Mar
20
2016

9 Spots to Enjoy Autumn Colors in Tokyo

It’s true that I always suggest to get out of Tokyo as well, but what if you’re stuck in Tokyo for some reason?
Today I want to show you some breathtaking spots where you can easily enjoy autumn colors in Tokyo!

Please note that there are too many spots in Tokyo to introduce them all. Here’s just a small selection of some of my favorite spots.
I like it when there are either shrines / temples in the background or simply Japanese-style gardens. These are even beautiful and worth visiting outside of autumn season.
I hope this list will be a good reference for you if you want to see autumn colors in Tokyo (which are usually at their best from late November to early December).

 

1. Hama Rikyu (Chuo-ku)

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Hama Rikyu (浜離宮) is a Japanese-style garden in Chuo-ku (central Tokyo) at the mouth of Sumida River. Its full name is “Hama Rikyu Onshi Teien (浜離宮恩賜庭園). The garden is surrounded by a seawater moat filled by Tokyo Bay.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

What makes this garden special is that you can enjoy the contrast of a traditional Japanese garden landscape with the skyscrapers of Shiodome in the background.

In the Edo Period (1603 – 1867) the garden was used as duck hunting ground for feudal lords. It was opened to the public in 1946.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

In the center of the garden is a Japanese teahouse where you can enjoy green tea and traditional Japanese wagashi. They’re always related to the season. As it was autumn the wagashi featured maple leaves.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last entry until 16:30)
Admission fee: 300 yen
Closed: Dec 29 – Jan 3
Website: http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/hama-rikyu/

Access: JR Shimbashi Sta. (10 – 15 mins walk); Shiodome Sta. (Oedo Subway Line, 5-10 mins walk); Tokyo Water Bus from Asakusa (opposite direction not possible!). More access information can be found here.

 

 

2. Koishikawa Korakuen (Bunkyo-ku)

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Koishikawa Korakuen (小石川後楽園) is one of Tokyo’s oldest and best preserved gardens, built in early Edo Period (1620s) by the Mito han. It is located in Tokyo’s Bunkyo-ku.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

The garden shares its name with the famous Korakuen in Okayama.
The design of the landscape garden has a Chinese character.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

When you’re strolling through the garden you almost forget that you’re in Tokyo, actually near Tokyo Dome.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last entry until 16:30)
Admission fee: 300 yen
Closed: Dec 29 – Jan 3
Website: http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/koishikawa/

Access: Iidabashi Sta. (5-10 mins walk); Suidobashi Sta. (5-10 mins walk); Korakuen Sta. (10 mins walk).

 

 

3. Kiyosumi Gardens (Koto-ku)

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Kiyosumi Garden (清澄庭園) is located in Koto-ku, Tokyo. It was constructed in the Meiji Period (1880s) and opened to the public in 1932.
Also, many citizens escaped to the garden from the fires that followed the great earthquake of 1923.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

One special feature of this garden are three islands that are connected through a stepping stone path (iso-watari).
Additionally you can also find a memorial hall of Emperor Taisho.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

The garden also has a lovely, small restaurant in a teahouse style (reservation required).

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last entry until 16:30)
Admission fee: 150 yen
Closed: Dec 29 – Jan 1
Website: http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kiyosumi/

Access: Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Sta. (5 mins walk).

 

 

4. Kyu-Furukawa Gardens (Kita-ku)

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Kyu-Furukawa Garden (旧古河庭園) is located in Kita-ku, Tokyo. It’s part of the former residence of the wealthy Furukawa Ichibei.
It was built in 1917 and opened to the public in 1956.
This garden doesn’t only include a Japanese-style garden, but also an impressive looking Western-style building.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

On top of that there’s a beautiful rose garden. You can even enjoy roses and autumn colors at the same time!

But to be honest there weren’t that many roses blooming in autumn.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Right next to the entry is a small rest platform from where you have a nice view while you’re surrounded by stunning autumn foliage.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

The garden is rather spacious and despite the leaves being at their peak, it wasn’t very crowded when I visited.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

With the mixture of Western-style building, rose garden AND Japanese landscape garden this is among my favorite autumn spots.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last entry until 16:30)
Admission fee: 150 yen
Closed: Dec 29 – Jan 1
Website: http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kyu-furukawa/

Access: Kami-Nakazato Sta. (7 mins walk); Nishigahara Sta. (10 mins walk).

 

 

5. Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Garden (Taito-ku)

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Garden (旧岩崎邸庭園) is located in Taito-ku, Tokyo. Actually it’s the former estate of the Iwasaki clan who were the founders of Mitsubishi.

Kyu-Iwasaki-tei translates to “Old Iwasaki House”. There’s a Western-style house, a Japanese house and a billiard house. The most impressive one is the Western-style house, from the inside and the outside.
The design is based on the Jacobean style of England (17th century), which incorporates Islamic motifs of the Renaissance.

In terms of “gardens” it is a bit boring. If you want to enjoy Japanese landscape gardens, then this one is not for you.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last entry until 16:30)
Admission fee: 400 yen
Closed: Dec 29 – Jan 1
Website: http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kyu-iwasaki/

Access: Yushima Sta., Exit 1 (3 mins walk); Ueno Hiro-koji Sta. (10 mins walk); Okachi-machi Sta. (10-15 mins., the subway station is closer than the JR one) – it’s also just a short walk from Ueno Park!

 

 

6. Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu Gardens (Minato-ku)

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

The Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu Garden (旧芝離宮恩賜庭園, lit. “Former Shiba Villa Garden”) is located in Minato-ku, Tokyo. It’s a Japanese landscape garden not too far from Hama Rikyu (and the Tokyo World Trade Center), so you can easily visit both in a day.
It’s one of the oldest and most beautiful gardens in Tokyo.

The garden was built on land reclaimed from Tokyo Bay during the Edo Period. It served as the residence of many different feudal lords and government officials. Eventually it was opened to the public in 1924.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

The central pond Sensui (9,000 m2) is the focus of the garden.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots
Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last entry until 16:30)
Admission fee: 150 yen
Closed: Dec 29 – Jan 3
Website: http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kyu-shiba/

Access: Hamamatsucho Sta. (2 mins walk); Daimon Subway Sta. (5 mins walk).

 

 

7. Rikugien Gardens (Bunkyo-ku)

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Rikugien Garden (六義園) is located in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo and is considered to be one of Tokyo’s most beautiful landscape gardens.
The park was constructed between 1695 and 1702 by permission of the 5th shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi .

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

The name of the garden literally means “six poems garden” and thus incorporates the idea of the six elements in waka poetry. It reproduces in miniature 88 scenes from famous poems.

The garden is very spacious, so plan at least 1 hour to stroll around and see everything. There’s also a lovely teahouse where you can have Japanese green tea.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last entry until 16:30; evening light up until 21:00 during autumn / spring season)
Admission fee: 300 yen
Closed: Dec 29 – Jan 1
Website: http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/rikugien/ (English)

Access: Komagome Sta. (5-10 mins walk)

 

 

8. Shinjuku Gyoen (Shinjuku-ku)

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) – as the name suggests – is located in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It is one of Tokyo’s most spacious parks.
Even if you spend the whole day there you might not be able to explore the entire park.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

It is mostly famous for its cherry blossoms in spring, but is also lovely in autumn.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

The park’s origin goes back to the Edo Period where it served as a feudal lord’s residence.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Unfortunately the park was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but reopened as a public park in 1949.
The park was chosen as the site for the funeral rites of Emperor Showa in 1989.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

You’ll find not only a typical Japanese landscape garden, but also a French garden, an English landscape garden as well as an interesting greenhouse.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

There’s a huge variety of trees in the park. In autumn the ginkgo and Japanese maple trees are especially colorful.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

But there’s also a special type of cherry blossom that blooms in autumn!

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Opening Hours: 9:00 – 16:30 (last entry until 16:00)
Admission fee: 200 yen
Closed: Dec 29 – Jan 3; Mondays (following day if Mon is a national holiday)
Website: https://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/

Access: Shinjuku Sta., New South Exit (10 mins walk); Shinjukugyoenmae Sta. (5 mins walk); JR Sendagaya Sta. (5 mins walk).

 

 

9. Ueno Park (Taito-ku)

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Ueno Park (上野公園) is located in Taito-ku, Tokyo – and is probably so famous that it needs no further introduction.

The park grounds were originally part of Kanei-ji Temple, which used to be one of the city’s largest and wealthiest temples.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

There’s a huge pond, many museums, temples, shrines and other things to discover in the park. Ueno Zoo is also quite popular.
It’s another of Tokyo’s spacious parks where you can easily spend a whole day.

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

I’ve been to Ueno Park many times and still discover new things every single time.
The best time to visit is probably during cherry blossom peak season, but it’s also a beautiful sight in autumn.
But don’t worry, you’ll find a special type of cherry blossom there that blooms in autumn. :)

autumn colors in Tokyo - best spots

Opening Hours: always open (but facilities have different opening hours)
Admission fee: free (but facilities have admission fees)
Closed: none
Website: http://www.kensetsu.metro.tokyo.jp/kouen/kouenannai/ (PDF)

Access: The easiest way is to access via a short walk from JR Ueno Station.

 

 

Your recommended spots for autumn colors in Tokyo:

So, this was just a small selection of my favorite autumn spots in Tokyo.
How about you?
Have you been to any of these gardens or parks yet?
What are your favorite spots for autumn colors in Tokyo?

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