Japan is famous for having four distinct seasons. In fact, do you know that there are other Japanese expressions for the seasons besides “春” (haru), “夏” (natsu), “秋” (aki), and “冬” (fuyu)? In this article, we will introduce some Japanese expressions related to the seasons.
1. 春 (haru)
The word “春” (haru) means “spring.” Spring in Japan is between March and May. In spring, the temperature starts to rise gradually from the cold winter months, making it more comfortable. In spring in Japan, cherry blossoms are in full bloom and beautiful scenery can be seen.
Mōsugu haru desu ne.
It's spring soon.
2. 夏 (natsu)
The word “夏” (natsu) means “summer.” Summer in Japan is from June to August, when the temperature rises above 30 degrees Celsius, and sometimes above 35 degrees Celsius. Summer in Japan is hot and humid, so sultry days continue.
Kotoshi wa atsui natsu ni nari-sō desu ne.
It's going to be a hot summer this year.
3. 秋 (aki)
The word “秋” (aki) means “autumn.” Autumn in Japan is between September and November. The temperature gradually drops from summer, and the season becomes comfortable again. In autumn, you can see the beautiful scenery of autumn leaves.
Aki ni nattara momijigari ni ikimashou.
Let's go see the autumn leaves in the fall.
4. 冬 (fuyu)
The word “冬” (fuyu) means “winter.” Winter in Japan is between December and February. The temperature is low and it is a cold season. In some areas, snow piles up above human height.
Nihon no fuyu wa samui desu ne.
Winter in Japan is cold.
In Japan, there is a term for the seasons called “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki). “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki) divides the year into spring, summer, autumn, and winter, and each season is further divided into six. Each of the 24 seasons has its own name and is sometimes listed on Japanese calendars. In this article, we would like to introduce some of the famous “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki).
5. 立春 (risshun)
“立春” (risshun) is one of the “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki), which means the beginning of spring around February 3rd. Although “立春” (risshun) marks the beginning of spring, February is still cold in Japan. For this reason, the phrase “暦の上では” (koyomi no ue dewa), meaning “according to the calendar,” is often used to explain that “立春” (risshun) is the beginning of spring.
Risshun ni naru to, koyomi no ue dewa haru desu.
When risshun (the first day of spring) arrives, it is spring according to the calendar.
6. 立夏 (rikka)
“立夏” (rikka) is one of the “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki), which means the beginning of summer around May 5.
Rikka wo sugitara, natsu ga kuru junbi wo shimashou.
After rikka (the first day of summer), get ready for summer.
7. 立秋 (risshū)
“立秋” (risshū) is one of the “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki), which means the beginning of autumn around August 7.
Risshū wo sugitara, zansho mimai wo kakimasu.
After risshū (the first day of autumn), I will write a post card for the late summer.
8. 立冬 (rittō)
“立冬” (rittō) is one of the “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki), which means the beginning of winter around November 7.
Rittō ni naru to, fuyu no kehai ga chikazuite kimasu.
With rittō (the first day of winter), the signs of winter are approaching.
9. 春分 (shunbun)
“春分” (shunbun) is one of the “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki), which means that around March 21, the daytime and nighttime are the same. After this day, the daytime becomes longer than the nighttime. In Japan, there is a national holiday called “春分の日” (shunbun no hi).
Ashita wa shunbun no hi de, o yasumi desu.
You are off tomorrow. Because it's Vernal Equinox Day.
1０. 夏至 (geshi)
“夏至” (geshi) is one of the “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki) when daylight hours are at their longest on June 21. After this day, the daylight hours gradually become shorter.
Geshi wo sugireba, sukoshizutsu yoru ga nagaku natte ikimasu.
After the summer solstice, the nights get longer little by little.
1１. 秋分 (shūbun)
“秋分” (shūbun) is one of the “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki) when the daytime and nighttime become the same again around September 23. After this day, the nighttime gradually becomes longer than the daytime. In Japan, there is a national holiday called “秋分の日” (shūbun no hi).
Shūbun no hi ni wa, o haka-mairi ni ikimasu.
I go to visit the grave on Autumnal Equinox Day.
12. 冬至 (tōji)
“冬至” (tōji) is one of the “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki) when the nighttime is the longest. After this day, the daytime hours gradually become longer.
Tōji ni wa, yuzu yu ni hairu fūshū ga arimasu.
In Japan, there is a custom to take a yuzu bath at the winter solstice.
In addition to the “二十四節気” (nijūshisekki), there are other words to describe the seasons in Japan, and we will introduce some of them here.
13. 初春 (shoshun)
The word “初春” (shoshun) is a seasonal term meaning “the beginning of spring” around January and March.
Fukinotō wa shoshun no mikaku desu.
Fukinoto is the taste of early spring.
14. 晩夏 (banka)
The word “晩夏” (banka) is a seasonal term meaning “the end of summer” around August and September.
Banka no kō, natsu no atsusa mo daibu yawaragimashita ga, ikaga osugoshideshou ka.
The heat of summer has eased considerably. How have you been recently?
*It is a seasonal greeting used at the beginning of a letter.
15. 中秋 (chūshū)
The word “中秋” (chūshū) is a seasonal term meaning “the middle of autumn” around September and October. The moon seen on August 15 of the lunar calendar is called “中秋の名月” (chūshū-no-meigetsu), and is currently seen around the middle of September.
Chūshū-no-meigetsu ga kirei desu ne.
The harvest moon is beautiful.
16. 初冬 (shotō)
The word “初冬” (shotō) is a seasonal term meaning “the beginning of winter” around November and December.
Kyō wa, shoto wo omowaseru samusa desu ne.
Today, it is a cold reminiscent of early winter.
There are various expressions such as “立春” (risshun), “春分” (shunbun), and ”初春” (shoshun) even in the same spring. The temperature and weather change little by little, so you can't say “it's spring from today.” Please enjoy the vague and delicate Japanese expressions created by this change. There are other words to describe the seasons, such as “大寒” (taikan) and “大雪” (taisetsu), but do you know what they mean?
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