Diary of a Flipper - Rallying Tokyo's autumn leaves
In autumn, from late October to November, the leaves of trees in Japan gradually turn red and yellow, as if a special light illuminates the whole nation. During the season, you can enjoy a gradual turn in the leaves. One of the most famous locations in the Kanto region for autumn leaves is Nikko, located far north of Tokyo. Yet, do you believe you can enjoy it even in Tokyo without going all the way to Nikko?
On a December Indian summer day, I took my buddy iruka to find good places to enjoy autumn leaves in Tokyo.
Our first stop was Kitanomaru Park. This park used to be a part of Edo Castle and was called Kitanomaru (Kita means ‘north’ in Japanese). After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the Kitanomaru was opened as a public park.
Despite the vicinity of the busy Tokyo Station, the park was in complete tranquility. An elderly couple pulled out picnic sheets and were quietly admiring the autumn scenery. Even when a chilly gust of wind blew, they huddled together.
There was a zone of maple trees. It was as quiet as no one knew, and I didn’t want anyone to know. There was sunlight through the maple trees, which was magnificently scarlet as if covered with red holofilm.
Of course, it went without saying the yellowed leaves of ginkgo trees were also attractive. I put my iruka on a ginkgo tree and captured magnificent red-and-yellow shows.
Passing through Kitanomaru Park, we went to Yasukuni Shrine. I pushed iruka forward as if I was walking my dog and was about to take a commemorative photo as I heard the sounds of phone shutters from behind. Looking around, I saw many people doing the same thing with their friends against the shrine gate with a backdrop of rows of ginkgo trees.
We arrived at Hibiya Park, which must be a photo spot. Many photographers held up a large lens. We took turns capturing the contrast between the scarlet maples and the sunlight.
I continued my journey with iruka further south. Our next destination was Zojoji Temple and Shiba Park. This time, what stood out was not the red of the maples but the red of Tokyo Tower. The tower's color shining against the blue sky symbolizes Tokyo. Many tourists tried to capture the symbol of Tokyo over autumn leaves.
After a short break, I looked to the side of Shiba Park and saw tall ginkgo trees planted as if piercing the sky. The sun was shining brightly through the trees. Young couples pushing strollers and taking walks were all pointing their smartphones at the trees. I parked my iruka on the sidewalk and joined them.
Hopping from one park to another in Tokyo for autumn leaves viewing made us find a lot of nature still left in Tokyo. Tokyo is not only surrounded by modern skyscrapers but also surrounded by colorful natural views.
Above all, many people enjoy Sundays with that nature. There was an elderly couple relaxing in Kitanomaru Park, people taking commemorative photos at Yasukuni Shrine, photographers holding up the lens in Hibiya Park, and parkgoers looking up at the ginkgo trees.
The people in the Edo era must have gazed at the same scenery in autumn. Nature connects the modern era to the historical period, which I realized on the journey with iruka.
Kay, a Flipper