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the art of gentle living

Embracing the New Year with Japan’s 72 seasons


Have you heard of Japan’s 72 seasons? Known as “shichijūni-shiki, the year is divided into 72 microseasons, each lasting about five days.

This system was originally used by farmers and fishermen to mark the changing of seasons and to plan their activities accordingly.

Each microseason is named after a specific natural phenomenon, such as the blooming of cherry blossoms or the emergence of new leaves on trees, and is accompanied by its own set of customs and traditions.

The 72 seasons are based on a combination of the lunar calendar and the traditional Japanese solar calendar, and are said to be more attuned to the subtle changes in nature than the four traditional seasons.

This system of microseasons allows for a more detailed and nuanced understanding of the natural world, and helps people to appreciate the beauty and diversity of the changing seasons.


The app, 72 Seasons chronicles the micro seasons, giving each a name, a description of the period and a haiku. It also features seasonal fruits, vegetables, plants and food. According to the app, the period between January 1-5 is part of the Winter Solstice. It describes this time of year as when the days are at their shortest and the nights at their longest.

A Calmer Perspective on Time

By embracing the 72 seasons, we shift our focus from the fast-paced demands of modern life to the slower, deliberate pace set by nature. This shift promotes mindfulness, encouraging us to savour the present moment and find joy in the simple pleasures of each micro-season. Whether it’s the first snowfall or the blooming of plum blossoms, there is a unique joy in being fully present and appreciating the transient beauty that surrounds us.

In a society driven by deadlines and schedules, when we become mindful of this calendar, we gain a calmer perspective and the seasons become markers of time well spent. Time transforms from a source of anxiety into a guide for appreciating the richness of the present, reminding us that life is a series of moments to be savoured rather than rushed through.