Japan‘s Autumn Leaves
During autumn seasons in Japan, which is towards the end of November to early December, the average temperatures during the day could become around 15 degrees with the sun, and it is said to be one of the best seasons to stroll and spend time outside with family and friends because of its mild and pleasant weather. People might know the beauty of the cherry blossoms seasons during spring in Japan, but for the Japanese people, the colorful autumn leaves are also very well appreciated and are enjoyed since the ancient times.
One of the reasons is because of their colors. The autumn leave colors in Japan are not just orange brown, it turns into beautiful different colors as red, yellow, orange, etc. What makes the leaves so colorful in autumn is because of the characteristics of the weather in autumn in Japan. It has often dry, bright and sunny days, but it gets chilly and cold at night. Therefore, the large differences in the temperatures between the day and night make the autumn leaves bright and so colorful. So, If you ever plan to visit Tokyo during autumn, here are some list of places that you should definitely visit to enjoy the beauty of Japan‘s autumn colors.
#1. Meiji Jingu Gaien Park
One of the best spots in the center of Tokyo would be the lines of Ginkgo trees in the Meiji Jingu Gaien Park. The 146 large Ginkgo trees are planted along 300 meters along road where people can enjoy strolling under the beautiful autumn leaves alongside with some restaurants and cafes around. The area is close from the famous shopping district, Omotesando and Aoyama, so, you can enjoy doing shopping as well before or after visiting the park. Every year in autumn, a festival for Ginkgo trees foliage is held during mid November to early December.
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Meij Jingu Gaien Park
Ginkgo Trees Foliage Festival: November 18th, 2016 – December 5th, 2016
Address: 2-1 Kita Aoyama, Mitano Ward, Tokyo
Access: 3 minute walk from “Gaien-Mae” or “Aoyama Ichome” subway station
Website: Ginko Tree Festival (Japanese)
#2. Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
Koishigawa Korakuen Gardens is a traditional Japanese style gardens built by one of the great feudal loads during Edo period in 1629, and is now designated as as the Special Place of Scenic Beauty and the Special Historic Site by the Japanese government. It is more than 70,000m2 wide and is like a hidden oasis surrounded by the modern buildings. In the gardens there are special type of trees that turn their leave colors to beautiful bright red, and you can enjoy magnificent colorful autumn leaves with the traditional Japanese style gardens.
Right next to the gardens, there is an amusement park called “Tokyo Dome City”, where you can enjoy some exciting roller coasters etc. for some fun under the sunny and mild autumn weather.
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Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
Address: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
Access: 3 minute walk from Toei Oedo Line “Iidabashi” Station
Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Admission Fee: 300 yen
Website: Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
#3. Rikugien Gardens
Likewise “Koishikn Gardens”, Rikugien Gardens is also a traditional Japanese style gardens created during Edo period and is considered as one of the beautiful gardens in Tokyo at that time. It is located not too far from Koishigawa Korakuen Gardens with more than 87,000 m2. During when the trees turn their colors in autumn, the trees and its leaves are lightened up during the night so that people can enjoy some magical scenery by looking at the autumn leaves in the traditional garden at night.
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Address: 6 Honkomagome, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
Access: 7 minute walk from JR/Subway “Komagome” Station
Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Light up Hours (Nov 19 to Dec 7): 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Website: Rikugien Gardens
#4. Yoyogi Park
If you would like to enjoy strolling under the beautiful sunny and mild autumn weather in Tokyo, Yoyogi park could also be the best place to visit. It is one of the fifth largest parks in Tokyo located right next to the Meiji Shrine with more than 1,300 trees planted in 540,529 m2 wide park where the trees turn their leaves into magnificent autumn colors.
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Address: 2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
3 minute walk from JR Line “Harajuku Station”
6 minute walk from Odakyu Line “Yoyogi Hachiman” Station
Hours: Open every day for 24 hours
Website: Yoyogi Park
#5. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is located in the heart of Tokyo, Shinjuku. It was originally built as a garden for one of the feudal loads during Edo period in the 17th century. It is about 58.3 ha (144 acres) wide. Within the garden, it has a traditional Japanese style garden, an English style garden, and a French style garden. You can find some interesting contrasts and landscapes with the characteristics of the trees planted in the gardens that turns into autumn colors.
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Shinjuk Gyoen National Garden
Address: 11 Naito-machi, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo
5 minute walk from Marunouchi Line “Shinjuku Gyoen Mae” Station to “Shinjuku Gate”
5 minute walk from Toei Shinjuku Line “Shinjuku San Chome” Station to “Shinjuku Gate”
5 minute walk from JR Sobu Line “Sendagaya” Statio to “Sendagaya Gate”
Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
*Closed on Mondays
Admission Fee: 200 yen
Website: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
#6. Mt. Takao
Mt. Takao is a small mountain with 599 meters high that has easy access from the center of Tokyo with around one hour or less by a local train, would also be one of the best places to enjoy the breath taking autumn leaves. This mountain area has always been popular among people in Tokyo to go out for some hiking or to enjoy some fresh air with nature with family and friends. It now became much more popular especially among foreign tourists since the place was selected as a “three-star-mountain” to visit by the world’s famous travel guide, “Michelin Green Guide for Japan”. It is true that there are so much to see and do. There are old Japanese temple, shrine, onsen (hot-spring spa), shops, restaurants in the mountains, and you can enjoy the panorama of the high-rise building in Tokyo from the top of the mountain. The best season to enjoy the autumn colors would be from late November to early December.
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Mt. Takao (Takao-zan)
Address: Takaomachi, Hachioji City, Tokyo
Access: Take Keio Line (Special Express for weekdays, Semi-Special Express for weekends) from “Shinjuku” station and get off at “Takaosanguchi” station, which takes about 50 minutes with 390 yen.
Website: Mt. Takao
#7. Mitake Valley
Right after you stepped out from the train station, you will find a beautiful river between a small valley called “Mitake Ravine (Mitake Keikoku)”. Alongside the river, there is a footpath of about four kilometers long where people can enjoy and feel the nature and is a best place to enjoy the multi-color autumn leaves and some sound of the river stream who is designated as one well preserved river in Japan by the Ministry of Environment of Japan. The best season to for the autumn leaves would be from mid November to late November.
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Mitake Ravine (Mitake Keikoku)
Address: Mitake, Ome City, Tokyo
Access: 3 minute walk from JR Ome Line “Mitake” station which takes about 95 minutes from “Shinjuku” station in Tokyo
Website: Mitake Ravine
#8. Lake Okutama
Lake Okutama is located in the north west of Tokyo surrounded by the mountains and nature. The lake is about 45 km around and is a man-made artificial lake constructed as a dam. The autumn leaves can, of course, be magnificent, but there are a lot to see and do around the lake, such as traditional temple, shrine, limestone natural cave, etc. Crossing the lake by walking on a floating bridge could also be a great fun to enjoy. The best season to for the autumn leaves would be from late October to mid November.
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Access: Take JR Chuo Line Special Express from “Shinjuku” station to “Tachikawa” station (25 minutes). Then take JR Ome line from “Tachikawa” station to “Ome” station (30 minutes). Change at “Ome” station to “Okutama” station (30 minutes). Take Nishi Tokyo Bus to “Okutamako” bus station.
Website: Lake Okutama