With one of the warmest winters on record behind us, we’re prepared for whatever nature throws at us in the coming summer season. But before we get to summer proper, there’s that little matter of the rainy season. Every year, the Japan Meteorological agency announces the start of the rainy season sometime in June and follows up a month or so later by announcing the end of the season in July. Well, soggy times are now officially upon us meaning that rainwear (always a priority item among wise hikers) has now reached a peak premium. Except for for thing…the dreaded rainy season has thus far been quite mild, with the expected drippy days followed by glorious periods of sunlight and summery warmth.
Do we…dare to dream…?
If you’re unfamiliar with the phenomenon of a “rainy season,” called tsuyu (梅雨) in Japanese, here’s a quick rundown on the essential details:
–It usually begins in June and ends in early July.
–It marks a period of cooler weather before the dog days of summer arrive.
–Conditions during the rainy season vary greatly across Japan with areas close to large bodies of water generally getting a lot more rain.
–It also varies from year to year in length and intensity.
–High levels over humidity cause bread to go mouldy in about a nanosecond (only the fridge is safe).
–Okinawa gets hit especially hard.
–Even Okinawa isn’t as rainy as Vancouver.
Of course there’s an upshot to all of this. The flowers and lush greenery we rave about so much actually enjoy a good watering and benefit from an interval of wet weather.
Also, there are times when rain and mist actually lend a unique ambiance to Kamikochi. For a glimpse of more typical spring weather, have a look at this entry from a couple of years ago: http://www.kamikochi.org/blogs/289-the-mists-of-mid-june.html
As a closing remark, I’d like to remind everyone to check the weather forecasts before travelling to Kamikochi and to prepare accordingly. It’s still possible to have an enjoyable day with a little bit of rain, but in my experience, most people prefer sunny weather and clear blue skies. And even if there’s no sign of rain, be sure to pack rain gear. It’s just common sense at this or any other time of year, so stay dry, warm and safe.
Sources of Information:
National Park Guide website: http://npg-alps.net