Autumn in Japan not only ushers in a welcome relief from the stifling heat, but it also brings with it some delicious foods that can be enjoyed at this time of year. There is even a Japanese saying that “autumn is the season for eating”. So if you plan on traveling to Japan at this time of year, be sure to try some of these autumn favorites:
Sanma (Pacific Saury)
This fatty fish is such a popular food in autumn that it even has the kanji character for the word ‘autumn’ in its Japanese spelling. Pacific saury is abundant at this time of year and they have a lot more meat on them than during the summer months. It is usually eaten grilled or sometimes prepared as sushi or sashimi (only if it is very fresh).
Although chestnuts are often associated with winter in other countries, in Japan they are an autumn treat. They can be enjoyed in desserts, such as kuri manju cakes, as well as in savory dishes such as Kurigohan, which is served with sake and rice.
The most famous fungi in Japan, matsutake mushrooms are a more expensive autumn delight, prized for their unique flavor and distinctive spicy aroma. Literally translating as “pine mushroom”, these mushrooms grow under pine trees and are pricey due to their scarcity.
Satsuma-imo (Sweet Potato)
There are many kinds of satsuma-imo in Japan, from the typical, reddish-skinned variety with golden flesh to the striking purple satsuma-imo. They are used in a variety of sweet dishes, as well as in savory ones, or are simply roasted and eaten plain. You can find roasted sweet potatoes sold on the streets and in convenience stores.
Kaki are a sweet, slightly tangy fruit that have a soft to fibrous texture and grow in abundance during autumn. They are often eaten dried and if you visit the countryside, you will see lots of them hanging outside drying in the sun.
Shinmai (New Rice)
Shinmai is the first crop of rice to be harvested in the season and it becomes available around September or October. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture requires that shinmai be packaged for sale in the same year that it is harvested. What is so special about it? Shinmai is moister and more plump, making it stickier and softer. The freshness of new rice gives it a better flavor and makes it a prized item during the autumn months.
Did you like this article? Then you’ll love tourist note JAPAN!