Three Interesting Spring Novels by Japanese Authors

book cover collage“Spring” is called “haru 春” in Japanese. The spring season lasts from March to May with its peak in late April and early May. The highlight is the “Golden Week” which is a national holiday.

Spring is associated with a new beginning, starting a new life and nature awakening from sleep. In Japan you see cherry blossoms, plum blossoms and hear chirping birds.

It is the time of cherry blossom viewing called “hanami 花見”. There are a couple of seasonal festivals (“matsuri”) in Japan. Some of the best known examples are the following.

The Sanja Matsuri is a spring festival celebrated in Tokyo. It is one of the biggest festivals with about 100 floats and a big crowd around the Senso-ji, on the third weekend in May. (Here are some pictures to get an impression about the crowd and the festivities. Link to:

Aoi Matsuri is celebrated in Kyôto on May 15th at the Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine (for more information see pictures and explanations at

The charming Takayama Spring Festival is held on April 14th and 15th every year. See some pictures at and

Thinking of spring, the following Japanese novels come to mind.

The Old Capital by Kawabata Yasunari
What is it about?
It is the most famous Japanese book by the Nobel prize winner. The love story begins in spring and takes place in extremely popular places at Kyôto.
Title in Japanese: 古都, 1962
Read the full review on Japan Kaleidoskop

Spring Snow by Mishima Yukio
What is it about?
“Spring Snow” is the story of a young man, Matsugae Kiyoaki, placed in Tokyo of 1912. He has been raised in the family tradition of the aristocracy. He falls in love with the elegant and sophisticated Ayakura Satoko.
Title in Japanese:  春の雪, 1968
Read the full review on Japan Kaleidoskop

Hear the Wind Sing by Murakami Haruki
What is it about?
“Hear the Wind Sing” is the first novel of Murakami Haruki published in the literary magazine “Gunzo” in 1979 and won the “Gunzo Prize for New Writers”.
Title in Japanese: 風の歌を聴け
Read the full review on Japan Kaleidoskop