Convenience store landscape lights up the evening with coconut palm tree


Everyone says how Hayama is where the Emperor has a summer home. No one mentions the Hayama Lawson’s giant, light-up coconut tree. Public landscapes reveal that design in Japan is often neither minimal nor elegant.

Magical fall foliage in Tokyo’s gardens


Visiting Shinjuku Gyoen in the fall is magical.

I love seeing the maple leaves take on such vivid colors, often starting on the outside of the tree and then moving towards the trunk. The leaves still on the trees contrast with those that have already fallen. Shinjuku Gyoen has many ponds and reflecting pools that intensify the views. Because of the garden’s immense quantity of species, there is always something new to see week after week.

I am also hoping to see two special evening “light up” fall foliage events this season, at Rikugien Garden (六義園) in Bunkyo-ku and Otagura Garden (大田黒公園) in Ogikubo.