Tokyo’s best autumn foliage/leaves spots could overwhelm you just as these had overwhelmed me last year while seeing the autumn colors there. Everything was just perfect to hunt Momijigari for me. Each and every year I try to explore koyo season all over Japan, at least some part of it (if possible) which are worth visiting. Many people who already have got the taste of autumn colors here in Japan believe that Tokyo is not the best place for it. I agree with you people who think so but one thing you should not miss there. What’s the thing? Can you guess it? The thing is called Ginkgo tree. It leaves turn golden yellow from green and remain like that until they fall down. It never turns red like maple tree leaves.

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Red Maple Leaves in Tokyo. Photo Credit: mrhayata at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

To enjoy autumn in Tokyo, you have to familiar with some popular places where people like to visit during the fall season. In this article, I have featured and reviewed the places I went there before. In fact, my intention here is to bring the best ones. Those who are thinking to experience autumn color in Tokyo would find this article very useful. So, take part of it and enjoy your time visiting the top autumn color spots in Tokyo. Oh, an important message for all of you “autumn foliage appears in Tokyo between Mid November and Mid December.” Tree leaves start changing their color in early November.

1) Rikugien Garden:

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Illuminated View of Autumn Colors at Rikugien Garden. Photo Credit: mrhayata at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Rikugien garden refers to be one of the most beautiful traditional Japanese landscape gardens in Tokyo. Those who want to see autumn foliage while visiting Tokyo then this spot is going to be your first choice. More or less, everyone knows that Tokyo is a busy city. People come there for many purposes such as for official meetings, business, visiting friends & relatives, and traveling. If you are in Tokyo now for whatever your reasons to be there just get your mind out of those things and just get relaxed for a moment seeing awesome colorful autumn nature.

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Awesome colors at Rikugien Garden. Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut at Flickr.

Access to Rikugien garden is quite easy. Just get off on Komagome station on JR Yamanote Line and from the station it is only a 7 minutes’ walk. You are offered to follow different paths there. All you have to do is walking through these and enjoy the utmost beauty of autumn colors from  different parts of the garden such as from Tsutsuji no Chaya (teahouse), Site of Ginka-tei, around the Togetsukyo Bridge, Fujishirotoge viewpoint, Yamakage-bashi and Sasakani-no-michi. One can enjoy autumn colors at night since the garden is illuminated perfectly and create breathtaking scenery. I did pay 300yen as admission fee. I think the amount remains the same for this year as well.

  • Address: 6-16-3 Hon-komagome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0021
  • Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
  • Rikugien Garden Office Telephone Number: 03-3941-2222
  • Time to view Autumn Foliage: Late November to Early December

2) Lake Kawaguchi:

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View of Mount Fuji from Koyo Tunnel at Lake Kawaguchi. Photo Credit: Fumitaket at Flickr.

You are standing and viewing the scenic beauty of autumn colors from a spot where there is a lake and the majestic Mount Fuji in front of your eyes. Could you imagine how wonderful it would be if you have never experienced such before? Yes, I am asking you this question! The time when someone stares across the lake as much as their eyes sight could reach to he/she could feel very amusing and entertaining. This could only happen in the area of Lake Kawaguchi. It is one of the lakes of Fuji Five Lakes that can be easily accessible by train and bus from Tokyo. There is a perfect spot called “Koyo Tunnel” from where Lake Kawaguchi and Mount Fuji peak can be seen nicely.

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What a lovely view of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko. Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut at Flickr.

The lake offers you that iconic view of Mount Fuji as well as the autumn foliage. There are plenty of things to do for you. If you want to walk, just go ahead and walk through the walk paths. When you get tired of walking down the nature parks just have some rest sitting on the ground or even lay down. I suggest you to visit the art museum. It is great way to get to know that you never know before. You can get in there either by car or public transportation. I will tell you other way to reach there, I don’t know if you would do so. Well, I once got there by my friend’s motorcycle. I think this is the fastest way to get there. If you decide to go there by car then it will take one and an half hour while on the other hand it would take two hours by public transportation.

3) Shinjuku Gyoen:

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Colorful Autumn Foliage at Shinjuku Gyoen. Photo Credit: mrhayata at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Shinjuku Gyoen Public Park has got a reputation of being most crowded hanami spots in Tokyo during spring season. I have no idea how you react knowing this though it does not get crowded much in koyo season. It is a huge public garden with variety of large trees especially cherry trees. In fact, it is worth visiting at any time of the year. Autumn color here is as charming as the sakura viewing season. I would not mind marking this spot as one of the pleasant spot to enjoy autumn foliage in Tokyo.

There is a unique spot of viewing autumn foliage there which is called Momijiyama or “Maple Mountain.” The spot gets much prettier as the leaves change their colors. Early December is considered to be the best time to see fall foliage here. When you get in there you will be surprised to see three different types of garden, they are: Traditional Japanese garden, French garden, and English garden. Don’t leave the park without visiting these. To reach here, it takes only 10 minutes walk from the Shinjuku Station.

4) Mount Takao:

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Red Torii Gate and Maple Leaves on Takaosan. Photo Credit: Yuki Shimazu at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Mount Takao (Takaosan) is a famous hiking destination in Tokyo, Honshu Island. I have been there many times which is situated in southeastern part of Kanto region and about 50 Km away from the center of Tokyo city. It can be accessed either by train or car. There are two lines: Keio (private line) and Chuo, these could take you directly to Takaosanguchi Station from Shinjuku Station. Mount Takao is ideal for hiking and hikers like it! But in fall season it makes a perfect holiday destination for everyone from child to adults. In Japan, hiking is seen as one of the best ways of enjoying autumn colors in the mountains. Here, autumn leaf viewing is usually at its best in mid November.

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Tourists love visiting Mt. Takao in fall. Photo Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson at Flickr.

Indeed you can experience an incredible unforgettable autumn season there. One can hike up the entire mountain though I am sure if you are not experienced hikers you should not try this. In fact, there are electric cable car and ropeway (chairlift) to take you to halfway up the mountain. On the entire way, during the autumn season you could see the mountain’s slopes that are covered with autumn colors. Just imagine, how amazing it would be?! There are also shrines and a monkey park which are worth visiting. You will be surprised seeing little Buddha statues and colorful autumn leaves around the shrines. However, I once hiked instead of taking cable cars and chairs. We formed a group with necessary hiking accessories. The trip was successful and yes it was in the autumn season.

5) Icho Namiki (Ginkgo Avenue):

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Beautiful View of Ginkgo Elm Tree Avenue, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Shinichiro Saka

This is a beautiful place for walking along the street of lined gingko trees. Here, Icho means Ginkgo and Namiki means tree line or avenue. It is located on Aoyama Street on the south side of Jingu Gaien Park. It is a straight street about 400 meters long with many gingko trees along the both side of the street. People like to go there especially during the Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival. It begins when ginkgo trees start changing their leaves.

You could walk along the street and take photos of the autumn foliage there. There are benches and cafes to have some rest and relax. No doubt that it becomes one of the most famous streets during autumn season. In order to see yellow gingko (elm) tree leaves here you must get here Between Mid November and early December. The closest station to this spot is Aoyama-itchome Station requiring you only 5 minutes’ walk while it takes 6 minutes walk from Gaienmae station.

6) Koishikawa Korakuen:

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Traditional Japanese Garden and Autumn Foliage at Koishikawa Korakuen, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Hnakashi at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

As the Tokyo autumn sets in, the various trees leaves that usually change their colors spread throughout the garden. For an autumn afternoon stroll this is an ideal spot, no doubt about that. Unlike other Japanese gardens this garden is a bit unique with offering cherry & plum blossom in spring, red maple leaves & yellow ginkgo in autumn and wisteria & irises in summer.

Awesome Japanese and Chinese style landscape garden can be seen here comprised of bridge and rocks. There are three ponds at this garden where dozens of maple tree are planted around. They all change their leaves color between late November and early December.  You have to pay 300 yen to enter the garden. If you are serious getting there then you get off at Iidabashi Station and then walk for 10 minutes to reach there.

7) Yoyogi Koen:

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Yoyogi Park Autumn Leaves View! Photo Credit: mrhayata at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Yoyogi Koen (Park) is well known for its gingko tree grove, and one of the largest city parks in Tokyo. It is located in Shibuya-ku, and next to this park there is a famous shrine called Meiji Shrine. Autumn foliage in Japan is wonder of nature, so is at Yoyogi Park! Even though this spot is famous for sakura viewing, I strongly suggest you to get there to see autumn foliage there. You will be overwhelmed and speechless, my own experience says this! There are lawns, forested areas and ponds that surly make taking photos of them.

I have an important message to those who wish to visit this park – the best time for viewing autumn foliage is from late November to early December. I think you must visit this park since it is located in Shibuya ward and everyone knows that this ward is popular for having many shopping centers and being renowned as an entertainment area. Who knows, you might get some unique souvenirs from there. If you take the JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station and from there it takes 5 minutes walk to get to the park. There is no admission fee to pay for visitors!

8) Showa Kinen Park (Memorial Park):

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Showa Kinen Park Ginkgo Leaves During Autumn. Photo Credit: mrhayata at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Whether you believe it or not that there are so many beautiful parks in Tokyo and Showa Kinen Park is one of them. Sometimes it is hard to decide which one to visit because we have limited time for traveling one place to other places. Visiting only Tokyo can’t be a complete tour package to Japan, so people try to visit other places such as Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, and Hokkaido. Therefore our time is limited, by this time we have to visit some popular places. For example, Showa Kinen Park is considered to be a popular autumn foliage viewing spot in Tokyo. As you find many spots to view autumn leaf, I myself decided to feature this one for you. This one is very special, I would tell you why soon. This park consists of some gardens where people can walk under lined Ginkgo trees and ride bicycle to enjoy real autumn beauty.

Here, Ginkgo trees’ green leaves turn yellow then into golden color as days pass by during the autumn season. Nevertheless to say that, many people come there to enjoy autumn season as well as taking photographs of golden colored Ginkgo tree leaves. It is a pride of Tachikawa city residence. They show their kind respect to this park by visiting it when leaves turn yellow. You will also be seeing red maple tree leaves there. One can enjoy his/her time rowing in the lakes (there are two lakes) as well. As it is a big park there are some easy access points. From the Tachikawa station, it requires you only 10 minutes walk to reach to the entrances of Showa park. If you are coming from Shinjuku station then you require 30 minutes train ride.

9) Mount Mitake (Mitakesan):

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This is How it looks like during Autumn on Mount Mitake. Photo Credit: marufish at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

If you are living in Tokyo now and want to have a day trip from there then Mount Mitake would be a great spot to visit and especially in the autumn season. The landscape of Mitakesan gets much prettier during fall when tree leaves change color. It is a part of Chichibu Tama Kai National Park; in fact it is just only a part of this park. There is a beautiful red color torii gate which even looks very much beautiful when the nearest trees leaves turn red. Being one of the best hiking destinations in Tokyo it attracts many nature lovers and hikers throughout the year. It stands 929 meters high, and quite a lovely place to enjoy autumn foliage.

At the foot of Mitakesan a train station called Takimoto station is situated. From here either you can walk or take one of the cable cars to go up the mountain. Up in the mountain there is a beautiful Shinto shrine located called Musashi Mitake Shrine. Near to this there is a rock garden which is worth visiting and exploring. I know it will be a tough walk to get to the top of the mountain though it is quite enjoyable seeing scenic beauty of autumn foliage out there. To make it more enjoyable, I suggest you to take some rest so that you don’t feel uncomfortable while hiking. When you go top of the mountain by the cable cars, make sure you look at mountains slopes covered with red and yellow foliage. Come here from early November to late November and you will experience the autumn beauty. It is easy to access from central Tokyo. You can get trains from Shinjuku or Tokyo stations and get off at Ome station. From Ome station a few trains depart, they would take you to Mitake Station.

10) Inokashira Park:

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Red Maple Leaves at Inokashira Park. Photo Credit: Wei-Te Wong at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Inokashira Park is a great place to see cherry blossom in spring. People gather here with friends and beloved ones to have amazing time together seeing awesome sakura. This is the real picture of spring at this park but people also recognize it as one of the top autumn leaf viewing spots of Tokyo. This park has a big central pond where visitors can rent paddleboats and rowboats. This is one of the ways of viewing autumn colors here.

There are walking paths around the Inokashira’s pond. So, why don’t you walk and explore autumn color beauty there? That sounds too good to think of. You can visit a mini zoo there which my little cousin always have enjoyed every time he went there before. There is a lovely shrine called Inokashira Benzaiten, dedicated to god Benzaiten (Goddess of water & music). Have you got any idea how to get to this park? There are two stations that are close to this park, one is called Inoshira-Koen Station and other is Kichijoji Station. Pick of one of these to get there. Here, autumn foliage begins from Mid November to Mid December.

This is only a virtual tour to make you familiar with the most popular autumn leaves viewing spots in Tokyo. If you ever think of visiting at least some of these then it will be more than a great idea to spend your autumn vacation in Tokyo. However, millions of visitors come to Japan during autumn season because Autumn is a colorful season which appears once in a year, so don’t miss this! Good luck.

Copyright 2015 @ takkhis