Skip to navigationSkip to content
A volunteer, for recovery work, wipes his sweat as he takes a break in a heat wave at a flood affected area in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 14, 2018.
Reuters/Issei Kato/
Life in a sauna.

This is how the Japanese are coping with a record-setting heatwave

Echo Huang
By Echo Huang


Japan is currently battling a deadly heatwave, which has left 65 people dead and more than 22,000 hospitalized. The national weather agency declared the heatwave a natural disaster.

Kumagaya, a city northwest of Tokyo in Saitma prefecture, recorded the country’s highest ever temperature of 41.1° C (106° F) yesterday (Monday), 12° C higher than the average July temperature for Japan. It broke the previous record of 41° C recorded in Ekawasaki on the island of Shikoku in August 2013. Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike likened the heatwave to “living in a sauna.”

Nearby South Korea is also undergoing a heatwave, recording a temperature of 40.3° C (104.54° F) today (Tuesday) in the south of the country, the highest since record keeping began in 1907.

Here’s how some people in Japan are living with the sweltering temperatures.

Reuters/Issei Kato
A volunteer for recovery work uses a pack of refrigerant to a cool down as she takes a break at a flood-affected area in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture.
AP Photo/Koji Sasahara
A woman holds a portable fan at a business district in Tokyo.
Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A man uses a fan as he walks on a street in Tokyo.
Reuters/Issei Kato
A businessman wipes his face while walking on a street in Tokyo on July 23.
AP Photo/Koji Sasahara
People cool down under cooling mist in Tokyo.
Reuters/Issei Kato
A woman wearing a yukata, or summer kimono, splashes water onto the hot asphalt in Tokyo, in an old Japanese tradition called uchimizu which is meant to cool down the air as the water evaporates.
ReutersS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Children splash water during the uchimizu ritual, prior to a countdown event to mark two years until the opening of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
EPA-EFE/Kimimasa Mayama
Children play in water jets at a park near Nerima in Tokyo.
Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A worker stands in front of a fan spraying mist at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Reuters/Issei Kato
Electrical fans are seen at the construction site of the New National Stadium.
Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.