The Best Autumn Activities in and around Tokyo

the best autumn activities Seasonal Events

Japan has four clearly distinguished seasons, winter, spring, summer, and autumn, and people love to celebrate each one with various traditional events. Autumn, in particular, is a busy season with many festivities. The weather is often most comfortable for outdoor events, especially compared to the often severe cold of winter, or the hot and humid summer days. They say “autumn for appetite”, “autumn for art”, “autumn for reading”, and “autumn for sport and leisure.” It seems like almost everything is good in autumn. What would you like to try this year? Below is a number of the best spots in each category.

Autumn for Appetite 

Rice and fruits are readily available in this season. Many colorful seasonal vegetables fill supermarkets and sell at cheaper prices. There is also a wide variety of fresh fish direct from the sea in Japan. In autumn, fresh foods of all kinds are coming in from the fields, farms, and sea. To enjoy the natural gifts of this season, you can try your hand at picking chestnuts and grapes.

Chestnut picking, Kanagawa

The tourist farm, Fujinoengei Land is operated by about 22 local farmers in the Nagura area in Sagamihara-city. The farm is located between Lake Sagami and the Akiyama River. Families love to come here for chestnut picking (600 yen per kilo). Their system allows you to experience the harvest at an actual farm with local farmers; this makes it a great opportunity to communicate with the locals. The farmers will provide you with thick groves and long tongs and show you how to snap open the prickly chestnuts. You can also experience other agricultural harvestings such as sweet potato digging and mushroom hunting. There is also a flower garden with various varieties and an amusement park where you can catch rainbow trout and cook up your own barbecue. 

Opening hours

9am – 4pm

Entrance: Free
Access: 20 min walk from Fujino Station by JR Chuo Line
Address: Nagura, Midori-ku, Sagamihara-city, Kanagawa   
Tel: 090-1888-1206 (Pre-booking required)

Grape picking, Ibaraki

At another tourist-oriented park in Ibaraki Prefecture, the Hisamatus farm, you can pick grapes, pears, persimmons, and chestnuts. You can purchase a pass to harvest all the different fruit. This pleasant and homey farm also opens their house for visitors. There is no time limit here, so you can taste each fruit and harvest as much as you can. The shop at the farm also sells products and souvenirs to take it home.

Opening hours

9am-4pm (Reception until 3pm)

Grape picking fee: ¥900 for adult, ¥600 for children (all you can eat system)
Address: 885 Shimosaya, Kasumigaura, Ibaraki 315-0067, Japan

Autumn for Sport

Sports are a big part of the autumn season too. There is a Health ad Sport Day in October (except 2020 and 2021), originating from the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. After the Games, the holiday was set in order to provide citizens a day to cultivate a healthy mind and body. 

Spo-cha at Round 1

Round 1 is a giant amusement sports center and there is Spo-cha where you can enjoy various sports and games at a flat fee. There is quite a variety here! Archery, roller skating/blading, billiards, darts, bowling, tennis, badminton, ping-pong, karaoke and more.
If you have small kids, they can enjoy the cushioned obstacle course, ball pool, and the inflated slides. Round 1 branches are located all around Japan, but the one in Odaiba’s Diver City is easily accessed and you can enjoy the shopping and sightseeing at the same time. 

Opening hours (Odaiba)

8am – 6am next day (Mon. – Thu.), 8am – all day (Fri. and the day before the national holiday), open for 24 hours (Saturday), ~ 6am next day (Sunday and the national holiday)

Admission: Unlimited time: ¥2,980, 3 hours: ¥2,380, 90 min: ¥1,980
Access: 8 min walk from Daiba Station (Yurikamome Line). DiverCity Tokyo Plaza 6F

Forest Adventure Yokohama

Forest Adventure Fuji

Forest Adventure is an outdoor park experience that originated in France. Here, you can move by yourself from tree to tree in the open air with safety gear and harness. Both adults and children will totally love this adventure. Forest Adventure sites are located in natural sites all around in Japan. Yokohama opened in September 2019 in the adjoining area of ​Yokohama Zoo Zoorasia in Yokohama City. There are 3 types of courses here. Adventure course (4th grade elementary school and >140 cm), canopy course (height >110 cm), kids course (height > 90 cm). 

Opening hours

9am – 5pm

Fee:
Adventure Course
– Standard-plan : 4 site/40 activities ¥3,800
– Excite-plan : Standard-plan + 5 activities ¥5,600
Canopy Course : 4site/24 activities ¥2,800 yen
Kids Course : 3 site/14 activities ¥1,500
Address: 1425-4, Kamishiranecho, Asahi-ku Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa

Autumn for Reading

As the days become shorter, and the night gets longer, reading is another exercise particularly popular in the autumn season. The ancient Chinese poet, Hang Yu (Kanyu, 768-824) in the Middle Tang Dynasty believed that the evening candlelight in autumn created a more comfortable time for reading.

Book and Bed Tokyo Shinjuku

The uniquely designed Book and Bed Tokyo Shinjuku is a reasonably priced accommodation with a bookshop theme. It is located in a convenient location at the center of Kabukicho, an 8-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station, and a 1-minute walk from the south exit of Seibu Shinjuku Station. The collection includes more than 2,500 books in English and Japanese, and the guest can choose their books while browsing along the very charming bookshelves. It is located on the 8th floor, so you can read books of your choice overlooking the view of vibrant Shinjuku.
The bathroom is shared and available 24 hours. They also accept daytime customers with a charge per hour (\700/1h + 1 order from the cafe).

R-za Dokushokan, Koenji

R-za Dokushokan is a beautifully furnished quiet cafe in Koenji. No conversation is allowed in this café, instead, it provides a peaceful time to read alone. You can find many books on the shelves in various genres; literature, non-fiction, photography books, art books, science, philosophy, psychology, travel, etc. Of course, you can bring your own books too. The menu ranges from coffee to exotic teas from many different countries. The soft music enhances the private time of reading!

Opening hours

1.30pm -10.30pm
Closed on Mondays
Address: Koenji Minami 3-57-6 (1st floor), Suginami-ku, 3 min walk from Koenji Minami exit

Autumn for Art

In Japan, autumn is also the best season to enjoy a variety of arts and entertainment. The major art galleries organize a highlighted exhibition and special events this season, and there are many music concerts as well. It is said that the origin of this tradition came from an article in the popular magazine Shincho. In its 1918 edition, the main topic was art and they used the term “autumn for art” for the first time. Below are some great places where you can enjoy art in Tokyo this autumn. 

The National Art Centner, Tokyo (NACT), Roppongi

This futuristic modern museum holds the largest exhibition space in Japan. The facility does not have a permanent collection of its own, instead, there are different exhibition halls with separate special events running simultaneously. The building is entrance free, but each exhibition charges a different price. Although the price can be a little high (usually around 1500 yen), the special exhibitions are really worth it.  The National Art Centner

Opening hours

10am – 6pm

Access: Directly connected to exit 6 of Nogizaka Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line.
Address: 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-8558

National Museum of Western Art, Ueno

The National Museum of Western Art is located in the very gorgeous Ueno Park and is the only national museum focused solely on Western art. It exhibits permanent collections throughout the year, including Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso. The museum building was designed by French architect Le Corbusier and is now designated UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Transboundary Site.

Opening hours

9.30am – 5.30pm (- 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays) 
Closed: Mondays & new year’s holidays

Access: Ueno park is a one-minute walk from JR Ueno station; the best exit is Ueno Koen exit.
Admission: ¥500 yen

Nezu Museum in Omotesando 

The Nezu Museum has a collection of more than 7,400 works of Japanese and East Asian antiquities. It is located next to busy and fashionable Aoyama street. This museum also presents an excellent fusion of modern architecture and Japanese garden design. The exhibition changes every 4 to 6 weeks. After enjoying the art, walk in the beautiful Japanese garden. As you go down the small stone path, you’ll come to a charming tea ceremony room with lovely lanterns.

Opening hours

10am – 5pm  
Closed: Mondays & new year’s holidays

Admission: ¥1,300 yen

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We hope you have a wonderful time this autumn, no matter what site you visit or adventure you try out!  Please note that the dates and opening hours of exhibitions may change due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. Please see the official website for the latest details.

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Happy travelling!

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