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Let's Enjoy Tokyo's Autumn Leaves!

Erika, who works at a foreign financial institution in Tokyo, arrived in Japan in spring of this year. During a break in a meeting, she strikes up a conversation with Kiyotaka, a colleague of hers.

東京の紅葉を楽しもう!

Kiyotaka

Erika, this autumn will be your first in Japan.

Erika

Yes, autumns in Sweden are very short. Thus, there is something really refreshing for me about experiencing a passage of autumn like here in Tokyo. Recently, leaves on the trees have been changing their colors bit-by-bit. I've heard that Japanese people are very conscious of the autumn leaves, is that true?

Kiyotaka

Yes, there is a long-established culture that appreciates the red and golden hues of maple and gingko leaves that appear with the onset of autumn. "Hunting for autumn leaves" describes taking pleasure trips to see the autumn colors. There are numerous locations throughout Japan considered famous for their autumn leaves.

Erika

I would also like to travel in order to see the autumn leaves. However, I am still not in a position to take an extended break from work.

Kiyotaka

If that's the case, what about spots around Tokyo where you can enjoy the autumn leaves on single-day trips? You might think of Tokyo as being a metropolis; however, if you head to the west of the city, there are many locations that offer an abundance of nature. Two spots I often travel to for recreation are Mitake Keikoku Valley and Hatonosu Keikoku Valley. It is exhilarating to leisurely stroll surrounded by nature while viewing the autumn leaves. I would also recommend the beautiful Lake Okutama, where the calm surface waters reflect the autumn leaves like a mirror.

Erika

If such destinations are single-day trips, I could easily visit them on weekends.

Kiyotaka then goes on to introduce some autumn leave spots that can be enjoyed on the way home from work.

Kiyotaka

Actually, there are also locations in the vicinity of downtown offices where autumn leaves can be enjoyed.

Erika

Can you please tell me some that you would recommend?

Kiyotaka

Two such locations are Meiji Jingu Gaien and Shinjuku Gyoen. Others that might be good to visit when out-and-about, or when returning home after work, are Ueno Park, Hibiya Park, and Shiba Park. There are also locations such as Rikugien Gardens where they light up the trees at night, it's very romantic.

Erika

That's wonderful! Immediately after arriving in Japan in spring this year, I had the opportunity to see cherry blossoms lit up at night. I found it very moving. Lighting up the autumn leaves must also be a wonderful sight.

Kiyotaka

Yes, I believe you would like it. That's an idea! When the autumn leaves are at their best, why doesn't everybody from work go and see them together?

Erika

Yes, let's all go together! I can hardly wait.

■Official Tokyo Travel Guide GO TOKYO > Autumn Leaves and Flowers in Tokyo
http://www.gotokyo.org/en/tourists/attractions/fourseasons/koyo.html

■Famous Locations for Autumn Leaves in Tokyo
http://season.enjoytokyo.jp/kouyou/meisho/  (in Japanese only)