Togo Park (東郷公園) in Agano is renowned as one of the most best places to see the momiji (fall colors). Throughout the year, it is a beautiful park, dotted with streams, bridges, stone lanterns and other elements of a Japanese garden. But when the weather cools and the air turns crisp, Togo Park's more than a thousand maple trees transform into fiery red. On the third weekend of November, the park celebrates with a two-day momiji festival. Entrance is free but donations are welcomed at the foot of the mountain. The event we most look forward to is the jazz performance on Saturday evening. There are very few places in Japan where you can enjoy jazz outdoors, surrounded by the brilliant reds and oranges of the autumn maple while holding a bowl of piping hot soup from one of the festival vendors. Feel free to tap your feet along to the beat and sing along to familiar jazz favorites.
From Ikebukuro, take the Seibu Ikebukuro heading to Hanno. At Hanno, change to the Seibu Chichibu train heading to Chichibu and get off at Agano station. For this event, there is a free shuttle bus to and from Togo Park. Parking is available for ¥500 for regular sized vehicles.
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For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan.