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Autumn Leaves

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Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves in Japan are almost as popular as the cherry blossom season. Kōyō is the Japanese word for autumn leaves. Kōyō and momiji (maple leaves) use the same kanji and has been that way since the Heian Period. It is a time when all the mountains, rivers, countryside, temples, shrines, parks, gardens and areas around famous structures are surrounded with fall foliage. Searching for autumn leaves has been a custom of Japan since the 8th century when it was mentioned in the compilation of Manyoshu poetry. The activity was even mentioned in the famed “The Tale of Genji,” as a scene of hunting for gorgeous autumn colors. Even a large part of the Kokin Wakashu poetry collection is centered on the autumn leaves. There are many maple trees, Japanese Rowan, Japanese larch, Ginkgo, beech, birch, and many others that change colors during this time. The autumn foliage starts appearing as early as September.

photo of Autumn leaves in Japan