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Top 5 Winter Illuminations in Kansai 2021-22: A World Where Everything Glitters!

Top 5 Winter Illuminations in Kansai 2021-22: A World Where Everything Glitters!

Date published: 17 December 2019
Last updated: 22 January 2021

When visiting in winter, you can't miss the colorful Osaka illuminations that decorate the city! In the cold, clear winter air, sparkling lights shine even more beautifully.

Merging light, sound, and nature in satisfying and tasteful productions, these Kansai sensations are perfect for making memories just in time for the Christmas season.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Endless Stunning Displays At “NESTA Illumina ~Light Promenade~” (Kobe Illumination)
  2. 2. Illuminations of Historical-Cultural Heritage and Nature in Saga and Arashiyama at “Arashiyama Hanatouro” (Kyoto Illumination)
  3. 3. The Streets of Osaka Glitter at the “Festival of the Lights in Osaka 2020” (Osaka Illumination)
  4. 4. Experience A "Happy Holiday" At This Light Festival (Wakayama Illumination)
  5. 5. The Largest Scale Light Show in Kansai "Rosa Illumi 2020 -Hikari Kanaderu Oka-" (Shiga Illumination)
  6. Book an unforgettable experience in Osaka!

1. Endless Stunning Displays At “NESTA Illumina ~Light Promenade~” (Kobe Illumination)

1. Endless Stunning Displays At “NESTA Illumina ~Light Promenade~” (Kobe Illumination)
ダンシングウォール

Witness how the magnificent natural environment is blended seamlessly into a light show at the “Nesta Illumina ~Light Promenade~” event. Held at Nesta Resort Kobe, this illumination show is well-received and has won numerous awards to boot.

Right at the entrance, visitors are greeted by a rainbow-colored “Dancing Wall,” where approximately three million decorative lights sparkle among nature. Combined with music and projection mapping, the resulting illumination creates a fantasy of lights that is nothing short of eye-catching.

Wonder Tunnel

Spanning a total of 220 meters, the “Wonder Tunnel” is where light and music are interwoven. Around one million full color LED lights are used to create this magical, fairytale-like space.

Fantasy Lagoon

The Fantasy Lagoon area is where “The Legend of Iguazu Falls” unfolds. This complex production is a first in Japan, relying not on lights, but on water screen projections, special mist effects, and audio equipment.

Nature of the Four Seasons (Summer)
Nature of the Four Seasons (Autumn)

Nature of the Four Seasons” is making its appearance once again, having reopened since Friday, August 20, 2020 following the completion of its renovation. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the four seasons here, where nature is filled with glittering lights.

Current measures against COVID-19
All visitors are required to put on a mask and undergo temperature screening. Visitors who are unwell will be barred from entering the premises. Social distancing will also be enforced.

  • Nesta Resort Kobe
    ネスタリゾート神戸
    • Address Taruho-894-60 Hosokawacho, Miki, Hyogo-ken 673-0703
    • Phone Number 0794-83-5000
    • Hours: 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. (last admission at 9:00 p.m.) *Varies depending on the season (the opening hours for Nesta Resort Kobe itself are 9:00 a.m. onwards on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. on the weekends and Public Holidays)
      Admission Fee: 1Day Pass (fee for entering Nesta Resort Kobe); Adults (middle school and older) 4,180 yen; Children (from the age of four to elementary school age) 3,080 yen; Free for children age three and below. *Admission fees are tax inclusive.
      Closed: Open daily

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2. Illuminations of Historical-Cultural Heritage and Nature in Saga and Arashiyama at “Arashiyama Hanatouro” (Kyoto Illumination)

2. Illuminations of Historical-Cultural Heritage and Nature in Saga and Arashiyama at “Arashiyama Hanatouro” (Kyoto Illumination)
Togetsukyo Bridge illuminated ©Photo courtesy of Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council

Well regarded as a symbol of winter in Kyoto, “Arashiyama Hanatouro” is returning this year as a limited-time event from Friday, December 11, to Sunday, December 20, 2020. By illuminating the scenic nature by the waterfront and historical cultural heritage sites like temples and shrines, the event is staging a different kind of beauty from that in the day.

Arashiyama illuminated ©Photo courtesy of Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council

The foot of the mountain near Togetsukyo Bridge as well as the waterfront are also brightly lit up for this event. Visitors will find themselves attracted to the magnificent and beautiful night-time nature scenery that is reflected even onto the surface of the river.

Light and Blossoms Pathway ©Photo courtesy of Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council
Flower Arrangement Promenade ©Photo courtesy of Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council

Enjoy the artistry and techniques behind the colorful and spectacular flowers along the “Flower Arrangement Promenade,” where large flower arrangements are showcased in large vases in multiple spots.

The “Bamboo Forest Walkway” from Nonomiya Shrine leading to Ōkōchi Sansō Garden is usually a popular spot for illumination viewing, garnering many visitors every year. However, in order to prevent the gathering of crowds here as a measure against the virus, there will not be any illumination shows here this year.

Current measures against COVID-19
Visitors will be required to wear masks. Visitors who are unwell will be barred from entering the premises. Visitors are to sanitize their hands thoroughly. Social distancing will also be enforced.

  • KYOTO ARASHIYAMA HANATOURO-2020
    京都・嵐山花灯路-2020
    • Address Ukyo-ku and Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto (approximate location)
    • Hours: Light up available from Friday, December 11 to Sunday, December 20, 2020 between 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (regardless of rain or shine)
      Admission: Strolling around is free but separate admission charges apply

3. The Streets of Osaka Glitter at the “Festival of the Lights in Osaka 2020” (Osaka Illumination)

3. The Streets of Osaka Glitter at the “Festival of the Lights in Osaka 2020” (Osaka Illumination)
Midōsuji Illuminations © Festival of the Lights in OSAKA Executive Committee Office

An illumination event that colors Osaka's city with bright lights, the "Festival of the Lights in Osaka 2020" is becoming a new tourist attraction in Osaka and is in its eighth iteration this year. This Osaka light festival covers a range of locations, including Midōsuji, the main street of Osaka and Nakanoshima, a sandbank symbolic to Osaka, also known as the 'city of water.'

In one of the core programs known as "Midōsuji Illuminations," approximately four kilometers from Umeda to Naniwa will be lit up from Tuesday (Public Holiday), November 3, to Thursday, December 31, 2020. This year's iteration includes a special feature in which visitors can enjoy a special AR video when they scan their phones at a specific location.

"Inochi Ikizuku, Kibō-no-Hikari," a projection mapping on the Osaka Central Public Hall © Festival of the Lights in OSAKA Executive Committee Office

Held at Nakanoshima, a symbol of the city of water, Osaka, is another core program called "OSAKA Hikari Renaissance." Here, by the power of projection mapping and timed light shows, the Osaka Central Public Hall is transformed into a breathtaking piece of artwork.

Plus, enjoy other Osaka light festival shows here that make the most out of the waterfront scenery. The main illuminations in the Nakanoshima area will be available from Monday, December 14 to Friday, December 25.

OSAKA Hikari Renaissance Nakanoshima Illumination Street © Festival of the Lights in OSAKA Executive Committee Office

Other unique illumination events will be held at various locations around the prefecture during this period, so be sure to check them out as well!

(*On December 15, it was announced that certain programs such as the "OSAKA Hikari Renaissance" projection mapping will be canceled. Please check the official website for details.)

  • Festival of the Lights in OSAKA 2020
    大阪・光の饗宴2020
    • Address Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka (approximate location)
    • Hours: Tuesday (Public Holiday), November 3, 2020 – Sunday, January 31, 2021 *The event period and light-up timings will vary depending on the location. Please check the official website for more details.
      Admission: Free(Admission charges apply for part of the programs.)
      Closed: Open daily

4. Experience A "Happy Holiday" At This Light Festival (Wakayama Illumination)

4. Experience A "Happy Holiday" At This Light Festival (Wakayama Illumination)

Wakayama Marina City's illumination event "Festa Luce ~A True Christmas Encounter~" is currently held from Saturday, October 31, 2020, to Sunday, February 14, 2021.

With "happy holiday" as its theme, this event is where you can enjoy the atmosphere of celebrating Christmas in Europe. This year, as a generous gift from Marina City, admission to the event is free for students at the middle school level or lower, while students at the high school level or above can enter for half price.

Relish in the excitement of counting down towards Christmas or swing by on the actual day to fully immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit here. In addition to illuminations that have been upgraded compared to before, there are also photo spots and atrium street projection mappings to enjoy. At this event, visitors will be transported into a different world for a fairytale-like Christmas.

Current measures against COVID-19
Visitors are required to wear masks and undergo temperature screening. Admissions may be restricted. Visitors who are unwell will be barred from entering the premises. Admission tickets must be purchased in advance from the Pass Market or the convenience store. Social distancing will be enforced. Crowd levels can be checked on the home page.

  • WAKAYAMA MARINA CITY
    和歌山マリーナシティ
    • Address 1527 Kemi, wakayama, 641-0014
    • Event Period: Saturday, October 31, 2020 – Sunday, February 14, 2021 *However, the event will be held only on the weekends and Public Holidays from the following period: Monday, January 4 – Sunday, February 14, 2021.
      Hours: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (Attractions close at 8:00 p.m. Last admission at 8:30 p.m.)
      Admission: Same-day entry for Adults at 1,500 yen; Students (high school and above) 750 yen; Free for children (middle school and below). Advance Tickets for Adults at 1,300 yen, Students (high school and above) 650 yen, Free for children (middle school and below). ※Separate admission fees apply for the attractions.
      Festa Luce Night Pass(Unlimited access to eight attractions)1,600yen(Same price for adults and children age three and above; only sold on the weekends and Public Holidays)(All prices are tax-inclusive)

5. The Largest Scale Light Show in Kansai "Rosa Illumi 2020 -Hikari Kanaderu Oka-" (Shiga Illumination)

5. The Largest Scale Light Show in Kansai "Rosa Illumi 2020 -Hikari Kanaderu Oka-" (Shiga Illumination)

The largest illumination event in the Kansai area started on Friday, October 23, 2020, at the complex tourist facility "English Garden Rosa & Berry Tawada" in Maibara City in Shiga Prefecture. Within the extensive site measuring 60,000 square meters, approximately one million LED lights have been lit up to create an immersive experience for all visitors.

Comprising three main zones and sixteen types of content, the event space is scattered with projection mappings and various light show performances. With just one step into the premises, visitors will find themselves lost in a beautiful light painting.

Milky Way Rose Garden

In the first zone known as the "Milky Way Railway," embark on a journey onboard the Rozen Railway Milky Way through the galaxy. After you cross through a garden where roses and dandelions formed from small lights glitter in full bloom, you will find yourself in a world of fairies. With a sea of blue reminiscent of Lake Biwa and a snowy landscape that frames the north of the lake, there are countless photo spots for visitors to capture some memories of the mystical brilliance here.

The three shades of blue signify the event's support of the "Light It Blue" movement, which was started in London, England, as a symbol of gratitude to the healthcare industry workers.

The Fairy Garden, A Village in Which Fairies Live

The second zone is the "Fairy Garden," found in the Rozen Railway Milky Way's depths. As soon as you enter this fairy village, you are greeted by glittering, dancing fairies. Another part of the illumination story presented here are the seven-colored "Trees of Prayers" which are not to be missed! In this zone, visitors can also get to witness the "Miraculous Blue Roses" that are said to only bloom once every hundred years.

However, they will only bloom if certain conditions are fulfilled. And those conditions are...? Find out here at the "Fairy Garden."

Shaun the Sheep Farm Garden © 2020 Aardman Animations Limited and Studiocanal SAS

In 2019, the world's first themed area with the theme of British clay animation "Shaun the Sheep" was established at Rosa & Berry Tawada. The third zone after the fairy garden is the "Shaun the Sheep Farm Garden," which glitters adorably. Illuminated by warm and comforting lights, the world of "A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon "will open up before your eyes. Visitors can also enjoy the breathtaking night view of Shiga from top of the hill here.

In addition to the illuminations, which will be available tentatively up till Sunday, March 28, 2021, there are photo spots, music and food to enjoy to your heart's content at "English Garden Rosa & Berry Tawada." For more information, please check out the official website.

Current measures against COVID-19
Shops and facilities are disinfected. Sanitizers are provided. Ventilation in shops is ensured. Acrylic boards have been set up around the cashier. Staff are required to wear masks and gloves as well as be in good health. Regulations concerning the number of people in shops as well as the distance between seats have been put in place. Admissions and reservations have been limited. Visitors who are unwell will be barred from entering shops. Visitors are required to wear masks, undergo temperature screening and adhere to social distancing guidelines, etc.

  • Rosa & Berry Tawada Illumination 2020
    ローザンイルミ2020
    • Address English Garden Rosa & Berry, Tawada 605-10 Tawada, Maibara-shi, Shiga 521-0081
    • Phone Number 0749-54-2323
    • Hours:
      2020 
      Wednesday, December 2 – Sunday, December 27: 4:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. every day except Tuesday
      Monday, December 28 – Wednesday, December 30: 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. every day
      2021
      Sunday, January 3 – Thursday, January 7: 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. every day
      Friday, January 8 – Sunday, February 28: 4:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. every day except Tuesday
      Friday, March 5 – Sunday, March 28: 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. from Fridays to Sundays and Public Holidays
      *The opening times for the illuminations differ from that of the daytime attractions.
      Nighttime admission: Adults (middle school and above) 1,300 yen; Children (age four and above) 700 yen; free for children age three and below. *Tickets reserved online will be granted priority during admission; prices are tax inclusive.
      Rozen Railway Milky Way boarding fee (one-way): Adults (middle school and above) 1,000 yen; Children (age four and under) 500 yen. *The fee applies to children who require a seat even if they are age four and below; prices are tax inclusive.

The Kansai area is packed with illumination events held in various well-known locations. With improvements made to these events' content each year, these banquets of lights receive continuous upgrades. They are now events that many people look forward to every year. With illuminations adorning nature, streets and historical buildings, a kind of magical beauty is drawn out, creating incredibly stunning scenes that will become unforgettable memories for all.

*Depending on the situation, the events may undergo changes to the event period or opening hours, or completely cancelled. The contents of the events may also be altered during the course of the event. Please be sure to check the official homepages for the latest information before heading out.

Written by:

WESTPLAN

WESTPLAN

Kiko Matsuda, Keiko Kimura, Risa Tsuji, and a team of female writers familiar with Kansai. We love eating, drinking and traveling! We share fun information based on our experiences.

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*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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