Vibrant summer in Japan delights people in a variety of ways. Inherited wisdom to beat the heat creates refreshing scenery, and Japanese summer delicacies have been attracting fans across the seas.
At dawn in summer, morning glories waiting for the day to begin open their fresh blossoms. Enthusiastically cultivated in Japan from the 17th to 19th centuries, numerous species were created with various colors and shapes. Collectively referred to as “Japanese morning glory,” they are still widely loved today. Trellises of the flowers form by vines that cling to supports as they grow upwards—a way to live wisely by avoiding sunbeams on hot summer days. The botanical “green curtains” of the olden days are still alive and well in the modern era.
Japanese fruits are increasingly appreciated abroad. Among them—white peaches, which ripen with the approach of summer—have a delicate flavor, juiciness, sweetness, and elegant aroma, making them popular as gifts. One major producing region, Fukushima, vigorously promotes the development of cultivars such as “Akatsuki,” distinguished by its large size and fleshiness, through the establishment of overseas markets. During the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, Fukushima peaches created a buzz on social networks when athletes posted rave reviews after tasting them.
Cooling the eye and chilling the tongue, shaved ice is a popular summer treat. Usually topped with colorful syrups, shaved ice in Japan is often flavored with matcha (powdered green tea), giving it a lovely green tint with a faintly bitter taste that is superb. As people become ever more health conscious, a wide variety of Japanese tea is being welcomed around the world, and exports of matcha from Japan continue to grow. Japanese culture, at times taking surprisingly creative forms, continues to find an appreciative audience abroad, signaling a heritage with a good future.