Top Winter Illumination Spots Just Outside of Tokyo

By Teresa Ann Koide
December 3, 2014

It has become a tradition in my family to head someplace special each year to enjoy some holiday lights. While there are some beautiful illuminations in central Tokyo, some of the more elaborate ones are slightly further afield. Here are three of our favorite spots in the greater Tokyo area.

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Tobu Zoo, Saitama

The location of this light display makes it perfect for a full-day outing. Head to the zoo early to enjoy the animals (the white tigers are my favorite), and ride the rides that are suitable for both kids and adults. As the sun goes down, the lights come on. Tobu Zoo is easy to reach by train, which makes for stress-free travel on busy weekends and holidays.

When: Now through Feb. 15, 2015, 5–8 p.m. (until 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 23–25)

Where: A ten-minute walk from Tobu Dobutsu Koen Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line

How much: Night admission is ¥700 for adults and ¥500 for children; day admission to the zoo is ¥1,700 for adults and ¥700 for children

More info: For further details and on the illumination, please see the zoo’s official website.

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Tokyo German Village, Chiba

Tokyo German Village is extremely popular, so it is best to arrive early to avoid the traffic and crowds leading into the park. My daughter enjoyed the playground equipment almost as much as the lights themselves.

When: Now through Mar. 31, 2015, 4–8 p.m.

Where: Sodegaura Station on the JR Uchibo Line, then take the shuttle bus from the south exit

How much: Night admission (after 3 p.m.) is ¥500 per person (kids under three are free) or ¥2,000 per car

More info: For additional details on the park and illumination event, please see the German Village’s official website.

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Sagamiko Resort and Pleasure Forest, Kanagawa

Sagamiko has an amazing display of 500 million lights! This is by far our favorite place for illuminations. It is extremely popular, so be prepared for traffic and crowded buses. After viewing the lights you can drop by Sagamiko Onsen Ururi to warm up! The onsen is located on site. There is also a campground with cabins that can be reserved for overnight stays, but reservations need to be made well in advance.

When: Now through April 12, 2015, 5–9:30 p.m.

Where: Sagamiko Station on the JR Chuo Line, then take a public bus from bus stop 1, and get off at Pleasure Forest Mae. It is about an eight-minute bus ride if there is no traffic.

How much: Night admission is ¥600 for adults and ¥400 for children

More info: To learn more about the Sagamiko Resort, its facilities and illuminations, please see its official website.


If crowded trains and buses aren’t your thing and you’d rather stay in the city, click here to see three of Tokyo’s best winter illuminations.

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