Where To See The Best Fall Leaves In Tokyo

IMG_6467I hope you’re all rested up from our cherry blossom death march last spring, because it’s time to strap on your camera and a couple of extra batteries to hunt down the best autumn leaves in Tokyo! Here are my picks, from momiji season through ginkgo:

Arranged from earliest to latest:

SHOWA KINEN PARK – Tachikawa

There are many different kinds of momiji in the Japanese garden at Showa Kinen Park, showing off different shades of yellow, orange and red at the same time.

There are many different kinds of momiji in the Japanese garden at Showa Kinen Park, showing off different shades of yellow, orange and red at the same time.

The Japanese maples turn color early in the Japanese garden at Showa Kinen. Look for them in early November.

The Japanese maples turn color early in the Japanese garden at Showa Kinen. Look for them in early November.

This gorgeous promenade of gingko trees hits it's peak after the Japanese maples, around mid-November.

This gorgeous promenade of ginkgo trees hits its peak after the Japanese maples, around mid-November.

You can walk under the twin promenades through a tunnel of gold.

You can walk under the twin promenades through a tunnel of gold.

Bonus attraction: There is a really choice bonsai garden within the Japanese garden walls, and this open tea room displays the most spectacular specimen.

Bonus attraction: There is a really choice bonsai garden within the Japanese garden walls, and this open tea room displays the most spectacular specimens.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

GOTOKUJI TEMPLE – Gotokuji station

Gotokuji's wooden pagoda is the perfect backdrop for splendid red and gold maple leaves in mid-November. You'll find them here earlier than in central Tokyo.

Gotokuji’s wooden pagoda is the perfect backdrop for splendid red and gold maple leaves in mid-November. You’ll find them here earlier than in central Tokyo.

The momiji here turn very satisfying colors of red and orange.

The momiji here turn very satisfying colors of red and orange.

Added bonus: There is a shrine on the temple grounds where thousands of "good luck" maneki neko cat figures have been offered to ensure success in business.

Added bonus: There is a shrine on the temple grounds where thousands of “good luck” maneki neko cat figures have been offered to ensure success in business.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

MT. TAKAO – Takao-sanguchi Station

The maples are in full color by the end of November.

The maples are in full color by the end of November.

Climb the steps to the shrine all the way at the top for amazing views and leaves.

Climb the steps to the shrine all the way at the top for amazing views and leaves.

You'll be amazed by how many different kinds of maple trees there are.

You’ll be amazed by how many different kinds of maple trees there are.

Bonus attraction: there's a monkey park at the top of the mountain.

Bonus attraction: there’s a monkey park at the top of the mountain.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

ICHOU NAMIKI – Aoyama-itchome

By late November, this famous boulevard is attracting thousands and thousands of camera-happy gawkers every day, but you can still enjoy the trees despite the crowds.

By late November, this famous boulevard is attracting thousands and thousands of camera-happy gawkers every day, but you can still enjoy the trees despite the crowds.

Gingko leaves at their peak, at Ichou Namiki

Ginkgo leaves at their peak, at Ichou Namiki

Map

YOYOGI PARK – Harajuku Station

Towering gingko trees are bright yellow, starting in mid-November.

Towering ginkgo trees are bright yellow, starting in mid-November.

At twilight, you can scuff your feet through a sea of yellow leaves.

At twilight, you can scuff your feet through a sea of yellow leaves.

By late November, the maples are turning orange and red.

By late November, the maples are turning orange and red.

The trees at Yoyogi Park are big, so you can really feel like you're walking through a forest of yellow and red.

The trees at Yoyogi Park are big – in the fall it’s a forest of yellow and red right in the middle of Tokyo!

Bonus entertainment: Yoyogi Park is home to all kinds of free entertainment every Sunday afternoon, from rockabilly dancing to traditional rakugo to the local husky club dressed in manga schoolgirl uniforms.

Bonus attraction: Yoyogi Park is home to all kinds of free entertainment every Sunday afternoon, from rockabilly dancing to traditional rakugo to the local husky club dressed in manga schoolgirl uniforms.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

HIKARIGAOKA PARK – Hikarigaoka Station

This promenade of gingko trees is quite majestic, and extends for several blocks in mid to late-November.

This promenade of ginkgo trees is quite majestic, and extends for several blocks in mid to late-November.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

TOKYO UNIVERSITY – Todaimae

Tokyo University's gothic buildings are the perfect backdrop for a lovely line-up of gingko trees. They reach their golden peak in late November, and there's never a crowd, so you can enjoy a peaceful walk under the canopy.

Tokyo University’s gothic buildings are the perfect backdrop for a lovely line-up of ginkgo trees. They reach their golden peak in late November, and there’s never a crowd, so you can enjoy a peaceful walk under the canopy.

The entrance to Tokyo University is just outside the Todaimae subway station.

 NEZU SHRINE – Nezu Station

Golden gingko trees shade the red torii gate at the Nezu Shrine, starting in mid-November.

Golden ginkgo trees shade the red torii gate at the Nezu Shrine, starting in mid-November.

Usually the main gate is themost colorful thing around, but the gingkos and maples make its red lacquer and gold leaf seem pale in comparison. They're at their best in late November.

Usually the main gate is the most colorful thing around, but the ginkgos and maples make its red lacquer and gold leaf seem pale in comparison. They’re at their best in late November.

This is my favorite shrine in Tokyo, and autumn is one of the best times to see it.

This is my favorite shrine in Tokyo, and autumn is one of the best times to see it.

Bonus attraction: you can walk though a glowing tunnel of orange torii gates.

Bonus attraction: you can walk though a glowing tunnel of orange torii gates.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

KORAKU-EN GARDEN – Koraku-en Station

The Japanese maples at Koraku-en Garden are like jewels in a setting of green. They're at their peak in late November.

The Japanese maples at Koraku-en Garden are like jewels in a setting of green. They’re at their peak in late November.

As you wander through the string of lovely gardens that make up Koraku-en, new blazes of color pop up to delight on every side.

As you wander through the string of lovely gardens that make up Koraku-en, new blazes of color pop up to delight on every side.

 

Maples of every color surprise you in each of the sub-gardens.

Maples of every color surprise you in each of the sub-gardens.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

RIKUGI-EN GARDEN – Komagome Station

Rikugi-en never disappoints, with its 88 views from famous waka poems.

Rikugi-en never disappoints, with its 88 views from famous waka poems.

Maple trees flame in all colors of the rainbow in late November.

Maple trees flame in all colors of the rainbow in late November.

Bonus attraction: From the third week in November through the first week in December, the garden is lit up at night until 9:00 for your leaf-viewing pleasure.

Bonus attraction: From the third week in November through the first week in December, the garden is lit up at night until 9:00 for your leaf-viewing pleasure.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

SHINJUKU GYOU-EN GARDEN – Shinjuku Station 

Shinjuku Gyou-en is most beautiful in early morning, when the pond reflects the changing Japanese maples and cherry trees.

Shinjuku Gyou-en is most beautiful in early morning, when the pond reflects the changing Japanese maples and cherry trees.

As November moves into December, the garden only becomes more colorful.

As November moves into December, the garden only becomes more colorful.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

ARISUGAWA PARK – Hiroo Station

This hidden gem of a park is perfect for a stroll before heading out for a night in Nakameguro, Ebisu or Roppongi.

This hidden gem of a park is perfect for a stroll before heading out for a night in Nakameguro, Ebisu or Roppongi.

Trees of all colors reflect in the serene pond in mid to late-November.

Trees of all colors reflect in the serene pond by mid to late-November.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

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