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Tokyo: Peak Colors

Tsutsuji Chaya at Rikugien surrounded by color

Today, we bring you our last autumn color report for 2018, almost 11 weeks after our first report from Daisetsuzan in Hokkaido. Visitors to some of the later coloring spots in cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka should still be able to see some color over the next few days before the leaves start falling in larger numbers to make way for winter.

I went to a number of autumn color spots in Tokyo today and found the colors where I visited to be colorful and attractive though nearing the end of their peak. Tomorrow would be one of the last few days to chase some autumn colors as rain is forecast in the city for Thursday, and that may have a negative impact on the remaining leaves. The weather for this coming weekend looks to be sunny and beautiful, and I expect it to be the one of the last weekends, if not the last, to see autumn colors in Tokyo.

Icho Namiki:
Beyond Peak

The ginkgo trees at Meiji Jingu Gaien in Aoyama are definitely past their peak but there are still enough colored leaves on one side of the sidewalk for pretty pictures. However, now is also the best time to see one of the highlights, a ground of yellow, thanks to the fallen leaves. I do not expect the leaves to hold on much longer after the forecast rain and the coming weekend.

Where the roads are paved with gold
Ginkgo trees looking patchy and bare in some parts
Still kinda nice but definitely past peak even from this angle
Morning commute
The lone green ginkgo tree

Hotel Chinzanso:
Approaching Peak

The Chinzanso Garden at Hotel Chinzanso which is in central Tokyo, is open to both staying guests as well as walk-in visitors. The garden offers visitors a variety of landscape scenery that changes with the seasons, and there are teahouses and restaurants as well on the grounds of the garden. I found the colors here to be a couple days shy of approaching their best and expect the good colors to continue through to this coming weekend at the Hotel Chinzanso.

The best way to access the garden for those who prefer not to enter through the hotel is to use the Kabuki-mon Gate (open from 10:00 to 21:30), which is conveniently located along the Kanda River. Admission into the garden is free.

Overview of the Chinzanso Garden
Still pretty green below
Pleasant day for a stroll through the garden
There are lots of interesting things to see
This tree is at its peak
Autumn colors and a sacred tree that is over 500 years old
Just beyond the Kabuki-mon Gate
Maple trees still kinda green along the Kanda River

Rikugien Garden:
Peak Color

Over at Rikugien Garden, one of Tokyo's most beautiful Japanese landscape gardens, I found the maple trees at the northwestern end of the garden to be at their peak, and the Tsutsuji Chaya teahouse was beautifully framed with lots of colors. I expect the autumn colors here to remain attractive through to this coming weekend. Until December 9, Rikugien Garden will be illuminated in the evenings from sunset to 21:00 (entry until 20:30), and the Somei-mon Gate which is a stone's throw from Komagome Station will also be open till then.

View of Rikugien Garden from the Fujishirotoge Viewpoint
All the leaves turned red
Winter supports in place here
Pretty purple fruit
Peaceful times at Rikugien
Not super crowded yet
Something about autumn colors and bridges
Showstopper
Very autumn, much momiji
Gentle does it with the autumn colors
Togetsukyo Bridge
Maple trees and the Tsutsuji Chaya at the northwestern end of Rikugien

Happo-en:
Peak Color

Happoen is an event venue with a beautiful garden in central Tokyo. The small garden is perfect for strolling, and the colors were at their peak with some room to get even better when I was there today. There is a bonsai section not far from the entrance where I saw some splendidly old bonsai, some over 300 years old! I expect the colors here to remain good to see through to the coming weekend.

Happoen is a short walk from Shirokanedai Station and admission to the garden is free.

Bonsai buna (beech tree) that is 85 years young at its peak colors
Walking paths in Happo-en's garden
Shadow and light
Rest house in the garden surrounded by color
Much pretty in the garden
Visitors enjoying the autumn colors
Lantern and autumn colors make a pretty pair

Thank you following our 2018 Autumn Color Reports! For those who want a recap of our coverage this season, all 42 reports can read here. Only three more months till our next seasonal cherry blossom reports. Till then, keep warm this winter and happy travels from all of us here at japan-guide.com.

If you squint a little (a lot), this could almost pass as a reflection of cherry blossoms

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