Ah, the four seasons! As Canadians, we all have a favourite, whether our preferences align with the either of the extremes (summer or winter) or the mild temperatures of spring and fall.
Japan also has four beautiful seasons, but in its ancient times, the different periods within each were classified as “mini-seasons” – 72 mini-seasons, to be specific. Allowing travellers to track what mini-seasons will be taking place in Nara, a popular city south of Kyoto, a new 72 Seasons Nara app is now available. Here’s a sampling of those that you will find taking place this time of year according to the ancient calendar:
The Maple and the Ivy Turn Yellow
Sound familiar? Following the changes in the north country and high mountains, leaves in the lowlands now begin to turn. For spectacular views, check out Yoshinoyama, where travellers will find a sea of red, yellow and orange maple leaves, which are a sacred symbol in Japan.
The First Camellia Blossoms
As the cold sets in, the sasanqua flower begins to bloom. It’s also this time of year when the Jozo Anzen Kigan Festival takes place, also known as the "sake festival." Enjoy traditional Japanese music and dance while sipping the local beverage. For a different taste of the culture, the Oomiwa Jinja Shrine is not to be missed on your visit to Nara.
The Earth First Freezes
This is when the nights become colder and the ground is frozen in the mornings. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the colours of the season along the Tatsuta River and Tatsuta Park. Views from the Momiji Bridge are also worth taking in.
The Dafodil Flowers
This refers to the winter flower, or narcissus. Find vibrant contrasting colours on the west side of Daibutsu-den Hall called Daibutsu Pond, sure to be a serene experience. The Kohfuku-ji Temple is also popular for tourists, exhibiting a number of national treasures and pieces of cultural art.
The Rainbow Hides Unseen
There are more dark clouds in the sky as the days become shorter and the sun shines less brightly; as for its namesake, rainbows are less likely to be seen. So what should travellers do this time of year? Enjoy the autumn foliage, visit Totsukawa Village or visit Doro-kyo Gorge, a designated national scenic beauty site.
This article was brought to you by the 72 Seasons Nara app, which offers a way to enjoy Nara that is unique to each season by introducing the ever-changing beauty of nature, the festivals and events based on Nara’s long history and culture, and its wealth of seasonal foods. The calendar is updated approximately every five days. Download it here for iOS and here for Android.