Japan’s all lit up for the holidays

Travel
Photo courtesy of Tokyo Miditown
Photo courtesy of Tokyo Miditown

Japan’s all lit up for the holidays

by: Takahiro Takiguchi | .
Stripes Japan | .
published: December 01, 2017
From late autumn through winter, elaborate and colorful light displays – from the northern island of Hokkaido to the southern islands of Okinawa – ring in the holiday spirit with dazzling brilliance throughout Japan.
 
These displays, or “illuminations,” are some of Japans most popular winter attractions, drawing as many as 80,000 annual visitors to smaller locales such as the Itoman Peaceful Illumination in Okinawa, and millions in bigger cities like Tokyo’s Midtown Christmas Illumination (5.6 million).
 
In addition to promoting the holiday spirit, there are more practical reasons for winter illuminations in Japan, according to Takashi Otomo of the Japan Illumination Association.
 
“Daytime is getting shorter, the air becomes dry and clear, the temperature difference between day and night decreases and fine weather is continuous – all these wintertime factors in Japan make optimal illuminations that look beautiful,” he said. “Actually, winter is the best season for illuminations in Japan.”
 
The tradition of winter illuminations in Japan is generally considered to have started in Osaka when Tsutenkaku Tower was lit up for the National Industrial Exposition in 1903. The following year, Meiji-Ya, a high-end import grocer, displayed a lighted Christmas tree outside in Tokyo’s Ginza Ward to commemorate Japan’s victory in the Russo-Japanese War.  However, Otomo said the practice likely started earlier.
 
“In the 1890s, some foreign ships berthed at Kobe Port would be decorated with lights to celebrate various occasions,” he said. “Kobe locals who saw these illuminations adopted them for their own celebrations; that would be the very start of this tradition (in Japan).”
 
Although public facilities have been decorated with illuminations for longer than a century, individuals started illuminating their houses about 12 years ago, according to Keiji Nishimura, managing director of the Japan Illumination Association.
 
“Company employees who were dispatched overseas were introduced to holiday illuminations and brought back this Western holiday tradition to their homes in Japan,” Nishimura said. “It has gradually spread year after year and today, you can see illuminated houses throughout the nation.”
 
“These days, we are seeing individuals purchase some expensive illumination devices that had only been used for public space in the past,” Otomo added. “As people are becoming more aware of the beauty of holiday illuminations, and home illuminations are catching on. I expect to see them continue to increase every year.”
 
The spread of home illuminations, in part, is a result of the modern-day light-emitting diode, or LED, which makes this energy-consuming tradition more efficient and less expensive.
 
“There are a lot of merits to using LEDs,” Otomo said.
 
One LED consumes only 0.06 watts, less than 10 percent of what a conventional electric bulb uses. It also produces a lot less heat, reducing the risk of fire to trees and wooden structures. As an added bonus, recently developed blue and white LEDs allow for more diverse and creative displays.
 
While the home illuminations are growing, public light displays become more sophisticated every year, introducing visual and sound effects.
 
The recent trend in public illuminations is to create elaborate illusions by combing different LED lights with high-tech 3-D projection mapping, according to Nishimura.
 
While Kanucha Resort Stardest Fantasia in Okinawa will display 1 million LED lights, Sagamino Illumination in Kanagawa Prefecture will display 6 million LED lights in synch with music. And at Yomiuriland Jewellumination in Tokyo, they will arrange 5 million LEDs in the shape of various jewelry boxes.
 
Luckily, for those not yet ready to invest in millions of LEDs and laser lights for their front yard, most of the public illuminations are free and easy to access by public transportation. However, while a few may run until late February, most end after Christmas or New Year’s.
 
So why not visit the illumination nearest you tonight? It is a great way to enjoy the brilliance of the holiday season while in Japan.
 
 
Here’s a list of this season’s displays for you to check out!
 
KOBE LUMINARIE ILLUMINATION (Hyogo prefecture): Through Dec. 17, 6-9:30 p.m. on Mon.-Thu., 6-10 p.m. on Fri., 5-10 p.m. on Sat., 5-9:30 p.m. on Sun.; 23rd memorial illumination with the theme of “Nel Cuore Kobe” decorated with 40,000 LEDs, in Kobe city, designed for a mass for victims by the Great Earthquake in 1995; seven-minute walk from Motomachi Station on JR Kobe Line;  078-303-0038; http://kobe-luminarie.jp/.
 
ROPPONGI HILLS GALAXY ILLUMINATION 2017 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 5-11 p.m.; “Snow & Blue” 1,200,000 LED lights line Keyaki Street, and the 7.1 meter candle-shaped tree stands at 66 Plaza; Subway Hibiya Line to Roppongi Station; 03-6406-6000.
  
TOKYO TOWER: Through Feb. 28, 4-11 p.m.; The tower is decorated with the 60,000 orange and red LEDs and ornaments themed with “Warm orange color.” The 39.37-foot tree (12 meter) stands in front of entrance, having photo session booth beside the tree, where visitors can take portrait with the tree. Enjoy the night viewing from the Tower’s 2nd floor collaborated with the projection mapping of “Tokyo Tower City Light Fantasia” effective on Nov. 15; five-minute walk from Toei Oedo Line Akabanebashi Station; 03-3433-5111; www.tokyotower.co.jp/eng/lightup/index.html.
 
TOKYO OPERA CITY CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATION 2017 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 5-11:30 p.m. at Tokyo City Opera City; a 39-foot tree with 120,000 LED lights with the theme of “Ice Crystal” along with mini concerts; www.tokyooperacity.co.jp; 03-5353-0700.
 
TOKYO SKYTREE DREAM CHRISTMAS 2017 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 5-11 p.m., 4 p.m.-midnight; featuring 520,000 LEDs decorated at Tokyo SkyTree Town, along with fantasy world at the garden, in which a 20.8 ft. (6.34 meter) Christmas tree made of flowers illuminated after dark at Tokyo SkyTree Arena and Town; Tokyo Skytree Station on Tobu-Line or Oshiage Station on metro; 0570-55-0634; www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en/.
 
SHIBUYA HIKARIE CHRISTMAS 2017 - WONDERLAND (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 4-midnight; illumination decorated on a 22.96-foot tree with red-flashed LEDs along with music themed with “Disney Dream Moments” at 1st floor of ShinQs, Hikarie, located near JR Shibuya Station; JR Shibuya Station; 03-5468-5892; www.hikarie.jp/en/index.html.
 
WHITE KITTE ILLUMINATION (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 5:10-9:40 p.m.; illumination with the theme of “Snow Covered Fantasy World” on a 47.6-foot (14.5 meter) tree along with music at 1st floor of Kitte (stamp); one-minute walk from JR Tokyo Station; 03-3216-2811; http://jptower-kitte.jp/en/.
 
MIKIMOTO (pearl jewelry shop)(Tokyo): Through Dec. 25; 11 a.m.-11 p.m., A display of crystal Christmas trees in 22.96 ft. (7 meter) square show window by design studio “We+” at Mikimoto Ginza  (Mitsukoshi-mae main store’s renovation completed this spring),  in Tokyo’s popular Ginza district; one-minute walk from Ginza Station on Metro; 0120-868254.
 
TOKYO MIDTWON CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATION 2017 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 5 -11 p.m.; blue-based “Starlight Garden” art of 200,000 LEDs three different illuminations such as Moon, Sun and Saturn with the theme of “Space Odyssey”   at Midtown, Midtown Garden, Garden Terrace, Galleria and Plaza; from Roppongi Station on Metro Hibiya and Chiyoda Lines, and Roppongi Station on Oedo-Line; 03-3475-3100; www.tokyo-midtown.com/en/.
 
OMOTE SANDO CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATION 2017 (Tokyo): Through Dec. -25, sunset-10 p.m.; Omote-Sando Christmas illumination, decorated with 900,000 LEDs on Keyaki trees along Omote-Sando main street between Meiji Shrine entrance and Aoyama Street; JR Harajuku Station or Omotesando Station on Chiyoda and Ginza-Lines; 03-3406-0988.
 
OMOTE SANDO HILLS CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATION 2017 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Omote-Sando Hills Christmas illumination themed with “Forest of colorful Christmas trees”  created by French architect/designer Emmanuel Muho; JR Harajuku Station or Omotesando Station on Chiyoda and Ginza-Lines; 03-3497-0310.
 
SHOWA KINEN PARK WINTER VISTA ILLUMINATION 2017 (western Tokyo): Dec. 2-25, 5-9 p.m., illuminated trees and a fountain, and  pyramid-shaped decorations made from 15,000 champagne glasses, collaborated with laser beams; 410 yen for adults, 80 yen for children; 15-minute walk from north exit of JR Tachikawa Station; 042-528-1751; www.showakinen-koen.jp/english/index.htm.
 
MISAWA CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATION 2017 (Aomori prefecture): Through Dec. 25, 4:30 -11 p.m.; featuring illumination at a shopping arcade in Misawa city and the front gate at Misawa AB; five-minute drive from JR Misawa Station; 0176-53-2175.
 
NISHI SHINJUKU ILLUMINATION MUSEUM 2017 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 5 p.m.~; illumination themed with “Love” on six buildings and four hotels located at the west side of Shinjuku area, decorated with 300,000 LED lights; JR Shinjuku Station; 03-5322-6640.
 
HIKARI NO SAITEN ON TAKENOZUKA KEYAKI ODORI (Tokyo): Dec. 2-25, 5-10 p.m.; featuring eight 65.61 ft. (20 meter) trees decorated with illumination at Motofuchie Koen, also illumination between Takenozuka Keyaki Odori and Takenozuka Station, where Tokyo SkyTree is located nearby, free; 20-minute walk from Takenozuka Station on Tobu SkyTree Line; 03-3880-0039; http://adachikanko.net/en/.
 
YOKOHAMA LANDMARK TOWER BRIGHT CHRISTMAS 2017 (Kanagawa prefecture): Through Dec. 25, 7 a.m.-midnight; features a 26.23 ft. (8-meter) tree decorated with lights and ornaments themed with Landmark Bright Christmas 2017, collaborating with Beatrix Potter’s “Peter Rabbit”  at Garden Square, 1st floor of Landmark Plaza, and Grand Galleria, 1st floor of Mark IS Minatomirai, Yokohama Landmark Plaza, three-minute walk from Minato Mirai Station on Minato Mirai Line or three-minute walk from JR Sakuragicho Station; 045-222-5015; http://yokohama-landmark.jp/web/english/.
 
HAKONE VENETIAN GLASS MUSEUM ILLUMINATION (Kanagawa prefecture): Through Dec. 25, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; featuring 85,000 crystals on a 32 ft. tree and 65,000 crystals on a 23 ft. tree reflected by daylights on neighboring nature and illuminations after 4 p.m., 1,500 yen adults, 1,100 yen college & junior high school students, 600 yen elementary & middle school students; 20-minute ride from Tomei Gotenba I.C. on Tomei Express; 0460-86-3111; www.ciao3.com/info/english/index.html.
 
RISONARE YATSUGATAKE CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATION (Yamanashi prefecture): Through Dec. 25, 6-10 p.m.; featuring magical illumination on 300 trees at Hoshino Risonare Yatsugatake, along with 10-minute projection mapping in every 30-minute between 6 and 8:30 p.m.; JR Kobuchizawa Station on Chuo Line, free shuttle bus available; 050-3786-0055; http://risonare.com/.
 
TOKYO MICHITERACE ILLUMINATION 2017 (Tokyo): Dec.24-28, 5-8:30 p.m.; special illumination themed “Celebration” commemorating 10th anniversary of opening New Maru Bldg, 15th anniversary of Maru Bldg, and 20th anniversary of Tokyo International Forum Hall,  Tokyo Station Buildings and trees on Miyuki Streets; JR Tokyo Station; 0180-993-771.
 
SHIBUYA BLUE GROTTO ILLUMINATION 2017 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 31, 5-10 p.m.; illumination of 600,000 LEDs with the theme of “Blue Grotto” in  Italy between Yoyogi Koen Keyaki Street and the Koen-dori streets; JR Shibuya Station; 03-3462-5181; http://shibuya-aonodokutsu.jp/.
 
NAGASAKI ROMANTIC ILLUMINATION - GLOVER GARDEN ILLUMINATION (Nagasaki prefecture): Through Dec. 31, 5-9 p.m.; illumination on nine western-style building removed into Glover Garden and also you can enjoy a night view of Nagasaki city, also 3D projection mapping at Glover Garden at 6:30-9 p.m. on Dec. 26-March 31; 8-1, Minami Yamate-cho, Nagasaki city, four-minute walk from Ouratenshudo stop (street car); Glover Garden open until 8 p.m., until 9 p.m. on Dec. 1-31; 610 yen adults, 300 yen senior high school students, 180 yen junior high school and elementary school students; 095-822-8223; www.glover-garden.jp/english.
 
HIROSHIMA DREAMINATION (Hiroshima prefecture): Through Jan. 3, 5:30-10:30 p.m.; 1,400,000  lights illuminated with the theme of “Fairyland” along the Peace Boulevard  and others; two-minute walk from Fukuro-machi Station (streetcar); 082-247-6805.
 
YAMANAKAKO ART ILLUMINATION FANTASEUM (Yamanashi prefecture): Through Jan. 3, 5-9 p.m.; illuminations at Hana-no Miyako Koen (1650 Yamanaka, Yamanakako village), with fireworks at 8 p.m. on Saturdays; eight-minute drive from Yamanakako I.C. on Higashi Fujigoko Express; 300 yen for parking; 0555-62-5587; www.yamanashi-kankou.jp/english/index.html.
 
MEGUROGAWA MINNA NO ILLUMINATION 2017 (Tokyo): Through Jan. 8, 5-10 p.m.; Environmentally friendly illumination decorated with 420,000 LEDs on cherry trees along the River Meguro themed with “Winter Cherry Blossoms” between Osakibashi and Yorikibashi (7,218 ft.). The electricity for the illumination is totally from bio diesel fuel refined by used plant oil recovered locally; six-minute walk from JR Osaki Station or JR Gotanda Station; 03-5330-7675; 
 
TAMA CENTER ILLUMINATION 2017 (Tokyo): Through Jan. 8, 4:30-10:30 p.m.; illumination on 58 camphor trees and fir trees decorated with 450,000 LEDs  along the Parthenon Odori Street; Tama Monorail Tama Center Station on Odakyu Tama Line; 090-8946-9909.
  
BACCARAT ETERNAL LIGHTS (Tokyo): Through Jan. 8, 4 p.m.-midnight, Christmas illumination at the entrance, clock square, and promenade along the slope until Dec. 25; illumination of 250 Baccarat chandeliers decorated with 8,472 pieces of crystal parts contrasted with 100,000 LEDs from noon-midnight at Yebisu Garden Place: five-minute walk from JR Ebisu Station East Exit; 03-5423-7111; https://gardenplace.jp/special/2017christmas/.
 
BIHOKU PARK WINTER ILLUMINATION (Hiroshima prefecture): Through Jan. 8, 5:30-9 p.m.; various illumination throughout the park with the theme of “Surrounded by the Sky and the lights on the Ground,” along with live music performances; 4-10, Mikkaichi town, Shobara city, five-minute ride from Shobara I.C. on Chugoku Express; 410 yen adults, 80 yen children, plus 310 yen for parking; 0824-72-7000.
 
SANT JUAN BAUTISTA ILLUMINATIO N (Miyagi prefecture): Dec. 8-Jan. 8, 4:30-8 p.m.;  commemorating 400th anniversary, schooner-type ship, called “San Juan Bautista” (St. John the Baptist), used for a mission to Europe in 1613, now a replica on display at the museum, illuminated with 10,000 lights along with concerts, workshops and more; 350 yen adults, free for children; Ishinomaki Kanan I.C. on Sanriku Express; 225-24-2210; www.santjuan.or.jp/image/english.pdf.
 
UENO PARK WINTER CHERRY TREE ILLUMINATION (Tokyo): Through Jan. 15, 5-8 p.m.; illumination on about 100 cherry trees decorated with 100,000 cherry-color LEDs at Ueno Park; two-minute walk from JR Ueno Station; 03-3833-0030.
 
KOIWAI GRAND FARMING WINTER ILLUMINATION (Iwate prefecture): Through Jan. 28, 3-8 p.m., until 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Jan. 28; featuring illumination decorated with 1300,000 LEDs themed with “Galaxy Night at Farm;”800 yen adults, 300 yen ages 5 and youngers; 15-minute ride from Morioka I.C. on Tohoku Express; 019-692-4321; www.koiwai.co.jp/makiba/en/.
 
ILLUMINATION GARDEN AT ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK (Tochigi prefecture): Through Feb. 4, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., until 10 p.m. on Nov. 27; 3 different illuminations of “Light and flower collaboration” (through mid November)/”Flower Park Christmas (late November – late December)/”New Year illumination” (new year’s day to Feb. 4) throughout the garden decorated with gorgeous 4,000,000 LEDs, 15-minute drive from Sano Fujioka I.C. on Tohoku Express/ 13-minute walk from JR Tomita Station on Ryomo Line/ free shuttle bus from Ashikaga Station on JR and Tobu Ashikaga-Line available on weekends and holidays; 900 yen for adults, 500 yen for children 3:30-9 p.m., 600 yen for adults, 300 yen for children 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; 0284-91-4939; www.ashikaga.co.jp/english/index.html.
 
KOBE ILLUMINAGE 2017 (Hyogo prefecture): Through Feb. 12, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; featuring a big scale of maze decorated with 5,000,000 LEDs illumination bringing into fantasy world. Along with monkey show, at Michi-no Eki Kobe Fruit & Flower Park Ozo, Ozo 2150, Osawa-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe city; 1,200 yen adult, 600 yen children; free parking; 06-6452-6452.
 
YURAKUCHO WINTER ILLUMINATION 2017-18: Through Feb. 14, 4:30 p.m.-midnight: featuring green-colored 150,000 LEDs at Yurakucho Station Square Park and neighboring shopping streets nearby JR Yurakucho Station; 03-3201-5470.
 
WINTER ILLUMINATION AT TOBU ZOO (Saitama prefecture): Through  Feb. 12, 5-8 p.m., until 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 23-25: illumination collaborated with music, motion-picture and light at Tobu Zoo; 1,000 yen adults (admission only), 500 yen children (admission only); 3,000 yen adults (includes free rides), 2,000 yen children (includes free rides) after 3 p.m.; 10-minute walk from Tobu Zoo (Dobutsu Koen) Station on Tobu Isesaki Line; 0480-93-1200; www.tobuzoo.com/global/english/.
 
BLUE FLOWER DREAMING ILLUMINATION AT SAITAMA SUPER ARENA 2017-2018 (Saitama prefecture): Through Feb. 14, 5p.m.-midnight; illumination on 150 keyaki trees decorated with blue, champagne gold, and white LEDs collaborated with music, along with Christmas concerts at 3-8 p.m. on Dec. 16, 17, 23, 24 and 25 at Keyaki Hiroba of Saitama Super Arena; Saitama Shin Toshin Station on JR Keihin Tohoku, Utsunomiya and Takasaki Lines; 048-601-1122.
 
CARETTA (SHIODOME CITY CENTER) ILLUMINATION (Tokyo): Through Feb. 14, 5-11 p.m.., (6-11 p.m. on Jan. 3-Feb. 14), except on Jan. 1-2; Scene of dances between Belle and the Beast from the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast” themed illumination decorated with 250,000 LEDs along with music at B2F Caretta Square; two-minute walk from JR Shimbashi Station; 03-6218-2100; www.caretta.jp/Illumination/.
 
ATSUGI BRILLIANT STORY 2017 (Kanagawa prefecture): Through Feb. 14, 4:30-11 p.m., until 1 a.m. on Dec. 23-25; more than 80,000 lights decorated with the theme of “Crystal White and Gold” at Hon Atsugi Station North Square; Hon Atsugi Station on Odakyu-Line; 046-225-2840.
 
AKASAKA SACAS ILLUMINATION 2017-2018 (Tokyo): Through Feb. 18, 4 p.m.-midnight; illumination of 1,670 LEDs collaborated with music along with star, meteor stream, aurora, and snowfall at 1st floor of Akasaka Biz Tower of Akasaka Sacas; Akasaka Station on Chiyoda Line; 03-3746-6666.
 
ENOSHIMA SHONAN-NO HOSEKI (JEWEL)(Kanagawa prefecture): Through Feb. 18, 5-8 p.m., until 9 p.m. on weekends; featuring light tunnel decorated with 60,000 crystal lights, live concerts and more  at Enoshima Sea Candle, along with Enoshima Station on Eno-den, Enoshima Winter Tulip and Valentine Island Enoshima; 200 yen admission for Enoshima Samuel Cocking-en Botanical Garden, plus 300 yen for observation deck from Enoshima Sea Candle; 20-minure walk from Katase Enoshima on Odakyu Line or 25-minute walk from Enoshima Station on Eno-den; 0466-23-2444.
 
MARUNOUCHI BRIGHT ILLUMINATION 2017 (Tokyo): Through Feb. 18, 5:30-11 p.m., 5 p.m.-midnight on Dec. 1-31; commemorating 15th anniversary of opening Marunouchi Bldg, 200 trees with champagne gold LEDs are lit on the streets on Marunouch area, also a 23 ft. (10-meter) Christmas tree decorated with ornaments and lights themed with “Flower” designed by Miki Hasegawa and Nicolai Bergman; the 1st floor of  the Marunouchi Bldg.; JR Tokyo Station; 03-5218-5100; www.marunouchibrightchristmas2017.com/.
 
TOKYO DOME CITY WINTER LIGHTS GARDEN (Tokyo): Through Feb. 18, 4 p.m.-midnight; Tokyo Dome City is lit with 140,000 LED lights, decorated with colorful lights of ornaments such as biscuit, macaroon, and chocolate with the theme of “Throbbing Sweets and brilliant sweet gift” designed by Miki Hasegawa at Tokyo Dome and more; JR Suidobashi Station on Sobu Line Suidobashi Station or Korakuen Station on Marunouchi Line; 03-5800-9999.
 
YOMIURILAND JEWELLUMINATION (Tokyo): Through Feb. 18, 4-8:30 p.m. (until 9 p.m., Dec. 16-25), art of 5,500,000 lights with the theme of the world’s first jewel Motoko Ishii Design Office developed. Enjoy Tokyo night view with 30 colors of jewels in 8 varieties illuminated at Yomiuriland; 1,400 yen for adults, 600 yen for junior and senior high school students, 2,400 yen for adults (admission and free rides, except Ferris wheel & gondola), 1,600 yen for ages 3-17; 4015-1, Yanokuchi, Inagi City, Tokyo; 5 km from Chofu I.C., Chuo Expressway; 044-966-1111; www.yomiuriland.com/english/.
 
TOSHIMAEN WINTER FANTASIA (Tokyo): Through Feb. 25, sunset-7:30 p.m.; enjoy four different illuminations at Flower Load, Wander World, Animal Fantasy, Candy Load along with 3D projection mapping themed with “Sound of Carousel El Dorado,” and lights on Ice Fantasy from Dec. 9; 500 yen adult/children for admission after 3 p.m., 1,600 yen adult with admission and  rides, 1,300 yen children with admission and rides; one-minute walk from Toshima-en on Seibu Ikebukuro Line; 03-3990-8800.
 
MOTHER FARM ILLUMINATION 2017 (Chiba prefecture): Through Feb. 25, 4:45-8 p.m.; illuminations decorated with 550,000 LEDs themed of “The Stories of the Stars of the Farm,” especially sparkling illumination from the sky riding in the Ferris Wheel and more; 1,500 yen adult, 800 yen children (includes admission and rides) on weekends and holidays; 70-minute ride from Tokyo, 10-minute ride from Kimitsu PA Smart IC on Tateyama Express; 0439-37-3211; www.motherfarm.co.jp.e.acb.hp.transer.com/.
 
HAKODATE WINTER FESTIVAL (Hokkaido): Dec. 1-Feb. 28, sunsets-10 p.m.; Hakodate is a port city with lots of slopes, and well-known as one of the best night view spots in Asia, in addition, illumination of 160,000 LEDs on Nijyugenzaka, Yahatazaka, Motomachi area in which historical buildings stand in a row and Kaiko-dori Street are lightning up a port city; 0138-23-6100; http://hakodate-kankou.com/en/.
 
YOKOHAMA COSMO WORLD WINTER FATASY 2017 (Kanagawa prefecture): Through Feb. 28, sunset to midnight, features 82-foot tree decorated with 1000,000 LEDs and the Cosmo Clock Ferris wheel decorated with pink-red lights (may not available during a certain period due to renovation); three-minute walk from Minato Mirai Station on Minato Mirai Line; free admission but pay on each ride; 045-641-6591.
 
SHIROYONE SENMAIDA ILLUMINATION (Ishikawa prefecture): Through March 11, four-hour after sunsets; Shiroyone’s Senmaida (1,000 rice fields) is Japan’s historic rice paddy terraces and one of the most scenic places in Ishikawa prefecture, where you enjoy spectacular illumination of 21,000 LEDs by solar energy on footpaths between rice paddy terraces, best time to view is between 6 and 8 p.m.; 0768-23-1146; http://senmaida.wajima-kankou.jp/en/.
 
TOKINOSUMIKA WINTER ILLUMINATION (Shizuoka prefecture): Through March 21, 4:30-10 p.m.; enjoy fantasy world created in three areas such as all sorts of flowers, fantastic laser-mapping performance in synch with fountain and aquarium illuminated by LEDs; Okyu-no Oka: 1,000 yen ages 13+, 200 yen children, free ages 5 & younger; five-minute drive from Susono I.C. on Tomei Express/15-minute drive from Gotenba I.C. on Tomei Express or free shuttle bus available from JR Mishimae and Gotemba Stations, 719 Kamiyama, Gotemba city, Shizuoka prefecture; 0550-87-3700; http://gotembakogenresort.com/.
 
SAGAMIKO ILLUMINATION (Kanagawa prefecture): Through April 8, 4-9 p.m. (weekdays  until April, until 9:30 p.m. on weekends until Jan. 8; fantasy world created by 6,000,000 LED lights in synch with music at Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest; 10-minute bus ride from JR Sagamiko Station on Chuo-Line and Hashimoto Station on JR and Keio-Lines or seven-minute ride from Sagamiko Higashi I.C. (Exit only) on Chuo Express; 800 yen for adults, 500 yen for children (weekdays), 1,000 yen for adults, 700 yen for children (weekends and Jan. 1-3), 2,300 yen adult (night free pass), 1,900 yen children (night free pass), 1,000 yen for parking; 042-685-1111; www.sagamiko-resort.jp/illumillion/.
 
COUNTRY FARM GERMAN VILLAGE WINTER ILLUMINATION 2017 (Chiba prefecture): Through April 8, sunset-8 p.m., one of the biggest illumination throughout Japan, which will bring you into a fantasy world with the theme of “Fairy-tale-like Exciting Feelings and Smile” using 3,000,000 LEDs; 2,500 yen for one vehicle (full passengers, after 3 p.m.), 500 yen for walk-in; five-minute drive from Anesaki Sodegaura I.C. on Tateyama Express/eight-minute drive from Kisarazu Higashi I.C. on Ken-oh Express; 0438-60-5511.
 
KINGDOM OF LIGHT AT NAGASAKI HUIS TEN BOSCH (Nagasaki prefecture): Through May 6; enjoy the glittering sight of a world-beating 13 million lightbulbs at Nagasaki Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch-style theme park; 0956-58-0080; http://english.huistenbosch.co.jp.

 

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