Tokyo Summer 2023 has been brutal

man photographing Tokyo Station square
Tokyo Station.

Tokyo summer 2023 has been brutal so far. The heat has been incredible. We’ve seen records tumble. And the Japan Meteorological Agency said the high temperatures should continue until October. It has been sweltering. Going outside hasn’t been pleasant most days. I needed to check it out, though.

Tokyo Station was the place I chose. I wanted to see what the situation was like in the center of the city. And it was harsh. In my thirty years in Japan, I’ve never seen anything like it. In the early 1990s, it was anything like this.

It’s been no joke. Heatstroke deaths are way up. According to Health Ministry statistics, the five-year rolling average was 201 from 1995 to 1999. From 2018 to 2022, it was 1295. The increase is immense.

The number of ambulances dispatched for heatstroke has also been incredible. Over the last ten years, between May and September, they averaged between 40,000 and 70,000 annually. In 2018 it passed 90,000 when a severe hit wave hit much of Japan. Roughly half of the calls were from those over 65.

Tokyo summer 2023 has been a killer. Of the heat-related fatalities, over 80% were aged 65 or older. And 90% of such deaths died indoors. They didn’t use an air conditioner. I’m not surprised as electricity prices have skyrocketed.

Anyway,  what did I see around Tokyo Station in the heat? Well, few people, to be honest. Many streets looked empty. I think you can see that in the photos.

In front of the station on the Marunouchi side is a square. Water flows over too large patches at it. I’m not sure how to describe them. They aren’t fountains like at Wakakura.

Water comes from some feeding system and covers the tiles. It’s just enough to wet the bottom of your feet or shoes. Mums and their children enjoy it, but I’ve never seen office workers use it. I bet they prefer to be inside with their air conditioning.

I’ve seen morning TV show journalists go there with thermometers. They measured the air temperature and then compared it to the water. The difference was minimal.

So the Meteorological Agency’d prediction might be correct. This weather should continue until October. And that is another three months away! What are we going to do? Tokyo summer 2023 is truly crazy.

I have no idea, but I doubt I’ll go to central Tokyo for the rest of the season in my free time. It is way too hot. It would probably be best to copy most office workers and stay inside to enjoy the air conditioning. Of course, you might be lucky and working remotely.

Anyway, I hope wherever you are is cooler than Tokyo summer 2023. And if you are facing scorching weather, try to keep out of the heat as much as possible. Of course, if you have air conditioning, use it as needed. Oh, how I’d love to be back in Australia enjoying winter!

Fujifilm camera gear used for Tokyo summer photos:

Camera Body: X-T3


  • XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS
  • XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

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