Today is September 23, the day of the autumnal equinox, when day and night are of equal length. In Japan, today is a national holiday, called Shubun no Hi (秋分の日) or Higan no Chu Nichi (彼岸の中日). Higan is a week-long period of Buddhist memorial services, and it occurs twice a year, at the vernal and autumnal equnioxes.
Dedicated to celebrating the changing of the seasons from summer to fall, Shubun no Hi is also a day that families visit tombs to pay respects to their ancestors. From the balcony of our hotel, we saw people putting fresh flowers at graves.