Autumn in Japan means more than nature’s explosions of blooming leaves. In fact, they have a name for it – “Momijigari“, which means: “going to see the autumn leaves“. Autumn in Japan is totally an art: zen gardens for your admiring, spending time in nature with yourself or loved ones, and the perfect time for quiet contemplation as the year comes close to an end soon.
For the capital Tokyo, there’re many parks and gardens to see autumn leaves. If you prefer day trips, consider taking a day trip to Kamakura, a beautiful coastal town that will bring you lots of autumn surprises, or even Mt Takao, an easy hike for all ages.
Soaking in hot spring (onsen)
It would be a waste if you visit Japan without having a hot onsen. Head to Hakone, well-known place for onsen in Japan. There are many types of hot springs, distinguished by the minerals dissolved in the water. Different minerals provide different health benefits, and all hot springs are supposed to have a relaxing effect on your body and mind. Hot spring baths come in many varieties, indoors and outdoors, gender separated and mixed, developed and undeveloped. Many hot spring baths belong to a ryokan, while others are public bath houses. An overnight stay at a hot spring ryokan is a highly recommended experience to any visitor of Japan.
Hiking in Mount Takao
Among all the mountains in Japan, Mount Fuji is the most famous one. However, there is a mountain located in Tokyo which is also cherished by a remarkable number of people. Mount Takao is one of the closest natural recreation areas to central Tokyo, offering beautiful scenery, an interesting temple and attractive hiking opportunities. Especially, Mount Takao is full of charms in autumn with colored foliage.
Kaki is an orange Japanese fruit that comes into season in November. They are extremely bitter before they ripen. When riping, they are sweet with a unique citrus-like taste. Kaki and kaki flavored desserts are widely available in Japan in late autumn.
Shichi Go San
Shichi Go San is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three-and seven-year-old girls and five-year-old (and less commonly three-year-old) boys, held annually on November 15 to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children. As it is not a national holiday, it is generally observed on the nearest weekend.
On this day, prayers are offered for the healthy and happy futures of the children. These ages, in particular, are celebrated both because the ages of three, five and seven are seen as important markers of stages in a child's growth and because odd numbers are seen as lucky in Japan. If the dates are right for your trip, head to Meiji Shrine at Harajuku (or other Shinto shrines favored by the locals) and be a part of this truly Japanese festival.