Japanese 24 Seasons -Koku-u-

May 2, 2020 Juju Kurihara Culture, Language, Lifestyle, Vocabulary Tags: , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

The 19th of April, the sixth season of Niju-shi sekki, Koku-u (穀雨/ ends on the 4th of May) has started.



Koku-u means the rain falls during sowing seeds and rice-planting season. This time of rain is also called hyakkoku harusame (百穀春雨), the literal meaning is, “spring rain for hundred cereals” and is the rain that grows all the cereals. Ancient farmers would finish sowing seeds during the period of koku-u to grow crops well. This rain has been a very special and important rain for the farmers. 




Peony, Botan (牡丹) in Japanese are highly valued in China and called the king of the flower or the fragrance of the heaven. Since botan starts flowering in this time, it’s also called, koku-u bana (koku-u flower). 



There are a lot of fresh vegetables come to the season. Here are some. 


New tea. 

At the end of koku-u is hachi-ju hachi-ya (八十八夜/eighty-eighth night). Why 88th night? Because this is the 88th night from risshun (立春), the 4th of February. New tea leaves are picked this season and people believe that they will live longer if they drink the tea from the newly picked leaves. 




Kusa-mochi is made from mugwort. The fresh green grass is considered as a medicine in China and also used as a protection from the bad spirits. 



Gobou (Burdock root)


This tree roots looking things are gobou (ごぼう). It seems like only Japanese people eat this as a food. For Chinese people, this is a herbal medicine. 



Takenoko (bamboo shoot) 


Many people go crazy about takenoko. This is a very seasonal vegetable and you see everywhere until the beginning of summer. 



This is the perfect time for gardening. Maybe the magical rain can grow your herbs or vegetables very tasty. Enjoy rainy days as well as the sunny ones. 





Chugokugo-script: http://chugokugo-script.net/koyomi/kokuu.html

Boxil: https://boxil.jp/beyond/a5569/



  1. Beth Parkhurst 3 years Reply

    Thinking about spring rains and gardening is sweet. Thank you for the post!
    It’s about time for me to put my garden in.

    • Juju Kurihara 3 years

      Let’s wait for some magical shower for your garden. 

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