Where to admire the autumn leaves

See the seasonal spectacle at Tokyo's gardens, parks and museums

Where to admire the autumn leaves


Every year, hordes of Tokyoites make the exodus out of town to classic autumn leaf watching spots like Kamakura, Nikko and Hakone. However, for those who haven't got time to travel, there are plenty of gardens, parks and museums right here in the city to get your koyo fill from mid-to-late November. Here are our top picks of nightly light-ups, historic retreats and lesser-known viewing locations in or close by Tokyo.

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo Autumn Garden Lightup

Nov 1-Dec 25 | Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
The opulent Hotel Chinzanso in Mejiro opens up its gorgeously decorated garden during the autumn leaves season, lighting up the lush grounds at night to produce one of the city's most beautiful foliage shows. Head over a little bit later in the evening if you want to escape the crowds – the garden stays open until 11.30pm.
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Mt Takao Maple Festival

Nov 1-30 | Mt Takao
Various events will be taking place around Mt. Takao in November, including kokeshi doll demonstrations and sales of masuzake, the curious boxed beverage. The main attraction is of course the autumn foliage, with the maple trees around the area turning fiery red and yellow. Primary event locations include the Takao Forest Center at the foot of the mountain, Kiyotaki Station, and the Ju-ichome tea house on the hillside.
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Hachioji Ginkgo Festival

Nov 15-16
It's one of the most popular spots in the whole of Tokyo for autumn leaves: the 4km stretch of road leading from Hachioji to the foot of Mt Takao is lined with 770 ginkgo trees (known as icho in Japanese), and they look rather splendid at this time of year. The autumnal colours provide an excuse for all kinds of activities at the annual Hachioji Ginkgo Festival, which is returning for its 35rd edition this year.
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Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum Light-up

Nov 22-24 | Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum
Visitors can see Koganei's Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum in a different, er, light over one November weekend, as the historical theme park opens its gates for three evenings of illuminations. Admire the autumn leaves in all their finery, and find out about the lighting methods used in the Edo, Meiji and Taisho eras. The eastern plaza will be lit up with candles, making for a romantic atmosphere.
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Rikugien Autumn Leaves Lightup

Nov 20-Dec 7 | Rikugien
Rikugien's annual lightup returns again for when the park's trees turn red and golden in the autumn night. The view reflects beautifully off the water, creating a magical and unforgettable atmosphere. The park stays open until 9pm for the duration of the event, and the cosy teahouses are open throughout.
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Autumn Leaves Festival

Nov 8-24 | Showa Kinen Park
The ginkgo and maple leaves turn beautifully yellow and red at Showa Kinen Park, with the 300-metre stretch of ginkgo trees lining the street toward Tachikawa going first (usually from the end of October). The momiji and kaede maple trees in the Japanese garden take on a fiery appearance from around the middle of November.
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Sankeien Autumn Opening

Nov 22-Dec 14 | Sankeien
Yokohama's spacious Sankeien is home to several priceless structures, including a three-storey pagoda from Kyoto and a feudal lord’s residence. These treasures will be opened to the public over a few autumn weeks, coinciding with the golden red autumn foliage. Should make for a nice opportunity to experience the season the traditional way.
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Mejiro Teien Autumn Light-up

Nov 21-30 | Mejiro Teien
This small but gorgeous Japanese garden will be lit up for those dark autumn evenings, installing lighting designed by students from a vocational school nearby. The colours are meant to reflect off the park's pond, creating an illusion of greater space and providing for a pretty spectacular sight. Jazz concerts are scheduled for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
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Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival

Nov 15-Dec 8 | Icho Namiki-dori & Meiji Jingu Gaien
This festival begins as autumn turns the surrounding ginkgo leaves yellow. Adding to the event’s popularity are temporary stalls selling noted products from different regions of Japan, and street performers giving live shows for the duration of the festival.
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By Time Out Tokyo Editors
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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