Japan’s Season of Kouyou
365Playground’s own Akino Nourdine (Corporate Business Development, Sales & Marketing & Training) guest blogs about her home country of Japan, and the beauty of its season of “Kouyou”.
Autumn leaf colour season is another magical time of the year in Japan. Like the cherry blossom, autumn-coloured foliage (“Kouyou” 紅葉) has a special place in the heart of our nation.
Kouyou refers to the phenomenon of changing autumn colours, mainly when it occurs in the leaves of deciduous broad-leaf trees before the leaves fall to the ground. As summer fades to autumn, the trees prepare for the winter months. The difference between afternoon and evening temperature rises and the leaves of the maple trees and ginkgo trees turn red and yellow in concert, presenting one with beautiful scenery at every turn.
The Japanese admire Kouyou just as they admire cherry blossoms in spring. Their beauty has been expressed in poems and songs throughout Japanese history. When autumn deepens and the leaves begin to turn colour in the fields and mountains, the Japanese also enjoy “Momiji-gari”紅葉狩り (autumn leaf viewing), which is regarded as a seasonal event as important as “Hanami” 花見 (cherry blossom viewing).
Just like the spring cherry blossom season, autumn leaf viewing has a long history, having been enjoyed by noble families 1200 years ago in the Heian Period. Beginning in the Edo Period, roughly four hundred years ago, Momiji-gari spread to the general population. Now the people of Japan travel great distances to take in the coloured leaves, taking a walk down historical streets or enjoying panoramic autumn views while soaking in hot springs.
Being home in Japan during this season, I again feel closer to our beautiful culture and history, and delighted to take part in this tradition.
As part of the 365Playground Management team, I share this story in the anticipation and hopes of continuing to support projects and clients who nourish and protect such unique cultural traditions as Kouyou.