Japan Tokyo

Fall Colours in Koishikawa Korakuen

You might remember that last year I missed most of momijigari (紅葉狩) autumn colours because I was busy dashing to and from the UK to sort out a visa issue. This year I was a bit better prepared and managed to visit a number of parks around Tokyo, the most impressive of which was Koishikawa Korakuen (小石川後楽園).

Built in the early Edo Period (1600-1867) at the residence of the ruling Tokugawa family, the garden was named Korakuen after a Chinese poem espousing that “a governor should worry before the people and enjoy after the people”.

While an early start would have been perfect for photography, I timed my arrival for noon when most people were at lunch. On my way out there was a long queue to get in.

The garden includes an abundance of over 4000 trees including cherries, maples, and pines artfully arranged around winding paths, streams and ponds.

This was probably my favourite spot in the garden – underneath the golden maple trees overlooking oigawa pond and togetsukyo bridge beyond. Pure magic.

If you walk around the back of the green knoll above the lotus pond there’s a hidden lookout point – a fine spot for enjoying a bento.

Covered by red leaves and lit by dappled sunlight a thatched pavilion makes for a sublime perch to pause and reflect.

The garden also contains a small rice paddy which the public participates in planting each May and then harvesting in September. Surround the clearing is a plot of iris’s which bloom in mid-June.

The far southern corner hides Naitei inner garden, formerly a private garden for a guesthouse built by the Mito Clan. It contains a small pond with an island connected by two arched bridges.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos 🙂


Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Kamakura. Prior to this, he lived in China and longs to explore more of this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

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