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10 ways to still have an amazing autumn in Tokyo

This gorgeous season is the best time for the great outdoors – here are the top ten things to do in Tokyo this autumn

By Time Out Tokyo Editors
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After a long and humid summer, the relief of autumn can never come too soon with its cool crisp air and dazzling foliage. Disenchanted as you may be with the way this year’s been going, there’s something unquestionably poetic about autumn in Japan that can uplift and recharge weary souls.

Whether it’s a relaxing soak in an onsen 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: Our guide on going out safely in Tokyo

Fall in love with Tokyo

Sankeien | Time Out Tokyo
Photo: Sankeien Hoshoukai Foundation

Admire the city's amazing autumn foliage

Things to do

Some of the season’s most gorgeous scenery are the landscapes that boast vibrant autumn foliage. Each location features 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.

Mont Blanc Style
Photo: Time Out Tokyo

Treat yourself to a chestnut dessert

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.

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Ratio & C
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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.

Okutama Valley | Time Out Tokyo
Photo: Pixta/3x

Go for a hike

Things to do

Mt Fuji may be closed for the season, but 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.

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Fill up on udon

Restaurants Udon 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.

Oden at Samon | Time Out Tokyo
Photo: Time Out Tokyo

Warm up with oden

What better to offset the chilly weather than a hearty bowl of oden. This homely stew is an unsung hero of the cooler months, where an assortment of ingredients such as hard-boiled egg, fishcake, konnyaku jelly, tofu and daikon radish are simmered in a warm broth.  The convenience stores should have started filling their steel vats with self-serve oden by now. Otherwise, here’s our list of the best oden speciality restaurants in Tokyo.

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PICA Fujiyama, glamping, Mt Fuji
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Go on a glamping getaway

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.

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.

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TIFF 2020
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Catch an award winning film

The biggest international film event in Japan, the Tokyo International Film Festival has been running for 32 years. This year’s film fest will run from October 31 to November 9  and premiere films by talented directors from Japan and around the world. The festival will kick off with Masaharu Take’s 2020 film ‘Underdog’ and host screenings at several venues around Tokyo including Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown Hibiya. Many of the featured films  have yet to be released in Japan and most of them will have English subtitles.

More autumnal activities

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