Illuminations are a special treat on cold winter nights. The fantastical beauty of the glittering, multicolored lights can take one's breath away! Here are seven recommended illuminations around the country.
1. Ashikaga Flower Park (Tochigi)
The illuminations at Ashikaga Flower Park, with more than 3 million light bulbs lit up in a vast park, has been designated as one of the three major illuminations in the Kanto area by Nihon Yakei Isan, a bureau that ranks Japanese night views. Flowers made of light fill the Light Flower Garden, and in the Miraculous Great Wisteria area, showers of blooming purple wisteria are lit up. There is also a Pyramid of Light that is reflected onto water, and fantastical murals such as Snow World and Rainbow Magic are created on a mountain slope. This is a winter wonderland of flowers befitting a flower park.
Event dates: Scheduled for late October 2016 - early February 2017
Ashikaga Flower Park
Ashikaga Flower Park
2. Kobe Luminarie (Hyogo)
Kobe Luminarie was started as a reconstruction project after the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. It was held in December of the same year and has been held in December every year since. Luminarie comes from the Italian for illumination. Italian designers participate in its production every year. Kobe is considered to have one of Japan's three top night views, and Luminarie has added a beautiful festival of lights as a winter cultural event to the sight. This is light art designed in accordance with a different theme every year. It is one of the most popular illuminations in the country.
Event dates: Friday, December 2, 2016 - Sunday, December 11, 2016
3. Showa Kinen Park (Tokyo)
Showa Kinen Park is a vast national park with pools and ponds. There is a variety of illuminations that can be enjoyed from the Tachikawaguchi entrance to the Fureai Hiroba ground including a light tunnel on the ginkgo tree lined path and a laser show on the canal connecting the five fountains. In addition, approximately 300 fireworks are displayed on the two days around Christmas, creating a collaboration in air and on land of lights! There are various activities for people of all ages and for the family to enjoy together including an illuminated maze called the Light Labyrinth, a mini train with lights called the Fantasia Train, message candles (for a fee), and stalls for a festival atmosphere.
Event dates: Early to late December, 2016
4. Tokyo Midtown (Tokyo)
This is a fantastical illumination that appears in the middle of Tokyo. Tokyo Midtown is a popular spot with a variety of facilities including a shopping center, museum, park and hotel. Here, a night entertainment show is presented with 520,000 blue LED lights filling a 2,000-square-meter grass field and flickering in synchrony with sound. In addition, there is an approximately 4m-high Santa Tree, made with 1,800 Santa Claus dolls, and decorations based on a yearly theme that can be enjoyed indoors as well.
Event dates: Scheduled for mid-November to Christmas, 2016
5. Country Farm Tokyo German Village (Chiba)
Country Farm Tokyo German Village in Sodegaura is a theme park 27 times the size of Tokyo Dome. Its most popular winter event is the illumination. The illuminations that light up various parts of the park in accordance with a yearly theme are fantastic decorations that people of all ages can enjoy. Each area can be visited by car on a cold day, so the whole family can experience the event together. There are parking spaces for each area in the park, adding up to a total 3,000 parking spots so that guests can enjoy the illumination without worry.
Event dates: Scheduled for November 2016 to March 2017
6. Toki no Sumika (Shizuoka)
Toki no Sumika is a resort that combines a variety of facilities including hotels, a brewery, a museum, and onsen hot springs in Gotemba, an area known for outlet shopping. It is famous for the world's first fountain illumination. A beautiful and dazzling world is devised through such creations as the Tunnel of Light, where lighted flowers fill the ceiling, and the 20m-high illuminated fir tree called the Illumination Tree. You can also enjoy a fantastical water fountain show (for a fee) at the same time.
Event dates: Scheduled for late October, 2016 to March, 20, 2017
7. Nabana no Sato (Mie)
Nabana no Sato is a theme park near Nagoya in Mie. F
It's famous for hosting one of Japan's most spectacular illuminations, there are special express trains from Nagoya for this purpose. Visitors will be awed by the fantastical scenes presented there, such as the Hanakairo light tunnel, Water Illumination, Sea of Clouds in Light, and Twin Tree. Nabana no Sato is a botanical garden in Nagashima Resort. The onsen hot spring available for day trips, Satono-yu, is on the same grounds, so it is a place to relax and enjoy.
Event dates: Scheduled for Mid October 2016 to Early May 2017
Whether in town or at a resort, the Japanese isles in winter are transformed by lights into a fantastical world! And at Christmastime, they are filled with crowds including couples and families. Why not experience one of Japan's beautiful winter events?
*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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