The Four Seasons in Japan

Yusentei Park, an example of the role of nature in Japanese culture

Yusentei Park

If you spend enough time in Japan, you will most likely be told at some point that “Japan has four seasons” as one of the country’s most unique qualities. Although this seems a bit absurd considering that most countries have the same four seasons, the statement really implies that their Japan has four well-defined seasons (five effective seasons if tsuyu, the rainy season, is included), and that Japanese people have a deep-rooted fascination in the changes that each of those seasons brings. People view the stunning spring cherry blossoms, brilliant autumn leaves, tranquil snow-covered winter landscapes and seasonal flowers throughout the year with deep affection because these all have deep-reaching, symbolic meaning based on a uniquely Japanese love of nature — this is a common theme found throughout Japanese art, literature and poetry.

Japanese People also see the seasonal changes as personal, dynamic backdrops for the stories of their lives as well as symbolic representations of human life in general. Cherry blossoms, for example, start out young, bloom into something captivating and elegant in very a short time, and then wither and die not long after that — this is often used as a metaphor for our beautiful but tragically brief existences as human beings.

To see for yourself what changes the different seasons can bring, trying visiting Maizuru Park, Yusentei Park, Uminonakamichi Seaside Park and the flower fields of Nokonoshima Island Park at different times of the year.

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