This Is How the Japanese See Autumn Season

Did you know that it's a season for sports and reading?

As the hot summer season in Japan comes to an end, it’s now time to get ready for the upcoming autumn season. Japanese people actually associate different kinds of images with this season. Locals start switching their clothes to darker tones and thicker materials to keep themselves warm during the cool mornings and evenings. 

Curious to know how else the Japanese perceive the autumn season? Read on below to find out. 

1. Period

Most of the time, autumn refers to the period between September and November. It is the season right after a blazing summer and before a chilly winter. During September, it can be as hot as 30 °C in the country. But come November, the temperature drops to as low as 10 °C.

2. Traditional Events

Moon Viewing

This custom started in the ancient times when people would look at the night sky and gaze at the beautiful full moon. It was usually held every August 15 in accordance with the lunar calendar. Today, it is celebrated around mid-September until the beginning of October. During this event, people offer dumplings and Japanese pampas grasses. Rabbits are also a common image in the celebration because many believe that the crater of the moon looks a lot like the animal. 

Shichi Go San, The Seven-Five-Three Ceremony

This ceremony is held on the 15th of November each year. Parents would take their children to shrines and make them wear kimonos during the weekend. Similar to the Hinamatsuri and Kodomonohi, the ceremony celebrates and wishes for a child’s good health. 

3. School Events

Sports Day

This event came about when the Tokyo Olympics opening was held on October 10, 1964. This day was set as a national holiday back in 1966 but has now been moved to the second Monday of October each year.

During this day, students are split into two teams—red and white. Each team competes for points and also performs a dance number together. It is on this day that parents of the students visit the school to watch the games, support their kids, and sometimes even participate in the activities.

Note: Some schools hold their Sports Day during the spring season, too. 

Field Trip

The autumn season is also the time for field trips when teachers take their students to museums, planetariums, factories, or mountains for hiking and learning. 

4. Holidays

Respect for the Aged Day

The third Monday of September in Japan is dedicated to celebrating the elders and wishing for their longevity. Usually, children and grandchildren send their grandparents presents or families eat dinner together on this day. 


Labor Thanksgiving Day

Labor Thanksgiving Day is held every 23rd of November. It was originally a day for appreciating the harvest of the year but later became a day for celebrating all workers’ efforts. 

5. Related images

Autumn Leaves

Autumn is the season when the maple trees’ leaves turn red and the gingko trees’ leaves turn yellow. This change in color is an effect of the cold temperature. The shift in the leaves’ colors usually starts from north to south, as well as, from the highlands to the lowlands. In Tokyo, you can expect the leaves changing around the end of November.

The Japanese people look forward to enjoying the autumn views around this time of the year and going to sightseeing spots all over Japan. They appreciate the seasons fully using their five senses.   

Season of Appetite

People lose their appetite during the hot summer but gradually recover because of the good climate and delicious seasonal food. 

Season of Sports

After eating too much seasonal food, it only follows that people will want to lose weight. That’s one reason why autumn is also a season of sports. The other reason, probably more serious, is that the Japanese have Sports Day in October to commemorate the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Another reason is simply that this season brings such nice weather. 

Season of Reading

The nights during the autumn season become longer day by day. As such, it sets a romantic atmosphere for reading books in the moonlight. 

Season of Art

Many art galleries hold exhibits in autumn. The idea of celebrating Halloween is also very popular in Japan, especially among the younger generation. Their Halloween is very unique and unlike any of the traditional ones in other countries.

As you can see, the Japanese recognizes the autumn season in many different ways. Why don’t you try visiting the country and admire the magnificent autumn views?

 (6 September 2019)

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