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Published: Mon, November 20, 2017
World | By Lorena Waters

My Japanese Garden - European Association

My Japanese Garden - European Association

Most regions of Japan have four seasons and the fall months are September, October and November. The leaves, as if by magic, become red, orange and yellow ... Autumn foliage is called "kōyō" 紅葉 which literally means "red leaves" in Japanese.

The maple is the undisputed king of autumn colors. In fact, the word "kōyō" is spelled with the same characters as the word tree, which is pronounced "momiji", and can be found in different temples, Japanese gardens in the cities, but Also the same nature, in the woods and mountains.

The other symbol of autumn in Japan is the Ginkgo Biloba - "icho" . The leaves of this tree are not red in autumn but bright yellow but this, however, is not usually found in pure nature but in the temples and shrines, parks and gardens of the cities, being even the symbol of the City of Tokyo. In Hibiya Park in Tokyo, the oldest tree is a 400-year-old "kubikake icho" , which was a young tree in the period Of Momoyama (1573-1603). During the construction of the park, this venerable specimen was removed and replanted 450 meters from the site where it was and there until today.

Many autumn festivals are celebrated throughout the country to give thanks for the harvest. And you can see some Shinto rituals held in various shrines. But the most significant is the "Tsukimi" or observation of the autumn moon - "the harvest moon" 月 月 - which, like the "Hanami" - observation of the cherry blossoms "Sakura" - is a tradition that dates back to the Heian period and is usually celebrated on the 15th of September with the second full moon of the month.

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Bruce Feiler in his 1991 book "Learning to Bow" describes this phenomenon as follows: "Certain natural phenomena due to their splendor and singular beauty developed almost a religious significance In ancient Japanese culture, where Shinto beliefs held that nature was the home of spirits living in water, land and trees. The mysterious transformation of green leaves into burning reds and icy yellows at the time of harvest Of every year, inspired the fear among superstitious farmers, just as there is a protocol around making tea ... or painting the calligraphy ... this is a way of seeing the nature that with time evolved. " > According to the Shinto code, the proper visualization, in a leaf-observation excursion, should try to achieve a personal communion with the leaves, in a union similar to the private communication between The man and God At the heart of many Western religions. As Prince Genji once wrote to a lover, 'A bunch of autumn leaves admired in solitude is like apricots used in the dark of night. "By participating in nature, one hopes to internalize the beauty of the leaves in the heart of each one. Man enters into nature, and nature, in turn, enters into man."

Also called "iroha-momiji" ロ ハ モ ミ ジ ジ, is a deciduous tree native to the Korean peninsula and Japan, except for Hokkaido. Introduced in Europe in 1820, its popularity has since spread everywhere. Although it is classified as a small tree, and rarely grows more than 8 meters in cultivation, Japanese maple can reach up to 15 meters in the natural environment.

Japanese is used as an accent tree, providing soft shade and various shades of green and refreshing in summer and beautiful colors in autumn. There are different varieties of maple and up to today we have described more than 1,000 varieties.

There are two chemicals responsible for autumn coloring. Carotenoid pigments produce yellow and orange on the leaves, and warm nights favor the mastery of these colors. Meanwhile, anthocyanin pigments cause leaves to turn red, violet and purple, and sunny days with clear skies and low nocturnal temperatures encourage anthocyanins. Some trees have a large proportion of one or the other of these two pigments, leading to a predominance of any red coloring, if there are more anthocyanins, or yellow coloring if there are more carotenoids.

With this I leave a wonderful video of the colors of Autumn in Kyoto.

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