A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the hot and sticky Japanese summer, but now that it’s the start of the winter season, I decided to write about autumn in Japan – arguably one of the two most beautiful seasons.
Autumn in Japan is famous for its changing leaves. Starting from Hokkaido (northern Japan) in mid-September and filtering down the country, the leaves on the trees begin changing from green to red, yellow, orange and brown. This means that the country-side and the cities are splashed with vibrant colours as the leaves glow in the cool pale sunlight and float down to the ground. This foliage is known as “kouyou” in Japanese which literally translates as ‘red leaves’ (despite the fact that there are a variety of colours).
In Tokyo, the leaves begin changing from about mid-October and, although there are plenty of other beautiful cities in which to see the beautiful autumn foliage, there are still many parks and walkways that boast warm colours within Tokyo itself.
Showa Kinen Park for example has an excellent blend of green, yellow and red leaves. As you first walk into the park, you see a long line of yellow leaved trees leading up to a large and beautiful fountain.
When you walk through the rest of the park, you get a true grasp of the changing colours. Red leaves mingle in with yellow leaves in the quaint Japanese garden and the even the bonsai trees lose their leaves.
In terms of the weather, September in Tokyo is still very hot and many companies still employ the summer uniform of no tie or jacket. But by the time October rolls around, the weather starts to cool down – a relief from the humidity and heat of summer. October is definitely the most comfortable month during this time. You don’t need to blast the air conditioner anymore and you don’t have to start using your heater just yet. But by the tail-end of November, the weather suddenly takes a dive.
November is rather chilly in Japan for a South African. You definitely need to start using a heater during this time – especially for when you come out of a watery shower. Luckily most buildings and trains have heating, so the only time you have to worry about the cold here is when you’re waiting on the platform for your next train.
But overall, I would say that autumn is a fantastic time to come to Japan. And even though I missed going there, I have been told that the best place to visit during this time of year is Kyoto.
The only thing that’s worrying me now is winter… (as the current temperature is already at the average that it gets in Cape Town). Lets hope that I survive without having to hibernate…