Turn your basic Tokyo trip into an autumn-themed adventure and glimpse a different side of modern Japan! Along with Hokkaido and Kansai, Tokyo is one of Japan’s best regions to experience nature’s most festive season. This is because autumn color viewing sites, called ‘koyo’ spots, are scattered all around the cosmopolitan city.
Get lost in the overwhelming beauty of fall and Japanese architecture, from the bright yellow gingko avenues to the mixed reds and oranges of traditional gardens and historic parks. It’s also easy for first-timers to take a short trip starting from Tokyo to must-visit natural destinations, including Mt. Fuji and Ashikaga Flower Park.
We’ve got all the deets, including the best time to go, costs, and how to get there. Liven up your autumn in Japan with our top 10 Tokyo fall foliage attractions!
Here’s a list of top 10 Tokyo Koyo Spots:
1. Meguro River
The 4-km riverwalk is equally gorgeous during spring or fall, thanks to the 800 cherry trees lining its pathways. Take in the flowing streams and the tranquil atmosphere enhanced by the warmth of the fiery leaves.
We suggest to go as early as you can to add some silvery mist on your morning stroll, for that slightly melancholic yet peaceful vibe.
- How to Get There From wherever you are in Tokyo, catch a JR Yamanote Line train and alight at Meguro Station. Leave West Exit and take a 5-minute walk to the river
- Cost Free
- Best Time to Visit Mid-November to early December
- Traveler Type Everyone who loves light walks
2. Rikugi-en Garden
Step into the land of the samurai – the famous Rikugi-en garden dates back all the way from Edo-period Japan. See every shade of green transitioning into the most vivid shade of red you can imagine. Visit the classic Japanese landscape garden during nighttime and marvel at spectacular illuminations lighting up weeping cherry trees.
- How to Get There Take a 7-minute walk from Komagome Station (via JR Yamanote Line or Tokyo Metro Namboku Line). Walk for another 10 minutes from Sengoku Station (Toei Mita Line)
- Cost ¥300
- Best Time to Visit Mid-November to early December. Opening and closing times are 9:00am to 5:00pm and 9:00 during special koyo illumination shows
- Traveler Type laid-back tourists and garden-enthusiasts
3. Ueno Park
The massive garden boasts over 8,800 trees and a number of iconic museums (like Tokyo National Museum and Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum). While you’re there, make sure to visit the Tokugawa Ieyasu shrine at Ueno Tōshō-gū – the Shinto shrine dedicated to the first founder and shogunate of the Tokugawa Shogunate era.
Soak up all the culture, including street performances and art exhibitions, as you stroll through thousands of vivid ginkgo biloba and cherry trees!
- How to Get There From anywhere in Tokyo, ride the Tokyo Metro Subway and go to Ueno Station. Find the park which is north from Ueno Station
- Cost Free
- Best Time to Visit Mid-November to early December
- Traveler Type Museum goers, history buffs, culture lovers
5. Hamarikyu Gardens
Beautiful in any season, the Hamarikyu is the oldest garden built by the samurais in the 17th century. The imperial gardens and traditional teahouse look strikingly anachronistic against the backdrop of Tokyo Tower. Feast your eyes on the rich palette of colors provided by several plum trees, peonies, and cosmos flowers.
Don’t forget to unwind with a cup of matcha, offered inside that same teahouse! Time your visit to coincide with the annual tea Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony, held on October 15th and Sunday October 16th from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
- How to Get There Takes a 10-15 minute walk from JR Shimbashi Station. Or take a 5-10 minute walk from Shiodome Station on the Oedo Subway Line and the Yurikamome elevated train
- Cost Free; ¥300 for the optional tea ceremony
- Best Time to Visit Mid-October for the tea ceremony, otherwise mid-November to early December
- Traveler Type Matcha and garden enthusiasts
5. Icho Namiki Avenue
Yes, it is all yellow! Just wait ‘til late November to bask in the otherworldly, golden glow of this ‘Gingko Avenue’. Head to the ever-popular Icho Namiki, the tree-lined avenue located in Meiji Jingu Gaien Park.
Stroll under the shade and gaze upon the sun beaming through the gingko trees’ brilliant yellow canopies. Or simply enjoy leaf-peeping (and people-watching) from one of the two sidewalk cafes. Don’t forget your OOTD shot – this avenue is a MAJOR photography spot in Japan, with tons of TV stars getting their pics taken!
- How to Get There Take the Tokyo Metro to Aoyama-itchome. Go through Exit 1, turn right and go straight. Spot a Family Mart convenience store on you right and keep walking until the crossing. Spot the Gingko Avenue on your right!
- Cost Free
- Best Time to Visit mid-November – early December
- Traveler Type Fashionistas, travelers who heart the color yellow, and everyone (really)
6. Koishikawa Kōraku-en (Garden)
Appreciate the marvelous blend of both Japanese and Chinese aesthetics! Koishikawa is known as the oldest and best garden in Tokyo – and for good reason. Witness the beauty of the landscape inspired by West Lake in Hangzhou, China, while its ponds, trees, hills, and stones reflect both Asian cultures.
Check out the crimson maple trees surrounding the three ponds, and the yellow ginko trees towards the garden’s southeast corner.
Note: Area near Shiroito Waterfall is currently being renovated!
- How to Get There Take a 5-10 minute walk from Iidabashi Station along the JR Chuo Line (local trains)
- Cost Free
- Best Time to Visit Late November – early December
- Traveler Type Those who love both Japanese and Chinese themes, gardening enthusiasts
Around Tokyo: Easy Day Tours
What better way to enjoy autumn than to witness Japan’s most prominent landmark set ablaze? Travel to Mt. Fuji 5th Station and watch Mt. Fuji reflected beautifully on glass-like Lake Kawaguchi. Be captivated by the stark contrast of the snow-capped mountain and deep blue lakes, framed by amber and golden trees.
Book with KKday to squeeze in a visit to the Hakone Open Air Museum or The Little Prince Museum for a taste of French culture.
- How to Get There: Take the direct highway bus from the Shinjuku Highway Bus Terminal. The bus takes you all the way to the 5th Station, which is the foot of the mountain. (2 hours and 30 minutes)
- Cost: ¥2700 for direct highway bus
- Best Time to Visit: Late October and early November
- Traveler Type Everyone
Delve even deeper into the mysterious nature of Mt. Fuji with a visit to Ice and Wind Caves of Aokigahara Forest. As you walk through the eerie ‘Sea of Trees’, experience the total silence caused by the hardened lava absorbing every sound.
Make your way through the lava-formed Ice and Wind Caves! Brace yourself for sub-zero temperatures, and be greeted by blocks of ice and stunning rock icicles, as well as traces from the silkworm industry. Afterwards, visit Oshino Village to explore the eight ‘Oshino Hakkai’ ponds – observe schools of colorful fish, and drink pure water spring from the Waku pond.
- How to Get There Take a direct highway bus from stations across Tokyo, including Shinjuku, Shibuya and Tokyo
- Cost ~¥1800
- Best Time to Visit Late October and early November
- Traveler Type Hikers and cave explorers don’t mind freezing temperatures, dark and spooky experiences
Enter the UNESCO-listed town of Nikko and discover Kegon Falls, a 97-meter high waterfall. This paradise, full of natural wonders, is even more breathtaking with a rainbow of warm-colored hues! Start your journey in the most exquisitely decorated Toshogu Shrine; it’s also the final resting place of Japan’s first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Stroll through 55 temples and marvel at the fall colors covering the whole area. Then, gaze upon the tranquil beauty of Lake Chuzenji with Mt. Nantai in the background. Feel completely at peace with the calming echo of the 13 waterfalls’ cascades. Cap off the day by by warming yourself up in Kinugawa Onsen, with a majestic view of the landscapes.
- How to Get There Take the bus to the Chuzenjiko Onsen bus stop and just walk from there
- Cost ¥550
- Best Time to Visit Mid – late October
- Traveler Type spiritual travelers, hikers, historic buffs, and nature-lovers
Discover a whole new level of ‘Ikebana’ or the art of flower arrangement in Tochigi Prefecture! Hop aboard a trolley along the Watarase Keikoku Railway that runs along the Watarase River. Take in views of the stunning maple leaves on both sides of the picturesque river.
Feast your eyes on the spectacular vista of Takatsudokyo Gorge, tinged with shades of red and orange. If you don’t believe in magic, you definitely will after you visit Ashikaga Flower Park! As the sun sets, watch as 3,500,000 balls of colorful lights completely transform the park.
Encounter rows upon rows of vibrant wisteria, English rose gardens, and lilyponds – artfully arranged to look like a sky full of flowers instead of stars.
- How to Get There About 10 minutes on foot from Omama Station on Watarase Keikoku Railway
- Cost ¥6300
- Best Time to Visit Late October to mid-November
- Traveler Type Poetic types who adore flowers!
- Download Tokyo travel apps to cover all your possible needs
- What to bring Bottled water, fully charged camera and smartphone, cash for entrance fees
- Weather Temperature drops only at night to around 15°C in October and 9°C in November. Expect warm afternoons; wear a light-weight jacket, long or short sleeved shirt, pants with running shoes
- Fall Fashion Try to wear warm tones that compliment the foliage. Oh, and bring a trendy coat, hat, and gloves just in case it gets cold!
Excited to see Japan’s bustling metropolis turn into an autumn wonderland? Realize your fairytale dreams and plan that exciting Tokyo fall trip with KKday! More guides on autumn in Japan are coming your way, but in the meantime, check out these just-as-amazing destinations for Fall 2018: