Around mid-November marks the start of the Meiji Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival (Itchou Matsuri). The Meiji Jingu Gaien is the outer area of Meiji Shrine. The first Meiji Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival was held in 1997. It is one of the many autumn festivals happening in Tokyo. Usually the ginkgo festival lasts for two weeks until the winter season starts settling in. Over the course of the festival, about 1.8 million people join in the festivities.
1.8 million people join in the festivities. Along the 300-meter street leading towards the Meiji Picture Memorial Gallery are four rows of ginkgo trees. The ginkgo trees along the avenue were first planted in 1923. When the 146 trees have fully turn, the ginkgo leaves provide an amazing contrast between the blue sky and old building. There are a couple of cafes and restaurants on the avenue with outdoor seating. These establishments are nice to relax at and enjoy the surrounding foliage.
At the end of the avenue is where the festival is being held on the rubber ball baseball ground. In this wide field area there are over 30 food stalls available to choose from. Vendors were selling seafood, sushi, beef sushi, beef bowls, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, fried food and many more. There was even one stall selling Hawaiian food. Among the many food stalls there were booths selling or showcasing their products. For example, the company Coleman had a few of their tents and chairs set up for people to have their meals.
If you had your fill of delicious food and entertainment then there is yet another area to explore near the grounds. Across the street is the Mori no Yakimono (Forest Pottery) Fair. The vendors sold various items like pottery, wood crafts, and clothes at reasonable prices. Many of them had the “made in Japan” advertisement. A couple carnival game booths were set up in the area for children to win prizes.