Autumn Leaves (Kōyō)
The autumn leaves (kōyō紅葉) in Japan are just incredible and the coming of this brief season is one of the things looked forward to most in the span of the Japanese year. Of all the leaves that change, those of the Japanese maple, known as momiji, are the most prized for their beauty. The trees bearing these thousands of tiny delicate leaves are planted heavily throughout Kyōtō and Nara and people flock in from all over to come take a look.
Every season has so much to offer in Japan. The hills are loaded with potential, and in every season, certain species of trees and other plants that didn’t seem to stand out so much are highlighted and explode with the color they’ve been waiting to show the world. The cycle of seasons in Japan is like a masterfully-planned firework show, and it seems that the individuals who first planted all of these trees and flowers many hundreds of years ago knew exactly where to plant the trees so that each season would be interesting.
Soon, winter will set in fully, the momiji will brown and whither, and the hills will sleep again. Before long though, fresh buds will appear, and beautiful fragrant plum blossoms (umé) will bring to the air a new hope for life. The cherry blossoms (sakura) will follow, and life will be renewed, continuing its cycle on and on, as we find ourselves living in our own life cycles, admiring beauty and sharing life with the world.