🍁4 Traditional Japanese Ways to Enjoy Fall🍁

🍁4 Traditional Japanese Ways to Enjoy Fall🍁

In America, fall famously brings to mind apple-picking, pumpkin patches and of course the ubiquitous Pumpkin Spice Latte. Here in Japan though, we have our own wonderful and distinctive way of enjoying this season.

Discover four traditional Japanese ways you can enhance your own autumn experience!

1. Get moving

Four people walking up a staircause to a torii shrine

After Japan’s swelteringly hot summers, the cool breezes of fall are a much-needed relief and make it so much pleasurable to be outside. That’s why a common expression about fall in Japanese  is “Spo-tsu no Aki” (Autumn, the season for sports). In fact, the 1964 Tokyo Olympics took place during October as it was considered the ideal time for the athletes. Whether you’re playing soccer, biking, or just going for a leisurely walk, the crisp air in your lungs and the fall foliage around you will make you feel extra ALIVE.

2. Get your read on

Two hands holding open a Japanese book.

With the drop in temperature, you can comfortably lounge around and relax, without feeling sticky in the summer heat. The cool air, and the quiet, longer nights also makes it easier to concentrate—the perfect time to read a book. No surprise then that Japanese novelist Natsume Soseki popularized the expression, "Dokusho no Aki" (Autumn, the season for reading) in 1908. Of course, if books aren't your thing, you can have a fun night watching a good movie or playing your favorite game—whatever makes you feel cozy and happy at home during these longer nights.

3. Get hungry

Four kaki persimmons on a tray

Our favorite expression about fall here at Bento&co? Hands-down, it’s “Shokuyoku no Aki" (Autumn, the season of appetites)! In the fall, Japan has a bounty of delicious seasonal produce, including sweet potatoes, chestnuts, persimmons, nashi (asian pears), freshly harvested rice, matsutake mushroom and fatty sanma (pacific saury). Especially if you’re taking “Spo-tsu no Aki” to heart and being more active, you’ll be able to enjoy the amazing flavors of fall even more with your big appetite. We think there is no better time than autumn for a hike followed by a bento picnic!

4. Get moonstruck

A full moon with rice stalks in the foreground.

Did you know that Japan has a fall tradition of gazing at the full harvest moon? This night of moon-viewing is called Tsukimi and is held on the fifteenth night of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, which typically falls in September or October. With a history spanning thousands of years, tsukimi was a way to express gratitude to the gods for the harvest and to pray for future successful harvests. Food plays an important part of Tsukimi, with preparation of various fare resembling the moon, including dango (mochi dumplings). Fun fact, McDonalds in Japan even has a Tsukimi-themed burger which comes with a fried egg signifying the full autumn moon.

Why not try out the Japanese tsukimi tradition by picking a night to just gaze at the moon and stars while enjoying favorite snacks? This very well could be the start of a newfound love of the fall.

Tsukimi themed bento with onigiri that looks like dango.

Amazing Tsukimi-themed bento made by @koyagi_gohan (IG) featuring dango-like rice balls.

What are your favorite ways to enjoy fall? Let us know in the comments below!

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