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.
2009/12/08 - Tokyo
We started our tour of Tokyo at the Imperial East Gardens, which consist of a Japanese landscape garden and a spacious Western style park on the former site of Edo Castle. Autumn colors were not plentiful, but there were a few pretty spectacular ginkgo and maple trees close to the peak of their seasonal beauty.
Next on our schedule was Shinjuku Gyoen, which we must have visited about half a dozen times for cherry blossom reports earlier this year. Barren cherry trees far outnumbered the colorful maple and ginkgo trees, which were most numerous in the Japanese garden section of the park. Some of the maple trees were at their best, while others were already beyond their peak.
In contrast to the first two parks we visited, our next stop, the Institute of Nature Study in Meguro, offered autumn colors in a less human designed setting. The park feels like a wild forest in the middle of urban Tokyo. Autumn colors were spread out sparsely around the forest with the exception of what we would call the "Momijidani" or "maple valley" which had a high concentration of spectacular maple trees.
At last we revisited Rikugien, which was still mostly green two weeks ago. In the meantime, the trees along the garden's canals have turned nice shades of red and yellow and make Rikugien one of the best places in Tokyo for koyo right now. Illuminations in the evening continue through December 13 (sunset to 9pm).