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By far the most recognizable of Japan’s natural phenomena is the cherry blossom. And why not: Who can resist the cotton candy plumes of the pink-white flower? More than anything, blossom season is a time to celebrate. Spring means warmth and evening yozakura parties with drinks and snacks aplenty. What’s not to like?

Autumn leaves, on the other hand, aren’t as famous. The word “sakura” (cherry blossom) is used as a first name, it’s that desirable; conversely, momiji (autumn leaves) is the name of a witch in a Muromachi Period (1392-1573) play. You begin to get the picture.

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