I’ve been to Tokyo in November for … 3 times now, and the 4th will take place this year, lol. Yes, I know! Other than the cherry blossom season, autumn is definitely my favorite time to go Tokyo (and Kyoto if I can afford it). Actually, sakura & autumn are the only two seasons I’ve ever been to Japan.
Let’s just quickly dive into the top reasons why you should visit Tokyo in November!
Why November is the Best Time to Visit Tokyo
1. It’s autumn, and no country does autumn foliage like Japan.
Autumn in Japan means more than nature’s explosions of blooming leaves. In fact, they have a name for it – “Momijigari“, which means: “going to see the autumn leaves“, so lovely! Autumn in Japan is totally an art: zen gardens for your admiring, spending time in nature with yourself or loved ones, and the perfect time for quiet contemplation as the year comes close to an end soon.
For Tokyo, in the city, there’re many parks and gardens to see autumn leaves. If you prefer day trips, consider taking one to Kamakura, a beautiful coastal town that will bring you lots of autumn surprises, or even Mt Takao, an easy hike for all ages.
2. It’s cheaper and easier to plan for, as compared to cherry blossom season.
Flight tickets to Japan and hotel prices definitely shoot up for the cherry blossom months. Also, compared to sakura season, I personally feel that planning to catch the correct timing for autumn leaves is easier than trying to catch cherry blossom’s full-bloom time.
| Also view: Photo-journal of Ueno during sakura season |
3. November’s weather is PERFECT for hikes, nature walks, & being outdoors.
The temperature in Tokyo during November averages between 9 to 15°C. This makes it superb for being outdoors, when you can visit nature parks like Ueno. It does rain at times, so have an umbrella too. Btw, you’ll notice Japanese likes to use transparent umbrellas in rainy seasons. There’re different reasons for this phenomenon, but I prefer to think that these umbrellas won’t block everyone’s view when it gets crowded.
Hiking in Tokyo’s autumn weather is very, very pleasant. When I hiked Mt Takao, I had on layers and a winter jacket. I didn’t even have to remove my jacket all the way up to the mountain-top. Ps: It’s also because I’d already taken the cable-car halfway up the mountain.
View my mini guide:
Hiking the gorgeous Mt Takao!
Great for any other forms of queueing (such as restaurants or theme parks)
It’s definitely VERY pleasant to queue in cooling weather outdoors than in the summer heat.
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4. Autumn means you can dress up in layers for photos!
Look awesome in your travel photos by styling your outfits in layered clothing and shoes, something people like us in Singapore never got to do cos it’s always summer here. Don’t just think of it as taking photos for Instagram (not judging here) – these travel photos and memories will last a lifetime! You might even be whipping out these photos to show your grand-kids in future!
5. Soaking in a hot onsen will be a wonderful idea.
It would be a waste if you visit Japan without having a hot onsen. However, do note that it’s more challenging to find an onsen place in the city centre of Tokyo. I’ve only been to an onsen (Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu – not recommended) at the base of Mount Takao.
The alternative is to go to Hakone (about 1.5 hours by train) for an onsen experience, or head to Kawaguchiko at Yamanashi (2 hours by bus) to find a hotel with onsen facilities.
6. The cutest Japanese festival, Shichi Go San (7-5-3), happens in November!
On November 15 (or the weekends closest to that date), Japanese parents will bring their kids who turned 3, 5 or 7 years old to preferred Shinto shrines, for a day of prayers and gratitude. It’s cuteness overload, because the girls will be dressed in kid-sized traditional costumes and the boys – sometimes Western-style outfits. With elaborate hairstyles done and accessories all coordinated perfectly. You’ll see the families taking plenty of photos at the shrine.
If the dates are right for your trip, head to Meiji Shrine at Harajuku (or other Shinto shrines favoured by the locals) and be a part of this truly Japanese festival!
7. November gives you better chances to spot Mt Fuji.
This point is a bit of a stretch because you can’t exactly see Mount Fuji clearly in Tokyo (I saw a glimpse of the silhouette from far at Mount Takao), but well, you can travel to other prefectures from Tokyo to see Mount Fuji! 😉
Mount Fuji is a shy one, with limited visibility in a year. November to January are generally the recommended months where visibility is higher. A snow-capped Mount Fuji is also more beautiful than it without the snow. Again, you need to choose the right places & pray for good weather, such as head to Fuji Five Lakes region. Kawaguchiko is a great option!
What to do at Kawaguchiko
Related resource: How to see Mt Fuji at its best
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Are you planning to visit Tokyo in November?
Mini guides on Japan!
• Tokyo for the first time? Here’s where to go!
• Things to do at Kawaguchiko
• 15 reasons Tokyo is great for solo travel
• Where to Stay in Tokyo: Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku
• How to use Japan’s naked baths (onsen)
Inspiration from Japan
• Tokyo’s cutest festival: Shichi Go San!
• Day trip to Kamakura (Tokyo)
• Hiking Mt Takao (Tokyo) in autumn
• Checking in Kyoto: Yumotokan onsen ryokan hotel
• Seeing a geisha finally in Kyoto
Image credits: Mt Fuji’s photo is by skyseeker, image licensed under CC2.0. All other photos are taken by me.
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