Tag Archives: ajisai

Joy of Rainy Season in Japan

The rainy season has come here in eastern Japan.  It’s called tsuyu (梅雨, literally means ‘plum rain’) and lasts about one month from June to July.

It’s physically uncomfortable… but it’s also true that tsuyu is one of the best times to enjoy the beauty and tradition of Japan.

The best thing about this season is ajisai (hydrangea). The beautiful blooms decorate everywhere – streets, parks and mountain paths, which changes the daily scenery like a kaleidoscope. It’s also nice to visit any ajisai-dera (hydrangea temple) where lots of hydrangea trees are planted.

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It’s also the best season to encounter lots of small creatures like snails, pond skaters, Japanese tree frogs… Especially, it’s just whimsical to see hotaru (firefly) flickering in pitch darkness at night in the countryside…

At home, ume-shigoto (plum processing) is a traditional seasonal event. This rainy season coincidents with the harvest time of plums and people make various products using plums such as umeboshi (salted pickled plums), plum wine, plum juice and plum jam. It is ancient wisdom to prevent plums go bad in this hot and humid weather. And these plum products have various healthy and medicinal benefits like preventing summer fatigue and antibacterial effect.

When you feel sluggish, koh (Japanese incense) helps freshen the stagnated air. According to a traditional koh house, tsuyu is the best season to enjoy koh as it smells better in the humid air. The aroma, together with the beautiful sound of rain, changes the atmosphere best for chill-out and meditation…

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