7 Reasons Why It’s A Good Idea to Go Tokyo in November

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 in Japan. Let’s just 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 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.

Also view my other posts:
Day Trip to 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 for being outdoors, when you can visit nature parks like Ueno. It does rain at times, so be ready to bring 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
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 photo-essay:
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) near Mt 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.

Read:
• Guide to Using Onsen in Japan!
How I really felt when I soaked in an onsen for the first time
Review of Fuji View Hotel: Onsen ryokan hotel at Kawaguchiko


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 in Tokyo (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 view 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! 😉

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!

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

.. 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

Why November is the Best Time to Visit Tokyo! • The Petite Wanderess

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20 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

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