Autumn is approaching because the days are becoming shorter and the nights are getting cooler. At this time of year, we put away our shorts and bathing suits and replace them with comforting items like sweaters and scarves. While sakura (cherry blossom), which tint the sky pink in the spring, unquestionably makes Japan famous among foreign travelers, there is something about October that makes it just as distinctive.
Autumn in Japan is associated with brilliant evening skies, crimson-red foliage, lovely seasonal blossoms, delectable treats, and sake. Let’s look at ways to make the most of the fall since, if there’s one thing Japan does well, it’s appreciating the seasons.
1. Go to an autumn leaf illumination
We are all aware of how lovely the autumn leaves are in Japan. There are numerous species that produce various hues of red, yellow, and orange. Seeing the leaves light up at night provides a certain enchanting feeling, even though the sun softly shining through the leaves in fall is a calming sight.
A striking contrast between the red and orange leaves and the night sky may be seen at some of Japan’s most popular autumn leaf viewing locations when they are illuminated at night. As peak times vary by location, check the foliage prediction to catch them when they’re at their best. Typically, color displays don’t begin until October and end in November or December.
These are some great spots for autumn illuminations around Japan:
・Various spots inNikko, Tochigi
・Illuminations inJozankei, Hokkaido
2. Marvel at the autumn moon
If you’ve ever tried to see Mount Fuji in the summer, you know that it’s frequently far too overcast or hazy to even get a sight of the gorgeous mountain. The night sky is pretty much the same in that regard. However, when October approaches, the temperatures begin to drop, and the magnificent silver moon and sparkling stars once more fill the night sky.
According to the lunar calendar, Japan celebrates the full moon on the day after the harvest. Tsukimi, the practice of seeing the moon, is most well-known for being observed in September. However, the full moons in October and November are also observed, so put them on your calendar and gather your special someone for a tsukimi-filled evening.
To get the best views, it’s better to venture out of bigger cities to avoid light pollution, so it could be a fun excuse to go camping or glamping.
3. Rent an autumnal kimono
The colors and designs of Japanese kimonos are closely related to the changing of the seasons, and the hues of autumn are among the most lovely. Why not take the reds and golds on the trees a step further and wear them yourself if you can’t get enough of them?
Many studios throughout Japan will let you try on a kimono and take some excellent photos if all you want to do is have a photo shoot. However, for a more hands-on experience, many traditional villages offer kimono rental for half or full days, allowing you to get the most authentic taste of fall.
If you’re wondering where to rent a kimono for a day out, these are a few of the towns around Japan that are known for it:
・Kyoto city, Kyoto
4. Try traditional autumn sweets and sake
There are surely a variety of traditional foods and drinks in Japan that are appropriate for any season. Obviously, autumn is no different.
In addition to the traditional foods like a warming pot ofnabe (hotpot), you’ll probably also see a lot of confections with chestnut flavoring. The most popular dessert is a Mont Blanc, which combines cake, cream, and sweetened chestnut purée. Additionally, you might come across wagashi, a type of traditional Japanese sweet. Going grape harvesting at this season is also a popular activity if you want organic desserts.
You may also try hiya-oroshi, a sake that is often only available in the fall, to help your body warm up a little on those chilly autumn nights. Hiya-oroshi often undergoes a single fermentation as opposed to two, giving it a fresher and more vibrant flavor than regular sake.
5. Celebrate October with some less traditional fun
Traditional festivals and celebrations can be found throughout Japan’s other months, but October seems to be a special occasion. Halloween and Oktoberfest are the two major celebrations in Japan in October.
As soon as mid-September arrives, Japanese stores start stocking shelves with Halloween-themed merchandise. Trick-or-treating is undoubtedly not the norm in Japan, thus this must be for small gatherings and food at home. Instead, crowds assemble for October 31, the season’s biggest group cosplay event.
In Shibuya, the most well-known Halloween event, revelers assume their spookiest attire, crowd the streets, and that’s pretty much all.
On the other side, Oktoberfest is a far better planned event. Although there are occasionally smaller Oktoberfest celebrations, Tokyo and Sapporo host the two largest ones. The events, which take place from September through either October 1 or 2, feature a lot of alcohol, appetizers, and entertaining entertainment.
What sorts of things do you enjoy doing in Japan in the fall? Tell us in the comments section below!