The Best Tokyo & Kyoto Autumn Leaves Locations 2021 | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
tokyo and kyoto autumn leaves features

The Best Tokyo & Kyoto Autumn Leaves Locations 2021

By Guidable Writers Sep 29, 2021

What’s the best season to visit Japan? This is a general concern for most first-time travelers. Others would say that perhaps the spring season of the sakura cherry blossom is the best, and is definitely one of the most iconic. However, there is another aspect of Japan’s shifting season that should not be ignored: kouyo! We would love to share with you our favourite Tokyo and Kyoto autumn leaves recommendations to complete your autumn checklist.

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Tokyo and Kyoto Autumn Leaves Viewing

The enjoyment of autumn leaves in Japan is called momijigari or kouyoThis is a favorite Japanese pastime that attracts people to local spots every year.

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Why Is Autumn in Japan So Special?

Starting from mid-September and lasting until December, Japan experiences a very long season of autumn colors – around three months in total. The Japanese maple leaf is known for its deep red color, while other trees parade in shades of yellow, orange, gold, and brown. In certain places, kusamomiji, or autumn grass, adds its fiery red color to the tree line. The weather in Japan is also incredibly pleasant during the autumn season. 

Guidable has listed our top places in Tokyo and Kyoto below! Check out for updates to your favorite spot!

Tokyo Autumn Leaves Spots

Icho Namiki or Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue 

The ginkgo tree (Icho tree) is the official symbol tree of Tokyo, and it surrounds many of the capital’s streets, marking Ginkgo Avenue in Meiji-jingu Gaien Park to be one of the best spots to enjoy autumn in Tokyo. These stately conical trees turn bright yellow at the end of November. 

tokyo and kyoto autumn leaves


– Estimated best viewing period: Late-November to early-December 

– Access: Only about 700 meters away from Shinanomachi Station on the Chuo-Sobu JR line.

Google map

Ueno Park 

Ueno Park was established nearly 150 years ago and is home covering nearly 9,000 trees. Such a concentration makes it a perfect place for viewing foliage. While there, you may want to visit the museums and shrines of the park.

tokyo and kyoto autumn leaves Credits:

– Estimated best viewing period: Mid-November to early-December. 

– Access: The park is only 500 meters away from JR Ueno Station.

Google map


The Rikugi-en is a garden of the Edo era that was established in 1878. It provides a truly remarkable view of kouyo – enjoying the colors at night. Trees surrounding the lake are decorated so that they can be enjoyed long after the sun sets, and the lights and leaves reflect mystically on the surface of the lake. This park costs an entrance fee of 300 yen. 

tokyo and kyoto autumn leaves


– Estimated best viewing period: Mid-November to early December. 

– Access: The park is located 700 meters away from JR Komagome Station.

Google map

– Note: To enter a reservation is required in advance from this site.

Oze National Park

Located in the northern part of Tokyo, the picnic areas that wind through this park make it a prime location for relaxing kouyo viewing. Its landscape is varied, ranging from mountains to grasslands and marshes. Oze is also a remarkable habitat for the grasses of kusamomiji. As you explore the trails, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a golden sea of red swaying fronds. 

tokyo and kyoto autumn leaves


– Estimated best viewing period: Late-September to mid-October 

– Access: The nearest train station is Numata Station. From Tokyo, you can take Joetsu Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen Station (about 75 minutes) or Hokuriku or Joetsu Shinkansen to Takasaki and take a local train to Numata Station.

Google map

Kyoto Autumn Leaves Spots

Eikandoji Temple 

In addition to the vibrant colors of the fall, you can enjoy a cup of green tea in the gardens of the Eikandoji Temple. The grounds are decorated by light at night to allow nighttime viewing. The temple is located near the Nomura Art Museum and the Nanzen-ji town, as well as the southern end of the Philosopher’s Path. 

tokyo and kyoto autumn leaves


– Estimated best viewing period: Mid to late-November 

– Access: From Kyoto Station, take bus number 5 to Nanzen-ji Eikandodo Bus Stop.

Google maps

Arashiyama Kamikaidocho

Away from the bustle of Kyoto, Arashiyama provides views of the forested mountains covered with a patchwork of multicolored leaves. You can also take a tour of the temples of Arashiyama and enjoy a romantic ride on the Sagano Scenic train. 

tokyo and kyoto autumn leaves


– Estimated best viewing period: Late-November to early-December 

– Access: You can use your Japan Rail Pass from Kyoto Station to reach Arashiyama. Take either JR San-In or JR Sagano Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station. The train trip lasts about 20 minutes.

Google map

Tofukuji Temple 

The Tofukuji Temple is one of the most famous kouyo places in Kyoto. 

Its trees are shining in orange and red colors. The Tsutenkyo Bridge also offers an impressive view of the grounds of the temple. 

tokyo and kyoto autumn leaves


– Estimated best viewing period: Mid to late November. 

– Access: Take the JR Nara line from Kyoto Station. Tofukuji Station is only one stop away (3 minutes away). The entrance to the temple is just 700 meters away from the station. 

Google map

Your Favourite Tokyo & Kyoto Autumn Leaves Spots

What are your favourite places to view the autumn leaves? Let us know!

Based on weather conditions, the actual appearance of the fall colors can vary from the estimates provided. Fall leaves can start a few days to a few weeks early if the weather is cold, or they can occur late if the weather is unusually warm.

Note: this article was originally published on November 12, 2020 and edited and updated for 2021 in September 2021.

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