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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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2013/11/12 - Tokyo Report
by schauwecker

Showa Memorial Park

Nearly two months after our first autumn color report of the season, it is time to start checking the trees of Tokyo and Kyoto, the two autumn color destinations which japan-guide.com readers are traditionally most interested in. My visit to Tokyo today will be followed by a report from Kyoto tomorrow. I expect the peak of the season to be reached in the last third of November in both cities.

Cold air entered Japan yesterday, causing a considerable drop in temperatures across the country and bringing snow to many parts of northern Japan. In central Tokyo, the nighttime temperatures have started to fall below the 8 degree mark, fully motivating the trees to start their coloring process.

I started the day at Showa Memorial Park (Showa Kinen Koen), a huge park in the western suburbs of Tokyo (best accessed from Nishi-Tachikawa Station). Despite being only a 30 minute train ride from Shinjuku by the JR Chuo Line, the park experiences much lower nighttime temperatures than central Tokyo due to its inland location and lack of concrete. Consequently, autumn colors can be enjoyed here much earlier. The park's best autumn color spots are the Icho Namiki ("Row of Ginkgo Trees") and the Japanese garden.

The ginkgo trees along the Icho Namiki near the park's Tachikawa Entrance were already very golden, but overall there was still a little bit more room for further improvement.

Rows of ginkgo trees near the Tachikawa Entrance of Showa Memorial Park
Below the ginkgo trees
The Icho Namiki seen from the opposite end

Located in a completely different part of the park, the maple trees in the Japanese garden were also already in a spectacular state, and the peak of the season here should continue for quite a few more days.

Visitors enjoy great colors in the Japanese garden
The best colors of the day
Close-up of the day's best colors
Turtles relax on a stone in the Japanese garden's pond

Showa Memorial Park is extremely spacious and best explored by rental bicycle. Despite using a bicycle and traveling at a fast pace, it took me over an hour to see the two autumn leaf spots at the park today.

Rental bicycles are the recommended means to explore the huge Showa Memorial Park

The difference in the coloring pace between Showa Memorial Park and central Tokyo became quite obvious when I visited the Ginkgo Avenue (Icho Namiki) near Aoyama-Icchome Station. The beautifully trimmed trees here have only just started to color, and it will take a few more crisp nights before the avenue will turn brilliantly golden.

Ginkgo Avenue in central Tokyo
Still mostly green

My final destination of the day was Rikugien, a traditional Japanese garden that ranks among Tokyo's best koyo spots. Rikugien was still at a very early state of the season. Most maple trees have barely started to change colors, and it is going to take more than a week until the garden will approach the peak of its autumnal beauty. Illuminations will be held daily from November 22 to December 8 until 9pm.

Rikugien at an early state of the season
Only a few scattered trees were already colorful

The canal area behind Rikugien's central pond was still mostly green. The maple trees along the canal are typically among the last to turn colors and will probably still be in the center of attention in about a month from now in our last autumn color report of the year.

The canal area was still green
Some early colors along the shores of Rikugien's central pond

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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