Turning On Tokyo: The Weekender Guide to 2017’s Winter Illuminations

We get it: winter can be dull and miserable. But if there’s one thing that Tokyo does right, it’s transforming the city into Bedazzle Town once the holiday season begins. Whether you’re taking them in with your partner, your families, or with a group of friends, we promise that these light shows will warm you right up and light up a smile. So bundle up, fill your thermos with hot cocoa and check out the most majestic illuminations of Winter 2017.

Caretta Shiodome Winter Illumination

Often ranked as the best winter illumination by lights junkies (yes, they’re out there), Caretta Shiodome’s winter illuminations are now in their 11th year. Featuring 250,000 LED lights and accompanied by music, the electric show will happen every 20 minutes, perfect for an evening stroll through the swanky neighborhood. Please note that the mall will be closed on Jan 1 and 2, 2018.

When: Nov 17, 2017-Feb 14, 2018, 17:00-23:00 (18:00 start in Jan and Feb)

Where: Caretta Shiodome

More information: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/caretta-shiodome-winter-illumination/

Tobu Zoo Winter Illumination

What better place to take in winter illuminations than at the zoo, surrounded by animals? Using over 500,000 lights, Tobu Zoo’s annual illumination show includes lights pulsating to music, bringing animal statues in the Flower Garden and the enclosures of popular animals – such as the white tiger and penguins – to life. Look out for Santa and his reindeers who may pay a visit, too.

(White tiger enclosure lights at 18:00, Ferris wheel sakura lights at 19:00)

When: Oct 28, 2017-Feb 12, 2018 (Illumination pass tickets (entrance + night-time ride pass): Adults ¥2,000, Children ¥1,700)

Where: Tobu Zoo, Saitama

More information: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/tobu-zoo-winter-illumination/


Tokyo Tower Christmas Illumination

For a romantic, elegant winter evening, head to the Tokyo Tower. Illuminated in Christmas colors, accompanied by a majestic Christmas tree, and soundtracked with everybody’s favorite Christmas songs, these illuminations offer a perfectly classy way to enjoy the winter lights. So cuddle up under the tree and watch the iconic tower twinkle before your eyes.

When: Nov 3, 2017-Dec 25, 2017, 16:00-midnight

Where: Tokyo Tower

More information: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/tokyo-tower-christmas-illumination/

Tokyo Dome City Winter Illumination

Known for its creative takes on winter illumination, this year Tokyo Dome City is back with another tempting theme – sweets. More than 2 million LEDs will be draped over structures and displays, including a giant Hansel and Gretel cottage. Get your sugar high riding rollercoasters or sit back and admire the lights with your loved ones this winter at Tokyo’s favorite amusement park.

When: Nov 9, 2017-Feb 18, 2018, 16:00-midnight (After 17:00 tickets: ¥1,600, Dec 23-25: ¥1,800)

Where: Tokyo Dome City

More information: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/tokyo-dome-city-winter-illumination/

Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas

It’s that time of the year again. Roppongi Hills comes alive with its annual Christmas illuminations along Keyakizaka with over 1.2 million LED lights. Watch the lights glitter as they change from “Snow and Blue” to “Candle and Red” along the posh streets of Roppongi. This year, Artelligent Christmas will also feature illuminations at 66 Plaza and West Walk, which you can enjoy as you stroll through the stores and hunt for mulled wine. Roppongi Hills will also be hosting a Christmas concert and market to further spread the holiday cheer.

When: Nov 14, 2017-Dec 25, 2017, 17:00-midnight

Where: Roppongi Hills

More information: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/roppongi-hills-artelligent-christmas/

Marunouchi Illumination

Featuring champagne gold lights that decorate cobblestone streets, sculptures and 200 roadside trees along 1.2 kilometers of the chicest streets in town, Marunochi Illumination turns Yurakucho, Tokyo and the Otemachi area into a picture-perfect European Christmas miracle. And with lights that use 65 percent less power, the whole thing is an eco-friendly affair. Follow the string of fairy lights to the Mikimoto Christmas tree over by Chuo Dori and feel Christmas-y in the classiest way possible.

When: Nov 9, 2017-Feb 18, 2018, 17:30-23:00 (17:00-midnight in Dec)

Where: Marunouchi, Otemachi, Yurakucho

More information: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/marunouchi-illumination/

Yomiuri Land Jewellumination

Continuing their Jewellumination illumination event, Yomiuri Land, about an hour away from Shinjuku on the Odakyu Line, is back again – the dazzling jewel-like lights and the night view of Tokyo in the background will make for an unforgettable night. With over 5.5 million lights, the illumination designed by Makoto Ishii is the largest in the metropolitan area. Surround yourself with candy lights at the newly added Sweets Area, check out the 27-meter Jewellery Lighthouse (which opens on November 16), and skate away at the brand new ice skating rink as you watch the colorful illuminations sparkle around you.

When: Until Feb 18, 2018, 16:00-20:30 (Night pass (night entry + night attractions pass): 18-64 years old: ¥2,400, Children/HS students/65+: ¥1,600)

Where: Yomiuri Land

More information: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/yomiuri-land-jewellumination/

Autumn Evening Illumination at Rikugien Gardens

Before winter really sets in, enjoy the last of the colorful leaves and say goodbye to autumn. Built by a feudal lord during the Edo period, Rikugien Gardens was designed to reflect scenes from waka poems. The Tsukiyama-Sensui style garden’s illumination event is the perfect way to admire the fiery flames of autumn foliage with friends and family, and welcome the approaching Christmas season.

When: Nov 18, 2017-Dec 6, 2017, 16:30-21:00

Where: Rikugien Gardens

More information: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/autumn-evening-illumination-rikugien-gardens/

Odaiba Illumination “Yakei”

Running throughout the year but especially breathtaking in the winter time is Odaiba’s “Yakei” Illumination. Using 40 trees over a course of 200 meters and 220,000 colorful lights, this illumination only adds to the beautiful skyline that features Tokyo Bay, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree and the Rainbow Bridge. The illumination also features the Illusion Dome, Asia’s first projection system that detects human movements and projects 360-degree images of them. Don’t forget to take a picture in front of the Odaiba Memorial Tree, the largest living tree in Tokyo. It stands 20 meters high and 10 meters wide, and looks extra sparkly during Christmas time.

When: Throughout the year, sunset to midnight

Where: DECKS Tokyo Beach, 3F Seaside Deck

More information: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/odaiba-illumination-yakei/

Sagamiko Illumillion

If you’re looking for a more action-packed illumination event, this one’s for you. Sure to leave you in a dreamy state is the Splash Swan performance, a water and light (6 million of them!) show timed to music. The amusement park features 21 illumination rides and attractions, such as rollercoasters, bumper cars, a ski lift and an aquarium and zoo featuring illuminated fish and animals. See the lights from above or ride through them, and celebrate the illuminations while unleashing your inner adrenaline junkie.

When: Nov 3, 2017-Apr 8, 2018, 16:00-21:30 / Lights come on: 17:00 in Jan, 17:30 in Feb, 18:00 in Mar, 18:15 in Apr (Adult night pass: ¥2,300, Children night pass: ¥1,900)

Where: Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest

More information: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/sagamiko-illumillion/

Yebisu Garden Place Christmas Illumination

Returning to Yebisu Garden Place for the 18th year, Baccarat Eternal Lights might just be the most spectacular of Tokyo’s winter illuminations. This year’s theme is “Timeless,” and the all-gold-everything illumination event features the much anticipated huge chandelier made with 8,472 crystal pieces and 250 lights, as well as a towering Christmas tree decorated with 100,000 red baubles and lit up with strings and strings of fairy lights – traditional yet classy. So grab a frosty pint at the Yebisu Beer Hall and take a walk through this winter wonderland.

When: Nov 3, 2017-Jan 8, 2018

Where: Yebisu Garden Place

More information: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/yebisu-garden-place-christmas-illumination/

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