Autumn is one of the most glorious times of year in Japan. Pleasant temperatures, tasty eats, and a bounty of color in the form of changing leaves make it a great season for exploring. Tokyo is home to a myriad of stunning spots to enjoy fall foliage in all its glory, and this guide compiles 10 of them worth checking out.
Located in easy access from the Tokyo city center, Mount Takao feels a world away — in the best kind of way. A manageable hike year-round affords visitors with some incredible views, but the autumn season may just be the best time of year to plan a visit. An annual autumn leaves festival is also held here, which typically runs throughout the month of November.
Takaomachi, Hachioji, Tokyo 193-0844
Showa Kinen Park
Showa Kinen Park is an absolute gem for Tokyoites, with a bounty of beauty to enjoy year-round. Tulips and sakura in spring, hydrangeas and irises in early summer, and illuminations in winter are just some of the highlights. What about autumn? A massive cosmos field and some breathtaking fall foliage, especially along Ginkgo Avenue, will have you in sheer awe of Mother Nature.
3173 Midoricho, Tachikawa, Tokyo 190-0014
Meiji Jingu Gaien
Meiji Jingu Gaien's ginkgo tree lined avenue is often regarded as one of the best spots to enjoy autumn in Japan, and an annual festival is typically held along the route. Though it's cancelled for this year, the trees themselves will still be there in all their golden glory - there are over 140 of them!
1-1 Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0013
Located in Tokyo's Setagaya ward, Gotokuji Temple is unique because of the wildly impressive number of maneki neko, or beckoning cat statues, dotted around its grounds. What many people don't know is that it's also a fantastic spot to enjoy autumn foliage. Blazing reds, vibrant yellows, and warm orange hues make the grounds come alive — it's the purrfect place to appreciate the beauty of the season.
2 Chome-24-7 Gotokuji, Setagaya City, Tokyo 154-0021
Tokyo boasts some truly world-class gardens, and Rikugien is regarded as one of the best — it's home to stunning landscaping and various floral delights to enjoy throughout the year. During autumn, the garden illuminates the trees after dark, allowing visitors to enjoy their color-changing beauty in a different way than at other venues. At present, reservations are required in advance to visit the garden, which can be arranged online here.
6 Chome-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 113-0021
Shinjuku Gyoen is revered as one of the city's top sakura spots, but it doesn't disappoint in the autumn months, either. Trees with changing leaves are set against evergreens, and the city skyline in the background allows visitors to savor the beauty of nature along with manmade creations all at once.
11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0014
Overshadowed slightly by some of the city's other green destinations, Hibiya Park is 110% worth a visit — it's pretty as a picture in autumn. One of the best spots to capture a few snaps of the seasonal foliage is around the Kumogata-ike Pond, where numerous maple and ginkgo trees make the park feel like something from a dream.
1 Hibiyakoen, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-0012
Lesser known than some of the other spots on the list, Jōshinji Temple has a history dating back to 1678 and is situated on some surprisingly large grounds for Tokyo standards. The fall foliage here almost acts as a canopy over the paths, and although the temple grounds do get busy on weekends, on weekdays it's much, much quieter.
7 Chome-41-3 Okusawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 158-0083
Another of Tokyo's spectacular gardens is Koishikawa Korakuen, which dates back to the early Edo period. The garden was designated as a National Historic Site and also as a Place of Scenic Beauty back in 1923, giving some indication as to just how highly the grounds here are regarded. The view from the Tsutenbashi Bridge and Oigawa River portion of the gardens is breathtaking when the leaves are at their peak, so be sure to bring your camera.
1 Chome-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0004
Yoyogi Park is one of the city's ultimate family-friendly parks, and you'll often see families out for a stroll, picnicking, or riding their bikes here. It's a very popular spot for hanami (flower viewing) when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, but autumn is also a stunning time of year to stop by. Maples and ginkgos along with ample space to run around for the littlies make it a great leaf-viewing spot for the whole crew.
2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-0052