Best Japanese Food to Try in Autumn (2023)

In Japan, the seasons are very important and have a huge influence on food. I know that this happens in several countries, not only in Japan. But I feel it’s stronger here than in other countries. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that, unlike other countries that have more flexible export and import policies, Japan has traditionally been very protective of its agricultural sector.

The fact that food has been marked by the season of the year since ancient times is related to the natural cycle of certain fruits and vegetables. However, with globalization, this has been lost (if in your country it’s winter and there is no X thing, you can import from a country where at that time is summer). Of course there are limits. You can’t bring in a watermelon in winter.

Best Japanese Food to Try in Autumn (1)

But as I say, with Japan being more closed in that respect, I think these customs have been preserved more than in countries with more open policies. Each season has some typical dishes and some of them can only be found in certain seasons or specific days.

If you are are living In Japan for a while or are planning to come in the future around Autumn, you will probably want to try traditional Japanese dishes that cannot be found in an ordinary Japanese restaurant abroad or are not the typical dishes (like ramen, sushi, etc). Since one of the best ways to jump into Japanese culture is to taste real Japanese food, the food that Japanese families eat at home on a daily basis. And in Japan there’re plenty of delicious dishes to enjoy in autumn! Here are some of them:

Satsuma-imo (Sweet Potatoes)

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One of the star products of autumn in Japan is undoubtedly sweet potatoes. I know that sweet potatoes aren’t something that exists only in Japan, and that they’re typical in autumn. But in Japan they have a type of purple sweet potato (instead of the more common orange) and they’re really popular. Especially roasted sweet potatoes, called yaki-imo. There are many street trucks or stalls owned by old men selling them, and even in some supermarkets or mega stores like Don Quijote.

Best Japanese Food to Try in Autumn (3)

Another popular way to eat them is glazed in a caramelized syrup, called candied sweet potatoes or daigaku-imo in Japanese.

Kuri-gohan (Chestnuts Rice)

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Chestnuts are also typical in many countries when autumn arrives. But in Japan they have a different way to enjoy this fruit. Rice with chestnuts, known as kuri-gohan (kuri -栗- is chestnut and gohan is rice). It’s very easy to prepare, just put the rice and chestnuts in the rice cooker and that’s it. The chestnuts give a very tasty aroma and flavor to the rice, and it feels like the taste of autumn.

Best Japanese Food to Try in Autumn (5)

(Video) What to Eat in Autumn in Japan: 9 Autumn Japanese Food & Drinks to enjoy in the fall

Of course, chestnuts are also eaten in the typical way, roasted. But also in other ways. For example, sweets with chestnut filling are very common and can be found in many places – once I was even given a chestnut tea to taste!

Matsutake (Pine Mushroom)

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The king of autumn in Japan is undoubtedly the matsutake (松茸), a type of mushroom that can only be eaten at this time of year. Matsutake is often compared to truffles, because of its rich taste and pleasant smell. Also because of its high price. Although it’s so delicious, matsutake cannot be artificially cultivated so there are very few of them and that is why they are so precious (and expensive).

In some cases, a single piece of matsutake can cost as much as 10,000 yen. Of course not all cases are like this, but they are expensive. That’s why it’s most common for the average Japanese family to eat it in a soup made with dashi broth or with rice, such as chestnut rice. Thus, with just one or two pieces, the whole family can enjoy its flavor. It’s considered that only very wealthy people can afford to savor the taste of roasted matsutake.

If you would like to try making matsutake soup at home, here’s an easy and simple recipe!

Shinmai (New Rice)

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A Japanese autumn tradition is linked to one of the staples of the Japanese diet: shinmai (新米), or “new rice”. In Japan, rice is only harvested once a year, and that’s in autumn. So the rice at that time is when it’s at its freshest, and therefore most delicious.

This rice is said to be soft and sweeter than the usual one, and the Japanese are looking forward to this season. Shinmai can only be purchased until early December. After that, it’s no longer new and is no longer sold until the next harvest.

Kabocha Korokke (Pumpkin Croquette)

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Another product that is common in autumn in many countries is pumpkin. Even Starbucks has its famous Pumpkin Latte. But as with chestnuts, in Japan this product is eaten in a way that, at least I have not seen elsewhere: pumpkin croquettes!

Croquettes are very typical in Japan, you can find them in any conbini, especially meat. But I had never tasted pumpkin croquettes. And I must admit that they are more delicious than I thought. You can eat them alone or for example with hot soba.

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Sanma (Pacific saury)

Best Japanese Food to Try in Autumn (9)

If you ask a Japanese person about typical autumn foods, one of the first things that will come to mind is sanma (秋刀魚). This fish is so deeply rooted in the Japanese autumn, that its name literally means “Autumn swordfish” ( the kanji -秋-in her name means autumn)

The most popular way to eat this fish is salt-grilled, (sanma no shioyaki). It’s served with a slice of lemon and daikon radish on the side to be added to taste. And it is accompanied in “typical Japanese style”.

For those of you who are used to traditional Japanese food, you will know that it’s very common for a dish (usually fish or meat) to be accompanied by a set of a bowl of white rice and miso soup. Or in this case, if you want to make a 100% autumn combination, you can accompany it with chestnut rice and matsutake soup.

Nashi (Asian Pear)

Best Japanese Food to Try in Autumn (10)

The quintessential Japanese autumn fruit is the nashi (梨) or asian pears. This fruit originated in East Asia, and the Japanese love it. Personally, I find it to be a cross between an apple and a pear in both taste and texture. It’s very sweet and refreshing. Definitely you have to give it a try it if you are in Japan at this time of the year.

Katsuo (Skipjack tuna)

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Autumn is a good time of the year for fish lovers in Japan. Katsuo (鰹), a very popular type of tuna among the Japanese, has two seasons. One is in spring and the other in autumn. In autumn these fish go to the Philippines in search of warmer waters. It’s at that time, when they are returning following the waters, that fishermen catch the katsuo. That’s why in Japanese it’s known as modori-gatsuo (modori in Japanese means ‘returning’). The other season is spring because that is when they come to Japan from the Philippines.

There are many ways to eat katsuo, such as the traditional Japanese sashimi (raw fish). But the most successful way in Japan is the katsuo tataki, which consists of cooking only the outside of the fish and cutting it into slices. In this way it’s cooked on the outside and raw on the inside.

Kaki (Persimmons)

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Persimmon, or kaki (柿) in Japanese, is the most popular fruit in autumn. Although it doesn’t look like a fruit (or at least, the first time I saw them I thought they were a strange orange tomatoes). But despite their unappetizing appearance, persimmons are sweet and taste great. And they’re easy to find in any supermarket and unlike other fruits, they’re cheap.

Salmon

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Salmon can be eaten all year round in Japan. However, autumn is a special season if you like salmon. As with katsuo, salmon also return. In this case, they return from the sea to the river to lay their eggs. Salmon can be caught in the sea or in the river, but according to the Japanese, it’s tastier and better if caught in the river. It’s also said that if it’s caught before it lays its eggs and goes up the river, it’s most delicious (because if it goes up the river it uses a lot of energy and gets hurt). As when it comes to fish in Japan, here too there are many ways to eat it. But for autumn my recommendation is grilled salmon. Taste the best with white rice and miso soup!

What do you think of these dishes? Have you tried any of them? Tell us what you the best food to try in your country in autumn! And If you want to know the best restaurants in Japan where to try some of these dishes or what to do in Japan in winter, don’t miss these articles too!

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FAQs

What foods are popular during the time of autumn in Japan? ›

Delicious Fall Food Staples of Japan
  • Matsutake Mushroom. Matsutake mushrooms are the sought after mushrooms of Japan. ...
  • Kuri/Chestnuts. Chestnuts are commonly thought of as a winter nut enjoyed roasted over a fire. ...
  • Sanma/Pacific Saury. ...
  • Oden. ...
  • Yakiimo/Japanese Sweet Potato.

What is the best food to eat in autumn? ›

9 Fall Produce Picks to Add to Your Plate
  • Pumpkin. Pumpkin is full of fiber and beta-carotene, which provides its vibrant orange color. ...
  • Beets. Beets are edible from their leafy greens down to the bulbous root. ...
  • Sweet Potato. Sweet potatoes are full of fiber and vitamin A. ...
  • Spaghetti Squash. ...
  • Kale. ...
  • Pears. ...
  • Okra. ...
  • Parsnips.

What food we will eat in autumn? ›

Autumn vegetable shopping list
BeansChilliesPeas
BeetrootCornPotatoes
Bok choyCucumberSilverbeet
BroccoliEggplantSpinach
Brussels sproutsKaleSpring onion
6 more rows
29 Mar 2020

What is the most famous food in the autumn months? ›

A member of the squash family, the pumpkin is best in autumn. The most popular dish made with pumpkins is pumpkin pie, which is a Thanksgiving dessert staple!

What do Japanese people eat for Mid Autumn Festival? ›

On the evening of the full moon, it is traditional to gather in a place where the Moon can be seen clearly, decorate the scene with Japanese pampas grass, and to serve white rice dumplings (known as Tsukimi dango), taro, edamame, chestnuts and other seasonal foods, plus sake as offerings to the Moon in order to pray ...

What do Japanese people do in autumn? ›

Autumn in Japan, with relatively pleasant weather after the severe summer heat, offers different activities and events; colorful trees flourish everywhere, as do festive Halloween parties, and special food dishes are offered up for the season.

What can you taste in autumn? ›

Taste: What do you taste?
  • Pumpkin everything.
  • Drinks that warm you from the inside out.
  • Fresh apples, pumpkins, and cranberries baked or added to everything.
  • Appetizers and Hors d' Oeuvres: Football food.
2 Oct 2014

What seasonal foods grow in autumn? ›

What's in season in autumn (September to November)?
  • Apple.
  • Blackberry.
  • Butternut squash.
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • Cabbage (savoy and spring green)
  • Carrot.
  • Cauliflower.
  • Celery.

Why do we eat more in autumn? ›

In cooler weather, your body needs to burn more calories to maintain body temperature. To protect your health and keep you warm, the system that controls appetite signals you to eat more. You may also notice a shift in the food that appeals to you; suddenly you crave warmer, heartier foods like soups and stews.

Do you eat more in autumn? ›

Turns out, the study subjects consumed about 200 more calories a day beginning in the fall when the days grow darker. Ockene says we seem to be very sensitive to light. Less of it, he says, prompts us to seek food and eat it faster.

What is famous in autumn season? ›

'Ganpati Chaturthi', 'Navratri', 'Dussehra' and 'Diwali, all are celebrated in the months of autumn. India is famous worldwide for its cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. Different ethnic entities have their own festivals.

Which fruit comes in autumn season? ›

Plums are one of the best seasonal fruits to enjoy during the autumn season.

What is autumn in Japan? ›

Autumn in Japan comprises the months of September, October, and November. In September, temperatures tend to be around 23ºC to 28ºC (73°F to 82°F) in the afternoon and drop to about 18ºC to 21ºC (64°F to 70°F) in the morning and at night.

What do Japanese students eat for good luck? ›

The survey, held online in November 2021, targeted 500 high school students nationwide and the most common response was katsu, or pork cutlets, the name for which has the same sound as the Japanese word for “win.” At 81.8%, this meal placed top out of all the multiple responses possible.

What should I prepare for Mid-Autumn Festival? ›

In addition to mooncakes, picture pastries and a tea service, the most common foods to include at your Mid-Autumn Festival honor table are round fruits like apples, pomelos, Asian pears, grapes, peaches and melons. Like all things Mid-Autumn Festival, a round moon-like shape symbolizes family unity and togetherness.

Why autumn is the best season in Japan? ›

Autumn in Japan is about crimson leaves and perfect weather
  • As summer transitions to autumn, Japan begins to cool down, offering temperate weather that's perfect for outdoor walks. ...
  • Most of Honshu and Kyushu are a pleasant temperature in October and November .

What month is fall 2022 in Japan? ›

For Northern Japan, the yellow leaves season is expected to start in late September and peak in mid-November in the mountainous areas, and from mid-October to late November 2022 in the plains. The mainland is expected to be in full bloom from mid-November to early December 2022.

What are 10 facts about autumn? ›

Love Autumn? We take at look at 10 unusual facts about this cosy season
  • The Autumn equinox is different each year.
  • Autumn was once called Harvest.
  • The term “fall” isn't exclusive to America.
  • Autumn babies live longer.
  • Global warming may affect Autumn selfies.
  • The Greeks have a tragic explanation for Autumn.
10 Jul 2020

What words describe autumn? ›

  • cozy.
  • crackling.
  • crisp.
  • crunchy.
  • deciduous.
  • earthy.
  • enchanting.
  • enjoyable.

What are the five senses in autumn? ›

Fall is am amazing time to explore the sense of smell, touch, taste, sight, and sound. From pumpkin picking to pie tasting and beyond.

What is the #1 favorite food? ›

The Number 1 Most Popular Foods in America are Hamburgers!

What meat is best in fall? ›

The Best Meats For Warming Autumn Dishes
  • Whole Duck. Duck is extremely nutritious, rich in flavour and is a great take on the traditional roast dinner. ...
  • Beef Mince. There is nothing like cooking a delicious and comforting food in these colder, darker nights. ...
  • Beef Sirloin Joint. ...
  • Chicken Breast. ...
  • Pork Loin. ...
  • Pheasant Brace.
1 Sept 2022

What are autumn vegetables? ›

Green veggies: arugula, broccoli, spinach, kale, celery, and artichokes. Root veggies: onions, carrots, squash, pumpkin, turnips, and sweet potato. Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats, and millet.

Why is autumn so popular? ›

When the temperature outside is lower, people reach for experiences that make them feel closer to others (think, cuffing season). If you associate the cooler (but not yet punishingly cold) fall season with snuggling inside with comfort food and heart-warming movies, this may be why.

Which season is most hungry? ›

It's very common to feel hungrier at this time of year and there are very good reasons as to why. The colder weather leads to a drop in our body temperature, which means our appetites get stimulated as a result.

Why are seasonal foods the best? ›

By choosing ingredients that are naturally in season, you will get fresher, sweeter and perfectly ripe produce that tastes better. This enhances the meals you prepare and ensures you don't end up with spoilt, impaired produce that has been kept refrigerated for months whilst it is transported from country to country.

How do you eat healthy in autumn? ›

Healthy autumn eating tips
  1. Be Creative. Vegetables are dense with nutrients and high in fibre, which makes them the ideal food category to fill up on. ...
  2. Protein-Pack Meals. ...
  3. Make Fibre a Priority. ...
  4. Choose Warm Ingredients. ...
  5. Watch the Salt. ...
  6. Use Healthy Fats. ...
  7. New Cooking Styles. ...
  8. Serve Raw.

Do people gain weight in autumn? ›

Researchers calculated a 222-calorie difference between calorie intake in the fall versus spring. And this isn't just because it's colder, since we eat more in the fall than the winter. It appears we're just genetically programmed to prep for the deprivation of winter that no longer comes.

Is autumn or fall more popular? ›

While both used throughout the United States, 'fall' has become the more popular term. From the 1800 to the present, 'autumn' has been more popular in Britain and the opposite can be said for America, according to Writing Explained.

What are 3 facts about autumn? ›

Interesting & Fun Autumn Facts
  • Superstition says that catching a falling leaf is good luck.
  • The harvest moon happens around the Autumn Equinox. ...
  • Furry animals will grow thicker fur in autumn to keep them warm through winter. ...
  • In autumn, the leaves finally turn into their real colors.
29 Jul 2022

Why is autumn called autumn? ›

The term came to denote the season in 16th-century England, a contraction of Middle English expressions like "fall of the leaf" and "fall of the year".

What three foods are harvested during autumn? ›

Summer crops, such as salads, tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers and runner beans are still highly productive while autumn crops such as apples, pears, squash, leeks are nearly ready for harvesting.

Is Mango an autumn fruit? ›

Mangoes are mostly seen growing in the summer season. Other fruits like watermelon and grapes are also available during summer.

What season do we eat grapes? ›

Grapes are a fruit available throughout the year but they are beneficial as a winter season fruit as they are rich in anti-oxidants. They are also a good source for potassium which can help prevent skin problems. Grapes boost your brain power and are great for your eyes and knees.

What food is in season in Japan in September? ›

If you come to Japan in September, you must enjoy the following seasonal ingredients:
  • Seafood: Pacific saury (sanma, 秋刀魚), salmon (shake, 鮭), mackerel (saba, 鯖)
  • Fruits and vegetables: Chestnuts (kuri, 栗子), sweet potato (satsumaimo, サツマイモ), fig (ichijiku, 無花果)
7 Sept 2021

What popular Japanese fruit is in season during the winter? ›

Unshu mikan (satsuma orange), which is native to Japan, is the most common winter fruit in Japan. The name “mikan” on its own is used to refer to this fruit, which is small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, seedless and can be easily peeled and eaten.

What is autumn season in Japan? ›

Autumn in Japan comprises the months of September, October, and November. In September, temperatures tend to be around 23ºC to 28ºC (73°F to 82°F) in the afternoon and drop to about 18ºC to 21ºC (64°F to 70°F) in the morning and at night.

Is Japan better spring or autumn? ›

Spring in Japan, famous for its breath-taking cherry blossoms, is by far the most popular time of the year for tourists. But, fall in Japan has incredible beauty, delicious foods, and pleasant weather that definitely rivals the spring! Here's why you should visit Japan in autumn!

What is October season in Japan? ›

Autumn arrives in Honshu and the warm, rainy days of summer turn cooler and drier as the month progresses (avg temp: 22°C). Tokyo sees more rain this month than the city of Osaka, and Hiroshima is drier again with more sunshine.

What is September known for in Japan? ›

September in Japan tends to be a month of two faces: earlier in the month, temperatures remain high and a second rainy season hits, bringing typhoons to some parts of the country. Later in the month, conditions are better for getting out and about, with warm but not overly hot temperatures, and clear skies.

What fruit is in season in autumn and winter? ›

Autumn fruits include:
FigsApplesGrapes
BananasLimesQuince
Custard applesGuavasOranges
RhubarbLemonsPomegranate
Kiwi fruitsPassionfruitPears
1 more row
30 Nov 2012

Which are the two popular winter fruits? ›

Here Are Winter Fruits That Should Be A Part Of Your Daily Diet In Winter
  • Apples. You are likely to find apples in most households during winter. ...
  • Grapes. Grapes are a fruit available throughout the year but they are beneficial as a winter season fruit as they are rich in anti-oxidants. ...
  • Kiwi. ...
  • Oranges. ...
  • Strawberries.
11 Dec 2020

What vegetables grow in winter Japan? ›

Daikon, kabu, komatsuna, Chinese cabbage and spinach are a few of the more popular winter vegetables to be had, but farmers also roll out a bevy of others that are just as tasty, but perhaps less well known such as karashina and wasabina.

What is Japan's number 1 food? ›

Japan's most internationally famous dish, sushi is also internationally misunderstood. Most people are mistaken in believing that sushi is simply raw fish. Rather, good sushi is a vigilant combination of vinegared rice, raw fish and vegetables and comes in many different forms.

What symbolizes autumn in Japan? ›

Another phrase appropriate during fall is “芸術の秋 (geijutsu no aki),” which literally means “autumn, the season for art.” In Japan, fall symbolizes freshness and new endeavors, due to the mild climate and crisp air; it is a season for both artists and art enthusiasts to appreciate art and encounter artistic inspiration.

What is autumn called in Japan? ›

Autumn in Japan is known as Aki (秋) and the fall foliage is classified by two different terms: Koyo (紅葉) and Momiji (紅葉). Koyo describes foliage with red and yellow colors, while Momiji (紅葉) specifically applies to the intensely red maple leaves that are particularly spectacular during the season.

What Japanese name means autumn? ›

Aki: It's a short, pretty Japanese name for boys or girls meaning “bright, autumn.”

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