Fall Foliage - MOMIJIGARI

by Mari

Fall Foliage - MOMIJIGARI

Many maples have bright autumn foliage, and many countries have leaf-watching traditions. In Japan, the custom of viewing the changing color of maples in the autumn is called "momijigari". Nikko and Kyoto are particularly favored destinations for this activity. There are poems about Momiji-gari in Man-yoshu (the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry in 7C).  Why don’t you enjoy Japanese leaf coloring “Momiji-gari” feeling like aristocrats.

The autumn leave colors in Japan are not just orange brown, it turns into beautiful different colors as red, yellow, orange, etc. What makes the leaves so colorful in autumn is because of the characteristics of the weather in autumn in Japan. It has often dry, bright and sunny days, but it gets chilly and cold at night. Therefore, the large differences in the temperatures between the day and night make the autumn leaves bright and so colorful.

Mechanism of color changes

Red – Anthocyanins, responsible for red-purple coloration, are actively produced in autumn, but not involved in leaf-drop. A number of hypotheses on the role of pigment production in leaf-drop have been proposed, and generally fall into two categories: interaction with animals, and protection from nonbiological factors.[6]

Orange-yellow -Carotenoids are present in leaves the whole year round, but their orange-yellow colors are usually masked by green chlorophyll. As autumn approaches, certain influences both inside and outside the plant cause the chlorophylls to be replaced at a slower rate than they are being used up. 

Difference between Japanese maples and Canadian maples

Fall Foliage - MOMIJIGARI

There are two kinds of maples depending on a shape of a leaf, Momiji and Kaede in Japan. Momiji has deeply cut, fine feathery leaf.  One of the typical Mojimi is Irohamomiji (Smooth Japanese maple, Acer palmatum or Palmate maple). On the other hand, one of the typical Kaede is Tokaede (trident maple or acer buergerianum). This Kaeda is similar to Canadian maples.

 In Tokyo, you can enjoy leaf coloring at the following sightseeing spots:

Imperial East Garden - The Japanese style Ninomaru Garden was built in early 17C as the second circle of defense of the former Edo Castle. It’s a stroke-style garden around a big pond.

Ginko Avenue in Jingu Gaien – The famous ginkgo lined avenue in Meiji Jingu Gaien Park. The uniquely trimmed trees turn a brilliant golden color in late November.

Koishikawa Korakusen - A traditional Japanese strolling garden that features a path around a pond built in 17C. Its main pond is surrounded by dozens of maples trees which turn brilliant shades of orange and red in late November.

Rokugien - A traditional Japanese style gardens created during Edo period. During when the trees turn their colors in autumn, the trees and its leaves are lightened up during the night. 

Hamarikyu - Built in 1654. One of the typical strolling Japanese Garden of the Edo Period. It had two duck hunting sites within the grounds.

Shinjyuku Gyoen - It was originally built as a garden for one of the feudal loads during Edo period in the 17th century. It is about 58.3 ha (144 acres) wide.

Yoyogi Park - One of the fifth largest parks in Tokyo located right next to the Meiji Shrine where the trees turn their leaves into magnificent autumn colors.

If you plan to visit Tokyo, it would be a great pleasure to take you to beautiful autumn leaf coloring places. My tour website is https://triplelights.com/profile/3624.


21 Sep 2017


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Contact Mari

Travel makes you a happier person by breaking routine, building self-confidence, and providing new experiences and memories.

I’m a full-time national licensed tour guide. I studied Japanese Art History when I was a student at Sophia University, Tokyo. One of my hobby is visiting art museums. I had experienced to work as a travel coordinator in one of the multinational companies for years. I am a member of Toastmasters International club where I practice public speaking twice a month. I have enjoyed conducting Tokyo private tours more than 60 times and received excellent reviews from them.

I usually customize a tailor-made tour upon our customers’ requests. I can explain historical back grounds of Temples and Shrines, and the comparison of old things and modern things in Tokyo. I have been guiding major sightseeing spots, including Tsukiji Fish Market, Asakusa, Imperial Palace, Meiji Shrine, Shibuya, Shinjuku, etc.

Let’s enjoy Tokyo together.

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