Turning On the Lights: Guide to Tokyo’s Best Winter Illuminations

While Christmastime in Tokyo may not evoke the same nostalgic sentiment as New York City’s Rockefeller Center or Vienna’s Christmas Market, what it lacks in history Tokyo  makes up for in millions of dazzling LED lights. From fall through spring Tokyo’s commercial centers become blinking, magical wonderlands. Perfect for a romantic stroll, family outing, or meet-up with friends, the vast lineup of majestic light shows will bring smiles to everyone from across the globe, even the North Pole.

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 13th year. Featuring 250,000 LED lights and accompanied by music, the electric show takes place every 15 minutes, perfect for an evening stroll through the swanky neighborhood. Please note that the mall is closed on January 1 and 2, 2019.

When: Nov 15, 2018–Feb 14, 2019

Where: Caretta Shiodome

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Tobu Zoo Winter Illumination

Take in winter illuminations alongside penguins, bears and white tigers. Over three million lights pulsate to music at Tobu Zoo’s annual illumination show, bringing to life the animal statues in the Flower Garden, and enhancing the enclosures of popular animals – such as the aforementioned white tiger and penguins. Look out for Santa and his reindeers who may pay a visit, too.

When: Oct 27, 2018–Feb 11, 2019

Where: Tobu Zoo, Saitama

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Tokyo Dome City Winter Illumination

Known for its creative takes on winter illumination, this year Tokyo Dome City is back with another sophisticated theme – Edo elegance and Japanese beauty. More than two million LEDs will be draped over structures and displays. Experiment with the interactive projectors which, depending on people’s movement, transform the designs like a kaleidoscope. Experience a space odyssey time warp on the rollercoasters or sit back and admire the lights with your loved ones at the home of Tokyo’s Giants.

When: Nov 7, 2018–Feb 17, 2019

Where: Tokyo Dome City

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas

Watch the lights twinkle as they change from “snow and blue” to “candle and red” along the posh streets of Roppongi. This year, Artelligent Christmas will also install illuminations at West Walk. Stroll through the stores and hunt for mulled wine at Roppongi Hills’ Christmas market, which will host a Christmas concert to further spread the holiday cheer.

When: Nov 7–Dec 25

Where: Roppongi Hills

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Marunouchi Illumination

With Champagne lights that bathe the cobblestone streets in a golden glow, the Marunouchi Illumination turns the Yurakucho, Tokyo and Otemachi area into a picture-perfect European Christmas miracle. Lighting up sculptures and 200 roadside trees along a 1.2 kilometer-stretch of the chic shopping district, the illuminations use 65 percent less power, making this an eco-friendly affair. Follow the string of one million fairy lights to the Mikimoto Christmas tree by Chuo Dori and bask in the Christmas spirit.

When: Nov 8, 2018-Feb 17, 2019

Where: Marunouchi, Otemachi, Yurakucho

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Yomiuri Land Jewellumination

Yomiuri Land, about an hour away from Shinjuku on the Odakyu Line, is back again with a dazzling jewel-like spectacle imagined by brilliant designer Motoko Ishii. The night view of Tokyo in the background will make for an unforgettable night. With six million lights, the illumination is the largest in the metropolitan area. Surround yourself with candy lights at the Pink Sapphire Town and skate away at the brand new ice skating rink as you watch the colorful illuminations sparkle around you.

When: Until Feb 17, 2019

Where: Yomiuri Land

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Autumn Evening Illumination at Rikugien Gardens

Before winter sets in, enjoy the bounty of illuminated colorful leaves and wish autumn well. 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 17–Dec 9

Where: Rikugien Gardens

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Odaiba Illumination “Yakei”

Running throughout the year but especially breathtaking in the winter time is Odaiba’s “Yakei” Illumination. Using 40 trees and 220,000 colorful lights, this illumination only adds to the beautiful skyline that showcases 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. Don’t forget to take a picture in front of the Odaiba Memorial Tree, the largest living tree in Tokyo decorated specially for Christmas time.

When: Throughout the year

Where: DECKS Tokyo Beach, 3F Seaside Deck

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Sagamiko Illumillion

Truly immerse yourself in the magic of winter with six million choreographed lights. Head an hour outside of Tokyo to the Kanto region’s biggest winter illumination where the Splash Swan performance, a water and light show timed to music, will put you in a dreamy state. 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. Celebrate the illuminations while unleashing your inner adrenaline junkie.

When: Nov 3, 2018–Apr 7, 2019

Where: Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Yebisu Garden Place Winter Illumination

Returning to Yebisu Garden Place for the 19th year, the spectacular Baccarat Eternal Lights introductions this year’s theme “the shape of pleasure.” The centerpiece attraction of all-gold-everything illumination event is the much anticipated chandelier made with 8,472 crystal pieces and 250 lights, as well as a towering Christmas tree decorated with 100,000 holiday lights. Grab a frosty pint at the Yebisu Beer Hall and take a sudsy stroll through this winter wonderland.

When: Nov 3, 2018-Feb 28, 2019

Where: Yebisu Garden Place

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Yurakucho Mullion Illumination

During the holiday season, the iconic building complex near Yurakucho Station – famous for its Mullion Musical Clock – displays an impressive array of illuminations. This year’s theme, starry sky, is inspired by the opening of the new planetarium, Konica Minolta Planetaria Tokyo, scheduled to open at Yurakucho Mullion this December. A special effects light show will be held every half hour. A lighting ceremony will be held November 8 from 18:30–19:00.

When: Nov 8, 2018-Feb 14, 2019

Where: Yurakucho Mullion

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Tokyo Midtown Christmas 2018

Tokyo Midtown always makes a big splash for Christmas and this year is no exception. Stretching across a green space of over two square kilometers, this year’s illumination spectacular features more than 190,000 LED lights and ethereal illuminated balloons depicting the stars and galaxies across the universe. There are four different light shows, creating colorful displays to light up the coming dark nights.

When: Nov 13–Dec 25

Where: Tokyo Midtown

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Ao no Dokutsu Shibuya Christmas Illumination

Walk through the iridescent illumination of Ao no Dokutsu Shibuya, or Shibuya Blue Cave, which extends from Shibuya Park Street to Yoyogi Park Zelkova Street. The event, first started in Nakameguro in 2014, was a huge hit among locals and tourists alike. Moving to its new location in Shibuya last year, the illuminations garnered over two million visitors in a month. Now the dazzling blue illuminations are grander than ever with approximately 600,000 LED lights.

When: Nov 22–Dec 31

Where: Shibuya Park Street to Yoyogi Park Zelkova Street

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Nishi-shinjuku Machigurumi Project Illumination Museum 2018

The skyscraper business district of Nishi-shinjuku participates in the 14th annual festivities by lighting up with over 180,000 LED lights. Pose in front of the notorious LOVE sculpture located in the Shinjuku Island, along with the surrounding illuminated trees in the background, and snap a picture capturing the essence of the Christmas season.

When: Nov 19–Dec 25

Where: Around Nishi-Shinjuku Station

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination

For its 14th installment, Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination brings a floral theme to the event. Expanding from Shinjuku Southern Terrace to Shinjuku west entrance HALC, variations of pink lights wash over the area to present an ethereal fairy land. Roam through the magical forest of pink-lighted trees on Southern Terrace or snap a picture in front of HALC’s floral Christmas tree adorned with a teal-lighted butterfly, giving the illusion that you have wings.

When: Nov 14, 2018–Feb 14, 2019

Where: From Shinjuku Southern Terrace to HALC

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Showa Kinen Park Winter Vista Illumination 2018

Plunge into the Christmas spirit and wander around the Showa Kinen Park for its Winter Vista Illumination. Admire the 4.5-meter-tall Champagne glass trees composed of 15,000 illuminated glass parts each, as well as the rows of twinkling trees along the park canal, making the area a perfect spot for a romantic holiday stroll. Marvel at the winter fireworks on December 2nd, 16th, 23rd and 25th to celebrate winter with a bang. Bring children to make candles, garlands and Christmas ornaments at the weekend workshops.

When: Dec 2–Dec 25

Where: Showa Kinen Park

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Tokyo German Village Winter Illumination

Take an illumination excursion in an electric cart at this ever-popular Christmas illumination event. Other highlights include a light and sound show, rainbow tunnel and 3D illuminations. In accordance with this year’s theme “wish,” magical creatures and artifacts such as a phoenix, power stone and witch will be placed around the village to help you grant your wish. With over 2.5 million LED lights, you’ll be entranced by this magical winter world.

When: Nov 1, 2018-Apr 7, 2019

Where: Tokyo German Village

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Omotesando Hills Christmas Illumination 2018

Inspired by the beauty of the Aurora Borealis, the ceiling of the grand staircase in the atrium will be adorned with thousands of icicle-like structures dangling to form a “curtain of light.” Every 20 minutes, watch a performance of the aurora-like lights flicker and shift colors according to the music. Lastly, admire the seven-meter-tall Christmas tree, lighting up in shades of red, green and Champagne gold.

When: Nov 7–Dec 25

Where: Omotesando Hills

Find more information on our online events calendar.

Omotesando Illumination 2018 by Google Pixel

Stroll down the high-end shopping street – from the Jingubashi intersection to the Omotesando intersection – under the glow of 150 trees lit with approximately 900,000 Champagne-gold lights. Whether shopping or enjoying a romantic stroll, the enchanting lights will brighten the holiday season. 

When: Nov 29–Dec 25

Where: From Omotesando Station to JR Harajuku Station

Find more information on our online events calendar.

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