Welcome to the Rainy Season…

Hey guys, June is here which means Japan sees the start of 梅雨 (tsuyuu) or “rainy season” as it’s come to have been known in English.

If you ask the locals, June is the last month that they would recommend to visit so good luck to all of you who have booked a trip during the month! After starting in the middle of June, the rainy season lasts for about six weeks until the humidity clears and the scorching summer begins.

The only place to escape the rainy season is the northern most prefecture of Hokkaido where temperatures remain in the mid-20Cs throughout the summer, which is perfect for most people, especially us Brits!

At least it gives us the chance to introduce some rainy season related vocabulary below, which you can hopefully practice to improve your Japanese…

kanji japanese english
 雨 あめ
ame
rain
大雨 おおあめ
ooame
heavy rain
小雨 こさめ
kosame
light rain
豪雨 ごうう
gouu
heavy rain
台風 たいふう
taifuu
Typhoon
梅雨 つゆ
tsuyu
 the rainy season
地雨  じあめ
jiame
  continuous rain
夕立  ゆうだち
yuudachi
  shower
春雨  はるさめ
harusame
 spring rain
時雨 しぐれ
shigure
drizzling rain
霧雨 きりさめ
kirisame
misty rain
五月雨 さみだれ
samidare
early summer rain

The following table shows the average starting and ending dates of the rainy season for selected regions of Japan, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency:

Region Start End
Okinawa May 8 June 23
Southern Kyushu May 29 July 13
Shikoku June 4 July 17
Kansai (incl. Kyoto) June 6 July 19
Kanto (incl. Tokyo) June 8 July 20
Northern Tohoku June 12 July 27

The rainy season in Japan is is caused by the collision of northern and southern air systems and produces, surprisingly, a lot of rain. The problem for us humans is the humidity at this time of year – you cannot leave your house without dripping almost instantly. A truly tough six weeks.

It doesn’t actually rain every day during rainy season, with Tokyo registering around an average of 12 rainy days in June – that said we did just say it starts in the middle of that month! Let’s just say it’s not the best time of the year so がんばります! (Try your best!).

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