by Scott, staff writer of japan-guide.com
This journal is a log of my travels within Japan. Here you'll find my personal opinions on the places I've been and the things I've seen. Also expect to see the occasional review and editorial. Thanks for reading.
2009/11/27 - Tokyo
Today I took another trip down to Tokyo to check out how the fall colors are progressing since our previous Tokyo koyo report trip on November 18, 2009. On today's itinerary were three gardens and two tree lined streets.
The first stop on the list was Kiyosumi Teien, a landscape garden that started off as the residence of an Edo Period feudal lord, was later bought by a Mitsubishi founder during the Meiji Period, and then became a public garden. It is still pretty green at Kiyosumi Teien with pockets of trees around the pond showing color. The cherry trees in particular still retain most of their rust colored leaves while the maples are just beginning to change.
Next I headed down to Hama Rikyu, another garden and former feudal lord's residence along Tokyo Bay. This garden surrounds a large seawater pond and has the urban backdrop of Shiodome's large buildings behind it. Just as with Kiyosumi Teien, Hama Rikyu appeared to be in the earlier stages of the season, but it varied around the park with some areas showing plenty of color while other parts remain predominantly green.
After two gardens it was time for something different, so I headed over to Harajuku to check out the famous Omotesando Dori shopping street, which is lined by high fashion outlets and boutiques. It is also lined by tall Zelkova trees (keyaki) which are approaching their peak of a sort of bronze yellow color.
After Omotesando I returned to Meiji-jingu Gaien to see how the trees are progressing from last week. The ginkgos are now around their peak and have reached a nice golden color with only hints of green here and there. Apparently everyone else is aware of this too, as it seemed pretty crowded today considering its a weekday.
Finally, I rounded up my day with a visit to Koishikawa Korakuen. It is another garden that was originally built by Edo Period feudal lords, and was the site I was most looking forward to visiting today. It didn't disappoint and ended up having some of the best colors of the day. The trees were pretty well developed with lots of beautiful red and orange maples and golden ginkgo, although overall there is still lots of green leaves and the park is still approaching its peak.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find some winter cherry trees (fuyuzakura) in bloom near the entrance of the garden which made for some interesting contrast to the autumn colors all around. Another surprising contrast was Tokyo Dome, home of the Yomiyuri Giants baseball team, which is located just behind the garden. They had some sort of concert going on that was mildly distracting from the tranquility of the garden, but in all I think the dome and its accompanying roller coaster make for a nice backdrop to the nature of Koishikawa Korakuen.