Japan Australia Pages

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Winter Illuminations in Japan

During the colder months in Japan a lot of places put on spectacular night time illuminations. The illuminations usually start late autumn and last until early February. Most are FREE and definitely worth checking out as they are a highlight of winter in Japan.

Some of the most popular and spectacular are:

Kobe Luminaire in Kobe, a light festival, this is the original and most famous. The illuminations run for two weeks in December and are turned on for a few hours each evening. They are truly spectacular with each light individually hand painted. Kobe Luminaire is dedicated to the memory and recovery of the Kobe Earthquake in 1995.

Nabana no Sato located in Kuwana City in Mie Prefecture, it is a theme park dedicated to flowers. They have one of Japan’s finest winter illuminations that runs for about 4 months from mid-November to mid-March. The highlight is the spectacular light tunnel.

Nabana no Sato 

Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its gassho zukkuri farmhouses. This place has been famous for years due to its thatched roof farmhouses, but the beauty is raised to an even higher level when the houses are lit up in the snow. Spotlights illuminate the snow covered thatched roofs and runs from mid-January to mid-February.

Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, this annual snow festival also called the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri is a winter favourite. It is held each year in early February with dozens of large and amazingly elaborate ice and snow sculptures. The event will be held from February 5-11 in 2013 and the amazing ice sculptures are lit at night creating a winter fairyland.

Tokyo has quite a few seasonal illuminations spots including:

• Shinjuku Southern Terrace, south of JR Shinjuku Station
• Ginza, Christmas trees along Chuo Street and store illuminations
• Odaiba, has the “Daiba Memorial Tree" in Odaiba Kaihin Park
• Tokyo Dome City, has an impressive collection of illuminations
• Maranouchi, the Nakadori Street is lit up with illuminations

Most places in Japan will have some kind of winter illuminations, so wherever you are in Japan, you will be able to enjoy this winter tradition.

Light Tunnel at Nabana no Sato

12 comments:

  1. Nice selection. Odaiba area is best for viewing the Tokyo Bay at night. There are many restaurants and shops. :)

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    1. Thanks Cocomino, There are so many amazing winter illuminations in Japan, that I just tried to highlight some of the main ones. I'm looking forward to visiting Odaiba again in January to take some night shots and hopefully see the new Gundam addition :)

      John

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  2. Even in smaller cities you will find nice and cute or interesting illuminations.

    I'm so happy that this year I'll FINALLY be able to see the one in Kobe! ^___^

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    Replies
    1. Thanks ZJ, Yeah, there seem to be illuminations everywhere in Japan around this time of the year. The Kobe Luminaire is the most famous and many people consider the best. Must be good living in the Kansai area, so you can pay it a visit this year :)

      John

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  3. I'm looking forward to seeing Ye ones around Tokyo.

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    1. Thanks Thomas, Me, too! I hope they last until we reach Tokyo early next year :)

      John

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  4. I love the winter illuminations in Japan. We were too early to enjoy the Kobe one last year. Oh well..

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    1. Hi Lina, We love them and great for the whole family. Hope you get the chance to experience the Kobe one at some stage. Also highly recommend Nabana no Sato and Shirakawa-go :)

      John

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  5. Thanks for sharing these! I'd like to add the Sendai Pageant of Starlight: http://www.sentabi.jp/1000/0007/0000/1000000700000004.html
    I know about this one because I used to live there :-)

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    1. Thanks StarBrooke, Not a problem and only happy to share. Thanks for suggesting the Sendai Pageant of Starlight. I haven't seen this one yet, and will add it to the list of must see illuminations when I'm back in Japan :)

      John

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  6. I think the Marunouchi Lightopia will be extra beautiful this year, thanks to the gorgeously renovated Tokyo Station! ^^

    I haven't seen any English information yet, but you can read a Japanese article here.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Rurousha, I hope you post some pictures up of the illuminations in Tokyo. We are hoping to see some when we hit Tokyo in January. Hopefully a few of them are still around :)

      John

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