The Japanese Art of Living Seasonally

An invitation to celebrate every day

Written by Japanologist Natalie Leon, this beautiful guide unlocks the secrets of Japan’s seasonal culture to help you relish the seasons wherever you are.




Since the Heian period, nature has permeated every aspect of Japanese culture in myriad ways; the Japanese literally eat, sleep and wear the seasons, from kimono motifs to seasonal sweets and annual festivals dedicated to the moon’s beauty or the blooming of flowers. This celebration of nature leads to a deep awareness of the seasons, called kisetsukan.

In this book, Japanologist and seasonality expert Natalie Leon explains the hidden depths of kisetsukan and shares how seasonal living can be incorporated into our own lives. Through 12 key concepts, such as shun, focusing on eating seasonally, Kasane, the language of colour, and mottainai, zero-waste living, this treasure trove of folktales, recipes and activities is an invitation to mark and appreciate each passing season:

  • Design your own beautiful new year’s cards, make a snow rabbit, and watch out for the first plum blossoms of the year during Oshogatsu (New Year).
  • Practise hanami, the ritual of flower viewing, and celebrate spring blossoming trees around the world. Make edible dried petals for sweets or compose a haiku to celebrate the ephemeral beauty of spring.
  • Discover the way of the water, or mizu, through Japanese river spirits and ocean goddesses. Try spring rain rituals or take an onsen-inspired bath in the winter.
  • Experience the seasons through your local trees by trying shinrin yoku, the self-care practice of forest bathing. Learn unique Japanese tree-related words, including komorebi, which refers to the rays of light that filter down through leaves.

Increase your personal harmony, creativity and happiness by savouring the seasons, no matter where you are.

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