The best time to admire the bright yellow pop of autumnal ginkgo leaves is between the end of November to mid-December. In Tokyo, as the ginkgo turns yellow, it means that there is only one more month left in the year. Compared to maple leaves, the time to enjoy ginkgo is a lot shorter.
In this feature, we introduce the top three spots to enjoy ginkgo in Tokyo that are easily accessible from anywhere in the city.
Meiji Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue
The most popular spot in Tokyo is the Itcho Namiki avenue at the Meiji Jingu Gaien Park (明治神宮外苑公園). Every year, traffic police are at this spot to maintain order in the area suggesting how many people end up visiting the spot.
It is very convenient to walk here either from Gaienmae or Aoyama-Itchome Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza line.
We visited when the color was almost at its peak so it will still be beautiful till the first week of December.
The University of Tokyo
The University of Tokyo, one of the best places to get a higher education in Japan, turns bright golden every December. This is the reason why the symbol of the University has gingko leaves.
The easiest way to get to the Hongo Campus is from Todaimae station. Head to the “Sei-mon” or the main gate. Many people mistake the main gate to be the “Aka-mon” (red gate). The main gate is just a few steps away from the red one.
You will see nothing interesting on entering through this gate in other seasons but in autumn, you will be welcomed by a canopy of gold.
At the end of the path is Yasuda Auditorium, an iconic structure associated with the University of Tokyo. It has been under restoration for a while, and this year it can finally be photographed with the beautiful ginkgo in the foreground.
In addition to this ginkgo avenue, there are also many ginkgo trees dotted around the campus so you will stumble upon the beauty of the bright golden color and the university’s ancient buildings.
Showa Memorial Park
Our last pick is the Showa Memorial Park (昭和記念公園, Showa Kinen Koen) in Tachikawa, Tokyo. It’s a bit far from central Tokyo, but since it is very well connected by train, you can easily visit this park.
The ginkgo avenue spans over a large area. The park itself is huge and you can enjoy seasonal flowering plants throughout the year. There are also various activities and events conducted here making it a popular spot among families. With beautiful scenes to look at, you can definitely enjoy a picnic with friends or family and just relax.
Compared with the scenic spots in central Tokyo, the USP of this spot is its unparalleled sense of openness. You can easily reach the Ginkgo avenue from the Tachikawa entrance (立川口), Memorial Hall entrance (記念館口), Takamatsu entrance (高松口) and Akebono entrance (あけぼの口).
The spaciousness is liberating as you can truly enjoy the beauty of this spectacle without feeling crowded.
There are also other areas in the park where you can see autumnal flowers blooming around the same time.
If you plan on visiting Tokyo in autumn, you can’t miss out on the glory of ginkgo.
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