Japanese 24 Seasons -Shokan-

January 13, 2020 Juju Kurihara 1 Comment

It had been a quite warm winter but have you noticed it’s become colder as soon as the year changed? I remember every year the day of entrance exams, it’s on the 1st of February, we would have snow in Japan. In February and March are the best months for skiing, as far as I remember.

We sometimes don’t take it seriously, but old sayings are not just saying and often it makes sense. On the 5th or the 6th of January, the new season Shokan (better pronounced as shoukan) started. This is one of the 24 seasons (Niju-Shisekki) in a year and it’s written as 小寒 = small cold in Japanese. Don’t get tricked by “small” because it often gets the coldest time of the year.



Shokan lasts until the next season, Taikan (大寒, big cold) which starts around the 20th/21st of January. Shokan is also known Kan no iri (寒の入り), which means “entering the cold”. Although the actual meaning is “the beginning of the coldness” but in the reality, it gets colder if you are now in winter. 


So wrap yourself up and get some warm tea! Take care! 




1 Comment

  1. Beth Parkhurst 3 years Reply

    Your comment about shokan sometimes being the coldest part of the year reminds me of an old saying I heard from my mother:

    When the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to strengthen.

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