One thing you can’t deny about Japan is that there’s always something to look forward to. Even as days get shorter and temperatures drop, there’s a silver lining to the early sunset: the countless number of illuminations that begin popping up around town. Here’s a roundup of this year’s most impressive and beautiful illumination events in Tokyo and beyond.
Yomiuri Land Jewellumination
Located about an hour away from Tokyo, Yomiuri Land amusement park’s event is for the firmest of illumination fans as the entire venue get covered in colorful lights designed by Motoko Ishii.
When: Until February 19, 4pm-8.30pm
Where: Yomiuri Land (adults ¥1,200, junior high/high school students/65+ ¥600, elementary school students ¥300, younger children free)
More information: www.yomiuriland.com/jewellumination/
Sagamiko Illumillion 2016
This amusements park is about an hour from Tokyo and its illumination includes a whopping six million lights including Japan’s first omnidirectional illumination, the “Splash Swan Palace.” Be sure to take a few rides at night time to enjoy the illumination from above.
When: Until April 9, 4pm-9.30pm
Where: Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest
More information: www.sagamiko-resort.jp/illumillion/
Yebisu Garden Place Winter Illumination 2016
The winter event at Yebisu Garden Place is inspired by France and includes a “marché de Noël,” a Christmas tree decorated in French-chic style, and a blue illumination display to make you feel as though you’re walking alongside a Parisian canal. Another highlight is the chandelier featuring 25,471 crystal pieces and 410 lights.
When: Until January 9, 12pm-12am
Where: Yebisu Garden Place
More information: gardenplace.jp/special/2016christmas/
Tokyo Dome City Winter Illuminations
Tokyo Dome City does not only celebrate Christmas with its winter illuminations, but also the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Italian diplomatic relations. That means Italian-themed illuminations, as well as the Italian “witch” Befana who’ll be handing out treats for kids during the event.
When: Until February 19, 4pm-1am
Where: Tokyo Dome City
More information: www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/illumination/
Marunouchi Illumination 2016
For the past 15 years, Marunouchi has been getting dressed up for the festive season in an elegant champagne gold illumination. About 250 trees between Yurakucho and Otemachi will be covered in approximately one million eco-lights.
When: Until February 19, 5.30pm-11pm
Where: Marunouchi Naka-dori
More information: www.marunouchi.com/event/detail/2653
Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas 2016
The organizers of the Roppongi Hills Christmas illuminations are taking this year’s theme very seriously indeed. It’s called “Twinkle!! Twinkle!!” and features two colour combinations, “Candle & Amber” and “Snow & Blue,” which will alternate throughout the day. There’s even an app that can be downloaded and used in combination with the arty installations.
When: Until December 25, 5pm-11pm
More information: http://www.roppongihills.com.e.nt.hp.transer.com/events/2016/11/002054.html
Midtown Christmas 2016
Of course, the organizers of the Midtown Christmas illuminations keep things super classy. Besides their signature “Starlight Garden” which uses illusory blue lights to transport you “out into the vastness of space,” there’s also a Vision Dome with full-color LEDs, and four new searchlights, beaming 100m upward to provide a dynamic depiction of the birth of the universe.
When: Until December 25, 5pm-11pm
Where: Tokyo Midtown
More information: http://www.tokyo-midtown.com/jp/xmas/illumination/
Autumn Evening Illumination at Rikugien Gardens
The beautiful Rikugien Gardens, which were created based on the theme of Waka poetry in 1702, is set to have an illumination display focusing on autumn leaves, rather than Christmas. Enjoy a last glimpse at the colorful leaves, say goodbye to autumn, and welcome winter.
Caretta Illumination 2016 Canyon d’Azur
Due to its popularity, this year’s Caretta Illumination will be prolonged for an extra month, until February. The illumination show, under the theme of “Forest of Spirits,” will be held every 20 minutes, with each show lasting about eight minutes.
Omotesando Hills Christmas
Around Christmas time, the streets of Omotesando Hills are as fancy as it gets. Although there’s no special theme, the streets sparkle in thousands of lights, and a Christmas tree inside Omotesando Hills is decorated in 30,000 color-changing bulbs.