For most of the year Tokyo’s Gingko trees display their leaves as a fresh, summery green, but when autumn arrives the leaves transform into a stunning shade of golden, glowing yellow, which can be seen at its peak from late November to mid-December. It’s a sight that becomes even more superb when the leaves fall to the ground, creating magical golden carpets. Let’s take a look at 10 locations in the Tokyo area where this prime example of nature’s beauty can be appreciated.
Meiji Jingu Gaien Gingko Avenue
This is one of the most famous spots in Tokyo known for its Gingko trees, and is definitely a must-see for Tokyo’s visitors. Lined all the way to the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery are 146 Gingko trees, each roughly aged around 100 years old; trees which have been skillfully planted using perspective, which combined with periodic pruning, has created the picturesque beauty we see today.
At night, the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery is illuminated, enchanting people with its surreal ambiance.
Meiji Gaien Gingko Avenue stretching elegantly straight toward the Picture Gallery
Meiji Gaien Gingko Avenue
Illumination of the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery
A 3-minute walk from Harajuku station, there is a haven of nature where many people like to gather, to either enjoy a stroll in the park, sit quietly on the benches, have a picnic, or engage in outdoor activities such as playing Frisbee.
One of the best spots in Yoyogi park is near the fountain, where the spray of water can create rainbows with the right timing, which in combination with the beauty from the color changes of the autumn leaves, can bring about a magical sense of wonder and joy.
There is plenty of bench space available, so we suggest enjoying a leisurely read, whilst relaxing in the midst of the golden carpets of Gingko.
The Imperial Palace
“Gyoko Street（ Gyoko-dori ）” runs from Tokyo station all the way to the Imperial Palace, and is a beautiful 73 meter wide road, which was built after the Great Kanto Earthquake, and has been kept well-maintained since. Both sides of the street are lined with Gingko trees and offer gorgeous views during the season. Our recommended walking course would be one starting from Tokyo station, heading along the moat, and then coming out at Hibiya Park.
Gyoko Street Autumn Gingko trees and horses.
Gingko trees and Tokyo Station
The Gingko trees along Wadakura moat
Opened in 1903, Hibiya Park is another one of Tokyo’s large parks. It has a large restaurant called Hibiya Matsumotoro which has a beautiful open terrace, and in front of the terrace regally stands the Kubi-kake (head-staking) Gingko that was planted by Dr. Seiroku Honda (who designed Hibiya Park in 1901). The name Kubi-kake derives from the successful relocation of the tree which was thought to have been impossible at the time. Dr. Honda said, “I will have it transplanted even if my head is put on a stake.”
Kubi-kake Gingko in Hibiya park
This great tree is over 400 years old, and has thus become one of the best power spots in Tokyo. The S-shaped garden paths lined with Gingko trees and the golden leaf-lined Hibiya Street are also very popular sites to appreciate the beauty of the leaves.
Hibiya Park Hibiya Matsumotoro
Gingko lined Hibiya Street
Yasukuni Shrine is a spot well-known for its cherry blossom trees full bloom in spring. And in autumn, the golden Gingko trees during the foliage is an impressive sight to behold at the approach between the main torii gateway and the second gateway. During the peak of the autumn foliage, the fallen leaves create a golden carpet and the contrast between the clear blue sky and the golden leaves is an enchanting scenery.
Gingko trees in Yasukuni Shrine
Gingko trees in Yasukuni Shrine
Komazawa Olympic Park
Komazawa Olympic park was constructed in 1964 for the summer Tokyo Olympics. The Gingko avenue connecting from Komazawa Street to the trees near the West Gate Park Information Center is known as the “Golden Tunnel” where you can truly enjoy exploring the tunnel of trees and flowers that bloom differently depending on the season.
Autumn leaves at Komazawa Olympic Park
Autumn runs are the best Komazawa Olympic Park
Tree lined path in Komazawa Olympic Park
Gingko Avenue on Koshu Kaido
In Hachioji city, 763 Gingko trees were planted in 1929 to commemorate the building of the imperial tomb for Emperor Taisho. Starting from near the Koshu Kaido Oiwake Intersection and leading all the way to Takao station, these Gingko trees will give color to the gray road with golden leaves.
Alternatively, autumn is a lovely season to drive down this golden lane too.
Koshu Kaido Gingko Avenue
Hikarigaoka Park is a place where many families and people from the surrounding neighborhood play sports and enjoy the outdoors, and it’s also the location of a well-loved symbol of the park, a 200-meter-long Gingko lined road, where all the trees are over 130 years old.
Hikarigaoka Park Gingko leaves just starting to get their color
Hikarigaoka Park, rows of Gingko trees
Showa Memorial Park
Showa Memorial park prides itself in beautiful flowers that blossom each season.
In autumn, there are two areas where the Gingko trees can be seen. The first, located in close proximity to the fountain, is known as “The Gingko-lined Canal.” There are 100 trees on either side of the canal which display a rare geometrical beauty in their arrangement.
“The Gingko-lined Canal”
The second spot is the “Katarai Gingko Rows” where the Gingko trees continue for 300 meters in tunnel-like fashion. An experience of beauty reserved only for the season, is the golden carpet made from the fallen leaves which creates a heavenly “golden pathway”.
Katarai Gingko Rows
Tatsumi no Mori Ryokudo Park
Tatsumi no Mori Ryokudo Park has a lush with greenery including trees and flowers, and has become a place of relaxation for the local residents. In particular, the rows of cherry blossom trees in the park are known as one of the best in Koto City. However, the Gingko trees at this park is a hidden place known to those in the know, so visitors can relax and enjoy such wonderful fall colors. This place is famous for being used as a location for several TV dramas in Japan.
Tatsumi no Mori Ryokudo Park