Seeing vibrant autumn leaves is always an activity worth experiencing when living in Japan. Around the end of October, many towns and their streets shed a new color. From November to early December, Japan welcomes the cozy and romantic season of brilliant Japanese maple leaves known as momiji, and the streets and parks are painted with golden yellow and red. In this blog, Smiles will introduce 10 hot spots to see autumn leaves in Tokyo.
Before you explore the places we recommend you to see the autumn leaves in Japan, feel free to take a look at the Japanese vocabulary related to the topic:
Fall/autumn – 秋 (aki)
Autumn leaves – 紅葉 (kouyou)
Japanese maple leaves – 紅葉 (momiji)
Fallen leaves – 落葉 (rakuyou)
Autumnal equinox – 秋分 (shuubun)
10 Best Hot Spots to see Autumn Leaves in Tokyo 2021
Table of Contents
1. Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Rikugien Garden 六義園公園
Rikugien Garden, which means “garden of six types of poetry”, demonstrates the six types of Waka poetry in Japanese literature by displaying 88 miniature scenes from famous poems. Rikugien is a prime example of an Edo period garden, known as the garden of art and poetry, and it’s one of Tokyo’s best spots to see autumn leaves. Visit the Rikugien Garden to see the red and yellow leaves and enjoy a cup of hot tea with some cake in the cool and cozy weather of Tokyo.
2. Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Meiji Jingu Gaien 明治神宮外苑
See the eye-catching red leaves at Meiji Jingu Gaien, which is known for its rows of ginkgo trees along both sides of the road (about 150 trees). Meiji Jingu Gaien is located in the Meiji Jingu campus and possesses stunning scenery with brilliant yellow autumn leaves every season, especially in mid to late November. Because of its warm yellow colors, the area is known as the “Golden Road”.
3. Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Mt. Takao (Takao-san) 高尾山
Mt. Takao is an ideal place if you want to view a blend of dynamic yellow, red and orange autumn leaves with the cityscape of Tokyo. From the top of Mt. Takao, you can even see Mt. Fuji. Trekking time up the mountain is about two hours. If you’d like to ride your way up and down the mountain, there is a cable car or chair lift service.
4. Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Inokashira Park 井の頭公園
Once the autumn season arrives, approximately 600 trees in Inokashira Park are covered in red and yellow, creating a romantic and cozy scene. A unique feature of the place is that you can rent a boat and ride it on a large lake and see the autumn breath of nature from a new perspective. You can also leisurely stroll around the lake, or sit on a bench to see the red leaves sway in the breeze.
5. Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Yoyogi Park 代々木公園
Yoyogi Park is a popular viewing spot to see autumn leaves in Tokyo with about 1,300 trees including ginkgo, maple and zelkova trees. At the time the leaves change color around the end of November, this park attracts a large number of tourists. It may be better to visit Yoyogi Park early in the morning as the afternoon brings in more of a crowd.
6. Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens 小石川後楽園
Koishikawa Korakuen Garden recreates famous scenes from different regions of Japan. The garden has many splendid miniature landscapes such as the autumn leaves forest – during the fall, it will look like a tunnel of red leaves. In November, there is also an autumn leaves festival that attracts many tourists. The foliage dyed red and yellow reflecting on the calm Daisensui Lake is also an equally beautiful scene.
7. Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Showa Memorial (Kinen) Park 昭和記念公園
Showa Memorial (Kinen) Park is the largest park in Japan, rich with an assortment of flowers and plants that you can see all year round such as tulips, sunflowers and chrysanthemums. The highlighted area of the park during autumn is the scene of bright yellow ginkgo trees lined up. This hot spot is known to be one of the best places to see autumn leaves in Japan and usually brings in many visitors during the autumn season, so we recommend you to visit early in the morning.
8. Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Hamarikyu Onshi Garden 浜離宮恩賜庭園
Hamarikyu Onshi Garden is one of the hot spots to view autumn leaves in Tokyo. You can see mother nature show off her work as rows of vibrant camphor trees, ginkgo trees, and cherry blossom trees surround the lake. The unforgettable scenery of Lake Shioiri-no-ike and vivid red leaves on the surrounding trees leave may leave quite an impression. Within the garden grounds, you can see Tokyo Tower in the distance. Hamarikyu Onshi Garden may be an ideal place to see autumn leaves if you’re looking for a place that offers a view of the city and color-popping red leaves at the same time.
9. Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Hibiya Park 日比谷公園
Every year, around the end of November, Hibiya Park has renewed thanks to the change of color of maple leaves and ginkgo trees. A special feature of Hibiya Park is that there is a 400-year-old ginkgo tree named “Kubikake Ichou”. The park also has a lake that mirrors the vibrant-colored autumn leaves and makes a perfect backdrop for photos.
10. Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden 新宿御苑
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden has about 10,000 trees planted in its vicinity which makes it one of Tokyo’s largest parks. During the autumn season, Shinjuku Gyoen is dressed in a new color by the leaves of maple and ginkgo trees. The best time to see the autumn leaves at the park is from mid-November to mid-December.
So, which spot do you want to visit?
Seeing autumn leaves in historic gardens or the changing colors in the midst of vast nature, you can enjoy them in Tokyo. There are many places to choose from the list we put together above. Which ones have you visited? Or which one(s) will you check out? Feel free to let us know.