The cherry blossom season in Japan is famous worldwide, but did you know that in Japan, the “autumn leaves season” (koyo) is also very popular? In Tokyo, the best time to go on an “autumn leaves hunt” (koyo-gari) is from the end of November until the first half of December. Last weekend, my friends and I rented bikes at Tokyo Tower and went on an autumnal bike trip around the city!
① Shibakoen: Autumn leaves clouds paired with Tokyo Tower
When entering Shibakoen (Shiba Park) from the Onarimon Station located on the north side of Shibakoen, you will see Tokyo Tower rising from yellow ginkgo trees right in front of you. The contrast between the yellow ginkgo leaves and the red and white pattern of Tokyo Tower is beautiful! Depending on how the picture is taken, you can take pictures of Tokyo Tower surrounded by ginkgo leaves and without any buildings or people in the photo. This place is often used as a location for tv dramas, but because the park is very large, it does not get crowded at all – even on weekends.
Only known by locals: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Instagrammability: ★ ★ ★
Autumn leaves color: yellow
② Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park: An international Japanese-style oasis in Tokyo
Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park near Hiroo station is a wonderful Japanese-style park with a big pond, waterfalls, bridges, and rocks. This park is surrounded by many embassies. Therefore, you will see foreign parents and children who are living in Japan playing together, walking their dogs, or even Indian cricket players enjoying their free time.
Old Japanese “hobby fishermen” are fishing in the pond while some ladies are drawing watercolor paintings of the scenery. It’s a very Japanese, but at the same time very international park. When walking on one of the many trails winding up and down the hill of the park, it feels like a stroll through a quiet autumn mountain. It’s a great place which is yet undiscovered by tourists!
Only known by locals: ★ ★ ★ ★
Instagrammability: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Autumn leaves color: yellow, red
③ Aoyama Cemetery: Tokyo’s most famous cemetery with a long history
Aoyama Cemetery (“Aoyama Reien”) is an amazingly large cemetery located in the center of Tokyo. If you try to walk from the nearest station (Nogizaka station) through the cemetery to the next station, it will take a considerable amount of time. The best way to cross it is actually by bicycle. There are just two roads that run like a cross through the cemetery. The autumn leaves at Aoyama Cemetery are mainly red and yellow – watching leaves of the cherry tree avenue is also a great place to go in spring. The historical cemetery is very quiet and relaxing. Roppongi’s skyscrapers that can be seen in the far distance look as if they have come right out of an SF movie.
Only known by locals: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Instagrammability: ★ ★
Autumn leaves color: mainly red
④ Shinku ginkgo in the Meiji-Jingu-Gaien: Dive into an autumn leaves festival!
The Ginkgo tree avenue at Meiji-Jingu-Gaien close to Gaienmae station and Aoyama itchome Station is the most famous colored leaves spot in Tokyo. There are more people than yellow ginkgo trees to see and they stretch like a torch towards the blue sky. If it is a weekday when the leaves of the ginkgo began to fall, the road will also be yellow, so it should be the best as a photographic spot. The autumn leaves here should be enjoyed as a festival (“Meiji Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival”). Since late November and early December, there are stalls nearby rows of trees, so it is right that everyone else wishes to live in a lively environment!
Only known by locals: ★
Instagrammability: ★ ★ ★ ★
Autumn leaves color: pale yellow!
Exploring the streets of Tokyo by bicycle is great. It’s the best way to “hunt” autumn leaves. You will see something and think: “Oh, this is nice! Let’s take a photo!” The weather in Tokyo from late November to winter is stable and the sky is (almost always) blue, so I really recommend to rent a bicycle! Have fun at your autumn leaves hunt in Japan!
Minato Bicycle Sharing URL:
Watch our video about bicycle sharing in Tokyo: