If you hear "Minato-ku", do you all think of a city with glittering nights? That is correct! But actually, with its rows of ginkgo trees in the outer gardens of Meiji Shrine, the Shiba Park where you can enjoy the autumn colors while comfortably sitting on a bench and looking up at Tokyo Tower, and the Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park that invites for strolls through nature while viewing the leaves that are starting to turn red, it is also a beautiful city in harmony with nature. After seeing the autumn leaves, you can of course also go for sightseeing in the vicinity or some shopping, and illumination of the autumn leaves will offer you even more ways to enjoy yourself. It is definitely worth coming to Minato-ku during this season to enjoy the autumn colors in the city!
Rows of ginkgo trees in the outer gardens of Meiji Shrine – The road lined by 146 ginkgo trees forms a tunnel and carpet of gold! Enjoying the color palette of autumn in Minato-ku's Aoyama area
The rows of ginkgo trees in the outer gardens of Meiji Shrine are a famous autumn leaves viewing spot even in the Tokyo area. The view of the 146 ginkgo trees that line Aoyama Street in four rows is a model scenery of Minato-ku.
The must-see spot among the rows of ginkgo trees in the outer gardens of Meiji Shrine is without doubt the golden tunnel. Its length is an astounding 300 m!
The brightly yellow-colored ginkgo trees lining the road are so impressive that people seeing the view for the first time find themselves crying out in wonder. During the season, many people come to see the tree-lined road and the area is bustling with visitors.
Actually, the ginkgo trees along Aoyama Street grow rather tall, and the trees around the Picture Gallery at the end of Aoyama Street are pruned to be smaller. It is designed in a way that when viewed from Aoyama Street, together with the exterior of the Picture Gallery the scenery as a whole looks like one beautiful picture!
Underneath the trees along Aoyama Street are benches and we recommend sitting down and relaxing while admiring the colorful leaves.
The best viewing time in an average year is from mid-November to early December. Some say that the yellow carpet of fallen leaves is more beautiful here than anywhere else. Walking on this golden carpet gets not only children excited but grown-ups as well!
When the colors change even further, they turn a deep golden hue close to orange. This might be the best part of the spectacle, and it is not strange that some people visit many times during this season.
During this time, the famous Aoyama Street, which is also often used as location for TV dramas or movies, turns into a pedestrian paradise. It becomes a main road for everyone from families to couples on a date to enjoy.
The contrast of the bright yellow of the ginkgo trees against the backdrop of a clear blue sky makes for an ideal picture spot for photography enthusiasts.
Furthermore, the "Ginkgo Festival", which is being held during the autumn leaves season since 1997, is a big event where a multitude of gourmet shops line up for you to enjoy while viewing the autumn colors.
It has become established as a staple event of the autumn season in the city center and is featured as seasonal topic in a number of media outlets. The number of visitors to the whole area in recent years has been as high as about 1,800,000 throughout the entire business year. Every year sees the area bustling with activity.
Every year, a variety of food stands are present, from stores with an assortment of beers to B class gourmet shops. Wondering which kind of stores will come together this year is always exciting.
In the evening, a light-up will be held. The autumn leaves that are illuminated are also a sight to see!
And in the evening, an illumination is planned. The autumn leaves illuminated from below are again a spectacle to see!
Learn more about the rows of ginkgo trees in the outer gardens of Meiji Shrine
Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum – Autumn leaves at the Art Deco style residence and garden of Minato-ku's important cultural property
The Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, located in the Art Deco style building and former residence of Prince Asaka. Because the Art Deco style of the main building (former residence of Prince Asaka) is so impressive and beautiful, the building was designated as a national important cultural property.
This truly abundant park is located in the middle of the city and continued on since it was created as garden in the time the residence was used as imperial residence. The prosperous lawn and green encircling the residence give a feeling of being in a foreign country!
In sharp contrast to the residence, the Japanese garden and the tea house, which has received the same designation as important cultural property as the main building, are overflowing with a typical Japanese atmosphere. In the colorful autumn season the garden becomes all the more beautiful and is actually a little-known popular spot even among foreign tourists.
The best viewing time in an average year is from late November to early December. There are many maple and ginkgo trees in the garden, which will turn yellow and red in autumn all at once. And the must-see at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum is definitely the illumination at night!
When night has fallen, the former residence of Prince Asaka is illuminated and the colorful leaves in the Japanese garden are reflected in the surface of the pond, offering fantastic sights and a feast for the eyes.
The scenery of the residence and tea house in the Japanese garden and the illuminated red autumn leaves is vibrant with colors. You can enjoy a special evening here.
Various exhibitions are also held in the main building and new annex of the museum about four times a year. At the moment, the "Images of Asia: The East as Longed-for Other in Japanese Art" is on display.
Visiting the exhibition and viewing the autumn leaves at the same time is one way to enjoy oneself. How about spending a day in full autumn mode with art and colorful autumn leaves?
Opening times: 10 AM to 6 PM (however, on November 22nd, 23rd, 29th, 30th, and December 6th and 7th, 2019, open until 8 PM) ※ Entry possible until 30 minutes before closing time ※ Illumination will start after nightfall
Best viewing time in an average year: Late November to early December
Learn more about Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park – A peaceful park in Minato-ku that in the past was used by members of the imperial bloodline. Refresh in the midst of streams and autumn leaves surrounded by nature.
Making good use of the terrain of the Azabu plateau, Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park is distinguished even among the Japanese gardens in Japan and is famous for the beauty of its autumn leaves.
There is a large lake in the middle of the spacious garden, and the red autumn coloration scenery enclosing the lake presents a splendid view.
Maple and ginkgo trees are steeped in vivid colors and conceal the surroundings of bridges and the lake. The park is perfectly designed as a large garden best enjoyed by walking around it to present itself beautifully from any viewpoint at around the year, of course also in the autumn color season.
Due to its plateau terrain, the Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park has small hills as well as valleys and lakes and is a Japanese garden that places great importance on nature.
The scenery around the bridges reaching over waterfalls and streams is especially beautiful, and as the landscape is rich in ups and downs, even a stroll to see some autumn colors can come to feel a bit like trekking! The trees in the garden grow so dense and thick, that together with the streams and brooklets they make you forget that you are still in the city.
A statue of the imperial Prince Arisugawa Taruhito, who is strongly connected with this park, is also set up against the backdrop of the red autumn leaves, and in this season especially many visitors come to take photographs.
You will also find many stylish but less-known spots in the surrounding Azabu and Hiroo areas! Especially in Minato-ku, the entire city has a quiet atmosphere reminding of foreign countries, so it is perfect for spending an relaxed and unhurried afternoon. If you are coming here for the first time, how about taking this chance to visit the area?
From October 28th to November 30th, there is also a stamp rally through public parks. Don't forget to enjoy this, too!
Best viewing time in an average year: Late November to early December
Shiba Park – surrounded by many sightseeing spots! A collaboration between autumn experienced in the city and Tokyo tower
Shiba Park is located in Minato-ku, right at the base of Tokyo Tower. It is actually a park with a long history that goes back to the Meiji period, when Shiba Park along with other famous parks in the city such as in Ueno, Asakusa, Fukagawa, and Asukayama was among the first areas in Japan to be designated as a park.
The recommended autumn leaves viewing point in Shiba Park is the scenery from the Area 4 Promenade! Tall ginkgo and yellow poplar trees line both sides of the promenade and present their colorful autumn foliage as if to decorate Tokyo Tower. This stunning beautiful landscape is a highly popular spot for photos in autumn.
You get excited just by walking along the road lined by colorful trees. The best viewing time in an average year is from late November to mid-December.
On top of that there is Shiba Park Area 19 (maple valley area), which makes use of a terrain where a natural waterfall used to flow in the past and has the beauty of a river valley retaining the atmosphere of a deep mountain valley.
As this area in currently under repairs until about March 2020 to restore the scenery, create an even more fascinating space, and to provide safety maintenance, please come and visit after the repair work is complete. ※ same applies to the "Snake hill" inside Area 19
In the spacious park, there are many benches and playgrounds for children from where the Tokyo Tower can be glimpsed, and the park is recommended for families and outings with friends. On days with good weather and a clear autumn sky, you are sure to have a fantastic time!
You can also find delicious gourmet spots and famous sightseeing spots in Minato-ku like the Tokyo Tower, Zojoji Temple, or Roppongi Hills in the vicinity, so how about spending a relaxed autumn day here?
Best viewing time in an average year: Late November to mid-December
Of course the colorful autumn leaves in the suburbs are also lovely, but in Minato-ku, you have so many spots to enjoy the autumn leaves right in the city. Seeing how the autumn colors fit right in with the nature and view of the city is fascinating no matter how many times you go. So, how about also going to see one of the many events close by and do some shopping and fully enjoy a sunny autumn day on an outing? Without doubt you will have a wonderful day!