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How to Enjoy Leaf-Watching Season

October 30, 2017

Japan might be better known for its sakura season, but the Nippon fondness for flora branches beyond just blossoms. Every year in November, Tokyoites partake in the ancient practice of viewing the koyo (aka autumn leaves). With the Land of the Rising Sun all set to fall into Autumn, LUXE’s lists the best places in and around Tokyo to find leaves to please.

Rikugi-en

The city’s maple staple. Island-dotted waterways are framed by fiery momiji and the hillocks, hidden paths and little bridges are ideal for inciting Insta envy. Keep an eye out for nightly illuminations (late Nov-early Dec).

Shinjuku Gyoen

Central, crammed with colours and sizable enough that it rarely feels crowded. Snap a shot of the Kyu Goryo Tei pavilion and take a gander round the greenhouse before you throw down a rug with the locals on the vast lawns.

Showa Kinen Koen

Get your gingko on at this 163-hectare haven on the outskirts of Tokyo. The 200m canal is lined with lanes of gold leaf lusciousness, while the pedalo lake, surrounded by a patchwork of autumnal tones, is prime for picnicking. Just hue-tiful.

University of Tokyo Hongō campus

For a crash course in fall foliage skip straight to the UT campus near Ueno station. As the branches above turn bare the main avenue is transformed into a flaxen carpet. And don’t leaf (geddit?) without seeing the mirror pond.

Nezu Museum Garden

In mid-November this private woodland paradise is a dramatic blaze of bright shades. Pick your way around the paths and small bridges to hidden shrines and sculptures. Or, if you really want to steep in the surrounds, call ahead to book a cha ceremony in one of the rustic teahouses.

Ukai Toriyama

Avoid the selfie stick-wielding masses making for the Five Lakes district and head instead to this garden-situ’d grazer just 1.5 hours (by car or the Chuo line) from the city centre. After you’ve strolled the magical mossy grounds, settle inside your own dining pavilion for trad charcoal yakitori and sake served in bamboo.

Rikugi-en / 6-16-3 Honkomagome / Bunkyo-ku / +81 3 3941 2222 / 9am-5pm daily

Shinjuku Gyoen / 11 Naito Cho / Shinjuku-ku / +81 3 3350 0151 / 9am-4.30pm Tue-Sun

Showa Kinen Koen / 3173 Midori-cho / Tachikawa / +81 42 528 1751 / 9.30am-4.30pm daily

University of Tokyo Hongō campus / Bunkyo-ku / always open

Nezu Museum Garden / 6-5-1 Minami-Aoyama / Minato-ku / +81 3 3400 2536 / 10am-5pm daily / nezu-muse.or.jp

Ukai Toriyama / 3426 Minamiasakawamachi / Hachioji / +81 42 661 0739 / lunch & dinner daily / ukai.co.jp

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