We love Autumn in Japan so here our true and tested 10 Must Do Family Activities – Japan Autumn. Plan your September – November schedule to try to include as many of these as you can. I am sure you and your kids will not be disappointed. Bring on the cooler weather!
10 Must Do Family Activities – Japan Autumn
1. September marks the beginning of the season of food – Shokuyoku no Aki 食欲の秋 (しょくよくの あき) is used by the Japanese to say Autumn Appetite due the desire to eat more of the wonderful autumn bounty.
The Top in Season Foods for Japan Include:
2. Tokyo Game Show – The Tokyo Game Show is one of the largest game shows in the world. The first two days are only industry folk; the last two days are for folks who just want to game. The Tokyo Game Show is huge with almost every game publisher and hardware manufacture in world attending. There is also a special area where kids 3-6 can have a fun time.
Date: Thursday – Sunday, September 21-24th, 2017 *Public Days 9/23 & 24.
Time: 10:00 – 17:00
Place: Makuhari Messe, Chiba
Admission Fee: Adults (Junior-high school age and older) 1,200 yen (Advanced Purchase: 1,000 yen); Elementary school age and younger: Free
3. Celebrate Otsukimi (Moon Viewing) – Full Moon September 20th, 2017 – A sign that autumn has arrived is the celebration of Otsukimi or moon viewing. Although not as popular as cherry blossoms and fall foliage moon viewing is a popular seasonal activity to enjoy in September and early October. The best dates for 2017 will be September 19-21, 2017. Japanese homes decorate a table with moon-offerings such as Tsukimi-dango (moon viewing dumplings), Autumn vegetables and Japanese pampas grass (Susuki/芒). Most people view the moon from home but schools and neighborhood hold parties called Kangetsu-kai (The moon Viewing Party).
4. Sweet Potato Digging – Sweet potato digging is an autumn tradition that all Japanese kindergarten and early elementary kids partake in October through December. In Japanese sweet potatoes are called “satsumaimo”. Enjoy a nice autumn day outside central Tokyo and go sweet potato digging. Here are five recommended locations to go Japanese sweet potato digging. Also don’t forget to take boots and light weight
gloves for digging. It`s fun, but messy.
5. Taste of Tokyo (Odaiba) – September 22-24, 2017 – This year`s Taste of Tokyo will take place at Ishi to Hikari no Hiroba (between Tokyo Big Sight and Kokusai Tenjijo Station). Vendors will cook-up some amazing food sourced from local Japan. There are also stalls to buy organic produce and other home made items as well as cooking seminars and entertainment. If you are a sake or craft beer lover, you can also enjoy a wide variety.
Date & Time: Friday – Sunday, September 22 – 24, 2017; 11:00 – 20:00 (11:00 – 18:00 Sunday).
Location: Ishi to Hikari no Hiroba in Odaiba
6. Get Spooky at a Halloween Parade
- Roppongi Halloween Parade (Tokyo) – Great event where over 3,000 people of all ages dress up and march. The route is a short 1K through Roppongi Hills and Roppongi Keyaki-zaka. Children also will get snacks after the parade.
Date: Usually the last Saturday in October
Time: 13:00 – 15:00 (however if you want to march in the parade you must register between 10:30 – 13:00)
Place: Roppongi Keyaki-zaka, Roppongi Hills
Who can participate: Anyone, but please register at the Roppongi Hills Arena the day of the parade
- Harujuku Halloween Parade (Tokyo) – Over 1,000 children will parade down Omotesando street in costumes. There are also many stores that give away candy on the day. Date to register for the 2017 parade TBD.
Date: Usually the last Sunday in October
Time: 11:00 – 17:00
Place: Omotesando – Harujuku
Who can participate: Children under 12 years
Website: http://www.harajuku-halloween.com/guidance/ (Japanese language only)
7. Walk or Bike The City Autumn Foliage – Late October through November is great foliage viewing in Tokyo and surrounding areas. Get on your bike or tie on your walking shoes for a full-day or couple hours of foliage touring. I recommend these eight locations for foliage viewing in autumn. You can bike the entire loop in about 4-6 hours, or pick 1-2 locations for a few hours of walking or biking.
8. Climb Mt. Takao – The trip to Mt. Takao take about one hour from Shinjuku station on the Keio Line. Mt. Takao has been a location of worship for more than 1,000 years. It is a nice climb anytime of the year, but the autumn foliage makes it extra special. The main temple Yakuoin is located near the summit and is a popular place for visitors to pray for the Shinto-Buddist mountain gods (tengu). There are two statues of these Tengu gods at the temple; one with a very long nose and one with a crow beak. You will see many statues and references to the Tengu all over the mountain and in the omiyage (gifts to take home).
9. 7-5-3 Celebrations (all November, but actual day is Nov 15th) – November is the month of foliage in Tokyo, but also the month that girls ages 7 & 3 and boys age 5 celebrate the coming of age. November 15th is the actual date of 7-5-3, but families celebrate by dressing up the children and visiting shrines across Japan throughout the month of November. You can find children celebrating at most major shrines, however Meiji Jingu is one of the most popular. Also this month there is a chrysanthemum exhibit in Meji Jingu Shrine to enjoy. Check here for places to rent kimonos and temples to attend if you would like to celebrate with your children.
10. River Rafting and Grape Picking – If you are looking for a fun one day get away to enjoy the crisp air and beautiful mountain and river scenery do visit the Nagatoro River and surrounding area of Chichibu in Saitama. Nagatoro means long slow river. It takes about 2-3 hours by car and a little less via train. Also a great place to pick grapes from October to November. More details here.
10 Must Do Family Activities – Japan Autumn