Summer heat getting you down? Don’t sweat it. Whether the weather is friend or foe, there are plenty of ways to add some variety to the coming months.
For culture vultures
Mount Fuji tea ceremony: It’s high time for tea time at the summit of Mount Fuji where you can witness a traditional Urasenke-style tea ceremony with Sosei Sei (a practitioner of sado, the art of tea ceremony). On July 15 trek up the Shizuoka side of the mountain to the final stop of the Fujinomiya climbing road where you’ll find Fuji-san’s Sengen Taisha Okumiya Shrine. There, the ceremony runs from 12:00-2:30 p.m. and has instruction in English and French. Tired climbers can unwind with free macha (powdered green tea) and Japanese confectionaries. With altitude causing a lower boiling point (87 C at 3,776 meters), you won’t experience a cooler natural high this summer.
Tokyo International Book Fair: Find the latest manga and an English-language bargain corner at this mammoth fair taking place at Tokyo Big Sight, Odaiba, through July 8 (10 a.m.-6 p.m.). Reservations are required in advance. With all your new books, you’ll never have to go outside in the heat again.
For those on a fest quest
Soma-Nomaoi festival: If someone told these guys “no horseplay,” they weren’t listening. During the Soma-Nomaoi Wild Horse Chase festival, revelers can see 12 armor-clad horsemen race 1,000 meters and several hundred samurai horsemen compete for 40 shrine flags shot into the air with fireworks. Watch the fun from July 23-25 when these races take place in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture.
Solstice Music Festival: Long, hot summer days got you in a trance? Then break loose from the routine with some, er, trance. Experience two days of live trance as well as techno and electro (including the U.K.’s Eat Static) and DJs (such as hard-house DJ Ko Kimura) on multiple stages at the Soltice Music Festival on July 14-15. The fest takes place at Yokohama Port Symbol Tower Bayside Lounge. Advance tickets are 10,000 yen.
www.solstice23.com; (03) 3466-4428
Asakusa Samba Carnival: If your summer needs a sultry samba spin, join 500,000 others to watch 40 international teams with 1,500 performers dance with Latin flavor in this annual carnival, which snakes its way around Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo, on Aug. 25.
For sporty types
International Federation of American Football World Championship: This year Japan will try to pass, tackle, and punt its way to a third consecutive IFAF World Championship at Todoroki and Kawasaki stadia in Kawasaki from July 7-15, although they’re likely to face sterner competition than ever before with the United States entering the tournament for the first time. Other competing nations include Germany, France, Sweden and South Korea.