Autumn appetite: top 4 seasonal foods

19 Oct 2018 in Food Culture

If you enjoy hearty eating, now is the time to visit Japan!


If you’re visiting Japan in autumn, you’re in for a treat. Not just for the exceptional leaf-peeping, but also for the gastronomic fare. The Japanese refer to this season as shokuyoku no aki, meaning “autumn appetite”.


Because it’s the moment when nature offers some of its finest fare!

Here is our pick of Japan’s must-try autumn foods.

Matsutake mushrooms

Dubbed the “King of autumn foods”, these aromatic, rich-tasting mushrooms are prized throughout Japan.


The domestic variety can reach as much as US$100 a mushroom! At Hoshino Resorts KAI Hakone, you can treat yourself to a matsutake kaiseki dinner with grilled, steamed and simmered mushrooms served over several exquisite courses.


Sanma fish

The Pacific saury (sanma) is at its fattiest, most oily and most delicious in autumn.


This silver fish is usually broiled or grilled, then served with a squirt of yuzu fruit or soy sauce and grated radish.


Wash it down with a sake.


Japanese chestnuts (kuri) have inspired an abundance of gastronomic creations.



Kuri gohan? That’s steamed chestnuts and rice.


Kuri manju? A chestnut-shaped and -flavoured cake with white bean paste. Kuri kinton? Candied chestnut, often combined with sweet potatoes. Alternatively, simply boil your kuri with salt or soy sauce.

New rice

The year’s first harvest of rice is reputed for being moister, softer, plumper and more fragrant.



Known as shinmai, it’s best enjoyed steamed, with salt or in onigiri rice balls.



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