☙ Fall Foliage 2019 ❧ Tokyo - Golden Ginkgos at Meiji Jingu Gaien

Tokyo Tour Autumn foliage 2019.10.09
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Autumn is coming to the northern hemisphere, and in Japan that means it's time for koyo (紅葉), or fall foliage viewing! Every year crowds around the country flock to the most beautiful spots to see the seasons change, and the leaves shift from green to red. With amazing weather and colorful scenery, it's a great time to explore Japan. In Tokyo, locals love to stroll through curtains of falling golden ginkgo leaves along the Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue.

The Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue

While Japan loves to appreciate the shifting oranges and reds of fall, Tokyo's a special city and it has some special spots to appreciate fall leaves - like the bright golden ginkgos of Jingu Gaien! Meiji Jingu Gaien is a spacious park about halfway between Tokyo's imperial palace and the "Meiji Jingu" (明治神宮), the Meiji Shrine in Shibuya. Most of the year the park is known for its many facilities right in central Tokyo (tennis courts, baseball diamonds, skating rinks, and lots of green space), but when autumn comes around, visitors arrive for a different reason.
  • Cutting right through the park is an avenue lined with dozens of ginkgo trees! When the weather starts to cool, the green, fan-shaped leaves start to change color.
  • When the weather's nice, the golden leaves are like drops of sunshine, gently drifting to the ground. As the days go by, the leaves create a warm yellow carpet underfoot!

Meiji Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival 2019

  • To celebrate the park's gorgeous ginkgos, every year a festival (or "matsuri", 祭り) is held, with this year's being The 2019 Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival Icho Matsuri (2019年神宮外苑いちょう祭り). It's generally during second half of November, and the exact 2019 dates are the 15th of November to the 1st of December.
  • Not only is the festival a chance to enjoy the trees during their season's peak, but also a place to sample food from all over Japan. Vendors set up next to the rows of trees for just two weeks a year, proffering all kinds of Japanese cuisine - a little something to suit all kinds of palates. 
  • Because the Jingu Gaien park is smack dab in the middle of Tokyo, it means that it's probably on the way to or right nearby anything else you want to see in the city! It's a great place to stop by for an hour, before continuing your tour of Tokyo. But if you need some help filling out your trip to the area, there's plenty to do and see within just a few minutes walk of the trees!

    If you want to see the park's namesake Meiji Jingu Shrine, just head west. You can wander your way through the shrine's pebble-paved wooded paths for a bit, before exploring one of the nextdoor neighborhoods. Haraujuku, Yoyogi, and Omotesando are all right there. Shibuya, and its famous mall Shibuya 109, aren't even a difficult walk from that point.

    You can also choose to head south-east instead, passing through the elegantly sculpted Tokyo Midtown Garden and stopping in at 21 21 DESIGN SIGHT Gallery on your way to eating some giant udon in Roppongi.

    When fall comes, embracing the koyo season is important, but Tokyo is full of things to do and see year-round - let us know about your experiences in Japan and share your pictures on twitter, instagram, and facebook!
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