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  • Writer's pictureNacho

A Photographer's Journey through Tokyo's Best Foliage Spots: Photography in Tokyo During Autumn

As a photographer, I've had the privilege of capturing the world through my lens, and Tokyo in particular has offered an array of stunning landscapes that are nothing short of visual poetry.

Photography in Tokyo During Autumn

The autumn season, or koyo, is a time when the city of Tokyo transforms into a vibrant canvas of fiery reds, brilliant oranges, and golden yellows. Engaging in photography in Tokyo during autumn is a visual delight. This article aims to guide you through Tokyo's best spots for experiencing this spectacle. With a special focus on ideal locations for portrait photography amidst the autumn leaves, we'll navigate the city's most picturesque settings during this colorful season.

1. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Located in the heart of Tokyo, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is an oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling city. It features three distinct styles: French Formal, English Landscape, and Japanese Traditional. Each offers unique backdrops for portrait photography. The Japanese Garden, with its large pond reflecting the fiery maples, provides a serene and traditional setting. The Ginkgo Avenue inside the garden is another spectacle in late November when the leaves turn into a brilliant yellow.

2. Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park, one of Tokyo's largest city parks, is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. Its vast grounds are filled with ginkgo and maple trees that create a perfect setting for autumn portraits. The park's wide-open spaces allow for creative compositions, and the contrast between the urban surroundings and natural beauty adds a unique layer to your photographs.

3. Rikugien Garden

Rikugien Garden is often considered one of Tokyo's most beautiful landscape gardens, especially during koyo. The large central pond surrounded by trees offers mirror-like reflections of the vibrant foliage. The garden is illuminated in the evenings during the peak season, adding an ethereal quality to your photos.

4. Meiji Jingu Gaien

The iconic Ginkgo Avenue at Meiji Jingu Gaien is a must-visit spot for autumn photography. The golden canopy created by 146 ginkgo trees is a sight to behold. During peak season, the avenue becomes a tunnel of gold, providing an exceptional backdrop for portrait photography.

5. Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

One of Tokyo's oldest and best-preserved gardens, Koishikawa Korakuen is a blend of Chinese and Japanese aesthetics. The Full Moon Bridge over the pond offers stunning views of the surrounding trees. The garden's stone pathways, bridges, and water features add depth and texture to your portraits.

6. Showa Memorial Park

Outside central Tokyo but worth the trip, Showa Memorial Park offers diverse landscapes for autumn photography. The park features vast lawns, numerous ponds, a Japanese-style garden, and even a ginkgo-lined canal. The variety in landscapes allows photographers to experiment with different styles and compositions.

7. Inokashira Park

Inokashira Park in Kichijoji is beloved by locals for its relaxed atmosphere. The park surrounds a large pond where visitors can rent rowboats, providing an opportunity for unique water-level shots. The park also has a small shrine and zoo, adding variety to your photography options.

8. Mount Takao

If you're willing to venture a bit further, Mount Takao offers an immersive koyo experience. The mountain paths are lined with a variety of trees, offering a spectrum of autumn colors. The higher altitude provides panoramic views of the vibrant foliage against the backdrop of Tokyo city. The Yakuo-in Temple along the trail adds a cultural element to your photographs.

9. Ueno Park

Ueno Park, a cherished gem of Tokyo, is not only popular for cherry blossom viewing in spring but also transforms into a canvas of vivid colors during autumn. The park, home to numerous museums and a zoo, becomes a spectacle of beauty as the leaves change into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.

One of the most captivating sights is the contrast these fiery leaves create against the lotus-covered Shinobazu Pond. But the real magic happens when you venture beneath the trees. The autumn leaves serve as a perfect backdrop for portrait photography.

Imagine capturing a portrait under these trees with a 135 mm lens. The lens beautifully compresses the background, making the colorful leaves appear like a stunning, impressionistic painting. The natural light filtering through the foliage gives the subject a warm, ethereal glow, creating portraits that are both intimate and breathtaking.

Indeed, Ueno Park in autumn is more than just a sight to behold; it's a paradise for photographers and their perfect muse.

10. Hibiya Park

Located near the Imperial Palace, Hibiya Park is often overlooked but offers beautiful autumn views. Its Western-style flower gardens and large central fountain provide unique settings for portrait photography.

Each of these locations offers its unique charm and beauty, providing endless opportunities for photographers to capture the magic of autumn in Tokyo. Remember, the best time to visit for koyo is typically from mid-November to early December, but the timing can vary each year. Be sure to check local forecasts and reports for the most accurate information. Happy shooting!


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