Autumn is soon arriving Japan and the humidity and heat of summer will be just a memory again. Autumn is a spectacular time to visit Japan. Children are back in school so it is slightly less busy, the summer rain has ended so you can enjoy clear days and the scorching heat has passed. If you want to enjoy the autumn weather but don’t want to break the bank try these free or very cheap activities!
The chrysanthemum has been the subject of Japanese art for centuries. The intricate flowers are famous across Japan, where they are called kiku. The chrysanthemum is appreciated throughout Japan and features on Japanese passports and the Imperial seal. If you enjoy flowers why not spend a day at the Tokyo Metropolitan Tourism Chrysanthemum exhibition. This show has been running for 100 years now and you can see around 2,000 plants at the event. You can even buy some and grow them yourself. The event is held in November annually.
The autumn colours are highly celebrated and many people flock to the countryside to witness the changing of the leaves. The Ginko and Momiji trees turn yellow and red respectively as the temperature drops. There are many places to appreciate these colours across Japan and it can make a really good free day out simply sitting and enjoying the colours that nature produces. In Tokyo, the ginko trees are celebrated in the outer gardens of Meiji shrine. Go to your nearest park in November or December and enjoy.
Nikko Toshogu shrine was built to honour the Tokugawa family and is a stunning shrine to visit. Not only is the architecture stunning but the shrine also holds several interesting events across the winter months. October at Toshogu shrine starts with a bang, or a thwack (depending on what you think a bow sounds like). Witness the ancient and impressive art of Shinji-yabusame, sacred archery on horseback. This is a truly impressive spectacle to behold, the riders and archers are truly talented at their tasks. You can witness this on the 16th of October and really feel this part of Japanese history. The next day also holds an exciting event, Shuki-sai Togyo-sai, Autumn Festival and Sacred Procession. On this day, you can witness a procession of 1,000 samurai. This is not merely a show of ancient Japan but reenacts the transfer of the grave of Tokugawa Ieyasu from Shizuoka prefecture to Nikko. Three portable shrines are transported, representing the spirits of the three Shogun. The shrines are followed by Shinto priests and then the samurai warriors. This procession is beautiful and elegant and displays the dignity of the warriors of Japan and the esteem in which Tokugawa was held.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to experience the beauty of past and present Japan!