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, a map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had. 

Read a novel set in Tokyo

When Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death wasn’t an accident, his life begins to unravel…read more