season name meaning asscociations aprox. gregorian date
Risshun 立春 Start of spring Ground thaws, fish appear under ice. Feb 4
Usui 雨水 Rain waters Snow recedes, mist lingers in the air. Feb 18
Keichitsu 啓蟄 Emergence of the worms Bugs surface from hibernation. Mar 6
Shunbun 春分 Vernal equinox Sparrows start to nest, cherry blossoms bloom. Mar 21
Seimei 清明 Clear and bright Geese fly north, the first rainbows of the year appear. Apr 4
Kokū 穀雨 Rain for harvests Reeds sprout by rivers, rice seedlings grow. Apr 21
Rikka 立夏 Start of summer Birds and frogs start the songs of summer. May 6
Shōman 小満 Small blooming Flowers and plants bloom, wheat ripens. May 21
Bōshu 芒種 Seeds and cereals Praying mantises hatch, fireflies come out. Time to seed the soil. Jun 5
Geshi 夏至 Reaching summer Longest days of the year, irises bloom. Jun 21
Shōsho 小暑 Small heat Warm winds blow, young hawks learn to fly. Jul 7
Taisho 大暑 Big heat Summer heat at its strongest, accompanied by great rains. Jul 23
Risshu 立秋 Start of autumn Cooler winds blow, thick fogs roll through hills. Aug 8
Shosho 処暑 Lessening heat Rice has ripened, the heat of summer, forgotten. Aug 23
Hakuro 白露 White dew Drops of dew on grass. Sep 7
Shubun 秋分 Autumnal equinox Day and night are of equal length. Sep 23
Kanro 寒露 Cold dew Temperatures begin to drop, crickets stop chirping. Oct 8
Sōkō 霜降 Frosting The first frosts, maple leaves turn yellow. Oct 23
Ritto 立冬 Start of winter The ground starts to freeze. Nov 8
Shōsetsu 小雪 Small snow Light snow, the last leaves have fallen from trees. Nov 23
Taisetsu 大雪 Big snow Cold sets in, bears hibernate. Dec 8
Tōji 冬至 Winter solstice Shortest days of the year. Dec 22
Shōkan 小寒 Small cold Temperatures quickly drop. Jan 6
Daikan 大寒 Big cold Ice thickens on the streams, hens huddle together. Jan 20