Japan's Rainy Season – Tsuyu 梅雨

Tomorrow the rainy season officially starts in Tokyo (Kanto). This is how the weather prediction looks as of now for this week, rainy or cloudy everyday!:

Tsuyu, the rainy season in Japan

Tsuyu (梅雨) means “rainy season” in Japanese. The word tsuyu is composed by the characters 梅 (plum) and 雨 (rain). A literal translation by looking at the characters would be “season of plums and rain”. It turns out that the rainy season is also the plum ripening season. Tsuyu can also be written as 黴雨 which means “rainy season”, but notice that the first character instead of being 梅 (plum) is 黴 (mold). In this case the literal translation would be “season of mold and rain”.

Tsuyu, the rainy season in Japan

If you are studying Japanese, you should know that there’s an homophone word with the same pronunciation as tsuyu, the character 露. It has the same pronunciation, tsuyu, but in this case it means dew. As you can see, the Japanese language is full of homonymous words, which makes its learning more difficult.

The rainy season usually starts at the beginning of June and ends around the 3rd week of July, although some years it doesn’t end until early August. When asked about advice I tend to say that this is not a good time to travel to Japan. It rains virtually every day, although the rain is not very intense. It feels as if it was drizzling all day and being very hot at the same time. It is somewhat uncomfortable to travel but if you look on the bright side of it, the mystic atmosphere created by the rain adds a unique special touch to every experience. The rainy season is one of my favorite seasons to take photos!

Tsuyu in Japan

Rain in Japan

Rain in Japan

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