It’s again this time of year when much of Europe labors under grey fog, rains and first snows while around Tokyo, the skies are a brilliant blue day after day and crowds take to the gardens for a picnic under the fiery blaze of the autumn leaves. Just like I never tire of looking at the cherry blossoms, I return year after year to admire the autumn palette of the filigree of maple leaves against the autumn skies. Above, a photo from the Imperial Palace East Gardens. I will not venture to rank the best spots for autumn leaves, as many of those deemed good are completely overrun during the season. In truth, any place with a maple tree is good and many of my best pictures were taken in Kashiwanoha Park next to the University of Tokyo campus. Acer palmatum, or momiji in Japanese is truly the king of the trees in autumn, with different colors coexisting at the same time in one tree, often even one leaf. No comparison to the many other trees whose leaves simple shrivel up and drop unceremoniously. So I join the crowds chasing the essence of autumn in Tokyo’s parks and gardens. Below, a scene from Shinjuku Gyouen, which thankfully is large enough to absorb a great many visitors without becoming overcrowded. Even if you lack the time to travel to a garden or park, if you keep your eyes open you can surely spot a maple tree or two on your way around Tokyo. Enough to get a sense of the magic of autumn in Japan.