My Tokyo Guide
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As November draws to a close, the foliage turns enchanting shades of red and yellow, and Tokyo’s parks and gardens attract hordes of visitors in search of the perfect autumn scene. For traditional views, you can’t beat Tokyo’s gardens. Viewing the crimson trees and reflective ponds at Rikugien Gardens and Koishikawa Botanical Garden, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back to Japan’s feudal past.
Autumn is also a perfect time for picnics and outdoor recreation. Within the city, you’ll find numerous parks with ample space to relax or play. Alternatively, to really take advantage of the season, consider a day trip to one of the nearby mountains, which offer easy hikes and rewarding scenic views.
Arguably the most popular autumn destination is the Rikugien Gardens, a traditional garden immaculately tailored to provide the most serene views. The best time to see the autumn leaves here is late November to early December. For additional Edo-period views, head to Koishikawa Botanical Garden, Ninomaru Garden (at the Imperial Palace), or the Hama-riyku Gardens.
While the traditional Japanese gardens offer some of the most stunning sights, they are not particularly suited to leisure and relaxation. Consider a stroll through Icho Namiki in Meiji Jingu Gaien. Lined with hundreds of massive, yellow ginkgo trees, this avenue also makes for a perfect photo spot. For more active recreational activities, head to Yoyogi Park or Showa Kinen Park. Both parks provide expansive grounds for picnics, running, cycling, and sports, all while offering spectacular autumn views.
Of course, the fall colors really shine outside of the city, as the densely forested mountains changing into radical hues of red and orange. Those looking for a more scenic experience will enjoy taking a day trip to one of Tokyo’s nearby mountains. Some of the best trails and views can be found at Mt. Takao, Mt. Mitake, and Akigawa Valley. Even if you’d prefer to forego the hike, many of these areas are also suitable for leisure, with traditional inns and hot springs making for a peaceful overnight stay.
Whether you’re interested in traditional festivals or modern art events, Tokyo is full of fantastic autumn attractions. For something more traditional, head to the Kichijoji Autumn Festival at the beginning of September, where you’ll find hordes of excited revelers carrying portable mikoshi shrines, celebrating the arrival of fall. From September to December, the Tokyo Festival is held in the Ikebukuro area. The Tokyo Festival is an international performing arts festival during which artists from Japan and abroad showcase theater, dance, music, art, and film.
Autumn Local Festival Guide
Autumn Art Event Guide
The autumn months are a time to enjoy seasonal produce such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, chestnuts, and mushrooms. The food looks just like the seasonal trees, with varied hues of red, orange, and yellow. Whether it’s a quick snack from a local food stall or an elaborate kaiseki banquet meal, Japan’s fall cuisine resonates with a subtle, soothing mood reminiscent of the changing seasons.