It’s Really All About The Sticky Rice Balls

Yeah, yeah, I know – leaves glowing in autumnal splendor, fall evening clear and crisp, moon shining bright, pond like a mirror, and the photos are sure to wow the folks back home. But let’s go bottom line: it’s really all about the miso dango.

I’ve waited ALL YEAR for the Rikugi-en garden in Komagome to open up at night again for leaf-viewing, just so I can eat these gooey balls of delishitude on a stick. Skewered up and stuck in an old-fashioned rice-straw wreath, the freshly-pounded rice balls slowly melt into warm blobs of goodness, then are slathered in either miso or soy-based sauce. (I mention the latter only as a courtesy. Miso, all the way.)

Sorry, I just realized it’s slightly cruel to be describing these to you online, so here are some leaf pictures as slight compensation. Sadly, I can’t deliver them warm, with miso sauce.

A Japanese maple in full regalia

Colored lights shine up into the trees across the big pond.

My favorite bridge.

If you’d like to visit Rikugi-en Garden the next time you’re in Tokyo, directions & a map are on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had. Dates for this year’s nighttime light-up are on the November page at #tokyotrip. Although they only sell miso dango during the fall <sob!>, the garden is gorgeous all year round. If you’re lucky enough to be in Tokyo right now, the garden will open until 9:00 every night through December 9th.

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery seriespublished by Penguin/Intermix.

Published by Penguin/Intermix