Some of the most popular and spectacular Winter Illuminations for 2013 include:
Kobe LuminaireKobe Luminaire in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture. It is a light festival, which is the original and most famous in Japan. The illuminations run for twelve days in December and are turned on for a few hours each evening. They are truly spectacular with each light individually hand painted. Kobe Luminaire started after the Kobe Earthquake in 1995 with the hope to give courage and inspire the people of Kobe. It was such a success that it has continued as an annual event. This year’s theme is “A Memory of Light”, Kobe Luminaire will run from December 5-16.
|Kobe Luminaire image source|
Nabana no SatoNabana 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 park is covered in more than 8 million LED lights with the highlight, the spectacular light tunnel. This year’s theme is “Nature”, and the park will celebrate the recent addition of Mt. Fuji as a UNESCO World Heritage Site by a giant illuminated model of the famous mountain. The model will change to represent the different seasons and times of day. Nabana no Sato Winter Illuminations will run from October 25 2013 to March 31 2014.
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|The Light Tunnel at Nabana no Sato|
Sirakawa-goShirakawa-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 which makes this place look like Santa’s village in the North Pole. It is truly spectacular. This year it will run from the end of January to February.
Dates: January 18,25,26 and February 1,2,9,15
|Winter Illuminations at Shirakawa-go image source|
Sapporo Snow FestivalSapporo 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 2014 and the amazing ice sculptures are lit at night creating a winter wonderland.
|Sapporo Snow Festival image source|
Some spectacular spots around the Tokai Area of Japan are:
Kiso Sansen ParkKiso Sansen Park, located in Kaizu City in Gifu Prefecture, is an urban city park. The park first opened in 1987 and is the largest urban park in Japan. Every winter from early to late December they have a spectacular winter illumination consisting of about 500,000 lights that decorate the park.
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138 Tower Park138 Tower Park, located in Ichinomiya City in Aichi Prefecture, it is one of the best public parks in Japan. It features a spectacular 138 meter high observation tower with dual arches. From mid-November to late-December the park is decorated with around 500,000 lights creating a spectacular winter illumination. This year’s theme is “Galaxy Fantasy” with the illuminations set up so that when viewed from the tower above they actually look like a galaxy of stars.
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|138 Tower Park Galaxy Fantasy|
Tokyo has quite a few seasonal illuminations spots including:
• Shinjuku Southern Terrace, south of JR Shinjuku Station – November 13, 2013 to February 16, 2014
• Ginza, Christmas trees along Chuo Street and store illuminations – November 16, 2013, to December 25, 2013
• Roppongi Hills, 10th Anniversary Christmas Illumination Event – November 5, 2013 to December 25, 2013
• Tokyo Midtown, Midtown Christmas featuring the “Starlight Garden” – November 14, 2013 to December 25, 2013
• Odaiba, has the “Daiba Memorial Tree" in Odaiba Kaihin Park – November 16, 2013 to March 16, 2014
• Tokyo Dome City, has an impressive collection of illuminations and displays – November 7, 2013 to February 16, 2014
• Marunouchi, the entire district lights up with Nakadori Street, especially beautiful – October 1, 2013 to February 16, 2014
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.
|Winter Illuminations at Nabana no Sato in Mie Prefecture|