Autumn in Japan is undoubtedly lovely because of the foliage that colors the surroundings with different hues of orange, red, yellow and brown. Travelers flock to the country to witness the amazing beauty of nature brought about by the seasonal change. But, unknown to many people new to Japan, they colorful leaves are not the only thing that make autumn a season to look forward to. There are autumn flowers that bloom in September, October and November which makes autumn truly fascinating.
Red spider lily, locally known as ‘higanbana’ grows in rice paddies and riverbanks. You can also see them grow in vacant lots or near temples and shrines. Its blazing crimson color is strikingly attractive from afar and up-close. The spider lily’s mysterious and bizarre shape will also catch your eye.
There is also a white variant, but the red variant is more common. This flower blooms in mid-September right around the autumnal equinox. It is also called ‘dokubana’ (poison flower) as some of its parts are poisonous. It is also called the flower of the dead since it also grows near cemeteries. It may have more than one local name, but, there is no doubt that this flower when you see it in clusters and in a long line in the edges of rice paddies, will make you say one word – “beautiful”.
No doubt, it is autumn when cosmos bloom just like how spring has come when sakura blossoms. Although it is commonly called cosmos in Japan, written in katakana as コスモス (kosumosu), its Japanese name is ‘akizakura’ 秋桜, aki means autumn and zakura from sakura or cherry blossom.
There are many colors: pink, white, yellow, and orange. My favorite colors are the mix of pink, purple, and lavender in a field of green. It is very refreshing. It gives a calming effect as the colors sway in the wind.
It grows anywhere. In riverbanks, in vacant lots, in the neighbors’ garden, but the best place to enjoy its bloom is in huge parks and fields where you can see thousands of cosmos.
Have a wonderful autumn and enjoy these beautiful flowers!