Tokyo’s Best Winter Illuminations 2016-2017
Savvy's Guide To A City Of Light
The holiday season in Tokyo is an illuminating experience.
It’s that time of the year again when the whole of Tokyo is covered by stunning illuminations in all shapes and forms. One of the highlights of the winter season, these free festivals of light provide a welcome chance to get out in the evenings as the temperature dips and rejuvenate the spirits during the cold, dark winter months — not to mention take a few selfies. Whether alone, with a partner or with family and friends, these lights will make your holiday a little more special, joyful and warm. Here are our top picks for this year.
Yebisu Garden Place Baccarat Eternal Lights
The light-up event at the historic Yebisu Garden Place is called Baccarat Eternal Lights and features an 8-meter spectacular chandelier and beautifully decorated trees amongst its numerous illuminations. The Perfect spot for a romantic outing for adults.
Access: Ebisu Station. Until Jan.9, 2017© Photo by Jun Sato
Caretta Shiodome – Canyon d’Azur
Called “Canyon d’Azur,” this popular illumination at Caretta Shiodome features an ocean of some 270,000 blue and white LED lights. Themed “Forest of Spirits,” this year’s must-see spot are the numerous pillars (and Christmas trees) that are illuminated with an original ring of a bell – an amazing performance of light that takes place every 20 minutes. Perfect for a romantic or family visit with kids.
Access: Shimbashi Station. Until Feb. 14, 2017© Photo by Jun Sato
Tokyo Midtown – Midtown Christmas 2016
The areas around the popular shopping complex Tokyo Midtown light up each night and there is also a space-inspired Starlight Garden illumination in the park behind the main tower. Must-see spots also include the “Vision Dome,” combined with four searchlights unleashed into the sky that represent the birth of the universe, as well as a special “shooting star” performance every 12 minutes. The perfect place to make a wish upon a star while shopping and dining.
Access: Roppongi Station. Until Dec 25, 2016© Photo by Jun Sato
Akasaka White Sacas
Every year Akasaka Sacas, the small “city-within-a-city” and home to Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), lights up the area outside the shopping center and even installs an outdoor skating rink. Visit for an active, sparkling and bubbly night along with friends.
Access: Akasaka station. Until February 19, 2017
2016 Omohara Illumination
The flagship Tokyu Plaza Omotesando-Harajuku complex—thus the “Omohara”—with its wall-of-mirrors entrance and green, rooftop park “Omohara no Mori” will once again add to the area’s brightness with a nostalgic illumination that goes back to the basics and does it better than anywhere else. Grab a cup of coffee from the store’s rooftop Starbucks and enjoy the lights!
Access: Meijijungumae Station. Until Feb 28, 2017
Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas
The area around Roppongi Hills is festooned with light, including the parade of trees down Keyakizaka-dori, the beautifully lit-up Mohri Garden and the giant Christmas tree at Roku-Roku Plaza, the doorway of the complex.
Access: Roppongi station. Until Dec 25, 2016© Photo by Jun Sato
Shinjuku Terrace City
Business town at daytime, as soon as dawn hits Shinjuku the area changes into a stage of multiple illumination displays that will take your breath away. Make sure to start at “Mosaic Street,” illuminated in pop baby pink colors in-line with this year’s “Starfall Town” theme. Save the best for the last with a visit to the Southern Terrace south of JR Shinjuku station.
Access: Shinjuku station. Until Dec 25, 2016
Tokyo Tower Winter Fantasy 2016
Embrace the warmth of the season at Tokyo’s number one indisputable symbol, Tokyo Tower and its ground-based illuminations. This year’s illuminations feature a collaboration with Tokyo One Piece Tower, the ultra popular One Piece-themed park attraction located at the Tower, and a giant snow dome that is apparently the largest in Japan as of present. Check out the special Snow Dome Show performed every hour — a beautiful collaboration of light, snow and romantic music that will instantly boost your holiday spirits! Christmas music, surrounding the entire tower will surely add to the festive mood and contribute to a lovely night out at the very heart of the city.
Access: Akabanebashi station. Until February 28, 2017
Omotesando Christmas 2016
Commonly referred to as Tokyo’s “Champs-Elysees,” Omotesando — the broad, tree lined avenue and one of the symbols of Tokyo’s high fashion and style — is lit-up magnificently this year as well with some 500,000 LED lights in champagne gold colors. The stylish Omotesando Hills complex runs its own spectacular illumination as well — a giant 10-meter high Christmas tree decorated and illuminated in gorgeous LED lights and topped with a sparking 10-pointed star to mark the complex’s 10th anniversary.
Access: Harajuku Station/Omotesando Station or Meijijingumae Station. Until Dec. 25, 2016© Photo by Jun Sato
Odaiba Yakei Illumination
With Rainbow bridge, the giant Daiba Wheel and endless harbor lights, Odaiba is in itself a year-round unique and breath-taking illumination location, but don’t miss on the “Yakei” Illumination at Decks, one of Odaiba’s largest commercial facilities. The must-see spots include the 20-meters high “Daiba Memorial Tree,” the heart-shaped statue, which allows you to take a rare triple-shot of Tokyo’s city lights, Rainbow bridge and the Daiba Memorial Tree, and the “Illusion Dome”.
Access: Odaiba Kaihin-koen station. Until Dec. 25, 2016
Tokyo Dome Illuminations
One of the largest illumination sites in the Tokyo are, the Tokyo Dome Illuminations are spread throughout the entire dome area, including magnifiscent tunnels of lights, decorated Christmas trees and a mini-Tokyo Dome right in front of La Qua shopping center. One of the main features this year is the mock-up of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, set up to commemorate the 150-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and Japan.
Access: Suidobashi and Korakuen stations. Until February 19, 2017
Nakameguro Jewel Dome 2016
A spectacular cherry blossom site in spring, the Meguro River brights up the area equally gorgeously in winter too, using over 300,000 orange-gold LED lights used in the display around the river. The river-side walk makes up for one of the most romantic experiences this season.
Access: Nakameguro station. From December 16 through December 25, 2016
Shibuya Ao no Dokutsu
Despite using blue, blue and blue, nothing about this illumination can make you sad — take our word for it. Sponsored by the famous pasta sauce maker Ao No Dokutsu (Blue Cavern), the Koen-dori street leading toward Yoyogi Park are lit-up by thousands of LED lights creating a spectacular monotone glow until January 9. This year, enjoy a Shibuya sight you’ve never seen before.
Access: Shibuya station. Until January 9, 2017
And if you live outside Tokyo or intend to explore some of Japan’s other stunning winter lights this season, check our guide on GaijinPot Travel here.
Share your best illumination photos from this season with us for a chance to be featured on our social media sites. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, via Facebook @SavvyTokyo, #savvytokyo on Instagram or @savvytokyo on Twitter.