Japan successfully brightens up the gloomy winter days with its spectacular winter illumination displays, which are scattered up and down the country. These pop up around Christmas and New Year, and have become a famous and popular attraction to residents and tourists alike. Here are the top 7 places to see the winter illuminations in Japan.
1. Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination
This magnificent array of lights is on display from mid-November to mid-March. Nabana no Sato is a Japanese theme park, and is completely transformed during the winter months. The park displays around 8 million LED lights, creating a truly spectacular display. Each year has a different theme and so completely differs year on year.
2. Kobe Luminarie
Not only is this a spectacular winter illumination display, but the exhibit has an important meaning associated with it. The display starting in 1995 in memory of the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake. The victims are remembered each year at the display, and the event raises a lot of money in donations and sponsorships. The bright display is the product of works from both Japanese and Italian artists, creating a truly unique light show. Kobe Luminarie attracts as many as 3 million visitors each year, but is only present for a couple of weeks during December.
3. The Kingdom of Light, Huis Ten Bosch
Held at a Dutch theme park in Nagaski, this light show is famous for its extravagance. This winter array of lights is enormous, covering nearly the whole theme park with millions and millions of lights. Part of the display forms a light waterfall from a height of 66 meters, and is thought to be one of the best night views in Japan.
4. Osaka Hikari Renaissance
Resident on Nakanoshima Island, this illumination event involves projections onto neo-renaissance architecture. The Osaka Hikari Public Hall becomes a stage for the light show, paired with art installation and music. This place becomes a creative hub during the event, attracting visitors far and wide.
5. Ashikaga Flower Park
Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi is known for its famous flower shows during spring. The light show replicates these flower shows with wonderful lights and projections, even mimicking hanging wisteria. Over 4 million LED lights cover the majority of the park, resulting in a mesmerising and immersive experience.
5. Caretta Shiodome, Tokyo
This winter illumination is argued to be the best light show. Seen in between Caretta’s high rise buildings, thousands of LED lights put on a spectacular show, completely bringing the area to life. Each year has a different spectacular theme, with this year set to be a magnificent ‘Beauty and the Beast’ theme that will represent a banqueting hall with large candles made up of lights.
6. Sendai Pageant of Starlight
This winter illumination is one of Japan’s largest illumination events. Jozenji-dori Street is well-known for being beautifully lined with 160 keyaki trees. During the winter illumination, these trees are dressed in over 500,000 LED lights, transforming the street into a wonderfully warm glow. This show is famous for its ‘starlight wink’ where the lights are switched off and back on again. This display is truly picture perfect!
These are just a few winter illuminations that Japan holds up and down the country. The beauty of these illuminations is that they often involve the beautiful landscape of each area, incorporating the surroundings in these wonderful displays. Visiting an illumination during winter in Japan is definitely one for the bucket list!