The advent of autumn in Japan is marked by a number of signifiers, not least of which the opportunity to leave one’s house without breaking into constant sweat. Perhaps the most well loved marker of autumn though, is the changing fall colors or, “koyo” in Japanese. Unlike the occasionally hurried frenzy that accompanies the brief blossoming of flowering trees, fall comes more gradually and in the process, offers plenty of opportunities to take in its more subtle splendor.
Some of the most exciting and tasty Japanese dishes can also be found in autumn. With a cornucopia typical of the fall harvest, a bounty of fresh vegetables such as radish, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes, fruits like persimmon and Japanese pears, and fresh fish including sanma (saury) and katsuo (bonito) begin to fill the supermarkets and dinner tables. Sweet lovers can also rejoice as it is usually possible to find many of these in ice-cream versions as well.
September holidays Respect for the Aged Day (Keiro no hi) and the Autumn Equinox (Shubun no hi), give a chance to get out of the office and enjoy a variety of activities and events, all while taking in the scenery of the changing colors. From hiking to onsen to eating, the following articles will touch upon just a sample of ways to enjoy winter’s pleasant and beautiful prelude.
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