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Fall in Japan is one of the most beautiful times of the year, in Tokyo and in Kyoto.
It is a time when golden leaves blanket the shrines, gardens and traditional streets.
The best way to admire these colorful scenes is by visiting the Japanese gardens and a few selected parks.
If you stay until evening time you will be pleasantly surprised to find that some gardens light up the trees to create an unparalleled scene of color and autumnal glory.
Autumn in Tokyo – Must See Places
Tokyo autumn, when in full swing and the leaves have fallen from the trees, can be best enjoyed in these spots:
Rikugien Garden (End of November to Beginning of December)
This is a very popular spot that offered an illumination show in previous years. That show went from end of November to middle of December from 4:30pm to 8:30pm. Rikugien is a traditionally landscaped Japanese garden, it is a well-known spot for colors of autumn leaves. This garden was established in 1702 during the Edo Period. The garden opened to the public in 1938. Rikugien Garden is a site designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty. The pond at Rikugien Garden is an amazing autumn scene, as are the sights of the man-made hills.
Getting There: from Komagome Station (7 minutes on foot) or Sengoku Station.
Koishikawa Korakuen Garden (End of November to Beginning of December)
Koishikawa Korakuen Garden is designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty and Special Historic interest. This gorgeous autumn color spot in Tokyo is a garden in the traditional Japanese landscape style. At this color spot you’ll be able to enjoy the fall colors around maple trees that surround the pond. In autumn the leaves on these trees turn deep orange and red. There are three other ponds on the garden grounds, all of which offer unique scenic views of autumn colors.
Getting There: Koishikawa Korakuen is a short walk from Iidabashi Station.
Ginkgo (Elm Tree) Avenue – Icho Namiki (End of November to Beginning of December)
Within Meiji Jingu Shrine grounds you will find Icho Namiki, a roadway peppered with ginkgo (elm) trees. The park features nearly one hundred and fifty of these trees which by late November turn an earthy golden hue. The trees’ deep yellows and great colors draw lots of people who stroll along the park and Shrine. When you’ve have had your fill of the color spot for the day you can take a break at a nearby café in fashionable Omotesando st – Tokyo’s 5th Avenue.
Best Tokyo Hotels For Autumn In Japan
If you haven’t yet Booked and arranged Hotels, Tours, Flights and Disney Tickets, this is the last minute to do so.
Rates and Reviews: Tokyo Japan Hotels: Best Cheap Hotel, Family Friendly, Romantic And Short Term Apartments
See Also: Disneyland Ticket Prices: Ways To Save Money
See More: Day Trips from Tokyo
Yoyogi Koen (End of November to Beginning of December)
Minutes away from Meiji Shrine is the southern part of Yoyogi Park, you definitely should visit. Yoyogi is a western style Park, and features maple trees and gingko trees that transform into glorious golden and red in Japanese Autumn.
Imperial Palace East Gardens (End of November to Beginning of December)
The Imperial East Garden, found in Imperial Palace Tokyo, features the brilliant architecture of Edo Castle. Tokyo Imperial Palace is the place where the Emperor of Japan and his family make their home. Around the castle you’ll find a variety of trees. This is a large park that features a Japanese style garden, one of the best places to enjoy autumn in Japan and its colors. Here you can find More details on Getting to the Imperial East Garden and the Imperial Palace Tokyo.
Hama Rikyu Garden (End of November to Beginning of December)
If you make your way around Hama Rikyu you can find some beautiful areas to observe fall in Japan. The central pond at this park sets a beautiful scene for the bright autumn leaves. Shiori Pond sits at the front of the Sumida River. Hama Rikyu has a lovely welcoming tea house serving the traditional Matcha Green Tea and Japanese Desserts.
Hama Rikyu can be accessed by boat from Asakusa and Odaiba. Or you can get there from JR Shimbashi Station or Shiodome Station.
Shinjuku Gyoen (Middle of November to Middle of December)
The Shinjuku Gyoen Park is home to a diverse array of trees, all of which show a unique blend of autumn colors. Not only are there many types of trees at the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, but also this garden features various traditional styles including Japanese, English, and French styled areas.
Getting There: 10 minute walk from Shinjuku Station.
Kiyosumi Gardens (End of November to Beginning of December):
These gardens are not only beautiful in autumn. The Kiyosumi Gardens feature wonderful sights for every season. Kiyosumi Gardens are styled in the traditional Japanese way. The garden is huge; it covers more than 80,000 meters of land. The gardens feature a beautiful lake, with three large islands. You can get to one of the islands by a Japanese bridge. If you want to enjoy the autumn colors on the wonderful lake you will be happy to find many pathways made up of stepping stones in the lake’s shallow areas. You will also be able to enjoy a bit of tradition if you stop by the Japanese tea garden in Kiyosumi.
Getting There: The park is next to Fukagawa Edo Museum, a short walk from Monzen-Nkacho Station on the Tozai and Oedo Subway Lines
2 More Popular Places for Autumn in Japan
One of the most beautiful Japanese autumn scenes is that in Kyoto’s temple gardens.
In Kyoto the combination of classic architecture and natural colorful scenery is distinct and amazing. Kyoto is by far the most popular location to view the yellow and red leaves.
The image of Gion’s famed geisha walking the streets in Autumn is as quintessentially Japanese as you will ever find.
Note: Kyoto can be super-cold at this time of the year. If you’re coming straight from Tokyo don’t expect the same weather. Dress accordingly.
November is peak autumn color time in Kyoto. From mid-November onwards, the maple leaves reach their finest shades of red. Kyoto is home to many famous and lesser known autumn leaf viewing locations: Shrines, rock-gardens and temples.
See More: Autumn Day Trips to Kyoto
Takaosan (Mount Takao) (Beginning of November to End of November)
Visit Mount Mitake anytime in November to enjoy the radiant Autumn sights there. If you want to get a jump on the sights of autumn, you can escape to Mount Mitake, which is just a short way away from central Tokyo. It is a popular hiking choice from Tokyo, and is part of the national park known as Chichibu Tama Kai National Park.
Mount Takao offers beautiful scenery, an interesting temple and a network of numbered and well-marked hiking trails.
Mount Takao’s peak is 599 meters above sea level and offers views of Tokyo, Mount Fuji and as far as Yokohama on clear days. There is a cable car and chair lift leading halfway up the mountain. From there, the ascent to the summit takes about 45 minutes. Hiking the mountain from its base doubles the walking time.
Mount Takao has been a center of worship for more than 1,000 years. The Yakuoin shrine stands near the mountain’s top. Visitors pray here to Shinto and Buddhist mountain gods for good fortune.
Mount Takao can get very crowded on weekends due to its proximity to central Tokyo. Better to visit Takaosan during the week.
Getting there: It takes only 50 minutes to reach from Shinjuku station.
Keio Railways trains leave from Shinjuku station every 20 minutes. Get off at Takaosanguchi Station, located at the foot of the mountain.