Kōyō time is here! 紅葉, meaning the changing of the leaves, is an important seasonal marker in the land of FOUR (count ‘em!) seasons. Here’s where to see autumn leaves in Tokyo.

While perhaps not quite as widely celebrated as cherry blossom season, the arrival of fall leaves in Tokyo is still an excuse to get out into the great outdoors. There’s nothing quite like marveling at the stuff that Mother Nature does with her pigment palette.

In 2023, expect to see the autumn leaves in Tokyo peak around late November. Here’s the official forecast — and below it you’ll find some of the best kōyō spots in and around Tokyo.

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Autumn leaves in Tokyo: 1. Start with Rikugien

Rikugien autumn illuminations
Autumn illuminations at Rikugien. | Photo by iStock.com/baihoen

Rikugien Gardens is trying to have it all, and is succeeding, with their combination of autumn foliage and “illumination” evenings.

The Edo-era landscape garden, a beautiful place to stroll while you mentally compose the next cryptic scroll message to your kimono-clad lover, is resplendent in this season and is artfully arranged for you to be able to snap that perfect picture.

2. Ichō Namiki Dōri in Meiji Jingū Gaien

Jingu Gaien autumn leaves
Take a stroll under the gingko leaves. | Photo by David Ishikawa

A pretty regular street the rest of the year, this avenue transforms into an autumnal dreamland from late November to early December each year. Towering above the walkers beneath, the gingko trees are a fabulous golden color and provide the perfect setting for the annual Jingū Gaien Ginkgo Festival.

The 300m stretch is located on the south side of Jingū Gaien Park and is part of the larger area known as the Meiji Outer Garden. The distinctively-shaped leaves are found on many a Japanese school and family crest, notably Tokyo University (Tōdai) and Osaka University (Handai).

3. Yoyogi Park

Autumn in the Yoyogi Park
Autumn in Yoyogi Park. | Photo by iStock.com/gyro

Once you’ve explored Meiji Jingū Shrine, head into nearby Yoyogi Park to see another vast collection of fiery maples and ginkgo trees doing their autumn thing.

Pro tip: Head for the south part of the park for maximum fall foliage!

4. Imperial Palace East Gardens

Imperial Palace East Gardens in autumn
For a royal experience. | Photo by iStock.com/tobiasjo

If you want a really regal experience, head down to the palace. The Ninomiya Garden, a sub-garden of the East Gardens, is full of Japanese maples (momiji) and a few ginkgos, bending gracefully over ponds and meticulously manicured topiary. Read more about the Imperial Palace.

5. Mount Takao

Autumn leaves on Mount Takao
Autumn leaves in Mt. Takao. | Photo by iStock.com/YUJISTYLE

Get out into REAL nature and leave all those manufactured parks behind. Well, sort of. Mount Takao is only somewhat manufactured, and by that we mean it’s well tended and carefully managed, but it’s still at least 35% wilder than any of the parks within spitting distance of downtown Tokyo.

Also, if you’re impatient to get your kōyō on and Tokyo is just still too stinking warm, the mountains are sure to be a couple of degrees chillier and the leaves don their autumn robes earlier. During November there’s an autumn leaves festival — be careful you don’t miss it!

6. Mount Mitake

Photo by Getty Images

For more out-of-the-city kōyō reveling, Mount Mitake is another great option. Its popular hiking trail is peppered with shrines, a temple, a village, waterfalls, and a great view of the surrounding landscape.

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7. Koishikawa Kōrakuen Garden

Koishikawa Korakuen Garden in Autumn
The Koishikawa Kōrakuen Garden is one of Tokyo’s oldest and best Japanese gardens. | Photo by iStock.com/Hiro1775

This Japanese garden in the heart of Tokyo is a picturesque winner — so much so that on any given day you might find an artist perched on a flat stone by the pond finding their muse under a weeping cherry tree (whose leaves are certainly bright and pretty in their fall incarnation, though not as come-hither-y as the neighboring maples and ginkgos) or brilliant scarlet maple.

The whole scene is reflected in the glassy surface of the pond, and the skyscrapers in the near distance remind you that this kind of beauty exists side by side with the urban jungle that is Tokyo. Ah. Now to Instagram it all.

8. Mizumoto Park

Mizumoto autumn foliage
A “hidden” treasure. | Photo by iStock.com/oasis2me

Hidden in plain sight, Mizumoto Park is one of Tokyo’s autumn treasures. Head to one of the biggest parks in the metropolitan area to take in the transformation of nearly 2,000 dawn redwoods (living fossils), reflected in the surface of the surrounding water. The park, which is in Katsushika Ward, covers more than 68 hectares, so crowding is not usually a concern.

9. Shinjuku Gyoen

shinjuku gyoen garden maple tree
Maple Mountain. | Photo by iStock.com/magicflute002

Take a stroll through the ever-lovely Shinjuku Gyoen this fall to see exquisite maple trees and other autumn highlights. Seek out the Japanese garden and Momijiyama (“Maple Mountain”) in particular — and pack a picnic (or grab takeout from one of the cafes) to enjoy on the sweeping lawns when you’ve had your fill of the foliage.

10. Shōwa Memorial Park

Showa Memorial Park ginkgo trees
Perfect place for a stroll. | Photo by iStock.com/yukihipo

If you’re on the western side of Tokyo, set aside a day to explore Shōwa Kinen Kōen — it’s well worth a ramble any time of year, but is especially beautiful during fall. The huge park welcomes you with a display of ginkgos, and once inside you’ll see heaps of Japanese maples too.

Pro tip: Rent a bicycle and take a slow meander along the extensive network of paths through the park.

11. Ueno Park

Autumn leaves Ueno Park
A classic. | Photo by iStock.com/Sanga Park

One of Tokyo’s very first public parks, Ueno is home to 8,800 trees and although it’s more famous for cherry blossom, it’s pretty stunning in fall too. Head to the gates of the Tokyo National Museum to see gingko and Zelkova trees or spot some maple leaves at Kiyomizu Kannon Temple.

You can boat on the lake amidst the leaves or stroll through the park grounds — both are pretty cute date ideas.

12. Inokashira Park

autumn tokyo
Want to go on a boat ride? | Photo by iStock.com/kuremo

Inokashira is the Tokyo park that has it all, and that includes autumn leaves. Whether you paddle past them on the boats or enjoy some streetfood beneath them, you can be sure to get all your fall feels in an afternoon spent here.

The park has a small zoo, performers at the weekend, a shrine and plenty of picnic spots. There are plenty of momiji trees and golden-leaved cherry trees to admire scattered throughout the grounds.

13. Hamarikyu Gardens

Evening lights at Hamarikyu Gardens
Those twinkling lights though. | Photo by iStock.com/tifonimages

Not as jam-packed with autumn leaves as other parks on the list, but that also means it isn’t quite as jam-packed with people either. Beautiful on a good day and even better in fall, the Hamarikyu Gardens have some maple trees — especially around the tea house and lake. The reflections help with the impact and you can sip on matcha while you enjoy the view.

14. Todoroki Valley

Photo by Adriana Paradiso

A beautiful escape from the city, Todoroki is the only valley in Tokyo — forged by the Yazawa River and pleasingly untamed. Come autumn, the lush greenery is replaced with golden browns and deep reds — especially around the Todoroki Fudōson Temple. As well as strolling along the waterside, you can enjoy some tea at the Setsuga Teahouse and forget you’re in Tokyo.

Also read:

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Post first published in November 2015. Last updated in September 2023 by Maria Danuco.

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