Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Matsuri1/5
Photo: Cowardlion/DreamstimeMeiji Jingu Gaien's Icho Namiki-dori
Sankeien Garden2/5
Photo: 9187092/PixabaySankeien Garden, Yokohama
Autumn leaves top NEW3/5
Photo: Sankeien Hoshoukai FoundationYokohama's Sankeien is one of the top spots for autumn leaves around Tokyo
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden4/5
Photo: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Management OfficeShinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Meiji Jingu Gaien autumn leaves5/5
Photo: Tom Tor/UnsplashMeiji Jingu Gaien

Where to admire autumn leaves in Tokyo

From yellow ginkgo trees to red maple leaves – see the seasonal beauty at Tokyo's gardens and parks

By Time Out Tokyo Editors
Advertising

Every year from October to December, hordes of Tokyoites make the exodus out of town to classic autumn-leaf destinations like Kamakura, Nikko, Hakone and even Kyoto. And if you do so, don't forget to take advantage of these Go to Travel hotel deals and JR train/shinkansen passes.

However, if you prefer not to travel, there are still plenty of gardens and parks right here in the city to catch the brilliant autumn colours from mid-to-late November. Here are our top picks of historic retreats, lush parks and lesser-known viewing locations, all in or close to Tokyo. For the particularly energetic folks, we recommend these scenic bike routes and hikes.

BEFORE YOU GO: The 2020 autumn leaves forecast for Tokyo and Japan

Top autumn attractions in Tokyo

Icho Namiki Street
Icho Namiki Street
Photo: Cowardlion/Dreamstime

Meiji Jingu Gaien's Icho Namiki-dori

Attractions Shinanomachi

Meiji Jingu Gaien, or Meiji Outer Garden, completed in 1926, is an extensive complex of Western gardens, athletic fields, a ball park and sports facilities. The garden includes the 300-metre long ginkgo tree-lined boulevard between Gaienmae Station and Aoyama-itchome Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza line. Toward the end of November each year, the ginkgo trees shine with golden autumnal foliage. This is Tokyo’s quintessential autumn scenery, which has graced countless Instagram accounts.

Mitake Gorge
Mitake Gorge
Photo: Wipark Kulnirandorn/Dreamstime

Mitake Gorge

Things to do Ome

Located to the west of Tokyo, the area surrounding Mitake Gorge is a particularly popular destination with hikers between mid-October and late November. Get off at Mitake Station on the JR Ome Line and stick to the walking trails along the river banks. Postcard views of vivid red maple leaves and yellow ginkgo trees await, and for the perfect shot, make sure you have in your frame the majestic bridge that presides over the crystal clear Tama River. Do visit the nearby Gyokudo Art Museum for classic Japanese paintings before making the trip back to town.

Advertising
ホテル椿山荘東京
ホテル椿山荘東京
Photo: Rico.Okaniwa

Sea of Clouds and garden light-up at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Things to do Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, Mejirodai
In the morning hours during spring and autumn, Japan’s mountainous regions are renowned for their beautiful cloud formations. Thanks to Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, you don’t need to leave the capital to enjoy those spectacular misty views. You can experience the ‘Sea of Clouds’ several times a day at the hotel’s large, traditional Japanese garden, with the first show taking place from 6.30am.
The evening slots even include a stunning light up event, with 1,000 LEDs illuminating the garden, the waterfall and the 600-year-old three-storey pagoda. The event takes place all year round, but is most picturesque in autumn when the foliage really sets off your photos.

Note: you'll need to visit one of the hotel restaurants or stay overnight to be able to attend this event (it's free for diners and hotel guests).
Komazawa Olympic Park
Komazawa Olympic Park
Photo: Kuruma-tabi Shashinkan/Photo-AC

Komazawa Olympic Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Komazawa-Daigaku

This Setagaya park served as a secondary venue for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and is home to a distinctive Kenzo Tange-designed tower that looks more like a Jenga set. The facilities are still used for sporting competitions today, as well as less physically challenging events such as flea markets. Come autumn, the park's avenue of zelkova trees is as picturesque as the one in Meiji Jingu Gaien, but much less crowded, giving you plenty of space to capture that perfect perfect Instagram shot.

Advertising

Autumn Leaves Festival

Things to do Showa Kinen Park, Tachikawa

Showa Kinen Park is the most beautiful in autumn, with the maple and ginkgo trees blushing in fiery red and yellow. The Ginkgo trees are the first to turn, usually from the end of October, and you can see a boulevard of them lining the 300m-long street heading towards Tachikawa. The momiji and kaede trees, however, present their signature vermillion hues later in mid-November. Best catch this scenic view soon before winter takes over.

During this season, the park stays open in the evening, so you can enjoy the colourful trees all lit up, matching the ambience of the park’s traditional Japanese garden. Between November 3 and 6, you can enjoy the light up event for the park's regular admission fee.

八王子いちょう祭り
八王子いちょう祭り
Photo: Hachioji Ginkgo Festival

Hachioji Ginkgo Festival

Things to do Kobotokeseki, Takaosan

It's one of the most popular spots in the whole of Tokyo for autumn leaves: the 4km stretch of road leading from Hachioji's Oiwakecho to the foot of Mt Takao is lined with over 700 ginkgo trees (known as icho in Japanese), and they look simply splendid at this time of year. The 41st edition of the Hachioji Ginkgo Festival returns with a limited number of activities due to the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Even though you won't be able to enjoy the annual parades and shows, you can participate in a digital stamp rally and do some quizzes while admiring the colourful autumn leaves.

Advertising
Mt Takao
Mt Takao
Photo: Aaa187/Dreamstime

Mt Takao

Things to do Takaosan

Easily accessible from Shinjuku Station, Mt Takao is a popular weekend getaway for stressed-out Tokyoites looking to recharge their batteries surrounded by nature. From mid-November to early December, the nearly 600m-tall elevation attracts hordes of cheerful hikers looking to admire the warm yellow and blazing red hues of the forest. The autumn foliage is best viewed from the cable car which brings you up to the first observation deck, from where you’ll also be treated to a breathtaking panorama of the city. There are shops here peddling souvenirs and snacks.

Inokashira Park
Inokashira Park
Photo: Makoto Honda/Dreamstime

Inokashira Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Kichijoji

Inokashira Park in Kichijoji is a year-round hit with families, thanks to an abundance of playground facilities and the small zoo on-site – kids will love the guineapigs at the petting area. In autumn, however, the star attraction is the colourful foliage, best admired from aboard one of the swan-shaped pedal boats on the lake. You’ll find the best views between the end of November and early December.

Advertising
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Photo: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Management Office

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Things to do Shinjuku-Sanchome

Shinjuku, with its bustling station and popular nightlife district Kabukicho, is also home to one of the most beautiful parks in the city. Scenic all year round, the sprawling Shinjuku Gyoen features three distinct gardens, including a landscape garden and a traditional Japanese garden complete with a quaint little tea house serving matcha and wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery). Autumn colours are found throughout the park but make a beeline for the Maple Hill for the best photo op.

Note: drinking alcohol as well as playing sports and musical instruments are prohibited in the garden.

Hibiya Park
Hibiya Park
Photo: Hibiya Park

Hibiya Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Hibiya

Established in 1903 as Tokyo’s first Western-style park, Hibiya Park is one of the best spots in the city centre to admire koyo (autumn foliage). Blazing red maple trees and mustard-yellow ginkgo leaves can be found around the Kumogata-ike pond, which features a beautiful fountain inspired by the crane, the Japanese symbol for good luck. The reflection of the colourful leaves on the water set against a backdrop of gleaming skyscrapers make for some postcard-perfect photo ops. Next to the on-site restaurant Hibiya Matsumotoro you’ll even find a 20m tall ginkgo tree that’s almost 500 years old.

Advertising
紅葉の古建築公開
紅葉の古建築公開
Photo: Sankeien Garden

Sankeien Autumn Opening

Things to do Sankeien Garden, Yokohama

Yokohama's spacious Sankeien is home to several priceless structures, including a three-storey pagoda from Kyoto, historical teahouses and a feudal lord’s residence. Several of these treasures will be opened to the public over a few autumn weeks, coinciding with the golden red and yellow autumn foliage. Should make for a nice opportunity to experience the season the traditional way.

More things to do in Tokyo

Advertising
Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising