Temperatures are fluctuating, the last of the annoying summer insects are dying out, and people are changing their light bed sheets for winter warmers and stocking up on blankets and fluffy slippers. Autumn has arrived in Japan!
Although there are many things to love about summer – beach activities, summer festivities, and seasonal cooling drinks, to name a few – there are many of us who are glad to say goodbye to the stifling humidity and are welcoming fall with open arms. Many people visit Japan in summer, and although this is fine for the colder areas such as Hokkaido and Nagano, the period of June to September can be almost unbearable in larger cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. Here are five reasons why you should visit Japan in autumn instead.
There are many spots in Japan to see some truly breathtaking views of autumn leaves. Just as spring boasts cherry blossoms, leaves all over the country turn vivid shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown around late October. Great places to see these leaves, called “momiji” in Japanese, include Nagano Prefecture, Mt. Takao in Tokyo, the Hachimantai Mountains in Tohoku, or any temple grounds or park.
It isn’t long before the leaves fall and winter comes to claim them, so “momiji” are a great thing to go and see if you’re in Japan in October or November.
Most of Japan is hot and humid in summer, not to mention the gloomy gray clouds that cover the horizon in a depressing haze. With the coming of autumn, we get to see blue skies and even Mt. Fuji again, and the humidity fades, leaving cool but sunny weather in which to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking without sweating out your body weight in the process.
The end of summer might mean saying goodbye to crushed ice, somen noodles, and watermelon, but that doesn’t mean the national harvesting season doesn’t hold its own yummy treats. In October, you can expect to see a lot of dishes containing pumpkin, sweet potato, matsutake mushrooms, salmon, and Japanese chestnuts. These are nutritious as well as delicious and must be sampled if you’re in Japan at this time.
There is always some sort of celebration going on in Japan and autumn is no different. Festivals and events to look forward to this season include the Shimogamo Shrine Autumn Festival in Kyoto, the Sawara-no-Taisai Aki Matsuri in Chiba, the Ueno Tenjin Matsuri, the Kurama Fire Festival, and many more.
When autumn comes, the season for summer clothes ends, and prices for sandals, sunglasses, crop tops, shorts, and swimwear are reduced in many high street stores. Autumn is a great time to stock up on discount summer clothing.
Autumn is a great time to visit Japan to experience delicious seasonal food, attend some exciting festivals, and admire the changing colors of thousands of leaves while surrounded by nature. Although there isn’t really any “wrong” time to visit this country, consider visiting between October and November and experience all that the fall season has to offer!