Tokyo in Yellow

We’re well into winter now, here in Tokyo. As if on queue, as soon as the calendar changed to December, the cold arrived. The only time I ‘love’ winter is either when I’m sipping hot chocolate with friends inside a warm cafe or when I’m on a snowboard at a ski resort. So these frosty mornings have definitely been making it hard to get out of bed!

But, late November and early December is actually peak time for the autumn leaves in Tokyo. We are one of the last places in the country to see the colours change, and it seems to happen so quickly. It’s almost like the cherry blossoms in spring – we have only 2 or 3 weeks to soak them up before they’re gone for another year.

Perhaps it’s because ichō (ginkgo) trees are more sturdy or easier to maintain than momiji (maple) trees, but I always notice a lot more yellow leaves all over Tokyo. Even in my local neighbourhood there are plenty of ginkgo trees around. For a while, it really felt like Tokyo had turned yellow! I love it. It’s such a happy and attractive colour!

One of the most famous autumn spots is Meiji-jingu Gaien’s ginkgo avenue. This park was built way back in 1923 and sees millions of visitors every November. The towering yellow trees have almost a comical shape to them. They look like either thin Christmas trees, or pointy witches hats! What do you think?

Another ginkgo spot is the more modest and relaxed avenue at Showa Memorial Park. It’s the newer park of the two, having been built in 1983. I visited the same spot last autumn, so I have plenty of photos here you can take a peak at. According to the number of entry tickets bought this year, they apparently had over 3,800,000 visitors. A little bit insane, but the crowds don’t take away from the trees thankfully. I love when the light shines through the leaves, creating a heavenly sort of feel. The warm shades of yellow are soothing and you just want to stroll through the avenue as slowly as possible to savour the experience!

Most of the autumn leaves are finished in Tokyo now. From here on in, the spotlight changes to Christmas illuminations! If you’re in town, definitely check out Naka-Meguro’s ‘Blue Cave’, Yomiuri Land, Tokyo Dome, Tokyo Midtown and Solar-town at Tokyo SkyTree!



10 thoughts on “Tokyo in Yellow

  1. 天を見ると、青い空を背景(はいけい)に 高くのびる黄色と緑のかえでの木。
    そして 地を見ると、太陽の光が もようを作る黄色と茶色の落ち葉の道。
    これは 天と地の間に 描(えが)かれた とても幻想的な絵のようですね。


    1. コメントありがとう(^0^)私もその写真大好きです。明治神宮外苑の並木と同じように幻想的なトンネルを見下ろしそうですよね。


  2. Witches hats for mine Celia. With a bit of imagination those avenues could become a Quidditch stadium a la Harry Potter haha. It’s amazing to think that more than 3.8 million visitors would go to a single park – that’s almost Melbourne’s population. However, it’s great how the Japanese celebrate the seasons and sub-seasons. Enjoy your hot chocolate :).


    1. Haha, I can see that. I can’t say I know a lot about Harry Potter, but there was one tree that was bent at the tip and looked just like one of the Professor’s hat, maybe the one played by Maggie Smith.

      And yeah, 3.8 million is a lot! But then again, there are 35 million in the Greater Tokyo area not including all the tourists, so when you put it in perspective, it doesn’t seem so much I guess!


      1. Hi Celia,
        That would be Professor McGonagall. Your statistics got me thinking and I’ve just checked the annual visits for the Melbourne Botanic Gardens and with 1.8 million visits from a population of about 4.3 million, we’re not doing too bad. Cheers ..


    1. Thank you! Yes arguably just as beautiful as spring, although it’s a different mood as people start to prepare for winter.

      Great blog you have there, too. Lots of great info!


  3. so wonderful – and I am glad to know about the ichō trees – I had no idea that Ginko trees turned yellow like this. when I lived in CO – the Aspens there turn colors and glisten and people drive all around too view “the aspens” – anyhow, I think they look like xmas trees :)


    1. I just googled Aspens – they are beautiful as well with their white trunks! Very cool.
      Haha, thank you, yes! My first reaction was Christmas trees too, but not many people agreed with me!


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