Autumn Foliage in Japan – Spots in the City and Perfect Day Trips

Can you smell the Autumn breeze?

We’ve made it through the thick of the summer and now can enjoy some beautiful Autumn weather. Although everyone thinks that Cherry Blossom trees steal the show in the 4 seasons of Japan, you are in for a big treat with the spectacular viewings of the Autumn foliage. They are equally as beautiful with radiant yellow ginkgo trees and bright red maple leaves filling the mountainsides, and even some city parks.

In this article, we have listed a large range of where you can see these beautiful trees. Starting with those accessible in the city and moving towards day trips that are best accessible by car.  Pack a picnic, and enjoy the gorgeous weather under a hue of oranges and reds. For 2020, the estimated peak viewing season for the Kanto area is from the end of November to early December.


Autumn Foliage Spots in the City


  1. Gaienmae Ginkgo Lined Street

A gorgeous lined street at the end of Aoyama, leading to the Meiji Jingu Gaien area. Best to go just at peak season where half the leaves have fallen, leaving you walking through a sea of yellow leaves. Also, enjoy great restaurants and other sightseeing spots in the neighborhood. Check out our article on Minami Aoyama here. 

★ Best Time To Go: End of November, the beginning of December ★


  1. Showa Kinen Park Tachikawa

Another ginkgo lined park in Tachikawa’s city but on a much larger scale than the more central city, Gaienmae version. Here is a great place to spend the day picnicking in the park. 

★ Best Time To Go: End of November, the beginning of December ★


  1. Yoyogi Park and Meiji Jingu Shrine

Why not make a shopping trip to Harajuku and enjoy Autumn as well? Yoyogi park is referred to as the Central Park of Tokyo, a great place where people meet for a day of park and picnicking. Right next to it, but with its own separate entrance, is Meiji Jingu Shrine. Check out the autumn leaves hanging over the pond in the back and soak up some nature in the middle of the city. 

★ Best time to go: End of November, the beginning of December ★


  1. Todoroki Valley Setagaya-ku

An oasis in the middle of Tokyo. You will feel as if you have escaped to the countryside in this nature-filled park. Located near Futako Tamagawa, another fun destination in itself, check out our article here for an idea of the area and things to do/eat.

★ Best time to go: End of November, the beginning of December ★


  1. Rikugien Park Sugamo


Can’t find any time during the day, Rikugien park lights up their trees at night, allowing you to enjoy a different view.  I mean, a Friday night picnic under the Autumn trees- how amazing does that sound?!

★ Best time to go: End of November, the beginning of December ★


  1. Hibiya Park

Do you work around the Hibiya area? Take a nice stroll through the park and embrace the Autumn season. 

★ Best time to go: End of November, the beginning of December ★


  1. Yumenoshima Pumpkin Patch Shin-Kiba

Not an Autumn Foliage spot, but if you have kids, this is a fun place and a very photogenic spot for overly sized pumpkins.  It doesn’t have the full fall festivities that you might have come to expect at a pumpkin patch, but it still is a fun experience for the family. 

★ Best time to go: September 29th-November 1st (closed on Mondays) ★


Spots outside of Tokyo but still accessible by train for a nice day trip

  1. Mt. Takao

Mt. Takao, technically inside Tokyo, is a wonderful hiking trail for hikers and non-hikers alike. For those non-hikers, don’t worry, there is a mountainside tram that will take you most of the way up. In fact, the tram ride is where the most beautiful leaves are found. Mt. Takao is registered as one of Japan’s national heritage sites. With only about 100 places recognized, Mt. Takao is the only spot in Tokyo that has made the list. 

★ Best Time To Go: The month of November ★


  1. Sankeien Garden Yokohama

This beautiful and tranquil garden has so much to see, making it perfect for a day trip. Also, take the opportunity to explore Yokohama with many great attractions and restaurants nearby. To get to the park, you will need to take a bus from the station and pay a small entrance fee of 700 yen for adults. 

★ Best Time To Go: End of November, the beginning of December ★


  1. Hakone

Hakone is a favorite year-round spot and famous for its natural hot springs. Catch the Romance car from Shinjuku for an experience in itself. Only a 1 ½ hour ride, and you will find yourself gazing among the stunning foliage. End the day relaxing in a natural hot spring and still be able to make it home before the day ends, or if you have time, book yourself a ryokan to enjoy a night’s stay in a traditional Japanese hotel.

★ Best Time To Go: Late November ★


  1. Chichibu Nagatoro Saitama

Turn your autumn foliage viewing into an adventurous one with many attractions to see and do, such as rafting down the river or SUP on the lake.

★ Best Time To Go: Month of November ★


  1. Kyoto

Want to go somewhere for a long weekend? Kyoto is quite famous for its Autumn Foliage among the ancient temples and shrines. If you have always wanted to make a trip to Kyoto, go when you can take advantage of this season and the Go-To Campaign.

★ Best Time To Go: Late November, Early December


Autumn Foliage Spots Outside of Tokyo and Best Accessible by Car.


  1. Nikko

Although Nikko is still accessible by train, Nikko’s drive is incredibly gorgeous during the Fall season. You will see whole sides of mountains blanketed in red, orange, and yellow and will drive through tunnels of blissful color. Driving gives you the flexibility to visit many historical spots, including the famous waterfall—a wonderful day trip to connect with nature and Japanese heritage.

★ Best Time To Go: Mid to Late October


  1. Hananuki Valley Ibaraki


Hananuki Valley Gorge has an extension bridge surrounded by lovely Autumn Foliage that will be sure to take your breath away. Although quite a drive, the waterfalls reflecting the red maple leaves will be sure to leave you happy you made the trip out. 

★ Best Time To Go: Mid November


Japan has so much beauty to offer. You can turn your Autumn strolls into a casual viewing in the city, or make it a day trip and get out into nature to give yourself a reset in mind and soul. Whichever you choose, we recommend you to choose more than one. Soak in Autumn as much as you can, especially in our current situation with COVID (article published Oct 2020), a little bit of nature is good for the soul!

Make sure to check out our corresponding articles to get ideas on where is best to eat or explore in towns mentioned above. You might just find yourself drawn to those new areas and needing our help to find you a new great place.  😉