Some Tokyo locals say, “Shinjuku Gyoen Garden is the best for autumn leaves, after all.”
I’ve written many travel guides about amazing Japanese gardens to view autumn leaves in Tokyo. And I think it’s time to talk about Shinjuku Gyoen Garden. I went there on 1 December, when autumn leaves reached the peak, and shot the beautiful moments. As usual, I upload many photos and write a practical guide to visit there. Hope you enjoy Japanese autumn!
(This article will be updated later. I put priority on publishing this article for people traveling in Tokyo now.)
Autumn Leaves Photo Album
First of all, you want to see the autumn views in Shinjuku Gyoen Garnde, don’t you? And I want you to enjoy autumn visually first, too.
Red Maple Leaves
Red maple leaves are the best natural beauty in Japan as well as cherry blossoms in spring. Everyone loves them!
You enter the garden from Shinjuku Entrance Gate, you’ll get excited soon to find some maple trees!
When you get happy enough, I advise you to go to the Japanese Garden area in the park. More maple trees are waiting for you.
Here is a photo tip. Taking photos from the back is best for maple leaves when it’s sunny. The sunshine through the leaves will make them shine! Even if you are not sure, just try it. You’ll be so happy later.
Yellow is as important as red in autumn. The leaves are really shining!
If you are a photographer, remember this; the brighter, the better for yellow leaves. Don’t be afraid of too bright. +1.0 is fine for them.
There are some huge maidenhair trees in Shinjuku Gyoen Garden. Some are near the hothouse and the round flower bed. The others are near the rest house. You can check them out on the multi-language map that is available at the entrance for free.
Under the huge maidenhair tree, the ground is beautiful, too. I saw some children rolling on fallen yellow leaves!
I suppose you want to see how the garden itself is like. Shinjuku Gyoen Garden is so large that it’s rather a park, so the views are different from Japanese gardens such as Koishikawa Korakuen Garden.
First, this is Shinjuku Entrance Gate.
You may wonder what the cool tower is. The answer is here – it’s a building of NTT Docomo, one of the Japanese leading cellphone company. It is located near the garden by chance, but it became popular among locals (especially photographers) because of the unique triangle look. Now it is part of the iconic view of Shinjuku Gyoen Garden. I love it, too. When I see the tower, I feel I’m in Shinjuku Gyoen.
Can you tell what these trees are?
Actually, they are cherry trees. Yes, cherry blossoms were flourishing here in spring!
Few people know that cherry trees have autumn leaves. If your friends don’t, either, tell them the new aspect of Japanese sakura and they will admire you!
You were right to come to Tokyo Direct Guide – you can learn this tip that I really want you to know.
If you travel in Japan in autumn and find these blossoms, NEVER pass by them. Make sure to stop and view them.
They are jugatsu zakura(sakura) that means, “October cherry blossoms”. Yes, they are CHERRY BLOSSOMS! Did you know there was an autumn kind of cherry blossoms?
Cherry blossoms in spring and red maple leaves in autumn have been loved as the top 2 of Japanese natural beauty since ancient times. But how about them? If you find the autumn kind of cherry blossoms, you can enjoy the top 2 at the same time! That’s why I wish you never ignore them.
Although it is named October, you have chances to find them throughout autumn, especially in a large garden with many trees. The tree is not so big and tall. I don’t think you’ll take other kinds of blossoms for jugatsu zakura because there aren’t blossoms with similar looks in autumn.
Why You Should Remember Shinjuku Gyoen Garden
If you have some flowers, blossoms, leaves and any other natural beauty in your mind that you are excited to see, remember this simple fact; Shinjuku Gyoen is the largest garden in Tokyo City. Therefore, you have the biggest chance to enjoy beautiful things in nature.
You plan a trip very carefully to meet the best timing to view cherry blossoms in spring and red & yellow leaves in autumn, don’t you? However, no one can predict precisely when the peak comes. For example, it shocked so many travelers that cherry blossoms reached the peak 1 week before March ends – it was too early! It was too tragic as far as I know, but what I want to say is that this kind of tragedy can happen because these beautiful things belong to nature.
You are too early or too late? Or you are new in Tokyo and not sure where to go?
In that case, go to Shinjuku Gyoen Garden, and you’ll never regret. Some flowers are flourishing throughout the year. In autumn, some leaves are turning red, even if not all.
Remember. If you are not sure, go to Shinjuku Gyoen Garden.
Travel Guide of Shinjuku Gyoen Garden
How to get to Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens
Get off any train at JR Shinjuku Station and go out from South East Exit or Shin-Minami (New South) Exit. It’s around 8 minutes walk.
Shinjuku 3-Chome Subway Station of Oedo Line, Fukutoshin Line and Shinjuku Line and Shinjuku Gyoen Mae Subway Station of Marunouch Line are nearer to the garden than JR Station.
Shinjuku Gyoen Park has 3 entrances. If you are near Sendagaya Station, it’s just 5 minutes walk to Sendagaya Gate.
Visitor Information on Shinjuku Gyoen
Opening Hours: 9:00 – 16:00
Hothouse: 9:30 – 15:30
Closed on Monday and 29 December – 3 January. Open every day on 25 March – 24 April for cherry blossoms & 1 November – 15 November for autumn leaves.
200 yen for adult, 50 yen for elementary and junior high school student
Accommodation in Shinjuku
I strongly advise you to read my article; 6 Things to Learn BEFORE You Book a Hotel in Shinjuku: Pros & Cons by a Tokyo Local!