Japan's all lit up for the holidays

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan
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.

Winter Illuminations in Japan

KOBE LUMINARIE ILLUMINATION (Hyogo prefecture): Through Dec. 16, 6-9:30 p.m. on Mon.-Thu., 6-10 p.m. on Fri., 6-10 p.m. on Sat., 5-10 p.m., on Sun, 5-9:30 p.m..; 24th memorial illumination with the theme of “Luci di felicita” decorated with 510,000 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.     
YOKOHAMA LANDMARK TOWER MERRY SNOW CHRISTMAS 2018 (Kanagawa prefecture): Through Dec. 25, commemorating 25th anniversary of Yokohama Landmark Plaza, featuring “Merry Snow Christmas” with a 26.2ft. (8-meter) Christmas tree decorated in a main hall of the building, 1st floor of Landmark Plaza, and Grand Galleria, 1st floor of Mark IS Minatomirai, along with snow falling sessions collaborated with music scheduled 5 and 6:30 p.m., on Dec. 8, 15, 22, 23 and 24, 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 9, 16, 25, also special Merry Snow Christmas live performances on Dec. 22-25, and illumination along the routes from JE Yokohama Station East Exit to Minato Mirai Grandmall Park between 4-11 p.m. until Feb. 17; Yokohama Landmark Plaza, three-minute walk from Minato Mirai Line Minato Mirai Station or five-minute walk from JR Sakuragicho Station; 045-222-5015.  
KURIHAMA FLOWER PARK WINTER ILLUMINATION 2018 (Kanagawa prefecture): Through Dec.25, 5-8 p.m.; decorated with 120,000 LEDs with the theme of “Fairy-tale” at Cosmos Poppy Garden Hiroba, Kurihama Flower Park; 15-minute walk from JR Kurihama Station on Yokosuka Line or Keikyu Kurihama Station; Free; 046-833-8282.
ROPPONGI HILLS GALAXY ILLUMINATION 2018 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 5-11 p.m.; with the theme of “Live Veil,” featuring illumination of  “snow & blue” 700,000 LED lights on Keyaki Street; Subway Hibiya Line to Roppongi Station; 03-6406-6000; www.roppongihills.com/en/sp/christmas/2018/illumination/
TOKYO OPERA CITY CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATION 2018 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 4:30-11:15 p.m. at Tokyo City Opera City; illumination on a 39-foot tree with LED lights with the theme of “Fantasy Illumination” runs every 20-minute, collaborating with the projection mapping on Dec. 20-25; www.tokyooperacity.co.jp; 03-5353-0700.  
TOKYO SKYTREE DREAM CHRISTMAS 2018 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 4 p.m.-midnight; 25; illumination with the theme of “Colorful Christmas” at a 26-foot Christmas tree, ornaments on the world’s tallest tower along with Tokyo Skytree Arena and Town with 520,000 LEDs, also on Dec. 1-25, eight-minute projection mappings on a 394-foot-wide screen run at 5:30, 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. at 394-foot height of the tower; Tokyo Skytree Station on Tobu-Line or Oshiage Station on metro; 0570-55-0634; www.tokyo-skytreetown.jp/english/.
TOKYO MIDTWON CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATION 2018 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 5 -11 p.m.; blue-based “Starlight Garden” art of six illuminations decorated with 500,000 LEDs with the theme of “space” using 100 lighting balloons 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
SAPPORO WHITE ILLUMINATION: Through Dec. 25, 4:30-10 p.m., until midnight on Dec. 22-25, (through March 14); Sapporo White Illumination is one of three greatest illumination throughout in Japan, featuring illumination on Odori Street and German Christmas Market/Odori Park 2-chome,   illumination on Ekimaedori Street until Feb. 11, on Minami Ichijodori Street and Sapporo Kita 3-jo Plaza Street until March 14, and also on JR Sapporo Station South Exit Plaza Site between 5 p.m.-midnight until March 14 (Sapporo Snow Festival on Feb. 1-12); 011-222-4894;  www.white-illumination.jp/.

HAKODATE CHRISTMAS FANTASY (Hokkaido): Through Dec. 25; sunsets-5:45 p.m./ 6 p.m.-midnight (until 2 a.m. on Dec. 22-25); illumination on a 65.6ft. fir tree floated on a barge in the ocean near Red-Brick Warehouse, presented by Halifax city of Canada when Hakodate and Halifax established a sister-city affiliation, 10-minute walk from JR Hakodate Station; 0138-27-3535; http://hakodate-kankou.com/en/.  2018 as of Nov. 28

SHOWA KINEN PARK WINTER VISTA ILLUMINATION 2018 (western Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 5-9 p.m., illuminated trees and a fountain, and pyramid-shaped decorations made from 15,000 champagne glasses, collaborated with laser beams; 450 yen for adults, free for age 15 and younger; 15-minute walk from north exit of JR Tachikawa Station; 042-528-1751; http://www.showakinen-koen.jp/guide-english/schedule-english/.

MIYAGASEKO LAKESIDE PARK (Kanagawa prefecture): Through Dec. 25, 5-10 p.m.; 10,000 lights illumination on a 98.42ft.fir tree at Mominoki Hiroba (Fir Sqaure), contrasted with neighboring Mizunosato Suspension Bridge and shopping streets decorated with 610,000 lights; Miyagase Lakeside Park, Miyagase, Kiyokawa village, 50-minute ride from Atsugi I.C. on Tomei Express; 046-288-1340.

WHITE KITTE ILLUMINATION 2018 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 5-11 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/.

HAKONE VENETIAN GLASS MUSEUM ILLUMINATION (Kanagawa prefecture): Through Dec. 25, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; featuring 85,000 crystals on a 32ft-tree and 65,000 crystals on a 23ft. 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.hakone-garasunomori.jp/entrance/english/.

LAKE HARUNA LIGHTS FESTA (Gunma prefecture): Through Dec. 26, 5-10 p.m.; 550,000 LED illumination collaborated with laser-beam shows over Lake Haruna brings you into fantasy world, while riding on cable car (800 yen adult, 390 yen children) or cart, along with fireworks display at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 7, 10, 13, 17, 20 and 26 scheduled; free admission; 40minute ride from Ikaho I.C. on Kan-Etsu Express; 027-374-9116.

TOKYO MICHITERACE ILLUMINATION 2018 (Tokyo): Dec.24-28; special illumination themed “Lights’ Gateway,” creating the opening door for coming new period, transferring from Heisi Period, welcoming people arrived at New Maru Bldg, Maru Bldg, and Tokyo International Forum Hall, Tokyo Station Buildings and trees on Miyuki Streets; JR Tokyo Station; 0180-993-771.

SENDAI PAGEANT OF STARLIGHT (Miyagi prefecture): Dec. 14-31, 5:30-10 p.m., until 11 p.m. on Fri., Sat., Sun. and holidays, until midnight on Dec. 31; illumination of 600,000 LEDs by green power created on 150 keyaki trees on Jyozenki-dori Street featuring the fantasy world with the theme of “Light Up the Light of Heart,” one-minute walk from Kotodai Koen on Nanpoku-Line (subway) from JR Sendai East Exit, 022-261-6515; www.sendaihikape.jp/.

SHIBUYA BLUE GROTTO ILLUMINATION 2018 (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/.

SANT JUAN BAUTISTA ILLUMINATIO N (Miyagi prefecture): Through Jan. 6, 4:30-8 p.m.;  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, illumination decorated 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/pdf/pamphlet.pdf.

MEGUROGAWA MINNA NO ILLUMINATION 2018 (Tokyo): Through Jan. 6, 5-10 p.m.; Environment-friendly illumination decorated with 400,000 LEDs on cherry trees along the River Meguro themed with “Winter Cherry Blossoms” between Osakibashi and Irukibashi (7,218 ft.). The electricity for the illumination is totally generated by bio diesel fuel refined by used plant oil recovered locally; six-minute walk from JR Osaki Station or JR Gotanda Station; 03-5330-7675; www.minna-no-illumi.com/. 

KOIWAI GRAND GARMING WINTER ILLUMINATION (Iwate prefecture): Through Jan. 14, 3-8 p.m., until 9 p.m. on Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, 23, 24, 29, Jan. 5, 12, 13 and 14, fireworks display at 7:30 p.m., close on Dec. 31; featuring illumination decorated with 1000,000 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/.

WINTER ILLUMINATION AT TOBU ZOO (Saitama prefecture): Through  Feb. 11, 5-8 p.m., until 9 p.m. on Dec. 23-25: illumination collaborated with music, motion-picture and 3 million LED lights at Tobu Zoo; 1,200 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/.
FANTASTIC CARNIVAL AT SAITAMA SUPER ARENA 2018-2019 (Saitama prefecture): Through Feb. 14, 5 p.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. 22, 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; https://www.saitama-arena.co.jp/e/.
AKASAKA SACAS ILLUMINATION 2018-2019 (Tokyo): Through Feb. 17, 4 p.m.-midnight; illumination 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. 17, 5-8 p.m., until 9 p.m. on weekends; featuring light tunnel decorated with 70,000 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; https://enoshima-seacandle.com/event/shonannohoseki2018-2019/.

TOKYO TOWER: Through Feb. 28, 4-11 p.m.; commemorating 60th anniversary of Tokyo Tower, featuring a 46-foot-high 60-year-old living fir tree with orange-colored LED lights at 1st floor front-gate Square, in addition, 10-minute lighting show collaborated with music in every 30 minutes until 10 p.m.; five-minute walk from Toei Oedo Line Akabanebashi Station; 03-3433-5111; www.tokyotower.co.jp/event/illumination/WinterFantasy2018/en.html.

TOKYO DOME CITY WINTER ILLUMINATION (Tokyo): Through Feb. 17, 4 p.m.-midnight; featuring an illumination that embodies the Japanese style of living, and showcasing motifs of traditional crafts on Tokyo Dome and more; JR Suidobashi Station on Sobu Line Suidobashi Station or Korakuen Station on Marunouchi Line; 03-5800-9999; www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/en/tourists/illumination/. 
YOMIURILAND JEWELLUMINATION (Tokyo): Through Feb. 17, 4-8:30 p.m. (until 9 p.m., Dec. 15-25), totally renewed art of 6 million lights used in "Jewellumination.”  A fountain show will take place every 15 minutes at “diamond aurora world” area, popular ice skating link and more; 1,400 yen for adults, 600 yen for junior and senior high school students, 300 yen elementary 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/.
MARUNOUCHI ILLUMINATION (Tokyo): Through Feb. 17, 5-11 p.m., 5 p.m.-midnight in December; more than 200 trees with 1 million champagne gold LEDs are lit on the streets on Marunouch area (Otemachi and Yurakucho); JR Tokyo Station; 03-5218-5100.
ARTS TOWADA WINTER ILLUMINATION (Aomori prefecture): Dec. 7-Feb. 24, 4:30-9 p.m.; blue 300,000 LEDs decorated with the snow covered near Towada Modern Arts Museum; 35-minute bus ride from JR Shichinohe Towada Station; 0176-51-6772. 
HAKODATE ILLUMINATUON (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; 0138-27-3535; http://hakodate-kankou.com/en/
SHIROYONE SENMAIDA ILLUMINATION (Ishikawa prefecture): Through March 10, for four hours after sunset; Shiroyone’s Senmaida (1,000 rice fields) refers to Japan’s historic rice paddy terraces and one of the most scenic places in Ishikawa prefecture, where you can enjoy the spectacular illumination of 25,000 LEDs lit by solar energy on footpaths between rice paddy terraces. The best time to view is between 7 and 8 p.m.; 20-minute shuttle bus available from JR Wajima Station, 480 yen for adults (a round-trip), 240 yen for children or 40-minute ride from Noto Kuko (Airport) I.C. on Noetsu Express; 0768-23-1146; http://senmaida.wajima-kankou.jp/en/.
TOKINOSUMIKA WINTER ILLUMINATION (Shizuoka prefecture): Through March 17, 4:30-10 p.m.; a fantastic laser-mapping performance will sync up with fountains and an aquarium will be illuminated by 5.5 million LEDs; free admission except Ohkyu-no Oka and Suichu Rakuen; 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 2018  (Kanagawa prefecture): Through April 7, 4-9 p.m., until Dec. 21 and Jan. 7-11, Jan. 11-April 9, 4-9:30 p.m., on weekends until Jan. 14, and all day Dec. 22-Jan. 6; fantasy world created by 6 million LED lights syncronized 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; 1,000 yen for adults, 700 yen for children, 700 yen pet (dog) for admission fee, 1,000 yen for parking, 2,500 yen adult, 2,000 yen children for night free pass; 042-685-1111; www.sagamiko-resort.jp/illumillion/.
CARETTA (SHIODOME CITY CENTER) ILLUMINATION 2018 (Tokyo): Through Feb. 14, 5-11 p.m., 6-11 p.m. on Jan. 3-Feb. 14; “Disney MovieNEX Princess” illumination decorated with LED lights along with music; two-minute walk from JR Shimbashi Station; 03-6218-2100;  www.caretta.jp/foreign/index.
SHIBUYA HIKARIE CHRITMAS 2018 – WONDERLANRYSTAL MAGIC (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25; illumination decorates a tree covered by globe and butterfly-shaped ornaments at 1st floor of ShinQs, Hikarie, located near JR Shibuya Station; JR Shibuya Station; 03-5468-5892; www.hikarie.jp.e.ui.hp.transer.com/event/detail.php?id=4645. 
OMOTE SANDO CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATION 2018 (Tokyo): Nov. 29-Dec. 25, sunset-10 p.m.; Omote-Sando Christmas illumination, decorated with 900,000 LEDs of champagne gold on 150 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 2018 (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Omote-Sando Hills Christmas illumination with the theme of “Aurora emerging in the city,” decorated on a 23-foot tree with the LED lights on the center of open space at Omote Sando Hill, along with “light curtain” consisting of about 6,000 icicle appears on the upper part of stairway; JR Harajuku Station or Omotesando Station on Chiyoda and Ginza-Lines; 03-3497-0310; www.omotesandohills.com/english/. 
HIROSHIMA DREAMINATION 2018 (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.

TAMA CENTER ILLUMINATION 2018 (Tokyo): Through Jan. 6, 4:30-10:30 p.m.; illumination on 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.  MISAWA PHANTASIA ILLUMINATION 2018 (Aomori prefecture): Nov. 22-Jan. 14, 4:30 p.m.-midnight; featuring a 52.5ft. (16-meter) tree decorated with 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.

KOBE ILLUMINAGE 2018 (Hyogo prefecture): Through Feb. 11, 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; www.illuminagegroup.com/kobe2018-2019/.

NAGASAKI ROMANTIC ILLUMINATION - GLOVER GARDEN ILLUMINATION (Nagasaki prefecture): Through Feb. 19, 5-9 p.m., until 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 22- Feb. 4; illumination decorated with 30 million LEDs on nine western-style buildings in Glover Garden and also you can enjoy a night view of Nagasaki city; 8-1, Minami Yamate-cho, Nagasaki city, four-minute walk from Ouratenshudo stop (street car); 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.
BACCARAT ETERNAL LIGHTS (Tokyo): Through Feb. 28, 4 p.m.-midnight, Christmas illumination at the entrance, clock square and promenade along the slope until Dec. 25; illumination of  Baccarat chandeliers decorated with many 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. 
BIHOKU PARK WINTER ILLUMINATION (Hiroshima prefecture): Through Jan. 8, 5:30-9 p.m. (close on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1); various illumination decorated with 700,000 LEDs throughout the park, along with live music performances; 4-10, Mikkaichi town, Shobara city, five-minute ride from Shobara I.C. on Chugoku Express; 450 yen adults, 210 yen children, plus 310 yen for parking; 0824-72-7000.
ILLUMINATION GARDEN AT ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK (Tochigi prefecture): Through Feb. 5 3:30-9 p.m. (weekdays), until 9:30 p.m. (weekends & holidays); different illuminations throughout the garden decorated with gorgeous 4,500,000 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; 0284-91-4939; www.ashikaga.co.jp/flowerfantasy_special2018/en/.
ATSUGI BRILLIANT STORY 2018 (Kanagawa prefecture): Through Feb. 14, 4:30 p.m.-midnight; more than 84,000 LEDs of blue, white and gold colors decorated with the theme of “Fireworks in winter” at Hon Atsugi Station North Square; Hon Atsugi Station on Odakyu-Line (north exit); 046-225-2840. 
YOKOHAMA COSMO WORLD WINTER FATASY 2018 (Kanagawa prefecture): Through Feb. 28, sunset-midnight, features art of the Cosmo Clock Ferris wheel decorated with full-color 1 million LED lights, runs six-minute illumination in every 15-minutes; three-minute walk from Minato Mirai Station on Minato Mirai Line; free admission but pay 800 yen on each ride; 045-641-6591. 
WINTER ILLUMINATION AT TOBU WORLD SQUARE 2018 (Tochigi prefecture): Through  March 31, 4:30-7:30 p.m.; illumination decorated with 1.4 million LEDs on a 1/25th scaled world-famous buildings;  1,500 yen adults (admission only), 1,000 yen children (admission only); 2,800 yen adults (includes free rides), 1,400 yen children (includes free rides), 20-minute ride from Imaichi I.C. on Nikko-Utsunomiya Express; 0288-77-1055; www.tobuws.co.jp/en/.
LAGUNA WINTER FESTIVAL (Aichi prefecture): Through March 31, 5-10 p.m.; illumination with 3D laser performances at Laguna Ten Bosch, the ocean theme park; 2,250 yen ages 12+, 1,300 yen age 5 and younger (not include fee for the rides); free shuttle bus available from JR & Meitetsu Gamagori Stations; 0570-097117; www.lagunatenbosch.co.jp/laguna/english/index.html
COUNTRY FARM GERMAN VILLAGE WINTER ILLUMINATION 2018 (Chiba prefecture): Through April 7, sunset-8 p.m., one of the biggest illuminations in Japan, which will bring you into a fantasy world with the theme of “The Power of Smile”; 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.    
FLOWER & LIGHT KINGDOM AT NAGASAKI HUIS TEN BOSCH (Nagasaki prefecture): Through May 6; enjoy the glittering sight of a world-beating 13 million light bulbs at Nagasaki Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch-style theme park; 0956-58-0080; http://english.huistenbosch.co.jp.


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