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Nov 19, 2019

Winter illumination recommendations in Japan

I'm quite a fan of Japan's winter illuminations and have been to plenty of spots in Tokyo -- Marunouchi, Shinjuku, Solamachi, Odaiba, Shiodome, Tokyo Midtown, Omotesando, Yebisu Garden Place. Anything I'm missing? Or any winter illuminations further afield that might warrant a trip out of town? Particularly interested in illuminations that are romantic and moody rather than, say, those with loads of crazy colors and designs.

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Tomuu

Tomuu

Traveler, surfer, and scribe. Based in Tokyo for six years.

16 Answers


  • JapanExpert

    on Nov 19

    If you’re looking for an escape from Tokyo, I’d highly recommend the Shirakawa-go Winter Light-Up. Such a lovely place at any time of the year, but particularly magical during the light-up season - January 13 and every Sunday until February 16. “The sheer amount of snow transforms Shirakawa-go village into a picturesque winter landscape. The special illumination events make the place even more special.”

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  • Tomuu

    on Nov 19

    @JapanExpert - Seen the pics. Looks amazing. Any danger of the crowds spoiling the experience a little, or does the cold weather and snow keep the numbers down?

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  • genkidesu

    on Nov 19

    We used to enjoy Yomuiriland's illuminations when we were in Tokyo. Definitely romantic enough (lots of couples wandering around) but very family friendly too).

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  • TonetoEdo

    on Nov 19

    One of my favorite urban illumination is Yebisu Garden Place Winter Illumination running until January 13th. The Baccarat chandelier, Christmas market and lots of places to eat and drink make it a great date spot. I only know Chiba Pref. locations. Kashiwa no Ha campus LaLaport area has a gorgeous light up. Another spectacular one, not all crazy colors and gimmicks, is Inzai City.

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  • edthethe

    on Nov 19

    Ashikaga's illuminations are gorgeous with lots of spots for couple pictures. Tobu doubutsukoen also has some nice lights. I havent been in years, but Shinrinkoen has nice light up especially under the changing leaves

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  • JapanRamen

    on Nov 20

    Quite a way out of town but the Nabana no sato なばなの里 in Mie is a very nice spot for families!

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  • ReishiiTravels

    on Nov 22

    I second JapanRamen's recommendation! Nabano No Sato is amazing!

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  • Tomuu

    on Nov 22

    @genkidesu - Noted. Thx. Not been out that way before so could be an interesting one to check out.

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  • Tomuu

    on Nov 22

    @TonetoEdo - Yea, Garden Place is nice. Went there last year, or a couple of years ago. It's nice having the small market there, too, so you can pick up a hot drink to warm up with / walk around with. Plus, Ebisu is just a nice area anyway. Inzai City? Didn't see that one coming. Perhaps I'll give it a look. Can't be too far from me.

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  • Tomuu

    on Nov 22

    @edthethe - Couples pics! I think the partner would like that (not so much me though)! I saw your post about Ashikaga illuminations. Looks nice. Yet to go there but would like to at some point. Shinrinkoen - that's Saitama Pref., right?

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  • JTsuzuki

    on Nov 23

    Sendai's Pageant of Starlight might be right up your alley, with a whole street and park lit up in fairy lights, more atmospheric and romantic than high-tech. The light-up starts on December 6th and will end on the 31st with a few events inbetween including a parade of Santa Claus look-alikes at one point. More information is available on the Sendai Tourism Website: https://sendaihikape.jp/

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  • helloalissa

    on Nov 24

    For moody, this fall light up in Takeo, Saga Prefecture was crowded, but amazing: https://www.teamlab.art/e/mifuneyamarakuen I blogged about it last year: https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/helloalissa/MnaXO-living_saga_takeo_shi_saga There are probably more wintery Teamlab outdoor illuminations closer to Tokyo with a similar vibe.

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  • genkidesu

    on Nov 26

    @helloalissa ah! We were in Saga in October last year and really wanted to visit that (we stayed in Takeo) but it was so packed! The line stretched on for miles! Would love to go back and get the chance to see it.

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  • Tomuu

    on Nov 26

    @JTsuzuki - Sounds right up my street. Thx

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  • Tomuu

    on Nov 26

    @helloalissa - TeamLab - good shout.

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  • Bella

    on Dec 12

    Go to Chichibu's Ashigakubo Icicles in Chichibu, Saitama. They lit it up at night. They also have amazake, which is perfect for its cold atmosphere. https://travel.gaijinpot.com/icicles-of-ashigakubo/ I think there's also an illumination at Moominvalley Park in Hanno, Saitama. It's just an hour away from Ikebukuro.

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