Summer is almost over and we are beginning to feel the changes in temperature, weather, and the colors of the leaves. In Japan, autumn is considered to be the season of sports, food, and arts. The following are some of the most popular autumn events/activities you can enjoy in Japan.
Undoukai is an annual sports event held at schools (excluding universities) in Japan. It’s a good opportunity to showcase the students’ physical abilities, as well as the effort they have put in during class and after school for this event. The students’ families come to cheer on their children, bringing Bentou (lunch box) for them. In Undoukai, each class or grade does their own performance or activity, and the common ones include dancing, running races, and acrobatics. The students are usually separated into two teams, red and white, and compete in a various games. You might not be able to join these games, but it’s definitely worth witnessing first-hand.
文化祭(bunkasai) / 学園祭(gakuensai)
Bunkasai or Gakuensai are annual school festivals at high schools or universities where each class or club puts on their own booth or activity to show their artistic achievements. Common booths or activities include food booths, cosplay contests, haunted houses, skits, etc. Each school comes up with a particular theme or slogan for the event every year, so different schools have different styles of Bunkasai. These festivals are mostly open to the public, so check and see if a school nearby is having their event this fall.
Momijigari refers to the act of viewing and admiring the beautiful autumn leaves. The colors of the leaves vary from yellow to orange and red, depending on the tree. Trees that have leaves that change colors include the maple, Japanese beech, and maidenhair tree. Momijigari can take a lot of forms. You can just walk around or drive through the trees, soak in a hot spring that is surrounded by them, or pick up some of the leaves and make them into bookmarks by drying them, in order to capture their beauty permanently.
果物狩り(Kajitsu or Kudamono gari : Fruit Picking)
Although fruit picking is available throughout the year in Japan, the autumn is probably the best season for it because of a wide variety of fruits harvested during this season. There are many types of fruit picking activities, and the common fruits that you can pick in autumn are apples, grapes, pears, persimmons, etc. Fruit picking is usually all you can eat, so you can pick as many as you want for a low price! There may or may not be a time limit depending of the farm. You can also take them home if you wish, but you might be charged an additional fee for it.
Tokyo Ramen Show
This is just what the title says: you’ll have the opportunity to eat a lot of different kinds of ramen. Tokyo Ramen Show is an event where regional ramen from all over Japan are gathered in one place. The most famous are miso from Hokkaido and tonkotsu from Fukuoka, but you might be wondering what the other regional ramen taste like. This is a good chance to try them out. This event is going to be held from October 26th to November 5th in Komazawa Olympic Park, and is split into two parts (1st: October 26th ~ 31st/ 2nd: November 1st ~ 5th), each consisting of a different group of vendors. There is no entry fee, but at a booth you have to buy tickets which you can exchange for a bowl of ramen (850 yen each). Check out the official website (in Japanese only) for more details:
What was your favorite event from above? These are just some of the most famous events and activities available in Japan during the autumn. Explore more and experience the beauty and goodies of this wonderful season in Japan!
Yoshi / Japan