[2021 Edition] 10 Best Spots For Breathtaking Autumn Leaves in Tokyo

Amongst the four seasons of Japan, the natural beauty of autumn stands alone. Before the chill of winter arrives, the leaves of trees such as maple, gingko, beech, and cherry reveal their autumn colors and transform everyday scenery into something wonderful. In this article, we’ll introduce our recommendations for the 10 best spots to view autumn foliage both inside and on the outskirts of Tokyo.


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When Is the Best Time to See Autumn Leaves in Tokyo?

While it depends on the area and year, the best time to see autumn leaves in Tokyo generally falls between late October to early December. Before making any plans, be sure to check the latest forecast.

1. Gotokuji Temple (Setagaya)

Established in 1480, the grounds of the historical Gotokuji Temple in Setagaya flaunt a delightful collection of Japanese maple trees boasting vivid autumn foliage. Believed to be the origin of the “maneki neko” beckoning cat lucky charm, this legendary temple is worth a visit no matter the time of year!

2. Yoyogi Park (Shibuya)

Offering an escape from the dense cityscape of Shibuya, Yoyogi Park boasts over 1,300 mighty gingko trees exuding an intense yellow hue before falling to the ground and weaving together a carpet of gold. Complementing this scenery are Japanese maple trees with fiery red foliage.

3. Rikugien Garden (Bunkyo)

Rikugien Garden in Bunkyo is a pristine Japanese-style garden established in 1695. The garden’s collection of fall foliage is lit up at night in an enchanting illumination event, making the scenery feel like an entirely different world. If you’re seeking the perfect autumn photos, you won’t go wrong at Rikugien Garden!

4. Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue (Minato)

Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue is undoubtedly one of the most famous autumn sights in the entire Tokyo area. The enchanting path features over 140 towering gingko trees flaunting brilliant golden colors during the fall season. From mid-November to early December, the much-anticipated “Icho Festival” is held packing the area with sightseers. Despite the crowds, chowing down on Japanese festival food while absorbing the mind-blowing scenery is a great way to spend an autumn afternoon!

5. Showa Memorial Park (Tachikawa)

Showa Memorial Park is found in Tachikawa City, located on the outskirts of Tokyo. The park grounds bristle with traditional Japanese-style gardens, bonsai gardens, flowerbeds, and more, allowing a deep appreciation for the natural Japanese aesthetic. During November, an autumn festival is held featuring concerts and guided tours. It takes roughly 30 mins by train to reach Tachikawa Station from Shinjuku Station, with Showa Memorial Park just a brief walk from there.

6. Akigawa Valley (Akiruno)

Located in Akiruno, the picturesque Akigawa Valley showcases a pristine valley river adorned by the foliage of thousands of trees. A 60 min train ride from the heart of Tokyo, it’s hard to believe that such untouched nature is still a part of the Tokyo region! There are lots of hiking courses criss-crossing the area, making it perfect for those seeking an outdoor adventure without straying too far from the capital.

7. Yoro Ravine (Ichihara, Chiba)

Located on the Boso Peninsula in neighboring Chiba Prefecture, the Yoro Ravine is a valley famous for its incredible collage of autumn colors. Reachable after an approximately 120 min train ride from central Tokyo, the combination of pure river water and surrounding fall foliage forms a natural beauty rivaling even the most celebrated works of art. As the colors here peak between late November to early December, the Yoro Ravine allows those who missed out in Tokyo the chance to catch some fall foliage before winter sets in.

8. Nagatoro (Chichibu, Saitama)

Located approximately 100 mins from Tokyo by train, the Chichibu region of Saitama Prefecture is a paradise of unblemished nature and beauty. The 173 km Arakawa River flows through the heart of Chichibu, allowing visitors to take in the surrounding fall foliage by boat or canoe. The red and yellow reflected on the water’s surface appears like a vivid watercolour painting, attracting keen photographers from across the world!

9. Mount Takao (Hachioji, Tokyo)

Reachable in just under an hour, Mount Takao is the most popular hiking spot in the Tokyo metropolitan area. During autumn, we particularly  recommend ascending the mountain via cable car, which passes through   a tunnel of leaves amplifying the seasonal beauty to entirely new heights. Since Mount Takao has an altitude of 600 m, you can expect it to be significantly colder than most of Tokyo, so make sure you wear the appropriate clothing.

10. Hakone (Hakone, Kanagawa)

Alongside its world-famous onsen hot springs, Hakone also offers a plethora of stunning autumn sights making it a popular hub for fall sightseeing. Our recommendation is the “Hakone Mountain Railway,” which departs from Hakone-Yumoto Station and will take you on a relaxing journey through an enchanting forest of red and gold. Each Hakone hot spring ryokan inn will also have their own autumn recommendation, so don’t hesitate to ask and find out where the locals go! Soaking in a hot spring surrounded by autumn leaves is the epitome of Japanese charm!

Whether you’re seeking a casual urban stroll, tranquil temple visit, or adventure through the mountains, Tokyo and surroundings have a dazzling array of incredible autumn locations suiting all kinds of outings. Find one that you like and use it to discover the true beauty of autumn in Japan!

Top photo: PIXTA

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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Steve Csorgo

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