For the last week, there’s been a sweet smell in the air reminiscent of apricots. Are there fruit trees in bloom? Is there some sort of autumn perfume that everyone is wearing?

Turns out, the smell comes from the blossoms of the kinmokusei, or the gold osmanthus. The bright orange flowers and their glorious scent mark the unofficial beginning of fall in Japan.


The blossoms of the kinmokusei. We’ve passed this ordinary green shrub a hundred times, but only now is it demanding attention

The flower is used in various fragrances, including deodorizers and perfumes. They’re so prevalent in our neighborhood that you rarely turn a corner without encountering the olfactory candy known as kinmokusei.


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