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【Culture】“Momijigari,” The Colors of Autumn2015.10.12

151012 紅葉狩り

There are many outdoor seasonal events to enjoy in Japan. While “Hanami” is the famous event for viewing national spring flower, “Sakura,” “Momijigari” is a spectacular autumn foliage viewing event. “Momiji” means Japanese maple, and”Gari” means hunting. “Momijigari” literally means to find joys in the autumn, one of the four seasons to view the landscape and the beautiful mountains in Japan. Now, “Momijigari” encompasses all Japanese trees that change colors from green to autumnal colors of red, yellow, orange and brown.

Its viewing started in the “Heian” period (794-1185). Japanese noblemen enjoyed enjoying their harvest, boating and drinking “sake” with playing music and ball games, and watching the  leaf colors of their Japanese gardens. The “Arashiyama” area near Kyoto has been famous for “Monijigari” since “Heian” period. It is a word that depicts autumn in the poetry of “Haiku” or “Waka.” Also, you find many poetry references to “Momiji” in the “Edo” period (11600-1868). This traditional autumn event brought joy to the common people and was a sign of harvest, rest and friends and family renewal. After the “Meiji” period (1868 – 1912) to now, “Momijigari” continues to develop as a time for Japanese people and tourists to revisit history and culture while enjoying nature’s colorful display.

Some Tokyo scenic “Momijigari” viewing locations are “Icho Namiki” (Ginkgo Avenue) in “Meiji Jingu Gaien,” in season the Ginkgo trees turn to yellow and you can walk through the tree tunnel, “Koishikawa Korakuen,” the Japanese garden built in “Edo” period by “Tokugawa” family, Mount “Takao,” “Nikko” and the famous “Momijigari” mountains.

 

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