Kyoto, with its calm Japanese atmosphere, is also a place where grand Christmas events take place. The illuminations are particularly beautiful as they light up the streets in gorgeous colors. Here are five of the most recommended Christmas events that are held in Kyoto.
1. Doshisha University
The first event on this list is the Christmas event that is held at Doshisha University which has a long, 141-year history. Doshisha University is a Christian school that adheres to the principles of Congregationalism under Protestantism.
The illuminated 23m tall Himalayan Cedar tree, the tallest Christmas tree in Japan, on the Imadegawa campus has become one of the winter traditions in Kyoto. It is well loved by people in the region.
Event schedule: November 21, 2016 (Mon.) - December 25, 2016 (Sun.)
2. ROHM Illumination
Next on the list is the famous illumination spot that is considered to be the largest of its kind in Kyoto: the display of lights sponsored by the semiconductor/electronic parts manufacturer ROHM, which has its headquarters in Kyoto. This company has been mounting an illumination show around its head office since 1995 as a part of its social contribution program. The event in 2016 will represent the 18th time that ROHM will be holding this event.
In this event, 80,000 trees, mainly those in the tree-lined avenue along Sai-dori (popularly known as Kasuga-dori) facing the ROHM headquarters, are lit up by about 800,000 lights. In this year’s event, ROHM is slated to hold an interactive attraction incorporating lights and music, with the 10m-tall bayberry trees at the corner of Gojo-dori and Sai-dori serving as symbolic trees for the event. This illumination show will light up the Kyoto nights, giving guests a sensation of floating in a peaceful and fantastic space.
Event schedule: November 24, 2016 (Thurs.) - December 25, 2016 (Sun.)
3. Kyoto Station Building’s Christmas Illumination
The next event on the list is the illumination at Kyoto Station Building, the gateway to Kyoto. Various areas inside this building are decorated with about 120,000 lights during the Christmas season from early November. The star of the show is the gigantic 22m-tall Christmas tree. In 2016, it will be decorated based on the streets in Prague to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Kyoto and Prague.
Guests can also look forward to different decorations and atmosphere in every area in the building, including the shooting star illumination in the hanging road that is perched 45m above the ground, and the simple and elegant illumination at the east plaza on the 7th floor of the building.
Event schedule: November 5, 2016 (Sat.) - December 25, 2016 (Sun.)
4. Kyoto Hotel Okura
The next event on the list is the Christmas event that is held at Kyoto Hotel Okura that is celebrating its 128th anniversary in 2016. Inside the hotel, various colorful decorations will be on display, centering on the enormous Christmas tree in the main lobby. Around 30,000 lights will illuminate the entrance of the hotel and the roadside trees around it, enchanting people with the glittering lights. Guests have been raving about the special Christmas menu served at the French restaurant and other restaurants inside the hotel from December 23rd (Friday) until December 25th (Sunday) each year.
Event schedule: November 29, 2016 (Tues.) - December 25, 2016 (Sun.)
5. Kyoto Botanical Garden
The last event on the list is the illumination event at the Kyoto Botanical Garden. About 100,000 LED bulbs light up the area from the front gate up to the open greenhouse, the tree-lined streets, the various trees inside the garden and the flower garden. The 20m-tall trident maple that is lit against the pitch black night is always one of the most popular photography spots each year, especially the sight of it reflected on the surface of pond. During the Christmas event, a wide array of performances and attractions are held, including mini-concerts (such as hand bells and jazz) in the night room of the open greenhouse and inside the building in the garden.
Event schedule: December 16, 2016 (Fri.) - December 25, 2016 (Sun.)
Admission fee: 200 JPY
If you happen to visit Kyoto during the Christmas season, don’t limit yourself to the usual traditional vibe of the city. Why not try and enjoy the bright and magical Christmas scene as well?
*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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