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Autumn Color Report 2013
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com

Where to see autumn leaves? - When do trees turn colors? - What trees turn colors?
Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2013/12/03 - Tokyo Report
by scott

Rikugien

Today I headed down to Tokyo to make my final autumn color (koyo) report from the city for this year. It's not the last Tokyo report of the season though, as that one is traditionally done by Schauwecker and is scheduled for next week.

Last week Sean saw some pretty nice trees around the city, and today I mostly followed up on sights that we have previously visited this season. However, my first stop this morning was a new one for our koyo reporting, and I think our first ever autumn color report from Ueno Park. Though not really well known as a koyo spot, nevertheless there was plenty of nice foliage scattered around the park. Many of the park's walkways were lined with nice maples and ginkgo trees with colors at or approaching their peaks. On the other hand, the park's famous cherry trees are not very big autumn contributors and have, for the most part, already lost their leaves.

Ueno Park's cherry trees
Maples in Ueno Park
Saigo Takamori stands in front of some yellow ginkgoes
Colorful trees around Ueno Park's large fountain
More maple trees around Ueno Park
Ginkgo leaves
An elementary school class plays among the ginkgoes
Leaf wars
A nursery school class exploring the park

A secondary reason to check out Ueno Park was to see how the construction was coming along on the Ueno Toshogu Shrine. One of numerous Toshogu Shrines found across the country, which includes the most famous Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Ueno's shrine has been undergoing major renovations over the past decade and has been completely covered up for as long as I can remember. So I was surprised to find that much of the shrine has already been uncovered and you can see the exteriors of the renovated structures. The work, however, will not be fully completed until the end of the year.

Ueno Park's Toshogu Shrine
The shrine gate's ornate decoration
Ueno Park's five storied pagoda originally belonged to Toshogu Shrine
The approach to the shrine
A ginkgo tree stands above a row of lanterns

My next stop was to Rikugien, one of Tokyo's best gardens to see koyo. The autumn colors have progressed nicely since Sean's visit last week and are now at their best around the garden. Some of the best spots were around the garden's famous Togetsukyo Bridge and the canopy of maple trees that surround the Tsutsuji Chaya Teahouse. The colors should persist for another week or so, and should remain nice at least through the end of Rikugien's evening illuminations which will be held through December 8th.

Rikugien's Togetsukyo Bridge
The view over the garden from the Fujishirotoge viewpoint
Tsutsuji Chaya Teahouse
Rikugien

From Rikugien I took the subways to Aoyama-Icchome station, which is close to the Ginkgo Avenue (Icho Namiki) at Meiji Jingu Gaien Park. It seems that the ginkgoes were at their best during last week's visit, and since then many of the trees have lost most or all of their leaves. Most of the trees still had enough golden foliage to offer visitors some nice views today, but it's not going to be much longer before the season comes to a close along the avenue.

Ginkgo Avenue
The trees had a range of leaves left on them
Ginkgo Avenue
Lots of leaves have fallen already
One of the cafes along the avenue

Finally, I paid a visit to Shinjuku Gyoen where the season keeps chugging along and new trees continually come into color. This time the maples and the ginkgoes were the stars of the show, with plenty of reds, oranges and yellows approaching brilliance around the park. Of particular note were the trees around Maple Mountain (Momijiyama) and the Japanese Garden areas of the park which were mostly around the peak today. The ginkgoes were also great and could be found scattered around the park, but especially around the northwest parts. I even spotted a few cherry blossoms in bloom this morning. They were Jugatsuzakura, an unusual type of cherry that blooms in autumn and winter, but as the autumn color season comes to a close they are a small reminder of the sakura season just a few months off.

Shinjuku Gyoen
Around Shinjuku Gyoen's Japanese garden
Maples around the park's Japanese garden
Shinjuku Gyoen
Maples and ginkgoes
A small taste of the coming sakura season, a Jugatsuzakura blossom

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List of Posts:
2013/12/11 - Tokyo Report
2013/12/10 - Kyoto Report
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/12/03 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/29 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/28 - Kanazawa Report
2013/11/27 - Osaka Report
2013/11/26 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/20 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/18 - Fujigoko Report
2013/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/12 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/11/06 - Fujigoko Report
2013/10/30 - Towada Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/29 - Yamadera Report
2013/10/28 - Urabandai Report
2013/10/22 - Gunma Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Fujisan Report
2013/10/12 - Hakkodasan Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/10/08 - Nikko Report
2013/09/27 - Tateyama Report
2013/09/21 - Kurodake Report
2013/09/20 - Asahidake Report

Tours and Experiences