In Osaka and Kyoto, November is bustling with events. As winter draws closer, the days become increasingly chilly. However, it's the perfect time for autumn leaf viewing, and the broader Kansai region is alive with magical illuminations and festive Christmas celebrations.
Here we present a curated list of the best things to do in Kansai in November.
November events at theme parks and popular spots
NO LIMIT! Christmas 2023 (USJ, Osaka)
Universal Studios Japan presents 'NO LIMIT! Christmas 2023'. A towering 30m Christmas tree dazzles with vibrant ornaments and illuminations. The 'Super Nintendo World' features winter decorations, including snowmen inspired by Mario & Luigi and a tree adorned with the iconic Super Star welcoming guests at the entrance.
Visitors can enjoy Christmas-themed greetings from beloved characters like the Minions, Hello Kitty, Peanuts, and Sesame Street. Meeting these characters in festive attire and taking photos will surely make for cherished memories.
After a 4-year hiatus, the Christmas live show 'Frosty's Electric Snow Party' is back. Minions, Elmo, and Snoopy join in, and the park's new original character, 'DJ Frosty', will hype up the show with music and dance.
・Dates: November 21, 2023 (Tue) - January 8, 2024 (Mon)
・*Dates are subject to change.
・*Check the official website for limited-time tickets.
WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names, and indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s23)
Minions and all related elements and indicia TM & © 2023 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
TM & © 2023 Sesame Workshop
©2023 Peanuts Worldwide LLC
©2023 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. EJ3013002
©TM & © Universal Studios & Amblin Entertainment
©TM & © Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
Universal Studios Japanユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン
- Address 2-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana-ku, Osaka City, Osaka 554-0031
- Phone Number 0570-20-0606
・Hours: Posted on the official Web site
・Closed: Open daily
Uzamasa Joraku Festival (Uzamasa, Kyoto)
Located within walking distance from Kyoto's JR Uzumasa Station and Randen Torokko Saga Station, Toei Kyoto Studio Park is a theme park centered around historical Japanese dramas. The park recreates the ambiance of ancient Edo, complete with staff dressed as samurais and townswomen, and traditional Japanese buildings like 'Nagaya' lining the streets.
The annual Uzamasa Joraku Festival hosted here features booths and stages related to popular Japanese anime and manga. Every year, booths themed around trending anime and games are set up, selling original merchandise and character panels, making it a haven for fans. This year, characters and games such as 'Otouri Danshi' and 'Ayakashi Rumble!' are featured.
Highlighting the event is one of Japan's largest cosplay events. Taking advantage of the unique setting, cosplayers dressed in traditional Japanese outfits and historical genres gather. The festival also boasts numerous photo points styled in a historical drama manner.
・Dates: November 18-19
・Venue: Toei Kyoto Studio Park
・Admission Fees: Adults 2,400 yen, Middle & High School Students 1,400 yen, Children (3 and over) 1,200 yen
・The cosplay event 'COS-PATIO' requires a separate ticket purchase (see this link for details)
November Illumination Events in Kansai
Light Amusement Park: Flowering Illumination (Osaka, Hirakata Park)
Hirakata Park is a theme park that proudly hosts an annual illumination event. It's conveniently located just a few minutes' walk away from the Keihan Electric Railway's Hirakata Koen Station. The park is home to a variety of classic attractions, including a Ferris wheel and roller coasters, as well as a small zoo, making it the perfect destination for families seeking a fun and exciting day out.
The illumination event, which takes place from November to April the following year, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2023. Titled 'Flowering Illumination' for 2023, the event will focus on floral-themed illuminations. Additionally, marking the milestone year, the event will undergo its first renovation in five years.
For the first time in the history of the illumination event, seven distinct areas will be introduced, featuring their original LED called 'Ensemble LED'. Among the highlights is the debut of the 'Tree of Flowers and Fairies (tentative title)', standing at a record height of approximately 13 meters. This year's array of firsts ensures the illumination event is not to be missed.
Moreover, over 20 nighttime attractions will be spotlighted. The popular Sky Walker allows visitors to gaze down from its peak at approximately 80 meters, offering a panoramic view of the brilliantly lit Hirakata Park.
・Dates: Specific days from November 3, 2023 to April 7, 2024
・Time: 5 PM until closing
・Admission (Online Purchase): Adults 1,600 yen, Children 900 yen
- Address 1-1 Hirakata Koen-cho, Hirakata City, Osaka, 573-0054
- Phone Number 0570-016-855
Hours: From 10 AM (*Subject to change)
Closed: Same as the days the park is closed
Festival of the Lights in Osaka 2023 (Midosuji & Nakanoshima, Osaka)
Festival of the Lights in Osaka encompasses illumination events throughout Osaka Prefecture, primarily featuring the Midosuji Illumination on Midosuji Street and the "OSAKA Light Renaissance" in Nakanoshima.
The Midosuji Illumination, known for its world record set in January 2015 for the most street trees illuminated, will be even more vibrant in 2023 with the addition of landmark lasers and projection mapping.
Conversely, the "OSAKA Light Renaissance" captures the essence of Osaka, often referred to as the "city of water," by showcasing light displays that utilize the city's waterscapes.
Additionally, the digital art specialists, teamLab, participate in the Festival of Lights. At their permanent location in Osaka's Nagai Botanical Garden, visitors can experience art illuminations that harness the beauty of wind and light, featuring the Poaceae plant, Capillaris.
Event Details: Midosuji Illumination 2023
・Date: November 3 to December 31
・Time: Around 5 PM to 11 PM, only on December 31 till 1 AM
・Location: Midosuji (from Hanshin Mae intersection to Namba Nishiguchi intersection)
Event Details: OSAKA Light Renaissance 2023
・Date: December 14-December 25
・Time: Varies by area
・Location: Around Osaka City Hall to Nakanoshima Park
Sparkling Christmas (Ise-Shima, Mie)
Shima Spain Village, located in Shima City, Mie Prefecture, is accessible in around two and a half hours from Osaka's Namba area. The resort area replicates the streets of Spain, providing a charming backdrop for its Christmas event. The site includes the Parque Espana theme park and hot springs, set amidst the natural beauty of the Ise-Shima region.
The "Sparkling Christmas" event, which runs from November to Christmas, features a massive 7-meter Christmas tree in the area around Parque Espana. As evening falls, the area is transformed with illuminations and light-ups, creating a romantic atmosphere that can be enjoyed by adults as well. The restaurants offer limited-time Christmas-themed dishes and desserts, allowing you to indulge in the festive mood while dining.
・Shima Spain Village Christmas Event
・Duration: November 2 to December 25
・Ticket Price: One Day Passport - 5,500 yen for adults, 4,400 yen for ages 12-17, 3,600 yen for ages 3-11
Forest Sound Wonder Christmas 2023 (Mt. Rokko, Hyogo)
The Rokko Morinone Museum, situated atop Mount Rokko, is a landmark of Hyogo Prefecture, featuring a unique theme centered around "sound" and "nature". Its close proximity to the Shin-Kobe Station of Kobe City Subway, a mere 5-minute stroll, makes it easily accessible to visitors. A scenic ropeway ride to the 'Museum Mae' stop offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area.
The museum's Morinone Hall, a German-style western house, is beautifully decorated with Christmas trees and German-made ornaments, creating an enchanting ambiance for the season. The theme for the Christmas event is "German Christmas", with various exhibits and events held to embrace it. The concert room plays melodies from antique music boxes and other automatic musical instruments, further adding to the romantic atmosphere.
The interiors are festively illuminated, and throughout the event duration, concerts featuring hymns and Christmas songs are held. A market selling German ornaments and Christmas-themed music boxes is also a highlight of the event. Besides, the on-site "Forest Cafe" is an excellent place to experience a "German Christmas" while savoring traditional German delicacies and unique dishes.
・Forest Sound Wonder Christmas
・Duration: November 24 to December 25
・Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM (Last entry at 4:30 PM)
・Admission: 1,500 yen for adults (junior high school students and above), 750 yen for children (ages 4 to elementary school)
Rokko Morinone MuseumROKKO森の音ミュージアム
- Address 4512-145, Kita-Rokko, Rokkosan-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 657-0101
- Phone Number 078-891-1284
Autumn Festivals in November
Hase-ji Temple Maple Festival & Autumn Special Viewing (Hase-ji, Nara)
Every year, Hasedera Temple in Nara Prefecture hosts the Hasedera Maple Festival & Special Autumn Viewing during early October. The temple is located a short walk from Hasedera Station on the Kintetsu line and is surrounded by a vast mountain where visitors can admire various trees, including maple, gingko, dogwood, and zelkova.
The festival coincides with the peak of the autumn foliage, allowing attendees to witness the leaves' beautiful transformation into vibrant colors like yellow and red. This event also includes the "Special Autumn Temple Treasure Exhibition," where visitors can enter the Main Hall, a National Treasure typically off-limits to the public, and touch the feet of the Kannon deity, providing a unique and valuable experience.
・Hasedera Temple Autumn Leaves Festival & Special Autumn Viewing
・Duration: October 7 to December 10
・Special Viewing Fee: 1,000 yen (Note: A separate admission fee for entering the mountain area is required)
Arashiyama Momiji Festival (Arashiyama, Kyoto)
At the scenic Arashiyama, known for its brilliant autumn colors, the much-anticipated Momiji Festival is held. The venue is conveniently close to the Randen Arashiyama Station and city bus stops, ensuring a hassle-free journey for attendees.
Historically, Arashiyama was a favored retreat for the "Heian nobility," the affluent class of the Heian period, some 1300 years ago. The Momiji Festival pays homage to this era by reenacting the boating pastimes of these nobles. Attendees can enjoy traditional Noh performances and dances on the riverbank, and for those who wish, they can even don the attire of the Heian aristocrats for a more immersive experience.
Moreover, the autumn leaves of Arashiyama and the nearby Okurayama paint the landscape in brilliant shades of red and yellow. It's a delightful experience to watch the boats go by from the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge in Kyoto, feeling as if you've stepped back into the graceful Heian era.
・Date: November 12
・Time: From 10 AM to around 3 PM
・Venue: Katsura River, near the Togetsukyo Bridge
・Admission: General entry is free, though certain viewing areas may have a fee.
Minoh Momiji Festival (Minoh, Osaka)
Stepping off at Minoh Station on the Hankyu Minoh Line, you'll find yourself amidst the verdant beauty of the Minoh Quasi-National Park. Even in bustling Osaka, this park offers a serene escape with its waterfalls and expansive natural landscapes. Every autumn, the park comes alive with the vibrant hues of the Minoh Momiji Festival.
The festival's primary attractions are, of course, the vibrant shades of red and yellow autumn leaves of maple trees ("Momiji") and ginkgo ("Ichou"). As night falls, several spots within the park, including the Minoh Great Falls, Takimichi pathway, and the iconic structures of Ryuan-ji Temple's Kannon Hall and the famous autumn-viewing spot, Shotengu Saikoji, are illuminated, casting a magical and enchanting ambiance over the area.
Beyond the leaf-peeping, visitors can also engage in yoga sessions amidst the tranquil woods or indulge in special menus at the park's cafes, making it more than just a visual treat.
・Date: From November 11 to December 3
November Fireworks Festivals
Osaka Bay Rinku Art Fireworks 2023 (Rinku, Osaka)
There will be an autumn fireworks festival held at Rinku Park which is conveniently located near Kansai Airport. The event is being held in 2023 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Izumisano City's establishment, so the programming is even more impressive than usual.
This fireworks festival is unique in that it combines fireworks and music together. The fireworks are launched in sync with popular Japanese songs and classic hits, which are specifically chosen for their melody and rhythm. The collaboration between the fireworks and music is executed by the pinnacle teams of Japan's fireworks industry and is synced down to 1/30th of a second, making it a highlight of the show.
In anticipation of the "Osaka-Kansai Expo" to be held in 2025, special fireworks will be launched in tune with the expo's theme song by the musical duo Kobukuro.
・Date: November 4
・Time: Starting at 6 PM (Approximately 1 hour in duration)
・Venue: Osaka Bay Rinku Art Fireworks Special Venue
・Price: Starting from 5,800 yen.
As autumn deepens and we gradually sense the arrival of winter in November, let's indulge in various events such as autumn foliage festivals, illuminations, and Christmas celebrations, and savor the changing season.
(*Please note that the information in this article is as of October 2023. For the latest updates, please refer to official websites or relevant sources.)
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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