Three of Tokyo’s Best Winter Illuminations

By Elisabeth Lambert
November 29, 2013

In Japan, you know Christmas is getting closer when illumination displays and festivals start lighting up the country. While some illuminations are now massive events to which hundreds of thousands of people will scramble for a look each year, you’re just as likely to stumble across smaller, yet just as beautiful displays in your local area. In fact, many main streets and stations join in the festivities too.

Midtown by Kabacchi cropped

Here are three of Savvy’s favorite illuminations in Tokyo:

Jewellumination by Zengame cropped

Jewellumination at Yomiuriland

This year, lighting designer Motoko Ishii has turned the Yomiuriland theme park into a “jewellery fantasy” that brings together light, color and “brilliant” music. In fact, a new color has been created, inspired by love, called “Lovely New Jewellery Color.” If that kind of originality isn’t enough to get you through the ticket gate, then a sunset or after dark gondola ride from Keio Yomiuriland Station to the theme park’s entrance should be. This is a really beautiful way to view this particular illumination, without the crowds and in some relative peace and quiet, before you get in amongst it. And the view from above is just breathtaking, especially watching the rides in operation under the twinkling night sky.

When: Through Feb. 16, 2014; 4-8:30 p.m.

Admission: Adults ¥700 yen; children ¥500; night pass ¥1,200 (for three people, either two adults and a child, or two children and an adult)

Access: Keio Yomiuriland Station, and then gondola, or Yomiuriland-mae Station, Odakyu Line, and then bus.

More info: For additional details, visit the Jewellumination website.

Midtown by Ajari cropped

Midtown Christmas

Held at the Tokyo Midtown complex, this illumination utilizes different spots around the building, including the incredibly transfixing “Diamond Dust” Christmas Tree that is featured in the main part of the complex, the major ground level entrance, and the grassy land out the back, which is transformed into the Starlight Garden. An array of colors and patterns definitely paint the tower in its best light. Due to its location, this is of course a popular illumination, however it’s well worth it, and there are other illuminations in the area you can also wander past, such as Roppongi Hills and Keyakizaka Street. Why not grab a meal in one of the Midtown restaurants overlooking the Starlight Garden? This is definitely a great way to enjoy the lights without the hustle and bustle (and cold temperatures!).

When: Through Dec. 25; 5-11 p.m.

Admission: Free

Access: Roppongi Station, Hibiya/Oedo Subway Lines or Nogizaka Station, Chiyoda Subway Line

More info: For additional information on Midtown Christmas 2013, click here.

Shiodome 2 by Zengame cropped

White Christmas in the Sea

Hosted by Caretta Shiodome, an entertainment complex, this illumination is more interactive than most and is comprised of a number of different parts, including a 3D projection and a massive LED display. This year’s 3D portion of the light fest aims to have visitors feel as though they are a part of a Christmas story or experience taking place in an under-the-sea world—well there’s a first time for everything! Visitors/participants are given instructions and are expected to applaud loudly at all the right moments in order for the story to progress. It is a busy and popular event on the illumination calendar, but well worth the effort.

When: Through Dec. 25; 5-10:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

Access: Shiodome Station, Toei Oedo/Yurikamome Lines

More info: For additional details visit the Caretta Illumination 2013 website.


What are your favorite Tokyo illuminations? Have you visited light displays in any other Japanese cities? Let us know in the comments!


Photos by Kabacchi, Zengame and Ajari.


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