Where To See The Best Autumn Leaves In Tokyo…Lit Up At Night!

The hot new trend of holiday illuminations in Tokyo has spread to the gardens and parks, with more and more lighting up their naturally spectacular autumn leaves and opening for special evening viewing! Here are my current favorites:

SHOWA KINEN PARK near Tachikawa Station

There are two areas lit up at night:

1: The grand ginkgo alley

These aren’t the much-instagrammed ones near the Tachikawa Gate, they’re a far taller and grander promenade near the West Tachikawa Gate

They even do a dramatic light show!

They do this every :00 (and possibly more often – I saw this at 6:00, but there was no schedule posted of other times they do this. I’m suspecting it’s every :15)

And after you make it through the long tunnel, you can indulge in a quintessentially Japanese autumn snack: a freshly roasted sweet potato

2: The Japanese garden & pond

On a still night, the teahouse looks pretty great from across the pond

You get double the changing leaves color for your money, with the reflections

Crossing the long cedar bridge

Evening light-up dates: November 2 – 24 and November 29 – December 1 (2019)

Hours: 17:00 – 21:00 (last entry 20:30)

Admission: ¥610 (regular admission ticket plus ¥160 evening hours addition*)

*You can enter at any time during the day with a regular ticket, but if you didn’t buy the inclusive ¥610 ticket when you arrived, you’ll have to pay the extra ¥160 before entering any of the lit-up areas after 4:30. If you bought the ¥610 inclusive ticket, you’ll be asked to show it at the entrance of the lit-up areas.

Transportation note: The only gate open after 17:00 is the Nishi-tachikawa Gate, near Nishi-tachikawa Station. Even if you came in during the day by the Tachikawa Gate, you have to leave by the other one. They also strictly control the route in the park after dark, roping off all but the approved walkways, and stationing park personnel at every turn, so abandon any ideas you might have about taking shortcuts!

MAP

RIKUGI-EN GARDEN near Komagome Station

From the moment you walk through the gate…

…and catch a glimpse of my favorite bridge, all fancy for the holidays…

…and stroll around the big pond all lit up…

…everywhere you look…

…trees are lit up for your 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.

But the best reason to come…

…is to gobble up a tasty stick of miso-sauced rice balls!

Evening light-up dates: November 20 – December 12 (2019)

Hours: 17:00 – 21:00 (last entry 20:30)

Admission: ¥300

MAP

MEJIRO GARDEN near Mejiro Station

I just discovered this jewel of a garden

And they do a night light-up that will be well worth seeing (photo thanks to Tokyo Weekender)

Night light-up dates: November 23 – December 1 (2019)

Hours: 17:30 – 21:00

Admission: Free

MAP

KAWAGUCHI-KO near Mt. Fuji

There’s still time to catch the lit-up leaves at Lake Kawaguchi, the easiest of Mt. Fuji’s five lakes to get to from Tokyo

The evening stroll is well worth the trip

The trees totally look like they’re on fire, and the leaves are much more vivid than they are in Tokyo

Night light-up dates: November 1 – November 23 (2019)

Hours: 17:30 – 22:00

Admission: Free

MAP

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