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Changing Seasons – Autumn in Tokyo

Summer is almost a memory and fall is fast approaching in Tokyo.  The Japanese are well known for being proud of their four seasons and autumn is no exception. In Japan the changing of the seasons are celebrated throughout the country with festivals, seasonal foods and special events.

In the fall, the harvest of new rice is celebrated at temples and shrines and moon viewing, tsukimi, is all the rage.  Residents and visitors alike head out for walks in the parks of Tokyo to take in the colorful fall foliage with almost as much delight as when they head off to picnic under the cherry blossoms each spring. The changing colors of fall foliage is a beautiful sight no matter where you are and Japan is no exception.  The leaves of Japanese Maple trees make a gradual change from pale green to a fiery red each autumn and the Ginko leaves turn a lovely shade of yellow.  Consider a cruise down the Sumida River to Hamarikyu Detached Palace Garden or a visit to Rikugien Garden to take in the stunning colors of fall in Tokyo.

Moon viewing is a traditional Japanese autumn event that coincides with the full moons in September and October each year. Japanese silver grass, dumplings called tsukimi dango and sake are usually displayed as offerings during tsukimi which will occur on September 14th and October 11th this year.  The Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel in Shibuya has put together a tsukimi accommodation package that includes a bottle of sake and seasonal foods meant to be enjoyed while you gaze out at the moon from your room on the upper floors of the hotel.  The package also includes a twin or king room and breakfast for ¥48,000 and is available through November 14th.

The city’s restaurants and home chefs take full advantage of seasonal foods and fall favorites such as pine mushrooms (matsutake), gingko nuts (ginnan) and mackerel (saba) will start to appear on menus and in the supermarkets along with new rice (shin-mai) which is harvested in September and October.

While summer in Tokyo is the peak of festival season in the city, there are many fun fall festivals and events on the calendar.  The Japan Times Festival Listings offer a good overview of events in the city each month and is a great resource to find the fall festival that fits into your schedule.

So get out there, sample some seasonal food, attend a fall festival and be sure to ponder the moon this Autumn in Tokyo!

Image Credit: Flickr, Happiness Found in Ueno Park & Full Moon