Autumn is a beautiful time to visit Japan, temperatures have dropped to more manageable levels and the rainy season has passed. Once again, the change of the season brings new colour and life to Japan with more of it’s the natural beauty to appreciate.
Autumn means harvest time across Japan, of grains such as rice, but also harvest from the sea and land. Hearty autumn foods are readily available across the nation with fresh seasonal food such as mushrooms, new season rice and fish. Autumn is the season to begin eating rich food such as hot pot, including sukiyaki and shabu-shabu. Sukiyaki is a rice soy sauce which you cook at the table with thinly sliced beef, fresh vegetables and noodles and rice. Shabu-shabu is another hot pot meal where meat and vegetables are boiled at the table in a delicious stock. These meals are great fun to share with others and a great way to experience seasonal foods.
The fall colours in Japan occur when the leaves of the ginkgo and maple trees turn yellow and red. Opposite to the cherry blossom season, the autumn leaves begin to change in the north of Japan and make their way south throughout Honshu. This change is called Koyo in Japanese and is widely celebrated through the country and has been celebrated since the 8th century in Kyoto. There are many famous spots to view the autumn leaves throughout Japan, especially in historic areas such as Kyoto where the leaves are lit in the evenings giving a breathtaking display. As the weather has cooled hiking to see autumn leaves are very popular and there are trails available specifically to view this display. If you visit Japan in Autumn this is not to be missed, the sights and sounds of autumn in Japan are truly magical.
With cooler temperatures a distant memory autumn in Japan can be enjoyed and summer remembered by visiting an onsen. Onsen in Japan is traditional bath usually fed from natural hot springs, with high levels of volcanic activity Japan has a steady flow of naturally heated water. Onsen were traditionally enjoyed by the whole community as a way to stay clean but also to spend time with friends and family in a relaxing and healthy atmosphere. Today onsen is still enjoyed across Japan but more as a way to relax, take in natural scenery and also for the health benefits the onsen water provides. Autumn is a great time to enjoy onsen, to view the fall foliage and to see the breathtaking scenery. There are several onsen spas across the country but if you are shyer you can enjoy private onsen in a ryokan or for an added fee at the several spa. One thing to take note of is tattoos, tattoos are still taboo in Japan and this is especially true for onsen where people with tattoos are not allowed to enter. There are a couple of onsens which accept people with tattoos, however, do check beforehand and cover them up with a sticker or plaster.