Momijigari in Urban Tokyo

AR Ardent Rambler

Well-Known Member
What is Momijigari?
Momijigari means autumn leaf hunting. It is a Japanese custom of walking around and admiring autumn leaves.
Maple, Japanese beech (buna), and ginkgo (maidenhair tree) are deciduous trees which are plentiful in Japan and change colors in autumn.
That is what I did in my recent work related trip to Tokyo. It is not the first time I have been to Tokyo and it wouldn’t be my last! However this was long time coming!
I will start with a few teasers in BCMTouring tradition.

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Yoyogi Park
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Naritasan Gyoen
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Rikugien Gyoen
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Shinjuku Gyoen; love the reflecting light from pampas grass
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Naritasan Gyoen
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Shinjuku Gyoen
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Yoyogi Park
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Rikugien Gyoen
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Koishikawa Korakuen
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Hotel Radisson Narita
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AR Ardent Rambler

Well-Known Member
Day 1
I arrived in Narita airport on a cold autumn morning. It was a brisk and hassle free pass through immigration and baggage section. The shuttle bus to my hotel arrived in JPT, Japanese Precision Time, 07:45 hours. It was a 20 minutes drive to my Hotel Narita Radisson through rural Narita countryside. My hotel check in time was 15:00 hours. Today was a Free Day as my meeting was scheduled for tomorrow. So I decided to venture into Tokyo to enjoy Urban Momijigari. The best option available from my hotel to reach Tokyo was Highway Bus costing ¥ 1600. It took an hour and twenty minutes to reach Tokyo Station.

My POA, Plan On Action for the day was to visit the Yoyogi koen and Shinjuku Gyoen. I referred to the information from “Two day Tokyo Fall Foliage Itinerary” from Trulytokyo website for planning my itinerary. The first stop was Yoyogi Park. I took the subway train to Yoyogi koen station. It was intimidating just to get a subway ticket in this humongous Tokyo station. After trials and errors I was in Yoyogi Park. It was beautiful on a sunny Sunday morning with locals enjoying various activities in the park. My impression of this park in a single phrase “Yellow Ginko Forest”.

Clicks from Yoyogi Park (please note all pictures are JPEGs from my mobile camera Samsung Galaxy A50 and my 5 year old P & S Olympus Stylus 1)

Arrival in NRT airport
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Welcome to the Land of Rising Sun
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Waiting for shuttle bus on a cold autumn morning
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Small Japanese Maple
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Contrast of brilliant green, maroon red and azure sky.
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People from all walks of life enjoying Momijigari
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Splash of mustard green, yellow and oranges of autumn folliage
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Love the contrast of Red Maple with Azzuri Sky
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Blue and Black: One of song title of old Van Halen song!
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Even the dogs are enjoying Momijigari
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Visitors strolling in the park
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Picnic time for locals!
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Favorite place for dog owners!
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Contrast of dark green and intense red and brown
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Picnic time! Riding! Locals have fun!
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Another fav click!
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Love this capture! Don't know why?
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Just love the brilliant yellow contrasting with the oranges and trees of autumn folliage
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One of my favorite click for the day!
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Brilliant yellow mustard color reflecting sunlight!
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Red maples and Azure sky
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Family time in this Ginko park
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Yellow Ginko and Red Maples trees! Some Japanese associate Autumn Folliage with melancholy
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Different strokes for different folks!
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A big pond present in the center of the park
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Wowed with brilliant yellows, oranges and reds contrasting on blue water!
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Three wise Men!
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Intense orange and red contrasting with azure sky
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Love the this shot on ground level
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Family time in Yoyogi Koen
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Joggers park as evidence by many runners
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Locals take pride in Momijigiri tradition
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Love this click with beautiful contrast of maple red and azure blue
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Another shot from ground level!
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Red planet
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Contrasty Azzuri Blue and fifty shades of Oranges and Reds
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A few tourist like myself appreciating Momijigari
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Local families enjoying Momijigari
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Love this capture of tall deciduous trees with fifty shades of colors
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Locals having a great time with their families
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Play of shade and light
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Play of shade and light with yellow and orange hues
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Another local relaxing in this awesome atmosphere
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Autumn foliage at its best
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Urban Tokyo landscape in the background
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Play of shade and light with greens and yellows
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Not my best try on skyward click of tree tops
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Planet Red
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Love the intense yellow, orange and reds!
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Small Red Maple (Red Stars) Japanese Maple!
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AR Ardent Rambler

Well-Known Member
Meiji Jingu
Next I made a short visit to the adjacent Meiji Jingu shrine which was not a part of my initial plan. 明治神宮, Meiji Jingū, a shrine dedicated to deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken is a very popular tourist spot. Today it was very crowded. The queue for the most popular activity, writing out one's wish an ema was at least 100 meters long or 60 minutes wait. Also the priests and local maidens were wearing colorful and traditional dress for a wedding ceremony. The local wedding ceremony was the highlight of this shrine visit.

Hordes of tourists next to Torri at the entrance
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Local mothers and daughter dressed in traditional attire
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Barrels of sake (nihonshu) donated to the Meiji Shrine
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Bride, bridegroom and relatives in traditional attire
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Marriage ceremony in local tradition
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Family portrait on auspicious occasion
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Temple complex filled with hordes of tourist
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The main offering hall of Meiji Jingu
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Priests and maidens wear traditional dress for a wedding ceremony
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Priests and maidens wear traditional dress for a wedding ceremony
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Courtyard of temple complex
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Let’s make a wish!
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Local girl dressed in traditional attire
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Priests and maidens wearing traditional dress for a wedding ceremony
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AR Ardent Rambler

Well-Known Member
It was around 13:00 hours and starving for food after all this walking. I decided to move to my next destination, Shinjuku Gyoen. I took the subway train to Shinjuku station. While I was looking for eating options I was greeted by Asahi local TV camera man and his assistant (who spoke fluent English). He requested an interview of ten minutes which I obliged. However I jokingly asked them to recommend a good ramen shop which they readily agreed. The interview was about what kind of pens did I prefer for writing. I told him me that I do less hand written notes as I use electronic notes. However if I had to write I prefer thick and smooth tip pens. He informed me that Japanese prefer thin tipped pens as their writing is a combination of a combination of iogographic Kanji and syllabic Kano. He took me to a small ramen restaurant. As you all are aware in most of the restaurants you pay outside by vending machine. They do have to use a dedicated waiter. He choose the their signature option for me and I paid 640 yen for my lunch. He and is partner goodbye to me. I devoured my succulent pork broth ramen.

Chef preparing succulent pork broth ramen; note small restaurants are island based cooking place; you are eye contact with the chef;
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Pork broth ramen was Yummy!
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First leg from Tokyo station to Yogoyi Koen (which should have been posted in previous reply)
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Second leg from Yoyogi Koen to Shinjuku station
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