Category Archives: Kyoto

Keeping Cool in Kyoto this Summer

Kyoto in summer is blisteringly hot. By midday, the banks of the Kamo River are crowded with locals dipping their feet in the clear water and sipping on ice-cold beers. Elderly shopkeepers close up early to retire to residences above their tiny stores, sitting on tatami flooring and fanning themselves in the afternoon humidity. Citywide, people mumble “ah, it’s too hot,” to no one in particular, the ineffective but constant mantra of the season. Dusk is still hours away, but even the setting sun will offer little respite from the stifling humidity. It’s going to be another long, uncomfortable night.

This is the curse of summer in Kyoto. Inescapable heat and humidity, all thanks to the wisdom of the city’s founders in the 8th century. A valley basin surrounded by mountains and away from the ocean is ideal in Chinese geomancy, but renders the city almost unlivable in the hotter months. Kyoto residents boast of the city’s numerous cultural treasures, but they secretly long for the one priceless gift that Kyoto will never be granted: Osaka’s cooling ocean breeze, just out of reach …continue reading