2016 No.19

Japan: Loving the Four Seasons


Changing Seasons

Spring is the season of beginnings. School, company, and fiscal years all begin from April in Japan. New life sprouts forth from the earth in this green season, when flowers bloom and the earth overflows with fresh beginnings. It is a loving time when everyone is joyous.

Photos by Tanji Yasutaka

Reeling Under the Moon


From the time of the Man’yoshu, Japan’s oldest poetry anthology, cherry blossoms have been a key cultural touchstone. Even today, viewing parties under the boughs remain a vital seasonal custom, and the mystic appearance of night blooms and the ephemeral sense of fallen blossoms are still greatly esteemed. Japanese have a unique sensitivity about cherry blossoms.

Playing in Light


After the rainy season, the sun returns to shower down gold light and blazon the start of summer. Japan’s hot, humid season has its particular pleasures: bathing at beautiful beaches and hiking in the mountains, as well as special festivals and fireworks. Summer in Japan is a time of boundless memories.

Dancing Among Colors


Autumn broadcasts its fiery hues across a huge variety of plants and trees, such as bright red maple and golden yellow ginkgo. Colors mix and unfold to create lively scenes from the season’s rich palette, each unique. Since time immemorial, Japanese have been drawn by red maples to journey out to mountains and fields for viewing the autumn leaves.

Prancing on Snow


As winter nears, word of the arrival of cranes spreads across Japan. They wing their way to Japan to winter here and in spring return to their breeding grounds. Of old, Japanese have loved the sight of noble-looking cranes prancing on snow. The scientific name for the beloved red-crowned crane is Grus japonensis, which means “crane born in Japan.”