Autumn Kanto Travel Guide

What to do in Tokyo in Autumn

Planning to visit Tokyo this autumn? Wondering what to do there during the autumn months? In Japan, Tokyo is considered one of the best places to go in Autumn.

The autumn months in Tokyo are September, October, and November. Tokyo’s weather in autumn is pleasant and cooler though you can expect to see rainfall in September due to the beginning of typhoon season.

In October and November, the temperatures can drop suddenly in the morning and at night. The average temperatures in the morning and evening are 7ºC to 12ºC in November.

You can find many deciduous trees that turn color in this season, especially in the parks & gardens, along the riverbanks, streets, on the mountains, and on the grounds of sacred temples & shrines. 

Viewing autumn leaves is not the only outdoor activity as a tourist you want to experience, there are much more to explore for sure that include festivals, foods, indoor events, onsen, day trip from Tokyo city, and other cultural experiences.

Let’s find out some of the best things to do in Tokyo in autumn: 

1. Autumn Leaves: Enjoy the great outdoors in and around Tokyo

Red maples leaves at Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo. Photo Credit: mrhayata at Flickr.

Upon arrival of autumn, locals start planning for various leaf-peeping trips around the city. In search of a relaxing walk, they tend to visit parks and gardens to admire the beautiful nature of autumn.

During the weekend, many also prefer going outside the city and explore nearby towns and around by trains, cars and buses.

Between mid-November and early-December is the best time to see fall foliage in Tokyo.

The city boasts some of Japan’s most famous autumn leaves viewing spots, such as Koishikawa Korakuen, Showa Kinen Park, Rikugien, Yoyogi Park, Mount Takao, Icho Namiki Avenue, just to name a few. 

Autumn leaves in Hibiya Park, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Big Ben in Japan at Flickr.

Located in the Tama region of West Tokyo, Takaosan (Mount Takao) is considered the best mountain to climb in Tokyo.

If this is going to be in autumn, your climbing expedition would be an epic adventure with an opportunity to experience an autumn festival there.

The mountain is 599 meters above sea level, which makes it easy for visitors to climb the summit and enjoy amazing views from the top. You can find numerous some hiking trails there, so check the map before deciding which trail to take.

It is a great mistake not to visit an onsen town in Japan while you are there. I can suggest you two famous onsen towns, easily accessible from Tokyo, they are as follows: Atami and Hakone onsen town.

You can visit them but what do you think of Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu?

Gotokuji Temple’s three story pagoda. Photo Credit: Hotel Kaesong at Flickr.

After exploring Mount Takao’s interesting landmarks, you can relax your body and mind there. It features both indoor and outdoor baths.

You will also find a restaurant there. Eat soba noodles, sashimi, snacks, grilled foods, sake, and other delicious dishes.

Check out this page for access and services information including opening hours and entrance fee of this aforementioned onsen (hot spring). 

Mount Takao’s cable car. Photo Credit: Partner Hachioji City Tourism Section.

Looking for an alternative? Mt. Mitake is a great replacement indeed. It features scenic hiking trails, forest, waterfalls, observatory, shrine, rock garden, and lodging facility, including souvenir shops and restaurants.

A hiking expedition through the designated trails here in autumn is a great outdoor experience that you will never forget.

Rikugien garden’s autumn illumination is a great sight to behold. It creates stunning night time scenery of beautiful foliage with perfect illuminations, attracting thousands of tourists during the peak autumn leaves season.

Ginkgo trees in Tokyo. Photo Credit: mrhayata at Flickr.

Gotokuji Temple in Setagaya is a birthplace of the maneki-neko (beckoning cat) good luck charm.

On the temple grounds, you find many red maple trees along with over thousands of maneki-neko cats, from big to small, and an impressive 3-story pagoda, which survived the American air raids during the World War II.

We highly recommended you explore more autumn leaves spots around Tokyo; and they are easily accessible by public transport.

2. Tsukimi: Honouring the Autumn Moon

A full moon in September, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Yoshikazu TAKADA at Wikimedia Commons.

Tsukimi (Otsukimi) simply means looking at the moon or Japanese tradition of autumn moon viewing.

Dating back to the Heian period, tsukimi is a great tradition celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (traditional Japanese calendar). People in Japan enjoy the autumn evening by staring at the moon in the clear sky.

If you happen to be traveling in Tokyo or somewhere else in Japan in September, be sure to enjoy the moon and experience tsukimi traditions.

A number of moon-viewing events are held in Tokyo, especially places like Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Tower, where special events take place.

Hunt for restaurants that offer moon-themed treats to satisfy your belly! Eat seasonal food like tsukimi dango, udon, ramen, chestnuts, sweet potatoes, and so on.

3. Narita Fireworks Festival

Narita Hanabi. Photo Credit: japanistry.com

Watching hanabi in Japan in autumn is not a surprising thing.

Narita fireworks festival in Imbanuma on the outskirts of Tokyo is something you want to add to your bucket list. On the eastern outskirts of Tokyo, there is Narita city and here you can enjoy the impressive display of thousands fireworks.

Take pictures of the stunning fireworks displays and enjoy the music at the same time, try street food, and thus how share your exciting moment with the local crowds.

The festival has been scheduled to be held on November 5, 2022. One interesting fact about Narita Hanabi is that this firework event won the “Good Design Award” in 2010 for being the world’s first “audience participation-focused fireworks event.”

Here is the address of Narita Hanabi Venue: 成田市ニュータウンスポーツ広場, 1415 Daikata, Narita, Chiba 286-0003 Japan.

If you come to Tokyo before November, visit Tamagawa Fireworks Festival, held in early-October in Setagaya. The date of this fireworks festival switched from summer to autumn in recent years.

4. Halloween Party in Tokyo

Perfect Halloween costume – Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Big Ben in Japan at Flickr.

Halloween has become a popular autumn event in Tokyo for young adults. It is held every year on October 31st.

Shibuya Halloween is considered the biggest Halloween event in Japan, where thousands of people gather wearing costumes of different kinds. As a tourist you can experience this street party atmosphere by visiting Shibuya at night.

Expect a big celebration around Shibuya Center Gai Street and Scramble Crossing. The areas can be very crowded so if you want to avoid the crowds this is obviously a not a perfect place to go.

Another massive Halloween event in Tokyo is held in Ikebukuro. It hosts one of the largest cosplay events in Japan from 30-31 October each year. Instead of usual clowns, witches, zombies cosplayers, here you can expect to see people dressed up like their favourite anime and manga characters do.

Every year, more than 20,000 cosplayers come to parade in the street of Ikebukuro. If you a big fan of cosplay and want to participate in the event, you have to register first.

Halloween celebration will begin at Tokyo DiseneyLand and Tokyo DisenySea this year from September 15 to October 31, 2022. These two themed parks are always fun places to go and attend seasonal events.

They feature special parades throughout the Halloween season with exciting things to do, including Halloween themed Disney goods, foods, and spectacular fireworks displays at night.

Besides, if you have more time to spend for Halloween celebration then pay a visit to Sanior Puroland, one of the best places to spend with kids on Halloween day.

Don’t forget to buy Hello Kitty themed merchandise there, they are cute!

5. Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan

Sumo wrestlers! Photo Credit: Jeffrey Pauletto at Flickr.

In Tokyo, three Grand Sumo Tournaments are held every year. One of these sumo tournaments takes place in September, making it a perfect autumn event to experience in Tokyo.

Please note six grand sumo tournaments are held across the country each year. Each tournament officially lasts for 15 days.

Sumo is the national sport of Japan. If you want to explore some of Japan’s most exciting cultural experiences, then watching sumo wrestling at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo would be a wise decision.

Some tourists also prefer visiting Sumo stable in Tokyo. And I believe that watching a grand sumo tournament is much more interesting than visiting a sumo stable.

So if your travel itinerary is flexible and you want to experience real sumo wrestling right in the capital of Japan, be sure to visit Ryogoku Kokugikan and make your trip memorable.

6. Enjoy the seasonal dishes of Autumn

Sanma are being grilled at Meguro Sanma Festival.

Tokyo is one of the best destinations for foodies. Renowned for its local and international cuisine, Tokyo offers so much dining options for travellers, including both vegan and vegetarian dishes.

In Tokyo, you can visit a fish market like Tsukiji Outer Market. This place is very popular in terms of having a delicious breakfast or lunch. To enjoy fresh sea food, this market is a top-notch and visitors like eating fresh sushi here.

There are many kinds of fall foods that Japanese love to taste in autumn, such as sanma, shinmai, persimmon, oden, chestnuts, matsutake mushroom, nashi, pumpkin, yakiimo, sake and so on.

Meguro Sanma Matsuri is a perfect place to taste sanma (pacific saury) in Tokyo, held in early September every year.

About 7,000 sanma caught in Iwate Prefecture are grilled and served for free to the visitors. Similar to this sanma festival is Tokyo Tower Sanma Festival, where you can also taste sanma at free of cost.

You can visit some Izakaya (Japanese bars) alleys in Tokyo, especially, Omiode Yokocho at Shinjuku is a very popular one where you will find many izakayas and small restaurants. A variety of food and drinks can be found there.

For enjoying a delicious bowl of Tsukemen style Ramen, visit Rokurinsha, the one located in the Tokyo Ramen Street in Tokyo Station. It is worth returning for!

In addition, if you are a foodie and food is the one of the reasons to visit Japan, then don’t forget to visit Tokyo Ramen Show at Komazawa Olympic Park and The Hokkaido Fair at Yoyogi Park.

7. Cosmos Festival in Showa Kinen Park (Showa Memorial Park)

Showa Memorial Park’s cosmos flowers. Photo Credit: Takashi Hososhima at Flickr.

Showa Kinen Park is the largest park in Tokyo with a lot of highlights to offer its visitors throughout a year. This park is known for its autumn leaves and cosmos flowers in autumn.

You can see different kinds of cosmos flowers here from mid September through late October. The fall foliage season arrives in early November.

If you’re looking for your next day trip or weekend getaway from downtown Tokyo, think of visiting this park, where approximately 70,000 cosmos flowers blooming gorgeously in the fields.

Whether you are looking for a leisurely walk, cycling, picnicking, the park offers a range of options. Just enjoy the surroundings at your own pace as you will have enough time to roam around.

To reach the park, hop on a train from Shinjuku Station to Nishi-Tachikawa Station on the JR Chuo Line, which will take about 40 minutes.

8. Meiji Jingu Shrine Yabusame at Harajuku

Yabusame at Meiji Jingu, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Adriano at Wikimedia Commons.

Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine) is one of the most important shrines in Tokyo.

It has two grand festivals, the Haru no Taisai, Spring Grand Festival on May 2, and Aki no Taisai, Autumn Grand Festival, held in early November 1st through 3rd. It is the most important festival than the spring grand festival.

Dedicated to Emperor Meiji, this shrine’s autumn grand festival is celebrated through various Japanese traditional performing arts, including Yabusame (horseback archery).

Yabusame is held on November 3rd. It is an exciting event where horsemen shoot arrows at wooden targets from running horseback. You can’t miss experiencing this sort of thrilling Japanese martial art performance.

You have to take a walk for a couple of minutes from Harajuku Station to the entrance of the shrine.

Stop by Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street), a popular shopping street in Tokyo, lined by many clothing & cosmetics stores, fashion boutiques, and fast food outlets.

9. Kinchakuda Manjushage Park

Red spider lilies. Photo Credit: Takashi Hososhima at Flickr.

Want to go somewhere outside Tokyo for some amazing natural highlights? Taking a day trip from Tokyo is quite normal for travelers that allows them to explore some amazing attractions.

Located in Hidaka city of Saitama Prefecture, Kinchakuda Park is surrounded by Koma River and is famous for its red spider lilies, also known as manjushage or higanbana in Japanese. It is the largest spider lily field in Japan.

Every autumn, approximately 5 million red spider lilies bloom. You can see these spider lilies from Mid September through early October. Most of the higanbana are along the Koma River.

You will be overwhelmed seeing tons of spider lilies dye the whole area in crimson colors. When spider lilies start to bloom the Kinchakuda Red Spider Lily Festival is held. You can try a variety of local food & drinks and buy souvenirs from the stalls.

The park is located about 15 minutes walk from Koma station on the Seibu Ikebukuro line. You can access to Koma Station within 1 hour from Ikebukuro Station, Tokyo.

Entry costs ¥500 per person.

10. The Kochia in Hitachi Seaside Park

Kochia. Photo Credit: Hitachi Seaside Park.

The Kochia (summer cypress) in Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture is another great autumn attraction that Tokyo visitors can’t miss visiting. It is a great autumn destination for nature lovers.

If you want to see a red carpet of kochia plants, make sure you plan on visiting Hitachi Seaside Park in early October. Approximately 32,000 kochia plants grow here. They are planted on the Miharashi hill of Hitachi Seaside Park.

These cute ball shaped plants look breathtaking when their colors change from vibrant green to scarlet red. They also look marvelous during summer when they are vibrant green!

This incredible natural landmark proves that autumn leaves are not the only things you experience in Japan in autumn but something spectacular.

During this time of the year Kochia Carnival is held there and at that time you can try kochia ice cream. It is delicious!

This is obviously another best day trip idea from Tokyo and you can reach the park by train from downtown Tokyo.

From Mito station, take the JR Joban Line to Katsuta Station (5 minutes), from where visitors can reach the park by buses (15 minutes).

How to get to Mito station from Tokyo? From Tokyo Station, take Hitachi and Tokiwa limited express trains along the JR Joban Line (about 75 minutes).