Winter Wonderland: 10 Illumination Events in Japan



2016~2017 Edition: Remember the Wonders of Winter with These Ten Illumination Events in Japan


Do the falling temperatures have you huddled inside, dreaming of warmer weather? Check out these ten illumination events from across Japan that will have you remembering the wonders of winter in no time! 

Huis Ten Bosch "KINGDOM of LIGHTS"

Huis Ten Bosch "KINGDOM of LIGHTS" 1

The winter illumination at Huis Ten Bosch was ranked best in Japan again for the fourth consecutive year. One of the highlights for this year is a 13 meter long, 6.5 meter high fire breathing dragon robot on which you can actually ride! There's also Japan's only "waterfall of light," bungee jumping into the "sea of light," and much more! 

While Nagasaki might fall outside of the typical tourist route, going during the winter to see this fantastic display of winter lights is highly recommended. 
Huis Ten Bosch "KINGDOM of LIGHTS" 2


Huis Ten Bosch "KINGDOM of LIGHTS" | ハウステンボス「光の王国」
Event period: October 29, 2016~May 7, 2017 
Hours: 9:00am~10:00pm (last entry 9:00pm)
*Please note that times may change based on the day or season. 
Admission (1-day passport): 
Adults 6,700 yen 
Middle and high school students 5,700 yen
4 years old to elementary students 4,300 yen
65 and older 6,200 yen 
Click here for more information about prices and access information. 

Romantic Starry Night -Musee du Petit Prince-

Romantic Starry Night -Musee du Petit Prince- 1
Fans of Saint-Exupéry's celebrated story Le Petit Prince won’t want to miss this Christmas display in Hakone. The facilities are decorated with Christmas trees and wreaths during the holiday season. In the evening, a beautiful projection mapping featuring the story's beloved characters transforms the French garden into the world of the Little Prince.
Romantic Starry Night -Musee du Petit Prince- 2


Romantic Starry Night -Musee du Petit Prince- | ロマンティック・スターリー・ナイト -星の王子さまミュージアム-
Event period: November 3, 2016~January 9, 2017
Illumination time: 5:00pm~6:00pm
Admission (same day): 
Adult 1,600 yen
High school students, college students, and seniors 1,100 yen
Elementary school students 700 yen 
Address: Museum of The Little Prince in Hakone
909 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken
Access: From Hakone Yumoto Station on the Hakone Tozan Line, take the Hakone Tozan bus bound for Kojiri / Togendai and get off at the Kawamukai Museum of The Little Prince bus
stop (approx. 30 min). 
Website (Japanese only):

Marunouchi Illumination 2016

Marunouchi Illumination
Nearly 250 trees along Marunouchi Naka-dori Street and Otemachi Naka-dori Street are wrapped in champagne gold colored lights, a special shade original to the Marunouchi area. The glow of an approximate total of one 1,300,000 LED lights makes the cold Tokyo night feel a little warmer. 


Marunouchi Illumination 2016 | 丸の内イルミネーション2016
Event period: November 10, 2016~February 19, 2017
Hours: 5:00pm~11:00pm (until midnight during December)
*Hours are subject to change.
Location: the sections of  Marunouchi Naka-dori Street and Otemachi Naka-dori Street around Tokyo Station
Access: Tokyo Station (Marunouchi Side)

OSAKA Hikari-Renaissance 2016

OSAKA Hikari-Renaissance 1
From Osaka City Hall to  Nakanoshima Park, the city of Osaka takes on a dream-like quality during the special illumination event OSAKA Hikari-Renaissance. From projection mapping at Osaka City Central Public Hall the to a water and light display in Nakanoshima Park, there's so much to see! Another can't-miss spot is the Hikari no Marche where you can enjoy delicious foods from Japan and around the world. 
OSAKA Hikari-Renaissance 2


OSAKA Hikari-Renaissance | OSAKA光のルネサンス2016
Event period: December 14~25, 2016
*Preview from November 20~December 13, 2016
Hours: 5:00pm~10:00pm
Event area: from Osaka City Hall to Nakanoshima Park
Access: Yodoyabashi Station and Kitahama Station (subway and Keihan Main line); Naniwabashi Station (Keihan Nakanoshima Line)

Midtown Christmas 2016

Midtown Christmas
Even on cold nights, this stunning display of lights is will tempt you outside. A grand total of approximately 520,000 LED lights are used in the various areas of this illumination. The main area of this illumination is the Starlight Garden that calls to mind the image of space. This year, there's a special attraction called the Vision Dome featuring four searchlights that stretch 100 meters up into the sky to represent the beginning of the universe. 


Midtown Christmas 2016 | ミッドタウン・クリスマス 2016
Event period: November 15~December 25, 2016
Hours: 5:00pm~11:00pm
Click here for address, access, and map information. 

The 36th Sapporo White Illumination

Sapporo White Illumination

Sapporo White Illumination is Japan's oldest winter illumination. It was first held in 1981 inside Odori Park with just a humble 1,048 lights. With the passing of years, it has grown in scale and become Japan's representative winter light display. With displays stretching out over three sections of the city, there's plenty to see! 


The 36th Sapporo White Illumination | 第36回さっぽろホワイトイルミネーション
Event period: 
Odori Park : November 18~December 25, 2016 
Ekimae dori : November 18, 2016~Febrary 12, 2017
Minami 1-jo dori : November 18, 2016~March 14, 2017
Hours: 4:30pm~10:00pm
*Until midnight Dec. 23~25
Areas: Odori Park, Ekimae dori, and Minami 1-jo dori
Access: JR Sapporo and subway Odori Stations

2016Hakodate Christmas Fantasy

Hakodate Christmas Fantasy

Get into the Christmas spirit with a stroll among these gorgeous lights this holiday season. The centerpiece of this event is the immense Christmas tree, a gift from the city's sister city Halifax in Canada, which is decorated with nearly 100,000 lights. There are plenty of events light fireworks and live performances to enjoy as well. 


2016 Hakodate Christmas Fantasy | 2016 はこだてクリスマスファンタジー
Event period: December 1~25, 2016
Hours: 4:30pm~5:45pm / 6:00pm~midnight
Area: in front of Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse
Access: 10 min walk from JR Hakodate Station

Hikari-no-Machi Hakata

Hikari-no Machi Hakata 1

These sophisticated lights in shades of blue at JR Hakata City create the atmosphere of a real winter wonderland. This year the square outside of JR Hakata Station is home to trees with lighted branches stretching skyward called "Sky Pillar Gate," and there will be a "Terrace of Flowers" around the statue by English sculptor and artist Henry Moore.
Hikari-no Machi Hakata 2


Hikari-no-Machi Hakata | 光の街・博多
Event period: November 10, 2016~January 11, 2017
Hours: 5:00pm~midnight
Location: JR Hakata City
Click here for address and access information

Kobe Illuminage

Kobe Illuminage 1
Enjoy a fairytale-like world of lights and music at the sixth Kobe Illuminage. Everywhere you look seems to be enveloped in a gentle white light. The brilliantly illuminated hotel façade pictured here is especially worth a look!  
Kobe Illuminage 2


Kobe Illuminage | 神戸イルミナージュ
Event period: November 1, 2016~February 12, 2017
Hours: 5:30pm~9:30pm
Adults 1,000 yen
Elementary school students ~ child 4 years of age 500 yen 
Children 3 and under free 
Address: Kobe Fruits Park
2150 Ozocho Kamiozo, Kita-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo-ken
Access: from Okaba Station on the subway Sanda line, take the Shinki bus bound for Fruits Park to the last stop (approx. 15 min.) 
Website (Japanese only):

Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination '16~'17

Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination 1

The theme for this year's Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination is "Making Smiles. Connecting Smiles. Smile Terrace Illumination" (笑顔をつくる。 笑顔をつなぐ。 スマイル テラスイルミネーション). Thanks to the sakura-inspired baby pink lights, the area is bathed in a soft, warm glow that's certain to bring cheer to your heart and a smile to your face. 
Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination 2


Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination '16-'17 | 新宿テラスシティ イルミネーション ’16-’17
Event period: November 9, 2016~February 14, 2017
*Subject to change. 
Hours: 5:00pm~midnight 
*Illumination starts at 4:30 in December; times subject to change.
Location: Shinjuku Southern Terrace and participating area stores
Access: Odakyu Shinjuku Station 
Website (Japanese only):

Do you have a winter illumination you'd like to recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

This article contains data obtained December 2016. Details about the events may have changed, so please check prior to going.


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