Rikugi-en Garden is famous in Tokyo for being one of the best places to view autumn leaves. During this fiery season, the gardens also offer nighttime illuminations of the autumn leaves, drawing in both domestic and international crowds to their scenic grounds. The lights reflecting off the red and golden leaves emphasize their color and beauty When you combine lit up autumn leaves with the gorgeous layout of the landscape design, Rikugi-en Garden's autumn illumination is a must visit for both garden enthusiasts and the average traveler.
The garden is most easily accessed by the JR Yamanote Line. Head for Komagome Station, and once you arrive, the garden is only a few minutes walk away. There will be signs saying "Rikugi-en Garden" in English, so look for those and you will find your way there easily. Indeed, if you go on a weekend, all you have to do is follow the crowds! The entrance fee is ¥300. The place is so popular that on a Sunday night, people were lining up to just get into the garden. Therefore, I do highly recommend visiting on a weeknight, as the crowds in the weekend were absolutely crazy to say the least!
The garden itself was very beautiful. The highlight of the whole garden is the lake in the center, with an island right in the middle. The lights emphasized this beauty, as the leaves reflected in the lake's still waters, creating a picture perfect scene. On a Sunday night, people were crowding all around the edge of the paths, and there were staff urging people along, telling them to not stop and keep moving. You are allowed to stop in front of the lake to take photos, but you will have to line up and wait for a few minutes before you can squeeze your way to the front for a photo! Other places are not so lucky, such as the bridges, where the staff will strictly urge you on for everyone's safety. The crowds may stifle you a bit, but they do not take away the beauty of the lit up autumn leaves, which you can quietly enjoy whilst walking through the garden. It is only if you are taking photos that you may have to spend a bit more time waiting for that perfect photo opportunity. The garden offers camera worthy scenes not only in the lake center highlight, but all throughout the route. There were other smaller ponds, all creating great mirror images of the autumn leaves, bridges offering great symmetry to the picture, and even mist machines creating awesome atmosphere.
Overall, Rikugi-en Garden has a great autumn illumination. My best advice is to go on a weeknight to avoid the crowds, and walk slowly to enjoy all the beautiful autumn night scenery!