After undergoing five years of extensive renovation, Tokyo Station unveiled its newly restored facade and its refurbished red bricks in 2012. To commemorate such a joyous occasion, the usual winter illumination display, called Tokyo Station Michiterasu, was given a high-tech jolt, with a theme officially dubbed “an unforgettable lightning experience for the holidays.”
In addition to thousands of shiny lights, including revolving lanterns along Gyoko-dori Avenue, the event featured state-of-the-art 3D projection mapping that covered the entire face of the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building. As you can imagine, thousands upon thousands of lookyloos showed up for the free display, clogging up the site and bringing traffic around Tokyo Station to a standstill. On the second night the event was canceled because of the great hassle caused by bringing holiday joy to the masses.
A much more subdued, yet elegant, version of Tokyo Station Micherasu will be on display in 2019 from December 21–25. Here are some of Tokyo’s other iconic illuminations causing heads to turn this year.
Just a hop, skip and a jump from Tokyo Station, the Marunouchi Illumination turns the Yurakucho, Tokyo and Otemachi area into a picture-perfect European Christmas miracle. Champagne lights bathe the cobblestone streets in a golden glow. Sculptures and 200 roadside trees are lit up 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: Until Feb 16, 2020
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.
When: Until Feb 14, 2020
Watch the lights twinkle as they change from “snow and blue” to “candle and red” along the posh streets of Roppongi. This year, view Artelligent Christmas from high above with the Sky Christmas Illumination. Meanwhile, stroll through the stores and hunt for mulled wine at the Roppongi Hills Christmas Market.
When: Until Dec 25
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 220,000 LED lights and ethereal illuminated balloons depicting the stars and galaxies across the universe.
When: Until Dec 25, 2019
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: Until Feb 24, 2020
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 more than two million visitors in a month. Now the dazzling blue illuminations are grander than ever with approximately 600,000 LED lights.
When: Until December 31
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 ice skating rink as you watch the colorful illuminations sparkle around you.
When: Until May 6, 2020
Feature photo by picture cells / Shutterstock.com