Did anyone contact Noah? It's ark building time.
Japan's rainy season has officially begun, and with it brings thunderstorms, wind, and thousands of discarded broken umbrellas. 100-yen stores sell them for as little as 100 yen, though they don't really last more than one day.
The rainy season is called tsuyu, or baiyu, which means plum rain. This is the time when plums ripen, hence the name.
In the Kanto region, which includes the greater Tokyo area, the rainy season generally runs through mid-July. Okinawa's rainy season begins and ends about a month earlier, though Kyushu, Shikoku, Kinki, and northern Tohoku all have a similar season starting around the beginning of June and ending in mid to late July.
Despite the forecast above, Tokyo usually gets only about 12 rainy days in June each year. I guess it's all happening at the same time this year. Unfortunately, this is the point in the year when I'm looking to get out of Tokyo - it's been hot and summer vacation is a couple months off! It's difficult to plan weekend trips for outdoor adventures when the skies are leaking.
Visiting Japan in June and July has drawbacks: the rain will certainly make being outside less comfortable. Hiking or even walking from site to site in cities requires ponchos. Rain-outs for outdoor events are more likely, and amusement parks in particular are quick to close their attractions in even light drizzles.
But there are benefits as well. Japanese people don't travel much in June, and especially outdoor attractions will be less crowded. If you can handle needing umbrellas or rain gear for a good part of your stay, you can check out places that are usually pretty packed.
Likewise, some places are more beautiful in the rain or just after. Some temples and gardens, as well as hot springs, are worth visiting in less-than-stellar weather. Disneyland can have fewer guests, and many of the attractions are indoor or designed to operate in rainy weather.
And there's always Hokkaido. The northern island avoids most of the rain that plagues the rest of the country. Sapporo can be a nice overnight trip, and there's plenty to see and do across the large, mostly rural island.
Meanwhile, I think I'll be staying in this weekend. I need to get caught up on some of my hobbies and answer a bunch of emails from the past few weeks.