The days are becoming shorter, and the evenings are getting cooler, signaling the arrival of autumn. At this time of year, we pack our shorts and swimming suits, replacing them with cozy garments like sweaters and scarves. While Sakura (cherry blossom), which turn the sky pink in the spring, unquestionably makes Japan’s country famous among foreign tourists. October is unique in its own way for some reason.
Clear evening skies, crimson-red foliage, lovely seasonal blossoms, delectable sweets, and sake are all associated with fall in Japan. And if there is one thing that Japan excels at, it is enjoying the changing of the seasons. Let’s explore some fall-friendly activities now.
1. Visit an autumn leaf illumination
Everyone is aware of how beautiful autumn leaves are in Japan. Different shades of orange, red and yellow are produced by several species. Watching leaves glow up at night gives off a special enchanted atmosphere, despite the fact that watching the sun gently beaming through the leaves in the fall is peaceful.
The night sky with the orange and red leaves makes for a dramatic contrast may be seen at some of Japan’s most well-known locations for beautiful autumn foliage at night when the areas are illuminated. For the finest viewing, check the foliage forecast considering that peak times vary by area. Color displays often start in October and last through November or December.
The following locations in Japan are excellent for autumnal illuminations:
- Kenrokuen, Ishikawa
- Kiyomizudera, Kyoto
- Rikugien, Tokyo
- Various spots in Nikko, Tochigi
- Illuminations in Jozankei, Hokkaido
2. Marvel at the autumn moon
If you’ve ever gone to visit Mount Fuji in the summer, you would know that it is often too gloomy or foggy to even get a peek of the magnificent mountain. In that sense, the night sky is very similar. But as October draws near, the temperatures start to drop. The night sky is once more filled with the lovely silver moon and glittering stars.
In Japan, the full moon is observed on the day after harvest, as per the lunar calendar. The custom of seeing the moon, Tsukimi, is most known for occurring in September. However, you can observe the full moons in October and November. So, mark them down on your calendar and gather your special someone for a night of Tsukimi. Mostly, it is advised to avoid staying in larger cities to avoid light pollution for the greatest views.
So, this may be a better justification for going camping or glamping.
3. Rent a kimono for the autumn.
The shifting of the seasons is intimately correlated with the shades and patterns of Japanese kimonos. And among the most beautiful shades are those of autumn. Why not take it a step further and wear the reds and golds you see on the trees if you can’t get enough of them?
There are several studios all across Japan that will let you try on a kimono and capture some fantastic pictures. You can have a great photo shoot.
However, for a more hands-on experience, many traditional villages offer kimono rentals for half or full days, allowing you to get the most authentic taste of fall.
Here are a handful of the towns in Japan that are well-known for providing kimono rentals for day trips:
- Kawagoe, Saitama
- Nikko, Tochigi
- Asakusa, Tokyo
- Kanazawa, Ishikawa
- Kyoto city, Kyoto
4. Try some seasonal sweets and sake.
There are a variety of traditional foods and drinks in Japan that are appropriate for any season. Autumn is no different.
In addition to the traditional foods like a steaming bowl of nabe (hotpot), you’ll probably also see a lot of confections with chestnut flavoring. The most popular dessert is a Mont Blanc, which combines cake, cream, and sweetened chestnut purée. Additionally, you might come across Wagashi, a type of traditional Japanese sweet. Autumn is a well-liked season to go grape picking if you enjoy organic sweets.
You may also try hiya-oroshi, a sake that is often only available in the fall, to help your body warm up a little on those chilly autumn nights. Hiya-oroshi often undergoes a single fermentation as opposed to two, giving it a fresher and more vibrant flavor than regular sake.
5. Celebrate some less traditionally fun festive in October
Traditional festivals and celebrations can be found throughout Japan’s other months, but October seems to be a special occasion. Halloween and Oktoberfest are the two major celebrations in Japan in October.
Once mid-September rolls around, Japanese stores start stocking shelves with Halloween-themed merchandise. Trick-or-treating is undoubtedly not the norm in Japan. Thus, this must be for small gatherings and food at home. Instead, crowds assemble for October 31, the season’s biggest group cosplay event.
On the other side, Oktoberfest is a far better-planned event. Although there are occasionally smaller Oktoberfest celebrations, Tokyo and Sapporo host the two largest ones. The events, which take place from September through October 1 or 2, feature a lot of alcohol, appetizers, and entertaining entertainment.