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[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Enchanting Autumn Light-Up at Shinjuku Gyoen

Enjoy autumn colors at Shinjuku Gyoen, where digital art group NAKED illuminates the foliage with projection mapping and light-up displays until December 3.



NAKED Autumn Leaves event at Shinjuku Gyoen. The foliage of the plane trees has turned beautiful shades of red and gold, November 21, 2023. (©JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)

Shinjuku Gyoen is an oasis of nature in the heart of Tokyo. Within the 144-acre park, visitors can enjoy viewing a variety of plants, animals, and other natural features that change with the seasons. The park usually closes at 4 pm, but it has extended its opening hours for a special nighttime light show. The renowned creative company NAKED, INC. is behind the production. It also worked with Shinjuku Gyoen for the cherry blossom lighting event this spring.

The autumn light-up event runs from November 22 to December 3, 2023. During this period, visitors can enter the park from 6 pm to 10 pm for an additional fee.

Visitors can borrow NAKED Distance Lanterns® to walk safely in the dark. (©JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)
The lanterns make patterns on the ground. (©JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)

Plane Trees

Shinjuku Gyoen has three entrances. However, visitors should first join the waiting line next to the information center at Shinjuku Gate for entry to the NAKED Autumn Leaves event.

Once inside the park, NAKED has chosen three areas in the park for its light display. The first area is an avenue lined with beautiful plane trees near the garden's Okido Gate. Its 200-meter-long (656 ft) avenue is one of Shinjuku Gyoen's most famous landmarks, and it turns a beautiful shade of gold in the fall. Several Japanese TV series have filmed scenes here.

The 200-meter-long avenue of plane trees. (©JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)

The foliage is stunning during the day, and even more so at night when illuminated. There is also a food and beverage area where visitors can enjoy sweets and drinks.

A canelé served at the food and drinks area. (©JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)

Maple Hill

The second light-up location is Momiji-yama (Maple Hill). Here, NAKED presents a laser lighting display that looks like tiny particles of light dancing in the air.

The light display at Momiji-yama on November 21, 2023. (©JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)

Middle Pond

The third and final light-up spot is the park's Middle Pond. Projection mapping and illumination bathe the foliage around the pond in beautiful colors, creating mesmerizing reflections on the water's surface. This expanse of nature against the backdrop of Shinjuku's high-rise buildings creates a unique urban scenery.

Japan's long summer is over, and fall will soon give way to winter. Don't miss this chance to enjoy the season.

Light display at Shinjuku Gyoen's Middle Pond on November 21, 2023. (©JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)
The colorful lights are reflected in the Middle Pond. (©JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Hidemitsu Kaito


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