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5 Places to View Spectacular Winter Lights in Kyoto

Kyoto usually exudes a charming atmosphere unique to Japan, however, on a winter night it is transformed into a gorgeous city filled with holiday lights. Here are must-see places to view winter lights for those who visit Kyoto during winter.

1. ROHM Illumination

This is one of the biggest winter light displays in Kyoto, provided by a semiconductor manufacturer ROHM Co., Ltd. and held around its Kyoto headquarters. Magical lights accompanied by music colors. It has been held since 1995 as a part of their social contribution, and approximately 800,000 lights on 82 trees centered around the avenue along Sai-dori are illuminated. Do not miss the Asian bog myrtle tree that is about 10m high which stands as a symbol of this light display, and many attractions which feature lights and music. This relaxing and fantastic space will stand out on a winter night in Kyoto.

Duration: From the end of November to Christmas, 2016

1. ROHM Illumination

21 Saiin Mizosaki-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

2. Kyoto Station Building Christmas Light Show

The station building is decorated with approximately 128,200 lights. A gigantic Christmas tree about 20m high and the light display which changes color to the rhythm of music will make an appearance as well. The east plaza has a simple yet elegant light display with a gazebo in the center. Inside the hanging channel located 45m above the ground, the shooting star-shaped lights are displayed for a romantic mood that makes you feel like you are walking in mid-air. All around the station building will be in the Christmas spirit, with wonderful decorations on the escalators in the central concourse and in the station square as well.

Duration: From mid-November to Christmas, 2016

2. Kyoto Station Building Christmas Light Show

Higashi Shio-koji Kamadono-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

3. Kyoto Botanical Garden

This is the oldest public botanical garden in Japan, and they open a greenhouse for viewing during nighttime along with the winter lights during the Christmas holiday season that is now a famous winter tradition in Kyoto. Approximately 100,000 LED light bulbs are decorated on trees and in flower gardens from the central gate of the botanical garden and the open greenhouse to the Kitayama gate and the Kamo River. There will also be a light carpet in the bulb garden in Kitayama. About 120,000 plants grow in the extensive grounds of 24ha. It is huge and the surrounding area becomes dark at night which makes the lights even more beautiful and sublime. You can relax and enjoy it with your family too.

Duration: From mid-December to December 25 (Sun), 2016

3. Kyoto Botanical Garden

Hangi-cho, Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

4. Kyocera Headquarters Winter Lights

The winter lights have been displayed since 1998 as one of Kyocera Group's regional revitalization projects. A giant Christmas tree of approximately 86m in height which utilizes the office lighting appears on the wall of the 20-story building. (it will be displayed from mid-December). The winter lights on zelkova trees along the street use about 200,000 colorful LED light bulbs to turn the street into a blue shining and magical forest path with music from a music box flowing throughout the plaza. They also hold a Christmas concert which adds a new flavor to a winter night.

Duration: From mid-November to Christmas, 2016

4. Kyocera Headquarters Winter Lights

6 Takeda Tobadono-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

5. Arashiyama Hanatouro

This is the early winter tradition in Kyoto. A flower and light road called Hanatouro will appear in the Saga/Arashiyama area. The gorgeous Hanatouro is decorated by the lights ("tou") of open-air lanterns which utilize LED lights and the flowers ("hana") in voluminous flower arrangements. You can see the natural landscape with lights at night in Togetsukyo Bridge, at the mountain foothills and around the waterfront, as well as the magical scene of the bamboo forest in lights from Nonomiya Shrine to Okochi-Sanso Garden. The temples and shrines along the hanatouro are decorated with lights as well and you can enjoy a side of Kyoto different from that of everyday life. From the mountainside of Jojakkoji Temple, you can enjoy the panoramic night view of Kyoto as well.

Duration: From December 9 (Fri) to December 18 (Sun), 2016

5. Arashiyama Hanatouro

Arashiyama, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Kyoto usually has a relaxing and calm atmosphere, but at this time of the year, it welcomes visitors with a glamorous air which is different from usual. Visit various places from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama and discover a new side of this old city.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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