Summer is here in Tokyo. For those who don’t enjoy the hot and steamy weather (who does!?) or have the luxury to stay by the ocean the entire summer… it can be quite an ordeal.
The unbearable Tokyo summer heat can also be very harmful to one’s skin and health. While we all know that drinking water and applying sunscreen generously helps one to stay safe this season, generally, that’s not enough to keep you cool with the rising temperatures.
Since most of us have to brave the heat and humidity to go about our daily routine, we’ve listed some hot weather survival hacks to help you make the most of this summer in Japan:
1. Stay Hydrated
We know that’s the most common way to beat the heat, but a lot of us take it lightly. It is essential to drink 3-4 liters of water every day, and if you can’t keep track of your water consumption, download one of these free apps – Water Drink Reminder, Aqualert, or Water Alert – that will prompt you to stay on track.
You can also combat dehydration when you are out for work or a jog by carrying a handy tumbler filled with fruit-infused water. Additionally, drinks rich in electrolytes like Pokari Sweat or Vitamin Water that are readily available at any convenience store or vending machine are great options.
2. Watch your Diet
What you eat can directly influence your body’s reaction to high temperatures. Therefore, health specialists recommend to limit your salt intake and reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption as these promote dehydration.
Instead, this is the best time to indulge in hydrating foods, fruits, and fresh juices that would also refresh you on a stuffy afternoon. Choose frequent small meals like salads or smoothie bowls over large meals that require more metabolic processing.
In this time of the year, Japanese foods like hiyashi chuka (a cold ramen salad), ayu (freshwater fish), hiyayakko (chilled tofu), watermelon, and peaches are perfect for refreshing your body on a hot summer day.
3. Wear light-weight, loose clothing
Now is the time to renew your wardrobe, and pick clothes in light colors and cool fabrics like linen, cotton, and rayon that would make you breeze through these sweltering months.
It would also be ideal to pair your clothing with a comfortable pair of shoes or open-toe sandals. If your workplace requires you to wear formal attire only, go for dress shoes made from thinner leather or canvas that allow your feet to breathe and be more flexible.
We recommend checking out Uniqlo, which has a special collection of summer-friendly clothes known as “Airism” that are made using comfort conditioning technology. Uniqlo’s line of breathable innerwear and loungewear helps absorb moisture, offers UV protection, and has anti-bacterial properties. In fact, their Airism masks had sold out within hours after their launch back in June.
4. Make a body mist your friend
There’s nothing better than having a refreshing mist spray to uplift and hydrate your skin instantly, especially after you’ve spent long hours in the sun and don’t have a pool or shower area to cool off.
Whether you love splurging or are on a budget, there’s always a mist formula in the market that would meet your needs and fit comfortably in your work bag. Our favorite stores to check out for body mists in Tokyo are Cosme, Daiso, and Matsumoto Kiyoshi.
We recommend picking a mist spray rich in natural ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile or tea tree that would cool your skin in a heatwave and keep stickiness and sweat at bay.
5. Get a portable fan
If you stay outdoors or travel a lot, a portable fan can come handy in protecting you from the scorching hot sun.
The convenience stores in Japan have many creative yet useful options to choose from – hand-held fans, fans that can be strapped around your neck, or even fans that can be directly plugged into your phone (making it one less thing to carry in your bag).
You can also pick a fan with an attached water container, thus making it your on-the-go cooling spray. How fun is that?
6. Alter your exercise routine
Mixing up your workout routine will be a perfect way to enjoy summer without compromising your health. You can go for a jog or a long bike ride early in the morning or the evening when the sun is not shining bright to decrease your exertion level.
While we all would love a swim to beat the heat, it might not be good to hit a public pool during the pandemic. Instead, you can opt for indoor exercises like Zumba or HIIT that will also help you burn more calories in a short period.
7. Get some houseplants
Adding greens to your home or workspace won’t only beautify the indoors but also purify the air and make the ambiance more lively.
Go for plants like aloe vera, areca palm, snake plant, or peace lily that will absorb toxins from the air, while releasing moisture.
8. Switch it off
The biggest mistake many us make is keeping all the household gadgets on standby mode without realizing that they are one of the reasons for the rise in indoor temperatures.
When not in use, turn off all the gadgets and appliances, even the mobile or laptop chargers that are often left switched on an entire day. This will help save energy and reduce your electricity bills and help out the environment in the long run.
9. Soak your feet
If you hate taking multiple showers every day, the quickest way to cool down would be soaking your feet in ice-cold water after a long day. You can also use icepacks around your ankles and feet to instantly relieve tired feet as well as to get a reprieve from the summer heat.
Even merely placing your wrists under cold water would offer a calming sensation and cool off the pulse points.
10. Enjoy the seasonal favorites
The scorching sun can be unbearable at times, but Japan has many summer treats to keep you chilled. Enjoy a variety of whacky ice cream flavors at the local convenience store ranging from Sweet Potato, Matcha, or Okinawa favorite goya (bitter melon).
You can also explore various summer festivals happening in Tokyo (though some may have canceled or postponed due to the Covid-19) like Tsukiji Honganji Temple Bon Odori Festival or take a day trip to explore the nature in and around the city.
Finally, it’s essential to take the utmost care of your skin and your health this summer. Stay hydrated and avoid going out when the sun is at its peak to limit your chances of a sunburn.
Got a tip to beat the summer heat? Let us know in the comments!