According to a Japanese survey, spring is the most popular season in Japan, with 40.2% of responders of the survey stating that as their favorite season. Fall happens to be the second most popular, with 36.2% of people answering that this was their favorite season.
If spring is the season of birth, then fall is the season of death. Flowers bloom almost violently in the spring, and Japan experiences waves of color, notably pink and white from the flowers of cherry blossom and plum trees. In the fall however, we also see changes in color. The turning of green leaves to an array of red, oranges and yellows is just as beautiful a sight to behold as the colorful leaves rain down on you, blown off trees by the cool autumn wind.
Autumn is a blessing for those looking for relief from the blistering summers, and I bet fall would be the favorite season if it were not for Japan’s love of cherry blossom trees. Fall is not celebrated the way it is in America. There is Halloween, but it’s not really quite popular yet. There definitely is no Thanksgiving and most people in Japan probably don’t even know what a turkey is, but fall is definitely a time of harvest in Japan.
There are numerous harvest festivals during this season. The fifteenth day of the eighth month in the ancient calendar is known as “juugoya”, the night of the full moon. This is the night of the harvest moon, also said to be the most beautiful moon of the year. On this night, otsukimi, or moon viewing, is carried out throughout Japan. There is a traditional ceremony to show thanks and pray for a successful seasonal harvest for produce such as rice. Other festivals feature huge floats and colorful performances, all part of prayers that food may be plentiful for the winter.