5 of Japan’s best summer destinations

The land of the rising sun really shines at these top Japanese summer destinations

Our feature on travelling to Niseko in summer shows how this once winter skiing destination is a now a great place for hiking, rafting and other family-friendly summer activities in Japan.

But it’s not the only place. Here’s why we love Niseko in summer, with some of our other favourite Japan summer holiday spots as well.


Mountain biking, Niseko
Courtesy of NAC Adventures

What: mountain biking and trekking

Once the snow has melted, Niseko becomes a verdant landscape of rolling hills and trails. Newly carved mountain biking trails run alongside river rafting experiences for the adventurous, while families can head for the tree-trekking assault course, or fruit picking in dedicated orchards.

Cathay Pacific flies to Sapporo from Hong Kong five times a week


Niseko, Gion Festival Celebrated In Kyoto
The Asahi Shimbun / Getty Images

What: a huge summer city festival

Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri is one of Japan’s biggest summer festivals. You know the ones: parades, elaborate floats and food stalls that turn the streets into a huge party. A whole series of events takes place during July, including multiple processions and shows.

Mifuneyama Rakuen, Saga

Niseko, Azalea In Full Bloom At Takeo
The Asahi Shimbun / getty images

What: a historic garden and artful lights

By day it’s a colourful, surreally beautiful garden in the town of Takeo, about an hour by car southwest of Fukuoka. By night, digital art is illuminated on the ponds. This special programme of lighting can be seen from mid-July to late September.


Okinawa coast

What: beautiful beaches, undersea adventures

Okinawa is known for its numerous secluded islands, pristine sands and laid-back atmosphere. Divers swear by the variety of sealife just below the waves, while foodies can’t get enough of speciality dishes like Okinawa soba and taco rice.

Shiretoko National Park, Hokkaido

Shiretoko Park, Hokkaido deer

What: lakes, hills and bears

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this lush landscape features five lakes and scenic walking trails. The temperatures in summer are ideal, and it’s also peak time to spot brown bears – for this, you’ll have to go with a licensed guide or attend a short safety class.

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Discovery online brings together all the inspirational travel writing from our two inflight magazines, Discovery and Silkroad. Be sure to look out for the print editions when you next fly with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
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