Summer is gradually leaving the country as cool autumn breezes are blowing out the hot and humid air. Japanese autumn is a time for relaxing your body and mind from all the summer excitement.

A common autumn event is sports day. October 10 is “Taiiku no Hi,” the national sports day. The opening of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics was held on this day, and it later became a national holiday. Now, many schools have sports days around this day.

Japan has many parks, shrines, and temples that have beautiful red leaves through the fall. Japanese maple, known as momiji is the most famous and common type of leaf that becomes a rich red.

Moon viewing, known as tsukimi, is another seasonal event that celebrates the full moon. This tradition has been a part of Japanese culture since the Heian period, when aristocrats sat under the autumn moon and shared their poetry. Now, Japanese people eat sweet rice dumplings and gaze at the full moon.

During this season, many fresh seasonal food fill the markets, dinner tables, and restaurants. Sanma or saury is a fish that tastes best during the fall. Japanese people grill this fish and eat it with soy sauce and grated radish. Roasted chestnuts and baked sweet potato are another fall food. You can find many chestnut and sweet potato flavored snacks and drinks. Matsutake is a type of mushroom that becomes rich in flavor in autumn. They are rare to find, and are very expensive.

A new autumn event for Japan is Halloween. Halloween had not been celebrated nationwide until a few years ago. Japanese people are not Christian, however, most people do not have strong beliefs in one religion, i.e., Japan celebrates Christmas too. Like Christmas, Halloween is more of a fun event where friends wear costumes and roam the streets or go to parties. In Japan, it is much more commercial than it is a religious celebration.