder to catch the ashes. You can reuse it for the many mosquito coils you will inevitably get through. Take a trip to your local home center or grocery store to find unique mosquito coil holders. A stylish mosquito coil holder can be a great piece of furniture in your Japanese apartment!
Insect repellant is a must-have item during summer in Japan if you’re prone to mosquito bites. The Skin Vape Mist is one of the most popular mosquito repellent sprays, it is water-based so it’s gentle on the skin and you should be able to find it at drugstores for around ¥500.
Summer in Japan is wonderful, make sure to enjoy some of Japan’s summer activities, such as camping and fireworks. There are so many beautiful beaches in Japan where you can cool down too, and with all of these products available, summer in Japan can be truly blissful, it’s a pleasure to be able to enjoy such contrasting seasons. Don’t forget to stay safe in the Sun!