1. Autumn leaves at University of Tokyo
    Photo: Hiroshi Tateishi/Dreamstime
  2. Aman Tokyo
    Photo: Aman Tokyo

12 best things to do in Tokyo this autumn

Time for some autumn fun, from foliage hunting and hiking to seasonal sweets and Halloween celebrations

Emma Steen
Kit Kriewaldt
Written by
Emma Steen
Contributor
Kit Kriewaldt
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After a long and humid summer, autumn can never come too soon with its cool crisp air and dazzling foliage. Though the past few months of state of emergency protocols left us with little to do but browse Netflix, the recent ease of restrictions mean some of our favourite things are back on the programme.

Whether you’re after bottomless brunches out on the terrace or a digital detox in the form of a glamping getaway, there are endless perks to the season to keep you going in high spirits for the rest of the year. To get you into the mood, we've gathered our favourite things to do in and near the city, so you can make the most of Tokyo's amazing autumn season.

RECOMMENDED: The most beautiful autumn destinations in Japan

Fall in love with Tokyo

  • Things to do

This one's a no-brainer. One of the best things about autumn in the city is the landscapes boasting vibrant autumn foliage. Different places feature a variety of different trees, which means they all have a unique set of colours. Shades range from the golden-hue of ginkgo trees to the intense red of Japanese maple (momiji). For daytime viewing, check out our list of the best autumn foliage in and around the city. Alternatively, you can make the most of the cool sunny days by laying a picnic mat at Tokyo’s best parks.

  • Art
  • Art

With the weather getting cooler, it's finally an appropriate time to catch some R&R in a steamy sauna. And what other saunas could possible beat teamLab’s latest Tokyo pop-up teamLab Reconnect where you can immerse yourself in digital art as you perspire. 

The temporary facility was initially only scheduled to run through the summer, but is now scheduled to remain open through November 23. You can book your tickets on the official website, which offers special discounts for weekday early birds as well as the option of booking your own private sauna room for ¥20,000.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Yoyogi-Hachiman

Chestnuts are as quintessential to autumn in Japan as the brightly coloured foliage that adorns the country’s landscapes. There are plenty of chestnut sweets that pop up during this time of year but few are as classic as the Mont Blanc, which has long dominated the display cases of Japanese cake shops. Vie for a spot at Mont Blanc Style, where whipped cream and fresh chestnut puree is diligently layered in front of you. Or, stop by an acclaimed patisserie and take the dessert home for later.

Take a scenic bicycle ride
Photo: fb.com/ratio.andc

Take a scenic bicycle ride

Speaking of autumn foliage, one of the best ways to admire the city’s changing leaves is on two wheels. So why not spend a day touring the neighbourhoods by bike and discovering your own viewing spots as you go? Tokyo has a bicycle-sharing programme called Docomo Bike Share, where you can rent and return bicycles at various stations. Otherwise, make a caffeine stop a Ratio & C  in Jingumae – you can rent a bicycle at this coffee shop for ¥1,620 a day.

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  • Things to do

Autumn is the best time of year to go hiking with its hospitable climate and richly coloured mountain foliage, so exercise your lungs and go for a rewarding hike at some of Tokyo’s greenest forests and nature attractions. Trails vary in difficulty so there are options for both avid mountaineers keen for adventure as well as those who like to keep things short and sweet.

  • Restaurants

What’s better than brunch? A bottomless brunch. While Tokyo’s all-you-can-drink deals are usually reserved for free-flowing beer and highballs at after-dark izakaya chains, there are a handful of restaurants in the city with more luxurious all-you-can-drink deals from the AM. 

With Tokyo’s alcohol-restrictions now lifted, it’s time to treat yourself to a hedonistic weekend brunch as you soak up the sun on a breezy terrace with a glass of bubbly in hand. 

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Glamping, aka ‘glamorous camping’, is the perfect way to enjoy Japan’s nature hassle-free. If an afternoon of walking through vibrant autumn foliage isn’t quite enough, why not spend a weekend in a tent surrounded by the leaves at their peak? At these luxurious glamping sites, you won’t have to know how to fend for yourself in the wilderness. With proper beds and catered barbecues, you can get the most out of being in nature without compromising your creature comforts.

Fill up on udon
  • Restaurants
  • Ebisu

Thick chewy udon noodles make the ultimate comfort food – it’s the perfect meal to warm your belly on a chilly night. We can’t get enough of the curry udon at Yamacho. Its subtle spice and meaty richness is just the thing to keep you warm and it’s surprisingly addictive. Lunch sets here go for roughly ¥1,000 and include freshly steamed bowls of rice cooked with seasonal produce.

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Have a soak in an onsen
  • Health and beauty
  • Spas

One of the greatest luxuries Japan has to offer is its abundance of hot spring baths. Both public bathhouses and high-end ryokans are popular weekend destinations at any given time of year, but there are few things better than soaking in a rotenburo (open-air bath) as you admire surrounding natural scenery during the cooler seasons. Natural onsen in areas like Beppu are touted for their health benefits such as alleviating body aches, but there are also plenty of hot springs in the city that can improve your well-being by promoting blood circulation and easing sore muscles.

Autumn beyond Tokyo

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