[Tokyo Edition] Top 5 Autumn Leaf Spots Japanese Locals Want to Visit!
If you're visiting Tokyo in the fall, autumn leaf viewing spots should be high on your list of things to do! Car rental company Akippa recently surveyed Japanese locals to ask them what fall foliage spots they are most looking forward to visiting this autumn. In this article, we'll introduce the top five winners of the survey and give you all you need to know about visiting them. What destinations took the top spots in the eyes of the Japanese locals? Read on to find out!
Oct 29 2019 (Sep 16 2020)
1st Place | Mt. Takao
Taking first place on the destinations Japanese locals most want to visit this fall is Mt. Takao, also called Takao-san. Around an hour away from central Tokyo via express train on the Keio line, this is an easy nature retreat for the Tokyo locals.
The Mt. Takao Autumn Leaves Festival will be held from November 2nd to November 30th this year. On weekends and public holidays that fall within this timeframe, visitors will be able to enjoy concerts, taiko drum performances, and yosakoi dance shows at the Kiyotake Station Plaza. Market stalls selling traditional kokeshi dolls and sake served in wooden cups are also available to set the mood.
With plenty of things to see and do, including the nearby Yakuo-in Temple, a range of hiking trails, hot springs, and a view that stretches as far as Mt. Fuji on clear days, it's no surprise that Mt. Takao took the top spot in 2019!
2nd Place | Imperial Palace
Taking the second spot for Tokyo's top fall foliage viewing destinations is the Imperial Palace! The recent enthronement of Emperor Naruhito and start of the Reiwa Era may have put this spot at the forefront of Tokyo residents' minds this year.
The best autumn leaves are found in the Ninomaru Gardens. Japanese maples and ginkgo trees will be showing their colors in late November to early December this year, a little later than Mt. Takao. With free admission and easy access from Tokyo Station or Otemachi Station, this is an easy spot to visit for locals and tourists alike.
You can read more about the other attractions that the Imperial Palace has to offer here.
3rd Place | Showa Kinen Park
Showa Kinen Park is an expansive park that spans over 180 hectares. It is located around 30 minutes outside central Tokyo in Tachikawa City. The trees will show their colors a little earlier here than the center of the city, so aim to head to the park in mid-November to catch them at their peak.
The autumn highlight is the gorgeous gingko-tree lined avenue that runs along the canal near Tachikawa Gate southeast of the park (pictured above). The firey red maple leaves in the park's Japanese garden also give a beautiful sense of traditional Japanese scenery. Both of these spots will be illuminated in the evenings during the park's Autumn Leaves Festival, which runs from November 2nd to the 24th in 2019.
4th Place | Shinjuku Gyoen
As one of the biggest parks in Tokyo, there's plenty of autumn scenery to enjoy in the centrally-located Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. There are a variety of gardens to stroll within this park, including a French formal garden, English landscape garden, and traditional Japanese garden. Its convenient location makes it another easy fall spot to fit in your sightseeing plans.
To see the best autumn views in the park, head to the traditional Japanese gardens to admire the beautiful mature maple trees and classic garden design. Maple Hill, located to the east of the Sendagaya Gate, and the avenue of sycamore trees in the French formal garden area are also worth seeing.
If you're in Tokyo a little earlier, you may be lucky enough to catch the park's chrysanthemum exhibit which runs from November 1st to 15th, too. Camellias and roses are also anticipated to be in bloom around this period.
5th Place | Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park, located in the Harajuku area next to Meiji Jingu Shrine, finishes off our list of the most-anticipated Tokyo spots for fall foliage this year. This park is well known for its lively atmosphere thanks to its buskers, performers, and cosplayers that tend to gather here on the weekends.
The park's well-known gingko grove and the maple leaves around the park's pond both make for beautiful fall sights. The 200-meter Zelkova Avenue that runs alongside the Yoyogi National Gymnasium also gives some gorgeous colors. If you're planning to visit Meiji Jingu Shrine during your time in Tokyo, stop in at Yoyogi Park and enjoy its seasonal foliage and local charm.
Tokyo Has Plenty of Autumn Scenery!
What do you think of the Japanese locals' picks? While Tokyo has a reputation as being a high rise metropolis, there are plenty of spacious parks, gardens, and green spaces to enjoy year-round. We hope this article has inspired you to check out some of these spots in Tokyo this autumn!
For all you need to know about autumn leaves in Japan, check out our complete 2019 Fall Foliage Forecast. We have all the info you need about where to go for the best fall colors, as well as the forecasted peak times for spots nationwide.
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Title Image: まちゃー / PIXTA
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.