Autumn ties with spring for the most comfortable time, weather-wise, to explore Japan’s cities. But, with no cherry blossom, it should be less crowded. Get to know Tokyo’s distinct neighbourhoods, from stately Chiyoda-ku (home to the Imperial Palace) and arty Meguro to tech-Mecca Akihabara Electric Town. Or take your camera to Kyoto to capture red-painted Buddhist temples, green bamboo groves and views of Mount Fuji.
Autumn colours (koyo)
If you haven’t already filled up your memory card, you certainly will if you’re still in Kyoto in November. This is when the leaves start to turn, and the temple gardens are spotted with fiery reds and deep yellows. At Jingoji Temple just north of the city, illuminations mean the show goes on until after dark.
Where to stay
A stay at the red-brick, pre-war Tokyo Station Hotel makes a fascinating contrast to the surrounding skyscrapers. For day trips into Kyoto and hillsides drenched in autumn colours, it has to be L’Hotel du Lac – not too far from Japan’s ancient capital, on the shores of Lake Biwa.