5 Fun Rainy Day Activities Straight from Japan

Nationwide Shopping Tsuyu 2022.06.13
Not sure what to do on a rainy day? Here are a few Japanese ways to make indoor time fun!
Find Rainy Day Fun All the Way from Japan!
In Japan, early summer brings the onslaught of tsuyu, Japan's rainy season, which means seemingly endless days of drizzles and downpours. Even outside of Japan, it's hard to avoid early-summer rain showers! Luckily, getting stuck at home because of the rain doesn't have to be a bad thing! Whether you're traveling in Japan and looking for some hotel room entertainment to avoid the bad weather, or you're back home looking for a little rainy day inspiration from Japan, here are a few ways to make the most of it and enjoy Japanese culture while you stay cozy inside!
➡ Play a New Japanese Game
Whether your ideal game experience starts with unboxing colorful cards and playing pieces, or grabbing a controller and booting up a gaming system, Japan has something to bring you a little joy when you're cooped up inside. There's no denying that Japanese video games have long been a major part of the market, and while the process of bringing a game to the English speaking world is much smoother these days, there are still plenty of Japanese video games that never make the leap overseas, or just take too long. If you can find the fun in muddling your way through Japanese menus and dialogue, there's a whole world of Japanese video games waiting to light up your rainy afternoon. You can even find mini arcade machines to enjoy at home!

For some more analog fun, board games have also become increasingly popular in Japan in recent years, and this board game boom has inspired the creation and expansion of quite a few local Japanese game publishers as well (as seen on game review/market site BoardGamer). These days, game makers like Arclight Games publish innovative original Japanese games alongside a selection of localized international games, while others like Itten specialize in beautiful board games with carefully crafted pieces.

For a different kind of play, a little time snooping around the internet will show you that Japanese toy makers make toys like nowhere else. Check out this brand re-imagining the fingerboard trend of the early 2000s, and others making toys that recreate the experience of fishing (at least the fun parts), or carefully crafting adorable stuffed tiger toys that can stand on their own two feet!
➡ Put Together Your Own Figure or Model from Japan
For all the otakus out there, there's nothing more satisfying than spending a day putting together the intricate pieces of a Japanese plastic model or painting the colors onto a tiny figure. And when it comes to this particular hobby, the options are endless. Find the perfect Gundam mech model and while away the hours snapping together the complex armor, or paint the tiniest little accurate details on scale models of Japanese battleships. Even for those new to gunpla and model-making in general, the hobby can soon become addictive!
➡ Catch Up on Some Light (Manga) Reading
The fun thing about Japanese manga is that, for many series at least, you don't really need to be able to read Japanese to enjoy it! For language learners it can certainly be a lot of fun to look for new vocabulary and practice reading with a favorite manga series, but even if you're not planning on learning Japanese any time soon, the fabulous visuals make paging through these graphic novels a treat for the eyes. If you're not sure what to look for, try a series that's all the rage in Japan right now! Golden Kamuy is a comedic adventure set in the early 20th century featuring carefully-researched characters from Japan's indigenous Ainu people, while Spy x Family is a modern story all about a little family with some unique skills (the Netflix anime has been a big hit so far, so read the manga to find out what happens next). If you want something a little more classic, there are always perennial favorites like Maison Ikkoku, a slow-burn romantic comedy from the author of other famous series like Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2. Settle down into a comfy seat, grab a cup of hot tea or some cool lemonade, and get reading!
➡ Try a Taste of Japanese Culture
More interested in a cup of good tea than settling down with a Japanese book? Then a rainy day is a perfect time for a Japanese tea party! Traditional Japanese tea ceremonies are extremely formal events, where hosts whisk up cups of thick, bitter matcha, and guests move across the room in carefully choreographed patterns before quickly drinking their tea from the elegant bowls. Unless you're interested in those complicated traditions, we recommend a more relaxed affair, with high-quality green tea from Nakamura Tokichi, and all kinds of matcha sweets to go with it. Or there's nothing wrong with personalizing your party even more if you're not much of a tea drinker! Forget tea altogether and go for Japanese coffee from brands like Sarutahiko or No Coffee instead, as you munch on traditional snacks like senbei rice crackers.
➡ Get Crafty with Japanese DIY
For those who feel happiest when they're being productive, a day inside doesn't have to be a loss. Just try a little Japanese crafting! While large-scale DIY isn't all that common, Japan's crafting scene is big, and suppliers cater to everything from the most kawaii creators to tailors aiming for that elegant Japanese minimalist aesthetic. To get started on your own project, materials are just a click away, available from major craft store chains and all kinds of niche crafting shops. For those thinking about a sewing project, it doesn't take long to find traditional Japanese chirimen crepe, fabric with stylish prints and patterns from Japanese designers and fashion brands, and all the sewing notions you need to finish your project (plus yarn, embroidery floss, and more). There are also shops specializing in all the beads, charms, and metal parts needed to make your own accessories, plus fancy inks and beautiful fountain pens perfect for pursuing calligraphy. If this rainy day activity really has you fired up and you're inspired enough to want to set up a home studio, you can even start your setup by checking the Bunka Gakuen Shop, run by a major Tokyo fashion school.
The Rain Isn't Going Anywhere, but That's Okay!
The rainy days of tsuyu have inspired plenty of indoor entertainment options in Japan over the years, so whether a day inside means trying out a new board game, painting perfect details on a tiny model, reading a whole manga series in one sitting, making the most fragrant cup of green tea, or creating something brand new with your own two hands, Japan has a lot to offer for dreary days of downpours. Stock up now, so you'll be ready to go when the next rainy day arrives at your doorstep!
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