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Is Shikoku hot in summer?

Why summer is a good time to visit Shikoku.

Is Shikoku hot in summer?

Is Shikoku hot in summer? 

Yes, of course. All of Japan is hot in summer. But because Shikoku is in southern Japan, you might imagine that it’s particularly hot. However, that isn’t the case at all. Compared to other parts of Japan, the climate of Shikoku is relatively mild in all seasons. In addition, the low building density in the cities and the abundant greenery of Shikoku contribute to making it one of the more comfortable places in the summer months. Summer in Shikoku has many attractions.

Japanese recognise two main ways to beat the heat in summer – water and mountains. And in this regard, Shikoku holds some aces. We know how to make the heat a treat.

There are three enormous river systems – the Shimanto, Yoshino, and Niyodo, which are fed by numerous tributaries, and these represent a fantastic playground when the temperature rises. Apart from the obvious swimming, you can make the most of summer rivers with SUP, canoeing, rafting, and fishing. Oh, and canyoning too. Shikoku is the sort of place where cyclists will just get in the river when they want to cool down, and drip dry on the next leg of their ride. Our island really is the best place for what the Japanese call kawa-asobi – playing in the river. Jumping off a boulder with a great splash is a great way to reconnect with your inner child.

Surrounded by sea and other small islands, Shikoku naturally has some wonderful beaches. Some of them are known as places where you can meet people – just follow the whiff of barbecue and you’ll find the locals socialising in the sunshine. But the vast majority of beaches can be enjoyed in private. The only footprints in the little sandy cove will be yours. We have many marine activities to offer besides simple beach days – sailing, whether by yourself or skippered, sea-kayaking, SUP, and even diving. We can also organise fishing, and whale-watching in Kōchi. 

Inland Shikoku is a place of forested mountains and highland grasslands where the temperature is typically two or three degrees cooler than the flatlands. The Shikoku Karst, the UFO Line, Mt. Ishizuchi and Mt. Tsurugi are known as ‘cool’ places. But let’s be real; ‘cool’ is a relative matter here.

And indeed, some like it hot. Some embrace the heat and revel in it. All over Shikoku, summer festivals are held in the hottest months of July, August, and September. There’s wild dancing and fireworks, and the public turn out in traditional yukata to enjoy the show. Not coincidentally, there’s a little baby boom the following spring. It’s a joyous time, not to be missed. You can always find an air-conditioned spot to retire to if it all gets too much.

This may be a rather strange note to end on, but the clouds of summer in Shikoku are a thing of remarkable beauty. The cumulus clouds appear in mid-morning and slowly grow to enormous size during the afternoon. You can watch an anvil-top develop while you tour Matsuyama or Kōchi castle. By evening, the cloud fills the whole sky and as night falls, you’re treated to a lightning show that beats even Shikoku’s fireworks. And the summer rain makes everything fresh again for the next morning.

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