I know that winter doesn’t technically start for another three weeks, but seeing as it’s the first of December today, I started perusing through all the pictures I’d taken in the past few months. My overwhelming reaction: good god, this place is beautiful in the fall.. I’ve always loved autumn. Between the copious amounts of pumpkin (which I maintain that I loved before Starbucks turned pumpkin spice into a total cash cow) and apple foods, the colorful leaves, and the brisk weather, what’s not to love?
Living in Aomori has only strengthened that love. To put it lightly, autumn in Aomori spoils the hell out of me. The pristine mountain snow in winter and the cherry blossoms in spring are gorgeous, to be sure, but for me, nothing beats what autumn offers. After more than three years here, I’m convinced that nowhere does autumn more beautifully than northern Japan. And here’s the proof.
This post has been a long time coming – more than a month, in fact. The first weekend of November, when snow was merely a worry for the distant future, a few friends and I made the trek out to Hirosaki to pick apples. Growing up in the northeastern part of the United States, I’d always had a few apple orchards within close proximity, but somehow, picking apples was never part of my life.
Autumn’s by far my favorite season, and Japan’s version is one of the most beautiful I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. It may be short and fleeting, but autumn in northern Japan still provides you with enough signs to let you know it’s arrived in all of its full-blown, scarlet-leaved glory.
After several false starts caused by dreary rain and general laziness, I finally made it out to Hirosaki last weekend to catch the tail end of the annual Chrysanthemum Festival (菊 まつり) at the castle park. I don’t make it to Hirosaki nearly as often as I’d like to, as it’s about forty-five minutes away by train, so I was happy to have an excuse to trek down.
I have always thought that autumn was the most beautiful season, but since I moved to Aomori, that sentiment has only become more and more heightened. The Tohoku region is specifically famous for its gorgeous fall foliage, and hiking in the mountains when the leaves are changing colors is one of the things I’d been looking forward to this year.
When I got an invitation to head south with some friends to a cabin on the shores of Lake Towada, I jumped at the chance. Camping – or at least getting away from the city – is something that I like to do as often as I can, especially when it’s on the cusp of fall. As much as I like curling up on my couch in my cozy apartment when it’s chilly outside, I’d much rather do it surrounded by some beautiful scenery. Plus, I never turn down the opportunity to spending an evening with some quality company and awesome food. Continue reading A Quick Autumn Getaway→