Japan’s four seasons have very clear cuts. It usually goes: “Boom!” and a new season has started. And once it is autumn, the whole country has a beautiful reddish colouring, making one want to enjoy the season to its limits.
Whereas summers are quite hot and exhausting, people strongly look forward to Autumn. Finally it is cooler, finally one does not sweat anymore each time he or she steps a foot outside. Air conditioning becomes less necessary and one can switch back to fans and open windows. Official dates state that 9th of August is the date when autumn starts, but it is usually not until the end of September when the temperatures finally drop.
The old calendar name for “hachi-gatsu” (8月, eighth month = August) is “hazuki” (葉月, Month of Leaves). The old Japanese calendar was based on a Chinese Calendar, which was an adjusted lunar calendar and is approximately 3 to 7 weeks late compared to our current calendar, therefore it is not fitting with the actual season.
September’s old name is “Naga tsuki” (長月, long month) and October is “Kanna zuki” (神無月, Month of Gods).
The actual Autumn starts on different days and months, depending on the area in Japan. In colder parts, like the northern island of Hokkaido, trees turn colours from late September to mid-October, meanwhile in southern Japan it starts from mid November and in some parts of south even in the early December.
In the Tokyo area, you can enjoy red leaves from the end of November to early December.
Other things you can enjoy during Autumn besides taking a walk outside are eating various seasonal fruits and vegetables, including persimmons, chestnuts, pears and various mushrooms.
In autumn people tend to slowly get back into the hot spring mood, and visit many open-air onsens to watch the colourful leaves:”ko-yo-“, or “momiji” (紅葉).
Lastly, long sleeves, jackets and boots can become a part of your wardrobe again. The Japanese also enjoy adjusting their clothes color-wise: brown, navy, orange and red are the most popular colours during this season.
Main Japanese Festivals to See in Autumn