Tokyo Notes: Cherry Blossoms and Fall Foliage

Some of the best cherry blossoms and fall foliage viewing spots in Tokyo.¬†Includes each place’s most picturesque features and short instructions for how to get there (especially for JR Pass holders).

Sakura, Chidorigafuchi moat, Tokyo Imperial Palace (public domain)

SGMT Japan Lake Kawaguchiko Momiji Kairo 04

There’s something about the Japanese culture of appreciation for flowers and leaves. I was in Tokyo last November to view the fall colors, and when I went to the Momiji Kairo (Maple Corridor, or the “Walkway of Red Leaves”) near Lake Kawaguchi, most of the people there with me weren’t foreign tourists but the Japanese themselves. And you could tell it wasn’t just for something to post on Instagram — many had no cameras in hand. A spry white-haired lady was there with her granddaughter. There were elderly couples. Families. Many of them walked slowly, taking their time. Appreciating without feeling the need to keep. It reminded me of a poem we learned in freshman year of high school (hi Mrs. Aranduque!) — if, as Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his Rhodora, beauty is its own excuse for being, then the appreciation of beauty ought¬†also, by itself, to be enough.

SGMT Japan Lake Kawaguchiko Momiji Kairo 05

SGMT Japan Lake Kawaguchiko Momiji Kairo 02 Grandma

Momiji Kairo is in the Kawaguchiko district, 2 hours away from Tokyo (directions at the end of this post). However, there are spots within Tokyo itself that are perfect for viewing both the cherry blossoms and the fall colors.

Rikugien Garden

Known for:

  • Japanese landscape garden considered Tokyo’s most beautiful
  • Weeping cherry trees near the main gate that typically bloom from late March to early April
  • Autumn colors particularly beautiful around the stream that runs by the Tsutsuji no Chaya teahouse, around the Togetsukyo Bride and from the Fujishirotoge viewpoint

How to get to Rikugien Garden:

  • Take the JR Yamanote line to Komagome Station — 5-10 minute walk south leads you to main entrance gate

Hotels near Rikugien Garden


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