While staying inside and getting cozy is one of the greatest things to do during the cold winter days, heading out and enjoying Tokyo’s magical illuminations is the top activity to do once the sun has set! Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi, Caretta Shiodome, Omotesando, and the Ebisu Garden Place are well-beloved illumination spots that sur-prise tourists and Tokyoites every year with new and creative illumination ideas. This time around, however, we’ll shine a light on Tokyo’s brand-new winter wonderland spots, as we have selected the five must-see illumination spots being lit up for the very first time this year!
Illuminations like Cherry Blossoms at Night in Tokyo’s Oldest Amusement Park
Asakusa Hanayashiki is Japan’s oldest amusement park and in celebration of its 163th anniversary, beautiful illuminations will light up the park for the very first time in its long history. Utilizing the theme of “Cherry Blossom Romance,” Hanayashiki will transform in a flowery winter wonderland with around half a million pink LED lights. While the park is fun for the entire family, the calm and mystical atmosphere created at night turns Hanayashiki into a far more sophisticated space. Next to the illuminations themselves, various shows are being held, such as the “Lumiyashiki Fountain Show,” featuring traditional Japanese songs, or the popular panda cars which have also been adorned with their very own illuminations.
Among all of the shiny lights and events, our recommended photo spot is the Sky Pla-za. Not only can you look over the entirety of Hanayashiki but you’ll also get a magnifi-cent view on Tokyo Skytree(R) towering in the distance. There’s no better way to commemorate your visit to the historical amusement park than by taking a snapshot of yourself amidst beautiful cherry blossom illuminations and Tokyo Skytree(R) right be-hind you!
Actually, a drama called Jimi ni Sugoi! Kōetsu Girl: Kouno Etsuko, or Pretty Proofreader in English, takes place at Hanayashiki, having earned the amusement park quite a spike in popularity. And while the drama’s heroine failed to enjoy a romantic date here, why not seize that opportunity for yourself and visit with someone dear to you?
Entry: 2,000 yen for park entry and unlimited rides for six attractions
Event Period: October 30th 2016 to March 30th 2017
Not Held On: November 3rd – 6th, 20th. December 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th, 31st. January 10th – 12th, 16th – 19th, 23rd – 26th, 30th to February 2nd. February 4th to 16th, 20th to 23rd, 27th to March 2nd. March 6th – 10th, 13th – 16th.
Hours: 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (last entry at 8:30 p.m.)
Shibuya’s Illuminations: Yoyogi Park Transforms into the Blue Cave
Ueno Park’s Magnificent Winter Cherry Blossoms
Ueno Park is known for its about 100 magnificent cherry trees that blossom beautifully during spring – this year, though, a similar phenomenon can be experienced when these very trees are lit up by 100,000 “sakura color” LEDs. These winter cherry blos-soms create a fantastical world that is vastly different from spring’s charms, with the soft, warm light of the LED lights making for one of Tokyo’s most amazing winter illumi-nations of this year.
Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
Ueno Station （Hokkaido Shinkansen Line / Tohoku Shinkansen Line / Akita Shinkansen Line / Yamagata Shinkansen Line / Joetsu Shinkansen Line / Hokuriku Shinkansen Line / JR Keihin-Tohoku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Tohoku Main Line / JR Utsunomiya Line / JR Takasaki Line / JR Joban Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line）
1 minute on foot
- Phone Number 03-3828-5644
- Address Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
Finding Marunouchi’s Prince amidst Illuminations and Events
The classic Marunouchi illuminations celebrate their 15th anniversary this year and to mark this milestone, the illumination area has been expanded to not only encompass Marunouchi Central Street but also Otemachi Central Street. About 250 trees are lit up in a beautiful champagne gold with the help of over a million LED lights.
Additionally, an event called “Marunouchi Bright Christmas 2016 – The Magical Story of the Nutcracker” is being held throughout the entire area, making Tchaikovsky’s Nut-cracker suite its main theme. The main venue will feature a beautiful projection map-ping centered on the Nutcracker, one of the highlights of Marunouchi’s Christmas events. After having watched the show, go ahead and look for the Nutcracker having transformed into a prince – he is said to hide somewhere in the Marunouchi area!
Location: Marunouchi Naka-Dori, Otemachi Naka-Dori, around Tokyo Station
Hours: 5:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Period: November 10th 2016 to February 19th 2017
Marunouchi Bright Christmas 2016 – The Magical Story of the Nutcracker
Location: Marunouchi Bldg., Shin-Marunouchi Bldg., Marunouchi Oazo, Marunouchi Brick Square, Kokusai Building
Period: November 10th 2016 to February 19th 2017
Around Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 2-3 chome, 100-0005
Tokyo Station （Tokaido Shinkansen Line / Hokkaido Shinkansen Line / Tohoku Shinkansen Line / Akita Shinkansen Line / Yamagata Shinkansen Line / Joetsu Shinkansen Line / Hokuriku Shinkansen Line / JR Tokaido Main Line / JR Yokosuka Line / JR Sobu Main Line (Rapid) / JR Keihin-Tohoku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Chuo Main Line / JR Keiyo Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line / Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line）
1 minute on foot
- Address Around Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 2-3 chome, 100-0005
Illumination Magic: From Candlelight to Snow and Back
Another classic of Tokyo’s illuminations is the Roppongi Hills Keyakizaka Illuminations, which are particularly popular due to Tokyo Tower shining in the background. This year, however, the classic has gotten a new dash of color for the first time in three years. Now, Keyakizaka is lit up in a beautiful graduation of colors in not one but two color sets: one is the urban and sophisticated SNOW & BLUE, consisting of snow-white and deep blue LEDs. The other set is all about the warmth of Christmas, as the color set called CANDLE & AMBER utilizes these very colors to transform the area in a warm Christmas dream. These two sets, created with around 1.2 million individual LED lights, alternate between each other in regular intervals, allowing visitors to Roppongi Hills to enjoy the illuminations in two unique ways.
Location: Roppongi Keyakizaka-Dori
Hours: 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
CANDLE & AMBER: every hour for 10 minutes, directly on the hour and 30 minutes past.
SNOW & BLUE: every hour for 20 minutes, from 10 and 40 minutes past the hour.
5:00 – 5:05 is SNOW & BLUE, 5:05 – 5:10 is CANDLE ＆ AMBER
Period: November 14th to December 25th 2016
Tokyo has a magnificent abundance of beautiful winter illuminations and while we’ve focused on the shiny new installations of 2016, the classics all around the Japanese capital shouldn’t be dismissed! Gather your loved ones and transform the cold winter nights into a shining winter wonderland, no matter which illumination display you ulti-mately choose to enjoy!