Persimmons (柿): A typical autumn scene is the picture-perfect sight of ripe, orange kaki (persimmons) standing out against a bright blue, crisp autumn sky. But kaki are not just something to look at; you can also eat them. Kaki that you can eat fresh right off the tree are round and are called amagaki (sweet kaki). Dried persimmons or hoshigaki, made from a variety known as shibugaki, are also a popular autumn treat. No matter which way you eat them you are sure to get lots of vitamin C. If you don't get out into the country, look for these treats in any self-respecting fruit store or supermarket.
Matsutake mushrooms (マツタケ): You might have heard of them. But now you have a chance to see them and, if you can afford it, even eat them. October is the month when the lucrative matsutake mushroom harvest hits the shops. As expensive as the prized French truffle, the matsutake is a rare treat. It can not be cultivated: it only grows naturally in natural pine forests (very rare nowadays). The best way to eat matsutake is to lightly grill them and then eat them immediately. If you are simply interested in seeing them, there’s an well-known shop that sells specializes in them about thirty meters north of Sanjo on Teramachi. Looking at them, by the way, is absolutely free of charge. Just don't touch!
Written by Ian Ropke, founder and owner of Your Japan Private Tours: Japan-wide travel expert since 1992. Ian and his team offer personalized quality private travel services all over Japan. To learn more, visit www.kyoto-tokyo-private-tours.com or call us on +1-415-230-0579 | +81-5534-4372