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Terrace Dining & More: 3 Restaurants Where You Can See Tokyo's Dazzling Fall Foliage

Terrace Dining & More: 3 Restaurants Where You Can See Tokyo's Dazzling Fall Foliage

Date published: 17 October 2021

Every season in Japan comes with something special to discover, and it can be said that the season of autumn is all about food and fiery fall foliage. There's just something about Japanese autumn leaves that makes the leaf-peeping experience different - and it's all the more enjoyable while enjoying a good meal!

Enjoy the autumn leaves this season from the safety and comfort of one of these lovely restaurants located within Tokyo.

*Services, event durations, business operating hours or days and other details may have changed due to COVID-19.
* Information is accurate as of October 2021.

1. Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo's Ryotei Kinsui: Prestigious hotel restaurant surrounded by a forest-like garden

Ryotei Kinsui is a sukiya-style restaurant located next to the Unkinchi Pond in the hotel's garden. The food here is prepared using water and ingredients sourced from Kyoto and served as kaiseki (Japanese multi-course meal) cuisine tailored to the season.

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo is located near Edogawabashi Station on the Tokyo-Metro Yurakucho Line. This station is about a 20-minute train ride from Shinjuku Station, which is in turn about a 30-minute train ride from Tokyo Station, making it very accessible from the city center. At Edogawabashi Station, come out from Exit 1A and walk for about 10 minutes to reach the hotel proper.

If you like being surrounded by beautiful flowers that bloom all year round and relaxing to the sounds of nature, waterfalls, and chirping birds, then you'll feel right at home in Hotel Chinzanso.

The hotel's restaurant Ryotei Kinsui gets the natural makeover as well. Spring waters flow around the building, and fireflies can be seen during the right season, giving the area a calm atmosphere that whets your appetite for the delicious kaiseki meals being served.

The mood is so remarkably different from the hustle and bustle peculiar to big cities that you would be forgiven for seriously wondering whether you're still in Tokyo!

The sukiya-style architecture of Ryotei Kinsui usually makes visitors feel like they've entered a different dimension altogether right at the entrance.

One of the most distinctive features of this traditional Japanese construction system is that rooms are spaced out in a way that allows all to enjoy the greenery outside or in the garden through open windows wherever they are in the building.

Kinsui is made up of a main area and secondary area. The secondary area contains two buildings, one of which bears the distinguished history of having been used as a traditional tea house in the villa of Hakone business magnate Baron Fujita. It was moved and rebuilt here in 1947.

Baron Fujita was a capable businessman who lived during the Meiji era (1868 to 1912) who was also known as an art collector and tea ceremony aficionado, so much work must have gone into making his tea house up to snuff.

As a matter of fact, this villa building was actually registered as a national tangible cultural property (structures) in 2004.

Yes, you're about to have your kaiseki meal in a historically and culturally significant building! How's that for a unique experience?

In total, there are 12 dining rooms of different sizes spread throughout the buildings in the main and secondary areas that can accommodate a variety of group sizes, from two all the way to 60!

Each room will give diners a different view of either the garden or the natural greenery outside.

The view that can be enjoyed from each room is as picturesque as they come - like it was crafted meticulously by a skilled artist.

This is because the hotel's thriving garden contains about 100 trees of all types, including Japanese maple, Japanese Hazenoki, oak, and Japanese zelkova.

Every year from around mid-November to early December, the leaves start donning their fall colors, making this period the best time to visit during autumn.

Akikaze-Kaiseki will be served in the lovely private dining rooms of Kinsui (26,000 yen including tax but excluding service fees).

(*Seasonal menu only available until 10 November 2021.)

The kaiseki appetizer is as delicious as it is visually pleasing. A bowl carved out of persimmon fruit is stuffed with seasonal ingredients and nuts and served alongside a tasty spot of mangetsu tamago (egg yolk preserved in miso), shaped to look like the full moon it was named after.

Another highlight is this dish of broiled matsutake mushrooms served on a salted crust made to resemble a sea of clouds.

The presentation, coupled with its amazing aroma, is enough to put anyone in a good mood.

Diners can also choose between a tasty bowl of salmon and salmon roe rice or savory Nihachi-soba noodles (made from a mix of buckwheat and wheat flour) served with pork and maitake mushroom dipping sauce as the last main item on the course before dessert.

The course has clearly been designed to be a sensory delight in the sight, smell, and taste department!

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo is currently (at the time of writing) holding a Tokyo Sea of Clouds event in its garden, using mist to reproduce this natural phenomenon in a way that allows it to be enjoyed at all times.

This limited-time event will last until November 10, 2021, and is being held in conjunction with a similar event, the Fragrant Tokyo Sea of Clouds, at the same time.

As its name suggests, the highlight of this event is the pleasant aroma of fragrant olives. The holistic combination of fiery fall leaves, a sea of clouds, and the smell of aromatic plants is a surreal experience that can only be enjoyed in Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo during autumn, whether you choose to admire it from a distance in the restaurant or savor the sights up close by taking a relaxing walk through the garden.

Also, don't worry - international guests are very welcome here! The staff at the hotel can speak English, and the restaurant's menu is also available in English. *At the present moment, English is the only foreign language supported.

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer installed - Disinfected after each guest leaves - Ventilation measures in place - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Limited capacity/increased space between seats - Restriction on number of guests - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Guests are required to wear masks - Health check sheet completed by guests

  • Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo Ryotei Kinsui
    ホテル椿山荘東京 料亭「錦水」
    • Address 2 Chome-10-8 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-8680
    • Nearest Station Access: About a 10-minute walk from Exit 1A of Edogawabashi Station on the Tokyo-Metro Yurakucho Line
    • Phone Number 03-3943-5489
    • ・Hours: 11:30 a.m. — 9:00 p.m. (last order 7:00 p.m.)
      ・Closed: Open daily
      ・Free Wi-Fi: Yes
      ・Smoking: Non-smoking only

2. KIHACHI Aoyama: Fully renovated just in time for the season of fall leaves!

KIHACHI is all about promoting a chef's pursuit of what is truly tasty beyond the bounds of convention. As such, there are plenty of restaurants, patisserie, cafes, food halls, and other food-related businesses under its prestigious brand, including our next recommendation, KIHACHI Aoyama, which is one of the brand's flagship stores.

The store has recently been renovated just in time for autumn, along with a completely refreshed menu for the season. Now you can observe the KIHACHI way of lifestyle and cozy food scenes at close quarters as you relish the delicious dishes they've carefully crafted to complement the experience.

The restaurant is located near Gaiemmae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. To get there, take a train for about 15 minutes from Tokyo Station to Shibuya Station, then switch to the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line for another 5-minute ride to Gaiemmae Station. After that, the restaurant will be just a short 4-minute walk away.

KIHACHI Aoyama is located along the ginkgo tree avenue that leads to Meijijingu Gaien, a Western-style garden in the famous Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the veneration of the Meiji Emperor and Empress.

The first floor of the restaurant building opens up to a terrace outside and is where the cafe and food hall can be found. The main dining area and private dining rooms are on the second floor.

Here's what the main dining area on the second floor looks like. This is where you can enjoy main courses like a hearty T-bone steak in comfort and leisure.

The adjacent terrace seats and private rooms (far left of photo) overlook the nearby ginkgo tree avenue and the lovely view from here will enhance your meal experience for sure.

(*Customers are only allowed to make reservations for seats in the main dining area.)

Here's something you simply have to try while you're here: "The Steak T-Bone" - only available for customers dining in the renovated main hall.

Pick your preferred steak from a fine selection of Angus beef (8,800 yen including tax), domestic Japanese beef (12,100 yen including tax), or Japanese Black beef (15,400 yen including tax) to be served on a platter alongside appetizers, salad, bread, dessert, and coffee or tea.

The hefty helping of beef is amazingly soft and flavorful, so much so that a simple sprinkle of salt is all that's needed to bring out its taste.

However, we highly recommend that you try it with the chef's special Café de Paris sauce as well! "The Steak T-bone" starts from a double portion order. Reservation is required for all lunch courses and the Japanese Black beef dinner course.

The view of the autumn leaves from KIHACHI's second-floor dining area may be incredible, but for a truly spectacular scene, you can do no better than to step out into the open-air terrace on the first floor.

The terrace directly faces the ginkgo tree avenue, and this is where you can treat yourself to a delicious meal under the mesmerizing canopy of ginkgo leaves in warm autumn hues!

Definitely check out the "KIHACHI Afternoon Tea (3,960 yen including tax)", available from 2:00 p.m. onwards if you choose to dine at the open terrace area.

The meal includes the restaurant patisserie's specialty mini baked sweets, KIHACHI's signature Trifle Roll® - a slice of Swiss roll with cut fruits in the cream, the ever-popular egg pudding, a slice of Basque cheesecake, and other such mouth-watering pastries and confectionery.

These sweets are accompanied by a savory mini Japanese Black roast beef burger, a welcome drink (choice of sparkling wine or mocktail), and a free-flow drink (for 90 minutes). Talk about opulence!

(*Temporarily unavailable from November 16 to December 5.)

The restaurant's original "Spicy Chicken Burger (1,430 yen including tax)" is another great option for those thinking of a quicker meal. Whether you're looking for a light lunch or sumptuous dinner, KIHACHI Aoyama is ready to meet your needs any time you visit!

The KIHACHI style of fusion food here is based on French cuisine and thus goes very well with a spot of wine on the side. Each unconventional dish being served is the product of the chef's imagination and sense of adventure that also makes full use of seasonal ingredients for maximum freshness and taste. Takeout and delivery services are available at KIHACHI, which is great for those who prefer to relish their food in the privacy of their own quarters!

As you can see, KIHACHI is the place to go for cuisine that's pleasantly unusual. Every trip to the restaurant is a potentially new and memorable discovery!

The menu is available in English for the convenience of international visitors.
*At the present moment, English is the only foreign language supported.

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer installed - Ventilation measures in place - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Limited capacity/increased space between seats - Restriction on number of guests - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Guests are required to wear masks

  • KIHACHI
    キハチ 青山本店
    • Address 1-19, Kitaaoyama 2-chome, Minato-ku, 107-0061 Tokyo
    • Nearest Station Access: 4-minute walk from Gaienmae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
    • Phone Number 03-5785-3641
    • ・Hours: 1F 11:30 a.m. — 10:00 p.m. (last order 9:00 p.m.)
      ・2F 11:30 a.m. — 4:00 p.m. (last order 3:00 p.m.); 5:30 p.m. — 10:00 p.m. (last order 9:00 p.m.)
      ・Operating hours subject to change without notification. Please check KIHACHI's webpage for the latest information.
      ・Closed: End of year and start of year holidays
      ・Free Wi-Fi: Yes
      ・Smoking: Non-smoking only

3. Hibiya Matsumotoro Grill & Garden Terrace: A historic restaurant with magnificent surroundings

The very first Western-style park in Japan was Hibiya Park, which opened in the year 1903, along with the restaurant that's next on our list of recommendations - Hibiya Matsumotoro.

This year of 2021 marks the 118th year of operations for both park and restaurant, where perennial favorites like the "High Collar Beef Curry," "High Collar Hashed Beef Rice," "Omelet Rice," and "Hamburg Steak" have been served since its establishment and continues to enthrall hoards of hungry tummies down to this day.

The main building is about a 2-minute walk through Hibiya Park from Exit B2 of Kasumigaseki Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line. You can also take the train to Hibiya Station or Uchisaiwaicho Station, both about a 5-minute train ride from Tokyo Station, and walk towards the middle of Hibiya Park to get there.

There are two main areas to dine in here - Bois de Boulogne, which features authentic French cuisine, and the Grill & Garden Terrace that's all about classic Western food. We'll be focusing on the latter in our recommendation because of the beautiful autumn leaves surrounding the terrace, making it easy to admire the seasonal sight while enjoying a good meal.

A large ginkgo tree that's about 400 years old looms above the area directly in front of the terrace seats, and glimpses of Hibiya Park are visible from behind it. The autumn leaves of the trees in the park are so vibrant, they can be seen even while seated all the way here!

The restaurant has a semi-private dining space (not available for reservation) right on the terrace as well for those seeking some additional comfort.

The restaurant ensures sufficient space between tables so that all diners can enjoy the autumn leaves safely and with peace of mind.

You may wish to try the "Omelet Rice in Hashed Beef Sauce (1,300 yen including tax)", the most popular dish here. The thick and syrupy half-boiled egg is poured over fragrant chicken rice and topped with hashed beef sauce made from a traditional demi-glace base prepared over a 2-week period.

The fluffy egg stock not only whets the appetite but also makes the dish look extremely palatable. No wonder why everyone seems to love it so much!

Another dish to consider is the restaurant's signature curry rice.

"High Collar Beef Curry (1,100 yen including tax)" is a European-style curry dish that is laboriously prepared with care over a 4-day period using wheat flour and curry powder.

Although simple in appearance, the dish itself is a classic curry served with large portions of beef that has been nourishing diners since the Meiji era, and it can be said that its plain outlook is a part of that quaint charm.

What if you want to try as many of these items as possible? "Choose Your Big Plate" may just be the menu item you're looking for!

"Choose Your Big Plate (1,850 yen including tax)" is the adult's version of a kid's meal where you can pick your preferred items from a selection of omelet rice and popular Western food on the menu.

Either get an omelet rice with hashed beef sauce or curry sauce, and choose between a hamburg steak, deep-fried prawns, or prawn cream croquettes from the Western food menu. This meal set will appeal to those wanting to maximize their time here by savoring as many signature food items of this long-established store as possible on a single plate.

Prices for the food at Hibiya Grill & Garden Terrace are very reasonable for the traditional experience they offer. This makes the restaurant a very suitable pick for family outings, especially during the season of autumn leaves.

The menu comes with English labels for the convenience of international visitors.

*At the present moment, English is the only foreign language supported.

Health & Safety Measures
Sanitizer installed - Ventilation measures in place - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Limited capacity/increased space between seats - Restriction on number of guests - Masks required/temperature check enforced

  • Hibiya Matsumotoro
    日比谷松本楼 グリル&ガーデンテラス
    • Address 1-2, Hibiya Park, Chiyoda-ku, 100-0012 Tokyo
    • Nearest Station Access: 2-minute walk from Exit A14 of Hibiya Station on the Tokyo Metro
      2-minute walk from Exit B2 of Kasumigaseki Station on the Tokyo Metro
    • Phone Number 03-3503-1451
    • ・Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Last order at 8:00 p.m.)
      ・Closed: End of year and start of year holidays
      ・Free Wi-Fi: Yes
      ・Smoking: Non-smoking only

Photo: PIXTA

The scenery of autumn foliage swaying and falling gently in the wind is a special sight that many local residents of Japan hold dear - especially since it's something that can only be enjoyed for a limited time every year!

Although there are plenty of places around Japan that offer this amazing view, such as the more traditional prefectures of Kyoto and Nara, there are certainly many nice spots to admire autumn leaves in right inside Tokyo itself as well.

The advantage is that it's easy to fit this plan into small pockets in your itinerary since there's no need to worry about complicated train transfers or accessibility.

You can even plan for one last hurrah just before hopping on a flight back home! Whatever the case, we're confident you won't regret making fall leaves one of the main focuses of your next autumn trip to Tokyo.

Written by:
Shomo Nagata - Dali Corporation
In charge of project planning in an IT company. By harnessing his experience in business and product development, he is able to write for a wide range of media and subjects, from professional topics in IT, marketing, and business to his own interests, such as restaurant-hopping.

English translation by: Huimin Pan

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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