1. nokashira Park in Kichijoji Photo: Makoto Honda/Dreamstime
    nokashira Park in Kichijoji Photo: Makoto Honda/Dreamstime
  2. Icho Namiki Street
    Photo: Cowardlion/DreamstimeMeiji Jingu Gaien's Icho Namiki-dori
  3. Sankeien Garden
    Photo: 9187092/PixabaySankeien Garden, Yokohama
  4. Sankeien | Time Out Tokyo
    Photo: Sankeien Hoshoukai FoundationYokohama's Sankeien is one of the top spots for autumn leaves around Tokyo
  5. 新宿御苑
    Photo: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Management Office
  6. Meiji Jingu Gaien, autumn leaves, yellow ginkgo trees
    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

Written by
Time Out Tokyo Editors

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 (currently suspended) 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 2021 autumn leaves forecast for Tokyo and Japan

Top autumn attractions in Tokyo

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Things to do
  • Mejirodai
In the morning hours during spring and autumn, Japan’s more 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 11.10am.
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.
Between September 21 and November 11, the hotel teams up with French cosmetic brand L'Occitane en Provence, and each cloud spectacle features the fragrance of osmanthus.

Note that you'll need to visit one of the hotel's restaurants or stay for a night to be able to attend this event (it's free for diners and hotel guests).
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

More things to do in Tokyo

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