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7 Reasons Why November is the Best Time to Visit Tokyo

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 foliage at Hokokuji | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite WanderessAutumn 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 a day trip to Kamakura, a beautiful coastal town that will bring you lots of autumn surprises, or even Mt Takao, an easy hike for all ages.

More articles on Tokyo!
Tokyo Day Trip Ideas to Make the Best of Autumn!
Guide to the coastal town of Kamakura (Tokyo) in Autumn
Hiking Mt Takao (Tokyo)


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 to be outdoors, when you can visit nature parks like Ueno. It does rain at times, so have an umbrella too. By the way, you’ll notice the 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 autumn

Hiking in Tokyo’s autumn weather is very, very pleasant. When I hiked Mt Takao, I had on layers of winter 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. 

It’s 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 tried 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 from Shinjuku) to find a hotel with onsen facilities.

Read:
• Guide to Using Onsen in Japan!
Review of Fuji View Hotel – onsen ryokan hotel at Kawaguchiko

| Check out the best hotel prices in Tokyo via Agoda or Booking platforms! |


6. The cutest Japanese festival, Shichi Go San (7-5-3), happens in November!

Why You Should Choose November to Visit Tokyo! • The Petite Wanderess

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!

| Read: Where to go in Tokyo for your first time! |


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 when I was at the summit of Mount Takao), but well, you can travel to other prefectures from Tokyo to see Mount Fuji! 😉

Mt. 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!


Ready to book your trip? Check out Tokyo hotel rates on Booking.com!



Booking.com

Are you planning to visit Tokyo in November?

Mini guides on Japan!
Best Day Trip Ideas from Tokyo in Autumn!
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

.. and more about Tokyo and 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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Best Time to Visit Tokyo: November • The Petite Wanderess

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39 comments

  1. All your beautiful posts of Japan in autumn have really made it my next fall destination…if I get to travel that is 😛 Thanks for sharing so much about Japan!

  2. Wonderful post. I can totally relate to that. I was in Japan late September, which was beautiful, but fall foliage has not turned into its full glory when I was there. Next time: November 🙂

  3. Ahhhh that fall foliage looks epic! I wanted to go to Japan this month and this post makes me wish I was! I’ve only been to Tokyo (and Japan in general) in the summer, and I am dying to go in the autumn! Hoping to go in November next year. Gorgeous photos!

    1. Thanks Caroline! I haven’t experienced Japan in summer before, curious how it will be like! Anyway, hope your wish for next November will come true!

  4. Tokyo truly looks like a dream world in November with all those amazing autumn colours. I would would love to visit Tokyo and get a glimpse of Mt Fuji!

  5. I have a friend who’s currently in Japan – I’m now SO jealous, even more than I already was!! Japan is a definite in my travel list, and this just confirms it. Thank you for sharing this; I now know what time of year I’m going to travel! 🙂

    1. Oh man how nice! I would love to stay for an extended period of time in this amazing country too! For now, fret not, we’ll save our dreams and work on them

  6. I’ve been to Tokyo at the end of November and it was amazing indeed! Loved Kamakura and Mt Takao too 🙂 Spotting Mt Fuji was particularly cool!

  7. This entire post is pure magic! I need to get to Japan ASAP. I always dreamt of going during cherry blossom season but now I’m torn haha autumn looks SO nice. My dream is to soak in an onsen with a monkey. Isn’t it Japan where those hot spring monkeys lurk? Anyways I’m rambling. Beautiful post!! <3

    1. Thanks Christina! You’re correct, the onsen with the monkeys are in Japan! But somewhere else in Japan though, just not Tokyo 😉 Glad you enjoyed this post!

  8. I have been dreaming of koyo in Japan for a few years now, putting it off only cos I think I’ll prefer to bring the kid when he’s a bit older. but seeing your photos, makes me want to go pronto! so beautiful!

    1. Thank you Cayce! Not sure about that, but I would think the photos make a lovely backdrop too for family photos! Your boy probably might not remember seeing the autumn foliage too, but you would! 😉

  9. hello. I will be going to tokyo with my husband on Nov 13-21…
    I would like to ask if you can help with our possible iterinary.

    any suggestions for places to visit?

    This is our first time in tokyo

    thank you for the reply

    1. Japan should be cold already for your dates, definitely need warm clothes! Am always wearing many layers by that time whenever I’m in Tokyo. I’ll say you should check the weather forecast for your trip dates and pack accordingly, hope this helps!

  10. Hello,

    I’ll be in Tokyo from Nov 6th till early December, your posts and pictures have multiplied my excitement, as this is my first visit to Japan, I think I have chosen the rights dates.

    Thanks for the great blog.

    1. Hi! I’d went Tokyo quite a few times so there’s no exact time. Have visited in early Nov, mid-Nov and end-Nov too =)

  11. Hi

    Enjoyed reading your blogs.

    A question to ask if you don’t mind..
    I am going to Japan In Nov 19-29, will the weather be very cold? Do you need any thermals or gloves and hat there? Its my first time to Japan so not sure about the weather.

    Thank you and great photos by the way..

    Cheers..

    1. Hi Indah! That period should be pretty cold if you were to check the weather forecast right now. I always wear Uniqlo’s HeatTech as an inner layer before stacking all my coldwear above. Whether you need gloves or a hat will depend on individual =)

    1. Hi Diana, that period will be cold and I would suggest you check the weather forecast for more accurate details on how to plan your outfits =)

  12. Hi Kristine! I might go to Japan from Oct 21 to Nov 15. Will it be winter cold? I really want to enjoy the Autumn landscape in Tokyo and Kyoto! Does it make a big difference if I travel on the first days of October? Thank you.

  13. Hi Kristine My 21 yrs old daughter and me are taking a ten day girls trip to Tokyo at mid November. It will be the first time for us. Do you recommend to stay in Shinjuku? Do you also recommend a trip to Kyoto?
    Thank you

    1. Hi! I prefer staying at Shinjuku as it gives easy access to the places I enjoy visiting. If you’re doing 10 days in Japan, I will recommend a trip to Kyoto indeed!

  14. Hi Kristine,

    Thank you so much for sharing your memorable experiences in Tokyo, Japan. I am planning to go there this Nov. 21 to 25. This will be my first time in Japan and i will be travelling alone. I want to see the beautiful and colorful autumn leaves, Mt. Fuji, Hachiko statue and other tourist spots.

    While completing the needed documents for the visa processing (hope my visa will be approved), I started to search for vlogs and articles which I can use in the preparation of my itinerary. And that’s where I came across your article. Any suggestion for a 5 day visit where I can maximize my stay and have my vacation be a memorable and a treasured experience.

    On Nov. 21, expected arrival is early in the afternoon and will leave on Nov 25 in the evening. I will be using AirBnB for my accommodation. By the way, may I know the weather during that time? Do I have to bring thick clothes?

    Any additional tips will be highly appreciated.

    Thank you so much in advance for your time reading my email and sharing your experiences, tips and suggestions so my stay will be very meaningful and worthwhile. I am looking forward to my trip…so excited!!!

    Regards,
    Rein

    1. Hi Rein! I have a blogpost that I featured some of my fave places in Tokyo (you can view it at https://thepetitewanderess.com/tokyo-first-time/). Your trip will be too short for heading elsewhere beyond Tokyo, so it’s unlikely you’ll see Mt Fuji. Go a mixture of modern places (like Harajuku for the young crowd and shopping) and cultural places too such as Meiji Shrine. I always go these 2 places almost every time I head to Tokyo. Mt Takao is a great idea too if you’re into nature and hiking.

      It should be cold in November – winter clothes required. Do check the weather forecast for your trip in order to plan better!

      You can view my other Tokyo posts on this link https://thepetitewanderess.com/category/tokyo/

      Have fun!

      1. Hi Kristine,

        Thanks so much. I will check on the sites that you provided. Sad that I will not be able to see Mt. Fuji. Is this too far from Tokyo city proper?

        Again, thank you.
        Rein

        1. Hi, yes, it will be too far from Tokyo, so making a day trip will take up a full day. If you really really want, you may consider doing a day trip to Kawaguchiko – go early in the morning and return at the end of the day. Takes good planning – timing and coaches and etc etc.

          Even if so, there’s no guarantee you’ll see Mt Fuji, if the weather is too cloudy and all the clouds blocked the mountain =S

          Good luck!

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