Winter illuminations: Tokyo becomes electric for the holidays

Although they might still need to work on some aspects to recreate a truly authentic Christmas, Japan does the illuminations part like no other. Hit some of these spots to feel Christmas spirit in megawatts.

By Vivian Morelli

Roppongi Hills

We’re inclined to say the luxury complex has some of the best illuminations around town, including a breathtaking view of the city if you climb up to the top. Catch Roppongi Hills’ 10th Anniversary Christmas illuminations until December 25.


The posh Roppongi Hills neighbor is going all out with its bright Starlight Garden and Starlight Road, which are basically fields of lights. Midtown also has the Champagne illumination, which are Champagne glass-shaped trees covered in LEDs. Until December 25.


Shopping in December would not be the same without the bright lights. Tokyo’s own version of Les Champs Elysées is sporting over 500,000 LED lights for a true magical feeling, and you can even participate in a stamp rally with your smartphone. Until January 5.


The kids will love the underwater world, “White Xmas in the Sea,” created by lights on the Caretta Plaza. The show is both stunning and interactive: visitors can clap their hands and influence the rhythm of the soundtrack and illumination on this 3D projection mapping. Until December 25.


The busiest station in the world gets even busier with an additional thousands of lights. The Shinjuku Terrace City is boasting a colorful gleam, and so is the sleek Southern Terrace, located south of JR Shinjuku station. You can even view the lights from the warmth of one of the cafes located nearby, and until after Valentine’s Day. Until February 16.

Ginza Hikarimichi

Tokyo’s glitziest district isn’t left out of the illumination madness: walk down Chuo street to admire the numerous Christmas trees, and each luxury flagship participating in their own way. This year, the theme is “Rings of Hope,” and you can donate money to support the children affected by the Tohoku Earthquake. Until January 19.


Not only does it have winter fireworks, but Odaiba also has one of the biggest illuminated Christmas trees in Tokyo. Catch the mammoth tree in the Odaiba Kaihin Park in front of the water, and walk around the island for surrounding illumination events. Until March 16.


The newly revamped district is turning out to be such a chic spot, and especially so during the holidays. The entire district is glowing with more than one million (!) Champagne-colored LED lights- thankfully it’s an “eco” illumination that reduces power consumption by nearly 65%. Until December 25.

Akasaka Sacas

Want to burn some calories while viewing Christmas lights? It’s possible while gliding on the ice skating rink at Akasaka Sacas, with their event dubbed “White Sacas,” featuring a slick skating rink and thousands of white lights decking the surrounding trees. Until March 2.

Yebisu Garden Place

Steps away from Ebisu station, the plaza irradiates with its enormous Baccarat chandelier, which is the largest in the world. Tacky or not, it’s quite striking, and the surrounding lit up trees give the whole area a magical, fairyland-like feel. Until December 25.

Tokyo Tower

The Tokyo landmark gets all glammed up this season, featuring a glitzy light show until Christmas Day. The tower, ever so stylish, will be wearing red on the first floor, and gold at the top. Tokyo Tower also features a massive Christmas tree (12 meters, nothing less) that blinks to the tune of Christmas carols twice per hour. Until December 25.

Image: Marufish/Flickr

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