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  • Gaby Doman

Autumn in Japan: A Feast for the Senses

Embracing The Season's Tapestry of Colours, Flavors, and Traditions

Daigoji Temple in Kyoto

Autumn is a highly anticipated season in Japan, where the fading warmth of summer is replaced by a vibrant canvas of red, orange, and yellow. This visual transformation is complemented by cooler temperatures, enticing locals and visitors alike to embrace the great outdoors and revel in the country's natural beauty. Amidst this picturesque setting, Japan's culinary scene undergoes a metamorphosis, offering a range of delectable experiences that capture the essence of autumn.

Lake Towada in autumn

Exploring Nature's Palette

The phenomenon of "koyo," or the changing of leaves, entices outdoor enthusiasts from October to December. Trails across Kanto, Kansai, Chubu, Tohoku, and Hokkaido regions become a playground for leaf peepers. Mount Takao's temple and trails are framed by colourful foliage, offering stunning Fuji views. Fukiware Falls, known as the "Niagara of the East," captivates with a backdrop of vibrant forests. The jewel in Towada-Hachimantai National Park’s crown is the azure Lake Towada and the Oirase Stream, while Daisetsuzan National Park in Hokkaido delivers lofty peaks and rare wildlife.

Offerings for Tsukimi Moon Viewing

Tsukimi Moon Viewing: A Radiant Tradition

As autumn's festivities bloom, the historic practice of Tsukimi, or moon viewing, stands out. For over a millennium, people have gathered under the moon's luminance, expressing gratitude for bountiful harvests and hopes for prosperity. On the fifteenth night of the eighth month in the lunar calendar, jūgoya no tsukimi, individuals unite to celebrate the full moon's radiance. This tradition, rooted in China's Tang Dynasty, has become a cherished custom in Japan.

Grilled sanma

Autumn Eats: A Culinary Symphony

Japan's rich culinary tapestry comes alive with autumn's bounty. Oden, a simmering pot of soy-flavored dashi soup, offers comfort with ingredients like boiled eggs and fish cakes. Roasted sweet potatoes, yakiimo, and Asian pears, nashi, beckon with their warming flavors. Pacific saury, or sanma, arrives grilled with a salty crunch, while Japanese chestnuts, or kuri, add a nutty dimension to autumn dishes. Persimmons, or kaki, bring bursts of sweetness, and kabocha, often called Japanese pumpkin, lends its versatile appeal. Matsutake mushrooms infuse their smoky charm into hearty soups.

Oden, an autumn speciality

Autumn in Japan is more than a season; it's a sensory journey. The landscape's vibrant hues, the moon's luminance, and the culinary delights unite to create an unforgettable experience that reflects the heart and soul of the country.


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