Last fall on this exact day, I was ogling some of the most gorgeous autumn leaves in Japan, and I’ve been WAITING for the season to roll around again, so I can show you!
All these places are within shouting distance of Tokyo, but while the leaves are still maddeningly green in the city, they’re already all colors of glorious, just a few hours away.
First stop: Suwa City in Nagano prefecture
And if that isn’t enough to get you on the train to Suwa City right now, it’s also home to Masumi, my favorite sake brewery, where they not only produce such fine sake that it’s paired with cuisine at fancy restaurants all over the world, every year they do a special bottling with killer label art.
Getting there: Suwa City can be reached in just over two hours by riding the Chuo Line Azusa from Shinjuku to Kamisuwa Station
Next stop: Tateshina also in Nagano prefecture
This is the closest place to Tokyo for fall leaves in all their wild glory, untamed by gardener’s hands (yet somehow still impossibly picturesque!)
Getting there: The bullet train from Tokyo Station to Sakudaira Station takes about an hour and a half
And finally: Lake Kawaguchinear Mt. Fuji
In less than two hours by train, you can be basking in these amazing autumn leaves in the town bordering Kawaguchi-ko, the easiest Mt. Fuji area lake to get to.
Getting there: The JR Chuo Line Azusa takes about an hour to get from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station, where you transfer to the Fujikyu Railway Line, and ride another scenic hour to Kawaguchiko Station
And one more…Ryuzu Falls in Nikko
I hesitate to include this one, because even though it’s gorgeous, it’s not worth an entire trip from Tokyo, but if you’re already in the Nikko area franting about the Toshogu Shrine and such, take the bus bound for Yumoto Onsen from the Nikko train station, and get off at the “Ryuzu no taki” bus stop to see this:
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!