7 Best Spots to See Japan’s Autumn Colours in Tokyo

22.October.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

Japan is getting deep into autumn – the season for autumn foliage, called kouyou in Japanese, is getting closer. Tokyo is known for its bright lights and metropolitan lifestyle, but did you know that there’s in fact a lot of places to enjoy the autumn colours in the capital?

 

We’ve compiled a list of great spots to visit this autumn that are accessible from the heart of Tokyo.

 

Mount Takao (Peak Foliage: Mid November – Late November)

Mount Takao is a nature haven about an hour’s train journey from central Tokyo. Surrounding the mountain are about 1,200 species of plant and 100 types of wild bird. Its autumn-time maple trees are exceptional. The view of autumn leaves from the mountain peak as well at the Yakuo-in Buddhist temple, Kiyotaki Cable Car Station, Takaosan Station and elsewhere please the eyes of countless mountain climbers over a one month period. Additionally, special “Mt. Takao” trains will run from Takaosanguchi Station to Shinjuku Station on weekends and holidays throughout November from 3pm. These carriages are reservation-only and offer a beautiful view for those returning to the city centre.

 

■Information

Mount Takao

Location: Hachioji, Tokyo

Access: Board the Keio Takao Line, change at Takaosanguchi Station and walk 5-minutes from the cable car entrance

TEL: 042-620-7378

Website: https://www.hkc.or.jp

 

Rikugien Garden (Peak Foliage: Mid November – Early December)

Rikugien Garden is a typical garden of the Edo Period boasting around 400 maple trees as well as Japanese wax trees, maidenhairs and more all of which bring vivid life to the garden. It’s also home to a pond and 35 meter high ‘mountain’ where people can stroll along and enjoy autumn’s kaleidoscope of colours. Illuminations are also set to be held from Novmember 17 to December 9 which will light up the trees and rest of the garden, so don’t miss out.

 

■Information

Rikugien Garden

Address: 6 Honkomagome, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo

Access: 7-minutes on foot from Komagome Station via the JR Lines

TEL: 03-3941-2222

Website: http://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/park/format/index031.html

 

Hibiya Park (Peak Foliage: Late November – Early December)

Hibiya Park first opened in 1903 during the Meiji Period. During autumn, the leaves of the maidenhair trees colour the the S-shaped garden path a golden yellow. The park’s Shinkei Pond is home to a water fountain made in the image of the crane which is the third oldest water fountain in Japan. Tokyo is a busy and bustling city, but Hibiya Park is an oasis out of that where the captivating colours of maple trees and more excite your eyes.

 

■Information

Hibiya Park

Address: 1-6 Hibiya Park, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

Access: 2-minutes on foot from Kasumigaseki Station and Hibiya Station via Tokyo Metro / 8-minutes on foot from Yurakucho Station via JR

TEL: 03-3501-6428

Website: https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/park/format/index037.html

 

Shiba Park (Peak Foliage: Late November – Early December)

Shiba Park has a long history and was first designated a park in 1873 along with those in Ueno, Asakusa, Fukugawa and Asukayama. The bright colours of the maidenhair trees in the promenade that arrive from late November and bloom until early December look out on Tokyo Tower which is an overwhelming sight to see.

 

■Information

Shiba Park

Address: 4-10-17 Shiba Park, Minato Ward, Tokyo

Access: 12-minutes on foot from Hamamatsucho Station via JR / 2-minutes on foot from Shibakoen Station via Toei Subwa

TEL: 03-3431-4359

Website: https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/park/format/index001.html

 

Meiji Jingu Gaien Park (Late November – Early December)

Meiji Jingu Gaien Park is famous for its maidenhair trees that span a 300 meter distance. It’s one of the city’s representative autumn-time spots for seeing yellow leaves. There are 146 maidenhairs that line both sides of the path that create a truly golden road. If you gaze from Aoyama Dori Road it’s like staring into a beautiful picture book.

 

■Information

Meiji Jingu Gaien Park

Address: 2-1 Kita Aoyama, Minato Ward, Tokyo (Maidenhair Path) / 2-3 Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Access: 5-minutes on foot from Aoyama-itchōme Station or Gaiemmae Station via Tokyo Metro / 10-minutes on foot from Shinanomachi Station or Sendagaya Station via JR

TEL: 03-3401-0312

Website: http://www.meijijingugaien.jp

 

Yoyogi Park (Peak Foliage: Late November – Early December)

Yoyogi Park is home to 6 types of broad-leaved trees including 1,000 Japanese zelkovas, 260 maidenhairs, 100 maples and more. It is one of the main parks to visit in Tokyo during autumn where you can stroll and see the colours unfold before you. It has an open space, water fountain and even benches making for a great day out where you can kick back and relax. It’s a great place to stroll to after shopping in Harajuku as it’s located right next to Harajuku Station. But if you get lost then come and see us in the MOSHI MOSHI BOX Harajuku Tourist Information Center and we’ll point you in the right direction.

 

■Information

Yoyogi Park

Address: 2-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya, Tokyo

Access: 3-minutes on foot from Harajuku Station via JR / 3-minutes on foot from Yoyogi-koen Station via Tokyo Metro

TEL: 03-3469-6081

Website: http://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/park/format/index039.html

 

When in Japan during the fall season, make sure to enjoy it to the absolute fullest!

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden: Witness the Colours of Autumn Illuminated by Lights at Night

    15.September.2018 | SPOT

    The maple trees at Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden are set to be lit up at an event that will run from October 19 to November 11. The event will enable people to walk the gardens at night to gaze at the illuminated red leaves. Additionally, as part of the 2018 Rokko Meets Art project, another display titled ‘The Night Museum’ will be held simultaneously where art pieces around the garden will also be lit up.

    The hills and mountains in Japan turn into a kaleidoscope of reds, yellows and oranges when autumn comes and the maple trees bloom. Mount Rokkō is at a high altitude and it’s here that maple trees blossom almost one month earlier than other town areas including Kyoto. There are numerous varieties of maple tree at Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden for people to see. You can look forward to seeing the trees change colour from mid-October through mid-November. These bright and beautiful trees will be made even more vivid when they are lit up together with the art installations around the gardens.

     

    Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden boasts a diverse range of tree species and plants including the maple variety like the Japanese maple and oomomiji as well as the Japanese beech, Japanese larch, shiromoji, rhododendrons and more, all of which come to life in autumnal colours. It is also home to several species that grow in high altitudes like the chinguruma.

    The lit-up trees will create a starkly different, more mysterious atmosphere than during the daytime. There is also much anticipation for the exhibition of an art installation by Takahashi Kyota.

    You’ll also have the opportunity to use seeds fallen from trees in the garden and dried hydrangeas to make your own wreath. Tools and items will all be prepared for you so you can go hands-free.

    A photo seminar will also take place under the refreshing sky of Mount Rokkō. You’ll be led around the garden by lecturers of the Japan Alpine Photographers Association and learn how to take photos of the hills and fields. You will observe medicinal plants and learn the charms of plans you would never know by just looking at them.

    Enjoy the gorgeous colours of autumn this year at Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden.

     

    ■Information

    Maple Tree Night Stroll / The Night Museum

    Running: October 19, 2018 – November 11, 2018 (*Will be cancelled during storms)

    Time: Weekdays 5:00pm-6:30pm / Weekends & Holidays 5:00pm-7:30pm

    Guide: From 5:30pm (*Weekends & Holidays only. 30 minutes. Free to participate.)

    Location: Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden (Kitarokkō-4512-150 Rokkōsanchō, Nada Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture)

    Price: Free to participate but you must pay the garden entry fee (Adults ¥620 / Children ¥310 / Seniors ¥520)

     

    Wreath Workshop

    Running: October 13, 2018 – November 25, 2018

    Open: 10:00am-4:30pm (Reception closes at 4:00pm)

    Time: 30 minutes

    Location: Alpicola

    No. of People: 12 people max per session. No reservations necessary.

    Price: From ¥650 (Doesn’t include garden entry fee)

     

    Photo Seminar

    Date: September 23, 2018 (*Will be postponed to September 30th if it rains)

    10:30am-11:00am ― Class on photography

    11:00am-3:00pm ー Photography around the garden

    Price: Free (Doesn’t include garden entry fee)

    No. of People: 30 *Now taking telephone reservations

     

    Guide

    Dates: October 13 and November 10

    Time: 11:00am / 2:00pm (1 hour each)

    Price: Free (Doesn’t include garden entry fee)

     

    Mount Rokkō Portal Webite: http://www.rokkosan.com

     

  • Season of autumn foliage is near! Special season-limited train service – Mt. TAKAO to start

    28.September.2018 | SPOT

    During the season of autumn colors in Mt. Takao, after 15:00 a season-limited special train service called “Mt. TAKAO” will be offered where trains will connect Mt. Takao Station and  Shinjuku Station.

    This service will be offered for a total of 9 days, centering on the Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays in November, (2 normal working days and 7 Saturdays, Sundays and holidays).

    Every year, Mt. Takao receives the most visitor during the month of November and train service between 15:00 and 18:00 becomes very crowded with passengers returning from Mt. Takao to the city. To ease this congestion during the autumn color season, the Keio Line will offer a special train service which departs from Mt. Takao Station – 1 train per day during regular work days and 2 trains per day during Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. This is the first time that this service is being offered.

    The same 5000 series cars will be used as the Keio Liner for this train service. This train has a comfortable “cross seat” design and reserved seats will cost 400 yen. This train will not stop at any stations along the way and will go direct from Mt. Takao Station to Sinjuku Station.
    Furthermore, all passengers on this train will receive an original commemorative wood-design card as a souvenir.  Why not go home from a viewing of Mt. Takao’s autumn colors by using this very fast and convenient Mt. TAKAO train service.
  • Autumn Colour Illuminations to Take Place at Kurodani Temple―Home to the Afro Buddha

    28.September.2018 | SPOT

    Veltra, a website that offers hundreds of tours and activities for travellers across the world, is now taking bookings to go and see the autumn colour light-up of Konkaikōmyō-ji, also known as Kurodani Temple.

    The plan offers the chance to see the Afro Buddha―which has made headlines on TV in Japan and on the internet―as well as the temple gardens and elsewhere lit up in gorgeous hues of reds, yellows and oranges. The autumnal colours reflected on the water surface beside the temple will provide for a gorgeous setting.

     

    There’s also an additional plan that can get you in 30-minutes earlier than regular guests and offers a tour of the area by the official gardener or a garden concierge. Guests who book with Veltra will also receive a bill with the Afro Buddha printed on it.

    Kurodani Temple was founded in 1175. It incldues the site where Honen, the founder of Jodo Buddhism, stayed. It’s also famous as the site where the Japanese official Kondō Isami and samurai Matsudaira Katamori held talks.

     

    While gazing at the beautiful colours of autumn guests can also enjoy a koto performance.

     

    Veltra also has an English page and takes bookings from inbound travellers. Book your plan to see the spectacle yourself.

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Kyoto Brighton Hotel Offers 5 New Hotel Plans For Springtime, Cherry Blossom & Temple Experiences

    26.January.2020 | SPOT

    Kyoto Brighton Hotel is now selling reservations for its new “Haru no Asobi Plan” (Springtime Fun Plan) which is taking place between March and May this year and offers guests the opportunity to enjoy Kyoto in the spring and its cherry blossoms.

     

    Spring in Kyoto is the most popular season for tourists and travellers who flock from not only across Japan but from around the world. The Haru no Asobi Plan is made up of 5 exciting plans to see the ancient capital’s breathtaking cherry blossoms, vibrant green maples, and other offerings.

     

    “Asakatsu” – An early morning temple visit and stroll

    Get away from the crowded streets and enjoy the rare opportunity to experience incredible early morning sights you don’t normally get to see. Spend a quiet morning in a gorgeous environment in this plan. Several temples and gardens are in place for the experience: Kōdaiji Temple, Bishamon-do Temple, Taizō-in, Haradanien, and Tenryū-ji.

     

    Kiyomizu-dera Temple special night viewing

    One of the must-visit spots when travelling to Kyoto is Kiyomizu-dera, officially a World Heritage Site. This plan rents out the temple for you to experience it at nighttime. The main building is currently undergoing large-scale renovation to secure the roof as well as the inner construction of the temple. Seeing the temple is truly a sight to behold.

    You are guaranteed a view of the famous “Stage of Kiyomizu,” an enormous veranda attached to the main hall. The surrounding trees will be lit with enchanting lights, and you’ll be able to gaze at the distant city nightscape. Experience Kyoto like never before as the warm lights illuminate the Niōmon (Deva Gate), 3-storey pagoda, and purified water which runs from the Otowa Waterfall.

     

    Discover the world of Kyoto embroidery

    The traditional practice of Kyounui, or Kyoto-style embroidery, has continued since the Heian Period and is even garnering attention overseas. It’s a delicate and refined style of embroidery unique to Kyoto.

    After your embroidery session which will take place in a Kyoto town house nearby the cherry blossom-filled Hirano Shrine, you’ll look at kimono and yukata so beautiful they’ll look like they should be in an art museum, before heading to eat together with the creator.

     

    See the green maple trees of Hōgon-in on a private train

    Board the private 1-2 carriage Randen train on the Keifuku Electric Railroad, which runs from Shijō-Ōmiya to Arashiyama. This cute retro train will take you Arashiyama where the green maples are breathtakingly beautiful.

    You’ll also get to stroll through the quaint gardens of Hōgon-in Temple, view artwork painted by Noriko Tamura, and more.

     

    Sky Bus

    Enjoy a panoramic view on a private ride of the Sky Bus, a double-decker bus which is gaining huge popularity right now. You will ride through the city of Kyoto and see the rows of pink cherry blossoms. In April, they will also do an evening tour of the cherry blossoms so you can see them at night, and in May they’ll do a green maple tree tour.

     

    Discover the beauty of Kyoto in this very special hotel plan at Kyoto Brighton Hotel.

  • Bunjee Jump From the Top of Kyoto Tower With Their New VR Experience

    17.January.2020 | SPOT

    Have you ever wondered what the thrill of bungee jumping would be like, but are too afraid of heights to even consider putting it on your bucket list? Have no fear, because Kyoto Tower is bringing a new VR bungee jumping experience to the top of the building which will be available to experience from February 1 for a limited time.

    This VR experience was first brought to the tower in the fall of 2018, and this year it is making its grand return. After the event originally ended, there was huge demand for it to be held again.

    Those brave enough to have a go at this VR bungee jump (or bungy, depending where you are from), will go above and beyond the 100 meter observation deck to the highest accessible point of Kyoto Towerーup 120.9 metersーwhich is normally closed off to the public, to the special VR deck which has been prepared.

    The experience will offer you not only the thrill of jumping from Kyoto’s tallest structure, but the chance to gaze upon a panoramic view of the beautiful city too.

  • Japan Shopping Festival: Hello Kitty Supports Huge Shopping Event Aimed at Foreigners

    26.November.2019 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    一The Japan Shopping Tourism Organization (JSTO) has announced that it will hold an event titled “Japan Shopping Festival” aimed at foreign tourists in Japan from December 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020.

    ①Questionnaire Campaign

    A questionnaire will be carried out for non-Japanese travellers to win round-trip tickets to Japan. Travellers will be selected randomly from a lucky draw.

     

    ②Instagram Photo Contest

    Follow Japan Shopping Festival on Instagram and post photos related to the designated themes with the hashtag #jsfphoto. The themes are: ①Memories of what you bought and experienced in Japan, ②Your favourite fruits in Japan, and ③Good things about Japan you want to boast.

    ③Coupons, Goods & Experiences

    Japan Shopping Now is one of Japan’s biggest online shopping portal sites, and they are now promoting information on Japanese shopping overseas in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean. This includes coupons, sales, and more at almost 1,000 participating stores.

     

    ④Special Events

    ・Japan Shopping Festival Tohoku (December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020)

    This shopping festival will take place at 6 prefectures across Tohoku. Discover Japanese confectioneries, fashion, sake, fruit and more, including a tie-up with JR EAST PASS.

     

    Official Website:  http://tohoku.japanshopping.org/

     

    ・Matsuyama Shopping Festival (December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)

    From Okaido Shopping Street to Matsuyama Gintengai Shopping Arcade, Matsuchika Town, and more, look forward to end-of-year lucky draws, food events, shopping, and so on.

     

    Official Website:  http://matsuyama.japanshopping.org/

     

    Discover the wonders of shopping in Japan and learn more about the country with the Japan Shopping Festival.

  • Top 4 Places to Visit in Kyoto This Winter: Snow, Gourmet Food, Hot Springs & More

    26.November.2019 | SPOT

    Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history. Today, we take a look at some of the best places to visit in Kyoto this winter as covered by the November 2019 issue of Japanese magazine Mou Hitotsu no Kyoto (“The Other Kyoto”).

     

    From gourmet food to sightseeing spots, the arts and moreーif you’re in Kyoto this year, you have plenty of reasons to leave your hotel room or house.

     

    Yuki Tourou: See the snowy thatched-roof huts

    Miyama Kayabuki no Sato is located in Miyamachokita, Nantan. It is home to 39 houses with thatched roofs and is a popular sightseeing spot due to its gorgeous natural scenery throughout the entire year. It was listed in Japan’s Groups of Traditional Buildings in 1993.

    In the New Year, snow falls on the huts, which looks beautiful when they light up the “Yuki Tourou”ーor snow lanternsーin late January every year. There are stalls that serve hot food in this little town, and they also host an event where you can make your own snow lantern.

     

    Running: January 25, 2020 – February 1, 2020

    Official Website: http://www.yukitouro.jp/

     

     

    Amanohashidate: One of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”

    Amanohashidate is a sandbank located in Miyazu Bay that separates the north and south inlet of the Asoumi Sea. It formed as a result of pebbles being carried by the ocean current for thousands of years. Its name comes from the way it looks like a bridge spanning across the sky. It is known as one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”

    Amanohashidate is a sight to behold at any point throughout the year, but if you can travel there in the winter, you’re in for a surprise, as the entire sandbank is littered with pure white snow. On very cold days in the morning the snow even covers the tops of the pine trees, but when the sun rises and the temperature warms up the snow on the frost-tipped trees melts. This has led to it being called an “illusionary sight” due to its rarity. Make a point of getting up super early so you don’t miss it!

     

    Address: Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Quasi-National Park, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Official Website: https://www.amanohashidate.jp/lang/en/

     

     

    Fukuchiyama Castle: The magnificent castle of snow

    Fukuchiyama Castle sits atop a tall hill in the city of Fukuchiyama. The castle was established as the new Tanba province by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1579 following the province’s capture in 1576. The castle was demolished once during the Meiji Period but was restored again in 1986. It is now the only castle that remains today built by Mitsuhide.

    The castle architecture has a lot of personality, and during the winter months takes on a gorgeous white as a result of the snow. Gazing across the castle land from the watchtower is an absolute must when visiting. Also, if you’re visiting next year, the new Fukuchiyama Mitsuhide Museum is set to open on January 11, so be sure to check that out too.

     

    Address: 5 Chome Naiki, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)

    Closed: December 28-31, 2019 / January 4-6, 2020

    Entry Price: General ¥330 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥110
    Official Website: https://dokkoise.com/en/temple_shrine/index.html

     

     

    Monjusou Shourotei: Feast on crab fondue while gazing at Amanohashidate

    Monjusou Shourotei is a ryokanーa Japanese-style innーlocated along Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s Three Scenic Views which we mentioned earlier on this list. All guests staying at the inn are given a window view of Amanohashidate from their rooms.

     

    The inn offers an original salted snow crab fondue. Snow crab is particularly enjoyed for its degree of freshness. It’s served with vegetables and the boiled crab itself, making for a delicious combination of flavours.

    The hot springs at Amanohashidate are famous and praised as “the baths of the gods.” They are also said to leave your skin looking beautiful after a dip. The inn also offers open-air baths lined with stones from Shikoku and wild grass from the mountains, offering a truly indulging experience.

     

    Address: Amanohashidate Monjudomisaki, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Official Website: https://shourotei.com/

     

     

    These are just some of the incredible places you can enjoy in wintertime Kyoto. You can find more information on Kyoto Side or from one of our many articles on Kyoto.

  • TOTOCO Odawara: Kanagawa’s Sea Food Theme Park Opens November 22

    17.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is a new “fish theme park” set to have its grand opening on November 22, 2019 at 10:00am (JST).

    The facility was established to promote further exchanges with Odawara Fishing Port which is said to be the biggest fish market in western Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the first “Fishing Port” (Gyoko no Eki*) and will sell seafood sourced locally, fishery products and more, as well as hold events to help promote Odawara.

     

    The building has three flours. The first floor is like a marketplace where fish, fishery products, produce, and more will be sold. The second and third floors house seafood restaurants and offer a panoramic view of Sagami Bay. This view is best observed from the terrace while you enjoy your delicious meal.

    *Fishing Port (in Japanese: Gyoko no Eki, or 漁港の駅) is a registered trademark of Odawara City to highlight facilities that promote exchange with Odawara Fishing Port. (Registered Trademark No.: 6163121).

    Odawara Fishing Port sells fresh fish sourced from the waters of Sagami Bay, which houses a variety of fish species, as well as fish and processed marine products from around Japan. TOTOCO Odawara will sell these very same products, all delivered directly from the port, to help spread the fishing culture and economy of Odawara.

     

    Let’s take a look at some of the delicious gourmet seafood meals you can expect to tuck into at TOTOCO Odawara!

    Totomaru Summit Bowl – ¥2,480

    A hearty and towering dish so high that it looks like it might topple over.

    Greedy Sea Urchin Eggs & Salmon Roe Bowl – ¥4,280

    A dream combination you’ve been waiting for your entire life. Savour the richness and sweetness of both of these mouth-watering delights.

    Oyster Egg Donburi Set – ¥1,680

    You can’t even see the rice any more for the pile of tasty oyster eggs, with their exquisitely soft texture.

    Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO

    The third floor of the building is home to Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO, a restaurant that calls itself “Sashimi Heaven” and offers a 59 minute all-you-can-eat buffet of fish, sides, desserts and more.

     

    59 Minute All-You-Can-Eat
    Adults – ¥2,590 / Children (Elementary School & Younger) – ¥1,390 / 3-Years & Younger – Free (All Prices Before Tax)

     

    Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is easily reachable from Tokyo and right next to the local station. If you’ve come to Japan looking to try the country’s famous seafood, then make sure to put this place on your list.

  • Autumn in Aichi: Cherry Blossoms and Maples at Obara Shikizakura Matsuri & Korankei Maple Festival

    15.November.2019 | SPOT

    Early November marks the opening of the autumn cherry blossoms in Obaracho, Toyota. By the time mid-November rolls around, close to 10,000 shikizakura cherry blossoms bloom a pale pink until the end of the month.

    The Yoshino cherry bears its pink petals in springtime, but the shikizakura blossoms twice a year: first in spring, then in autumn. They are considered one of the most beautiful flowers of autumn, especially when they bloom against the gorgeous and vibrant red maple leaves. The Obara Shikizakura Matsuri began on November 1, and right now, you can witness this spectacle for yourself.

    The shikizakura trees planted in Obara have been there since Kansei era (1789-1801). With the helping hand of locals, the trees have become one of Japan’s most famous shikizakura spots. They were designated as Chiku (District) Trees in 1978 and can be seen throughout the entire district. Some of the trees are over 100 years old and as such registered as Natural Monuments of Aichi prefecture.

     

    This is a spot we highly recommend visiting when travelling to Aichi.

     

    ▼Obara Shikizakura Cherry Blossoms

    Peak Blossom Time: From Mid-November

    Locations:

    441-1 Johei, Obaracho, Toyota, Aichi (Obara Fureai Park)

    Senmichi, Toyota, Aichi (Senmi Shikizakura no Sato)

    Access: Take the Toyota Oiden Bus bound for Kaminigi (上仁木行き) and get off at Obaraokusa (小原大草) or Kaminigi (上仁木)

    Details:  http://www.kankou-obara.toyota.aichi.jp/

     

    ▼Obara Shikizakura Matsuri

    Running: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

    Locations: Senmi Shikizakura no Sato, Obara Fureai Park, and elsewhere in the region

    Notes: The Kururin Bus can be boarded for free on weekends and public holidays while the festival is on

    Official Website: https://www.aichi-now.jp/spots/detail/132/

     

    The Korankei Maple Festival is also taking place this month where you can witness around 40,000 maple trees bearing their gorgeous autumn foliage.

    The trees are being lit up every night for the month of November. Watch the sun set before the illuminations are turned on, creating an enchanting atmosphere with the warm, radiating lights against the night sky.

     

    ▼Maple Trees

    Peak Blossom Time: From Mid-November

    Location:  Iimori Asukecho, Toyota, Aichi

    Access: Ride the Meitetsu Mikawa Line to Toyotashi Station, change onto Meitetsu Bus, and alight at Korankei (香嵐渓)

    Official Website:  http://asuke.info/korankei/

     

    ▼64th Korankei Maple Festival

    Running: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

    Location: Around Iimori Asukecho, Toyota, Aichi

    Light-Up: Sunset to 21:00

    Access: 20 minutes from Sarugata Green Road Interchange / 20 minutes from Toyota-Kanpachi Interchange

    Official Website: http://asuke.info/event/nov/entry-705.html

     

    Witness two of Japan’s most celebrates treesーthe cherry blossom and the mapleーflower together in one place in Aichi.

  • See the Breathtaking Autumn Foliage of the Former Shizutani School in Okayama

    14.November.2019 | SPOT

    The Former Shizutani School, recognised as the oldest school existing for commoners in Japan, has reached its peak season for autumn foliage. Speficially, for the Chinese pistache tree, which is a symbol of the school.

    Shizutani School first opened in 1670 during the Kambun era. In 2015, it was registered as an Educational Heritage Site from Early-Modern Japan. The majority of the site is listed as an Important Cultural Property, including the temple, Shizutani Shrine, as well as the auditorium which is considered a national treasure.

     

    The school’s surrounding natural landscape enjoys the blooming of many different flowers throughout the entire year which people flock to see. It’s especially famous for autumn, a season during which the enchanting red and yellow hues boas their beautiful blossom.

    The three colours reflect from the lacquered flooring of the auditorium, rippling like ocean waves.

    The beautiful contrast between the reds and yellows of the pistaches can be enjoyed during autumn-time only. The best time to see them is from now until November 20, so if you’re travelling to Okayama, be sure to pay the Former Shizutani School a visit.

  • Instagram Launches #MY TOKYO IS Campaign With Tokyo Metropolitan Government

    12.November.2019 | SPOT

    Instagram launched a campaign with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government entitled “#MY TOKYO IS” on November 11 together with three limited-time stamps that can be used on people’s Instagram stories.

    The campaign is a global initiative to have people capture their favourite moments in Tokyo in the form of photos, videos and stories on Instagram. Shared posts will be used to curate places and scenery in Tokyo that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government want to showcase to the people of the world. This curation will take the form of an exhibitionーwhich will take place at GINZA ATRIUM on floor 6F of GINZA SIX and GINZA TSUTAYA BOOKS in late March 2020ーas well as a website and a book.

     

    Statistics have shown that Instagram has a significant influence on the Japanese economy in terms of tourism, and so the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hopes that this interactive campaign will help to promote the city to tourists and travellers worldwide.

    The stamps created as part of the campaign only appear in the tray when you’re in the city of Tokyo. When you click the stamp, the #MYTOKYOIS search result page will be displayed, allowing you to see the other photos and videos posted by the people who have used the campaign hashtag.

    If you’re in Tokyo, then be sure to get involved in the campaign and show the world your favourite things about the city!

  • Kyoto Sightseeing | 4 Spots to Visit Before Autumn 2019 Ends

    03.November.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Autumn is a popular season in Japan, especially amongst tourists and travellers. While in spring you have the bright pink cherry blossoms, when autumntime rolls around, the trees turn into enchanting reds and yellows. People from around the world flock to see this incredible sight, with Kyoto being a very popular location.

     

    Of course, viewing the beautiful colours of the trees and their leaves is a must during the daytime, but seeing them in the evening has become popular in recent years too. It offers you an entirely different experience and atmosphere. So if you’re in the ancient capital for autumn this year, why not experience the season in an entirely new lightーat night?

     

    Jitokuin Temple

    Jitokuin Temple is located in the town of Yosano in Yosa District. Maple trees were planted almost 11 years ago with the help of locals and the chief priest to create local ties. Every autumn, the trees behind the mountain bloom in vivid hues, leading the temple to be nicknamed “Koyo-ji,” or “Temple of Autumn.” The locals work hard in the surrounding gardens day by day, so the sights change a little bit every year.

    The maple trees are planted in a way that it looks like they take an entire side of the mountain. They are a sight to be hold during the day, but for one week in November there will be illuminations in the evenings, creating a magical scene under the night sky.

     

    ▼Jitokuin Temple

    Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 16, 2019

    Light-Up Time: 17:00-20:00 (Temple is open 09:00-20:00)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November

    Address: 2250 Akeshi, Yosano, Yoza-gun, Kyoto

    Support Fund: ¥300

    Official Website: http://jitokuin.com

     

     

    Nariaiji Temple

    Nariaiji Temple, located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Miyazu, is an ancient temple betwixt mountains overlooking Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views.” It’s home to a grand 5-storey pagoda which is surrounded by hundreds of maple trees, offering an incredible, quintessentially Japanese view during autumn.

    During the day, you can snap some gorgeous photos with the Sea of Japan and Amanohashidate in the back. For two nights only, on Saturday November 9 and Sunday November 10, the entire area will be beautifully lit up with warm illuminations.

     

    ▼Nariaiji Temple

    Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 10, 2019

    Light-Up Time: Sunset – 21:00 (Temple is open 08:00-16:30)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Late November

    Address: 339 Nariaiji, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Price: ¥500

    Official Website: http://www.nariaiji.jp/

     

     

    Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park

    Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: is located atop Mt. Kasagi and is also home to Kasagi-dera, a temple with a 1,300-year history. During autumn, one entire side of the park is dyed in autumnal colours.

    This November, the area will be lit up for a limited period, offering a gorgeous view from the mountain peak of the trees below as well as the flowing Kizugawa river.

     

    ▼Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park

    Light-Up Period: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

    Light-Up Time: 17:00-21:00 (Temple is open 09:00-16:00)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November

    Address: Mt. Kasagi, Kasagi, Soraku District, Kyoto

    Price: Illuminations – Free / Temple – Adults ¥300, Children ¥100

    Official Website: https://www.kasagidera.or.jp

     

     

    Yokokuji Temple

    Normally, the Joshoin at Yokokuji Templeーalso known as Yanagidani Kannonーonly opens on the 17th of every month. But for a special autumn event, it is now open every day up until December 1. The beauty of its autumn colours have come to be enjoyed by VIPs, dating back to the pre-war period when it was designated as a place of scenic beauty. For more details on this event, click here.

     

    Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week

    Running: November 2, 2019 – December 1, 2019

    Time: 9:00-16:00 (Joshoin open 10:00-15:00)

    Location: Yanagidani Kannon, Yokokuji Temple (Dōnotani-2 Jōdodani, Nagaokakyo, Kyoto)

    Entry Price: ¥300

    Full Ticket: ¥1,100→¥1,100 (Includes entry to multiple areas)

    Official Website: http://yanagidani.jp/

     

     

    Take the time to enjoy an autumnal Kyoto this year at one of the city’s seasonal events.

  • Sightseeing in Ise: 4 Must-Visit Souvenir Shops Near Ise Grand Shrine

    02.November.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The city of Ise is located in central Mie Prefecture on the eastern tip of Kii Peninsula, the largest peninsula on Japan’s largest main island Honshu. Every year, the autumn season brings in a flurry of tourists and sightseers who flock to see the city’s leaves expressing their vibrant hues of red and yellow. The city boasts a magnificent catalogue of sightseeing spots, but perhaps the most famous of all is Ise Grand Shrine, whose inner and outer shrine give visitors a sense of what the townscape looked like in ancient times. This can also be seen at Sarutahiko Shrine, amongst other places.

     

    In this article, we’re going to introduce you to 4 must-visit souvenir shops near the inner shrine for your Ise travel bucket list.

     

    Amano Pearl

    When talking about specialty products of Ise, the one thing that’s sure to come to the minds of Japanese people are the pearls sold in the city. Amano Pearl can be found in Oharaimachi, an almost 1km long street lined with traditional shops. The owner themselves purchases and appraises the pearls while the shop staff manufacture and design gorgeous accessories to sell at an affordable price.

    Accessory – ¥2,200

    This rose-shaped necklace is a design favoured by women of all ages. They have plenty of other high-quality bargain picks like this too.

    The shop’s diverse line-up of beautifully accessories includes those perfect for combining with one pieces and dresses, as well as for parties. Prices and designs vary greatly, so there’s bound to be something for everyone who steps inside this quaint store. So if you’re shopping for souvenirs during your trip to Ise, then you absolutely have to pay a visit to Amano Pearl to see the city’s famous pearls.

     

    ▶︎Amano Pearl – Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 45 Ujiimazaikechō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.amanopearl.jp/

     

     

    Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch

    Matsujiro Honey is a long-standing honey shop that was established back in 1912. The shop sells various varieties of honey, including flavours you won’t find in supermarkets like apple honey and soba honey.

    Hanabana – ¥864

    Hanabana is the shop’s No. 1 most popular variety of honey and it’s made in Mie Prefecture. Its name in Japanese means “flowers,” and as the name suggests, it includes the nectar of numerous types of flowers. It has a smooth texture and distinct full-bodied floral fragrance.

    Centre: Mini Honey Soap – ¥503 / Right: Honey Soap – ¥2,200 / Left: ¥2,200 Honey Face & Body Oil (48ml) – ¥2,200

    The shop even sells its own honey-imbued cosmetics, all made with natural ingredients. Their soap is made with their popular Hanabana honey, and gives off a flavoursome honey smell. Your skin is left smooth, moisturised and smelling great after using it.

    Their rich honey oil too is made with 90% plant-derived oil and is free from preservatives. It’s a great option for the coming dry season and is gentle on the skin.

     

    If you visit the shop, they let you taste test their different types of honey too! Find your favourite.

     

    ▶︎Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 7 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.matsujiro.shop/

     

     

    Uoharu

    Uroharu first opened its doors in 1931. Their products are sold as souvenirs to help spread the word of Ise’s rich food culture.

    Same No Tare – Salt Flavour / Mirin Flavour

    The item you absolutely want to look out for when going into Uohara is their “Same No Tare,” another Ise speciality. It was originally only eaten in Shima, Ise, but it was picked up on national television, leading it to become a food souvenir associated with Ise.

    Uoharu’s products are seafood based, and there’s plenty to choose from. If you’re looking for a food product specifically from Ise then look no further than Uoharu.

     

    ▶Uoharu

    Address: 49 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (*Changes depending on season)

    Closed: Wednesdays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Thursdays)

    Official Website: https://www.samenotare.jp/uoharu/

     

     

    Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch

    Yet another speciality product of Ise comes from the much-beloved Henbaya, which first opened way back in 1775. The speciality products, also called “henbaya,” can be ordered either for takeout or enjoyed in the shop.

    Henbaya (Includes 2) – ¥160

    Henbaya are thin, round sticky rice cakes made with top of the range domestic ingredients and packed with smooth red bean paste. Both sides of these deliciously fragrant rice cakes are browned, and when bitten into, fill and melt in your mouth with the sweet, smooth flavour of the bean paste.

    At the Oharaimachi branch of Henbaya they sell various other rice cakes too, all chewy and made with high quality ingredients from Japan. Pick up a pair and enjoy the sweet taste of Ise.

     

    ▶︎Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 1-149-1 Ujiurata, Ise, Mie

    Closed: Mondays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Tuesdays)

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Eating in-store runs until 16:30)

    *Products may sell out before 17:00

    *Opening hours subject to change for January

     

     

    So, if you’re making a trip to the beautiful city of Ise, you now know the must-visit spots for finding souvenirs. Let us know if you visit any!

  • Kyoto Sightseeing | Yokokuji Temple’s Autumn Event Schedule Announced

    30.October.2019 | SPOT

    Yanagidani Kannon, also known as Yokokuji Temple, is located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Nagaokakyo and has been used as a place of prayer for many people with eye disease since the Heian Period. It is believed that praying at the temple will cure eye disease.

     

    For autumn-time this year, the temple is set to hold an event titled “Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week” from November 2 to December 1. With a seasonal schedule that includes illuminations in the gardens to a flower display at the temple water basin, if you’re looking for the must-visit locations in Kyoto this autumn, then you’ll want to add Yokokuji Temple to your list.

     

    Jodoen Garden Illuminations

    Last year’s popular light-up event is making a return for 2019, with gorgeous illuminations developed by light designer Yuuki Kogawa which will brighten the area with an enchanting and mystifying aura different from a usual visit to the garden.

     

    Dates: November 8th, 15th, 22nd-23rd

    Time: 17:30-18:30  (Reception open from 17:00)

    Price: ¥2,500 (Includes limited edition goshuin stamp)

    No. of People: 20 (Bookings Only)

    Bookings: https://yanagidani.jp/contact/

     

    Special Opening of the Joshoin

    Normally, the Joshoin only opens on the 17th of every month, but for this autumn week event, it will be open every day. It’s an area normally limited to officials and those in the imperial family. The beauty of its autumn colours have come to be enjoyed by VIPs, dating back to the pre-war period when it was designated as a place of scenic beauty.

     

    Hanachomizu Flower Water Basin

    At every temple and shrine in Japan there is a water basin which you are to use to cleanse yourself before entering. The Hanachomizu has become hugely popular on social media since the name first appeared 3 years ago, where leaves and flowers are placed into the basin. It has become adopted at temples across the country, with the one at Yokokuji Temple starting the trend. When it was first posted onto social media, it received reactions from over 80,000 people both in Japan and overseas. The flowers used change with the seasons, from hydrangeas to maple leaves.

     

    Limited Edition Goshuin Stamp Book Designs – Garasha Matsuri & More

    Visitors will be able to pick up limited-edition goshuin stamp books which never fail to sell out whenever they are released. Goshuin are collectable stamps/seals at temples around Japan. They are ¥500 each and limited in stock.

    This is just a small peek into what’s to come during Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week. If you’re in Kyoto, make sure you pay a visit to Yokokuji Temple.

  • 3 Must-Visit Locations to See Kyoto’s Autumn Colours at Night in 2019

    17.October.2019 | SPOT

    Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history.

     

    Autumn is a popular season in Japan, especially amongst tourists and travellers. While in spring you have the bright pink cherry blossoms, when autumntime rolls around, the trees turn into enchanting reds and yellows. People from around the world flock to see this incredible sight, with Kyoto being a very popular location.

     

    KYOTO SIDE, a regional information website run by Kyoto Prefecture, has listed a number of must-visit places around the city for seeing the autumn foliage, which is known as koyo in Japanese. Of course, viewing the beautiful colours of the trees and their leaves is a must during the daytime, but seeing them in the evening has become popular in recent years too. It offers you an entirely different experience and atmosphere. Here’s three places you should jot down for your Kyoto trip this autumn.

     

    Jitokuin Temple: A place of rest created by the chief priest and locals

    Jitokuin Temple is located in the town of Yosano in Yosa District. Maple trees were planted almost 11 years ago with the help of locals and the chief priest to create local ties. Every autumn, the trees behind the mountain bloom in vivid hues, leading the temple to be nicknamed “Koyo-ji,” or “Temple of Autumn.” The locals work hard in the surrounding gardens day by day, so the sights change a little bit every year.

    The maple trees are planted in a way that it looks like they take an entire side of the mountain. They are a sight to be hold during the day, but for one week in November there will be illuminations in the evenings, creating a magical scene under the night sky.

     

    Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 16, 2019

    Light-Up Time: 17:00-20:00 (Temple is open 09:00-20:00)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November

    Address: 2250 Akeshi, Yosano, Yoza-gun, Kyoto

    Support Fund: ¥300

    Official Website: http://jitokuin.com

     

    Nariaiji Temple: The 5-storey pagoda comes together with the autumn colours

    Nariaiji Temple, located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Miyazu, is an ancient temple betwixt mountains overlooking Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views.” It’s home to a grand 5-storey pagoda which is surrounded by hundreds of maple trees, offering an incredible, quintessentially Japanese view during autumn.

    During the day, you can snap some gorgeous photos with the Sea of Japan and Amanohashidate in the back. For two nights only, on Saturday November 9 and Sunday November 10, the entire area will be beautifully lit up with warm illuminations.

     

    Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 10, 2019

    Light-Up Time: Sunset – 21:00 (Temple is open 08:00-16:30)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Late November

    Address: 339 Nariaiji, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Price: ¥500

    Official Website: http://www.nariaiji.jp/

     

    Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: A bright-red landscape from the mountain peak

    Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: is located atop Mt. Kasagi and is also home to Kasagi-dera, a temple with a 1,300-year history. During autumn, one entire side of the park is dyed in autumnal colours.

    This November, the area will be lit up for a limited period, offering a gorgeous view from the mountain peak of the trees below as well as the flowing Kizugawa river.

     

    Light-Up Period: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

    Light-Up Time: 17:00-21:00 (Temple is open 09:00-16:00)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November

    Address: Mt. Kasagi, Kasagi, Soraku District, Kyoto

    Price: Illuminations – Free / Temple – Adults ¥300, Children ¥100

    Official Website: https://www.kasagidera.or.jp

     

     

    See Japan’s autumn colours in an entirely new way this year at one of Kyoto’s many autumn-time illumination events.

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