Tokyo offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature in each of the four seasons, including popular sites for autumn colors. Parks, gardens and mountains on the outskirts of the city all offer relaxation surrounded by the reds and golds of autumnal trees. Even if you don't care that much for the Japanese notion of autumn leaf viewing, there's no denying the beauty of the season.

    Famous spots for autumn leaves include the Imperial Palace, the old residences of famous figures, and shrines hidden in places that give a real sense of the history of Tokyo. Let's take a look at some of the best destinations for autumn visits.

    1

    Yoyogi Park

    Autumn colors surrounding a vast lawn

    Yoyogi Park was the site of the athletes' village and stadium for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Zelkova, ginkgo, and maple trees are planted in this vast park, turn yellow and red in late autumn. There’s a beautiful contrast with the fountain and green neighborhoods.

    Enjoy a picnic, take a stroll, or rent a bicycle. The choice is yours. Cycling around the central plaza will give you a different perspective on Tokyo's unique autumn scenery.

    Location: 2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0052, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3469-6081

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    2

    Meiji Jingu Gaien

    A row of ginkgo trees familiar to fans of Japanese TV dramas

    Meiji Jingu Gaien is particularly well known for its rows of ginkgo trees overlooking the front of the stately Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery. Large ginkgo trees, lined up orderly and evenly spaced from the Aoyama-dori entrance to the Gaien central plaza circumference road, were planted from the former Imperial Household Ministry's Minami-Toshima Imperial Estate, and are over 100 years old.

    Stylish cafés and restaurants line the streets. Little ones will be happy to see the interesting playground. The park has also been used as a filming location for many famous TV dramas.

    Location: 1-1 Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0013, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3401-0312

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    3

    Ueno Onshi Park

    Find cherry blossoms in spring and golden leaves in autumn

    Ueno Onshi Park dates back to the Edo period, when it was developed on the precincts of Toeizan Kan'eiji Temple, which Tenkai (a Buddhist priest) built to the northeast of Edo Castle so that the temple would safeguard the castle from evil spirits. Besides Ueno Zoo, the park is home to many museums, including the Tokyo National Museum, and is known throughout Japan as a cherry blossom viewing spot, yet in fact, the autumn colors here are also spectacular.

    The scenery of the park is breathtaking, with not only cherry blossoms, but also ginkgo, maple, wax trees, and tulip trees in full color. You can get another fine view from a boat on the pond. Visit this park and you can effectively take a stroll through the history of the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

    Location: 3-chome, Ikenohata, Uenokoen, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0007, Japan

    Open: Daily from 5 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3828-5644

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    4

    Koishikawa Kōrakuen Garden

    Autumn scenery that shines through a valley of tall buildings

    Notable for its circuit-style garden overlooking Tokyo Dome, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden was completed by Mitsukuni Tokugawa, also known as Mito Komon (one of the Tokugawa shogunate family-heads in the Edo period). The seasonal flowers such as cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, and Japanese honeysuckle are popular, along with the beautiful autumn leaves.

    The garden is distinctly Japanese with its picturesque ponds, mountains, historical buildings, and autumn leaves. Take a stroll through the carefully maintained gardens and everything seems better. Even though you’re right in the middle of Tokyo, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to the Edo period.

    Location: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0004, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3811-3015

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    5

    Mt. Mitake

    Try some autumn mountain climbing without leaving Tokyo

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    Mt. Mitake is a trekking spot located in Ome City. Its famous for its stunning autumn colors, which begin to change in October. You can get to the summit by aerial cableway, which means you can cheat if you want to.

    Mt. Mitake has been a sacred place of mountain worship since the time of Emperor Sujin (the 10th emperor of Japan). Small shrines belonging to Musashi Mitake Shrine dot the summit and approach to the mountain, and each offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape. This is an idyllic location for hiking, viewing the autumn leaves, visiting shrines, and taking pictures.

    Location: Mitakeyama, Ome City, Tokyo 198-0175, Japan

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    6

    Rikugien Garden

    A daimyo garden studded with literary designs

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    Rikugien Garden is a park that preserves a circular garden with artificial mountain and water fountains, which was designed by Yoshiyasu Yanagisawa in the Edo period. The park draws many visitors during the season when the leaves of the ginkgo, maple, and wax trees start to change color. There are many scenic spots throughout the park, but the views from Suikonoe, Sanin-bashi Bridge, Togetsukyo Bridge, Tsutsuji Teahouse, and Takimi Teahouse are especially popular.

    Be sure to stop by Fukiage Teahouse, where you can taste matcha green tea and Japanese candies. This is a great place to experience the unique Edo style.

    Location: 6-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0021, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3941-2222

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    7

    Mt. Takao

    A hike through autumn colors that's easy to get to from central Tokyo

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    Mt. Takao is one of the best places in Tokyo for viewing the autumn leaves. The 599-metre-high mountain has dozens of hiking trails, allowing for full-scale climbing as well as aerial cableway and lift rides to the summit along the way.

    Beginners should take Trail 1, the main approach to Yakuoin Temple. While the best time to view the scenery of Mt. Takao depends on the year, this trail offers spectacular views at all times. At the end of your walk, fill up on Tengu-yaki, a Takao delicacy.

    Location: Takaomachi, Hachioji City, Tokyo 193-0844, Japan

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    8

    Shinjuku Gyoen

    A perfect blend of modern Western and pure Japanese autumn garden beauty

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    Shinjuku Gyoen was originally a botanical garden and an imperial garden established on the site of the former residence of the Naito family, lords of the Takato domain, and was later converted into a park. It’s one of the best cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo but also features dogwoods and katsura trees changing color in October, so a visit in spring or autumn will be a memorable one.

    In late autumn, the lillies, plane trees, and other exotic trees make the place feel distinctly un-Japanese. On the other hand, the autumn leaves of the maple and ginkgo trees in the Japanese garden are also brilliant. Not to be missed in autumn are the chrysanthemum flower beds, which are closely connected to the Imperial Family.

    Location: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0014, Japan

    Open: From 9 am to 4 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3350-0151

    Map

    photo by Guilhem Vellut (CC BY 2.0) modified

    9

    Hamarikyu Gardens

    Feel the peace of the autumn breeze

    The Hamarikyu Gardens were associated with the Shogunate and the Imperial Family during the Edo period. It’s a particularly rare kind of place thanks to its "Shiori-no-ike" (tidal pond), a landscaping technique that incorporates the ebb and flow of the tide by opening and closing a sluice gate. In autumn, maple leaves, zelkova trees, and other foliage everywhere add delicate color to the beauty of the garden.

    You might want to take some photos at the picturesque Otsutai Bridge and Nakajima Teahouse, a great place to relax with matcha tea and Japanese candies. This is a must-see stop when visiting Hamarikyu.

    Location: 1-1 Hamarikyuteien, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0046, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3541-0200

    Map
    10

    The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

    An autumn color experience to cleanse your body and soul

    The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace retain the stone walls, moats, and gates of Edo Castle, which have been transformed into the gardens of the Imperial Palace. In autumn, the well-maintained broad-leaved trees such as maple, wax tree, konara and sawtooth oak turn bright and shine brilliantly in the clear blue sky.

    The Japanese atmosphere is amplified by the carp in the pond and the sight of the remains of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The magnificent autumn colors along Inui-dori Avenue, which is opened to the public every year, never fails to impress. It's a real privilege to be able to visit a place like this.

    Location: 1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan

    Open: From 9 am to 4.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3213-1111

    Map

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