Best autumn spots in Tokyo (and day trips​ from the city)

Summer’s almost over and although I’m going to miss all the colorful and boisterous festivals, I’m certainly not going to miss the sticky humidity.

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Bon-odori festival at Nishiarai-daishi Temple

Surprisingly, the breeze is much cooler today and I think (and hope) the beautiful season of autumn will be upon us soon! I’m looking forward to seeing the leaves turn into vibrant hues of yellow, orange, and red again! I’m pretty sure I’m going to be busy being trigger-happy and exploring the city then, so in the meantime, I’d like to share some of my favorite autumn spots in Tokyo and nearby areas. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves 🙂

Rikugien Garden

One of the most impressive Japanese gardens I’ve seen no matter the season. In autumn, try to visit in the late afternoon then you can check out the night illumination until 9pm.

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Autumn foliage on spotlight

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Lovely Japanese landscape

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Full moon over Rikugien Garden

Best time for viewing: Mid to late November

Access: Komagome station (Hibiya line)

 

Ginkgo Avenue (Jingu Gaien Park)

Rows of towering ginkgo trees made me feel like a giddy kid on Christmas morning 🙂 It also made me sing a Coldplay song… for they were all yellow! :p

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Ginkgo Avenue

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Walk down this avenue that leads to a park with food stalls and beer!

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Dine al fresco at this café with outdoor heaters

Best time for viewing: Mid to late November

Access: Gaienmae Station (Ginza line) and Aoyama-Itchome Station (Hanzomon line)

This year, I’m hoping to visit more recommended autumn spots:  Shinjuku Gyoen near Shinjuku station, Showa Memorial Park near Tachikawa station, and Lake Kawaguchiko near Mt. Fuji too! Speaking of side trips…

Autumn day trips from Tokyo

If you have ample time, I suggest getting out of Tokyo not only to view the foliage and take a gazillion photos, but also to enjoy the serenity and wide open spaces in the countryside.

Nikko

I wrote a blog post about Nikko in 2014 and though the weather was a bummer, I’d still recommend it as a day trip destination from Tokyo. If you get there early enough, you’ll have time to check out the following sights:

1) Shinkyo Bridge – pictured below

2) Toshugu Shrine – a World Heritage Site worth visiting!

3) Kegon Falls – which isn’t visible when it’s raining, but you might see a few red-faced monkeys by the cliffs

4) Edo Wonderland – If you want to cosplay or watch a well-choreographed ninja show and a geisha show, according to my coworker 🙂

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Shinkyo Bridge

Best time for viewing: Late October

Travel time: Around 2 hours from central Tokyo (depending on the route)

Access: Nikko station in Tochigi prefecture / Check the routes here.

Hitachi Seaside Park

On my first year, I fell madly in love with fall in Japan once I laid my eyes on this garden! They look like giant rambutans and red pompoms, but according to my research, they are called kochia or burning bush, and more than 30,000 of them are planted here every Autumn. This place is also popular in Spring when the same hills below are covered with 4.5 million nemophila (baby blue eyes) flowers.

Check out the unfiltered and unedited photos below. Definitely worth the 2-hour commute! 😀

 

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Hitachi Seaside Park in autumn

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I wanted to hug them all 😛

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The park also has a carnival!

Best time for viewing: Early to mid-October

Travel time: From Ueno station, it takes almost 2 hours by train.

Access: Ajigaura or Katsuta station in Ibaraki prefecture / Check their site for details.

 

Hope you’ll have a blast like I did. Happy travels! 😀

<3, jenie

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