Rikugien Garden’s Autumn Night Light Festival 2016

Rikugien Garden’s Autumn Night Light Festival in 2016 was superb. It is an annual event at the park. When the grounds are illuminated they become hauntingly beautiful. It is a must-see event for photographers. I’ve been a few times and love it.  Unfortunately, so does everyone else in Tokyo. You’ll be there with 1000s of people. Luckily, the pictures make it worthwhile.

crowd waits for Rikugien Gardens fall light up in 2016-Enhanced-NR
The crowd waits for the lights to go on.

I went for the first time in 2016. And these photos are from that time. The night scene knocked me off my feet. While it wasn’t on the same level as Mount Takao, it was impressive. Whoever organized the lights did an excellent job. The trees and pond came alive with colors and reflections.

It was a pity about the crowd because it was so big. You had to decide whether to wait for your turn for pictures. But that could take time. Or you could move on but risk missing a photo opportunity. But there was another alternative. It paid to go later in the night. As the temperature dropped, the number of people did, too. That can be a good tactic at Rikugien Garden’s Autumn Night Light Festival!

Anyway, the pond area was the worst. Usually, it takes a minute to get to it from the entrance on an average day.  Not for this event. When the crowd was at its peak, it took about five minutes, which was conservative.

The grounds were so thick with people. With so many stopping to take pictures or enjoy the view, minimal movement occurred. It was a human traffic jam. The security guys told everyone to keep moving, but that didn’t happen. It was understandable. Everyone wanted to enjoy the autumn leaves under the lights leisurely.

man making Japanese dango
Making dango for guests.

On this occasion, I learned something. For this type of event, a tripod was necessary. My Pentax K-3 was a nice camera, but not for low-light usage. It was tough shooting handheld under mixed and poor lighting conditions. I had to use a very high ISO, which resulted in a lot of noise. At home, even Topaz noise reduction software didn’t help.

Considering how crowded the Rikugien Garden’s Autumn Night Light Festival was, I shouldn’t complain. I would like to see wider paths, though. They might make the flow of people better. I’m not sure if that would be possible as the park is small.

Overall, I had a good time. It wasn’t the perfect night, but I got some pictures. By the way, I have a complete article about Rikugien, if you want to learn more. Please leave your questions and comments below.

Rikugien Garden's Autumn Night Light Festival photo gear:

  • Camera Body: Pentax K-3
  • Lenses: Pentax HD DA 21mm F3.2 AL and SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.7.

If you’d like to see more flower articles, look at:

External Japanese website about Rikugien Garden’s Autumn Night Light Festival 2016

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