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5 Must-See Illumination Events in Post-Covid Tokyo

These fantastic light shows and glittering displays are the best in the Tokyo area, and they’re all on for 2022~2023!

Illuminations in 2022~2023

Every winter, Japan’s gardens, theme parks, and city streets transform from their everyday appearances into magical dreamlands of glittering lights, covered in thousands or millions of tiny bulbs, or brought to life after dark with rainbows of projected light shows. These “illuminations,” as they’re called in Japan, are sometimes associated with Christmas or New Year’s, but usually they’re not celebrating anything in particular – the events bring a little festive fun to cold nights from mid-Autumn throughout the winter, when the chilly air is said to make the lights sparkle extra bright. Every year, illumination events can be found all across Japan, lighting up the country from top to bottom, but plenty of the country’s most spectacular illuminations are in Tokyo (or within easy reach). Here are a few of Tokyo’s best illuminations, and some ways to enjoy this Japanese winter tradition from home, too!

① Tokyo Mega Illumination

Consistently ranked among Japan’s top light-up events, Tokyo Mega Illumination has multiple areas covering the Oi Racecourse, with different lighting themes, shows, and a cute horse-racing theme to boot. Big draws include their fountain-centered light shows, a 100-meter tunnel of little glittering cherry blossom lights, tunnels of funky interactive projection-mapped lighting, and photo-ops with some of the miniature horses and ponies that live at the racecourse!

Tokyo Mega Illumination (東京メガイルミ)
Oi Racecourse, 2-1-2 Katsushima, Shinagawa City, Tokyo
2022~2023 Dates: Oct. 15, 2022 ~ Jan. 9, 2023 (Closed for holidays.)
Official Website (jp/en) | ▷ See more details on the Japankuru event page!

② Roppongi Hills Keyakizaka Illumination

For those with a casual interest in Japanese illuminations, this low-key light display is unbeatable when it comes to convenience and affordability. Head over to Roppongi Hills during their Roppongi Hills Christmas event for the shopping, museums, and great views of Tokyo, plus a German-style Christmas Market. As the sun begins to set, you’ll see the lights of the Keyakizaka Illumination stretching out along Keyakizaka Hill, like brilliant ice crystals piled on the thin branches of the trees. This particular illumination doesn’t have quite the same majesty as some other bigger light display events, but it is totally free to enjoy, and the view of Tokyo Tower in the distance makes it extra special!

Roppongi Hills Keyakizaka Illumination (六本木ヒルズ けやき坂イルミネーション)
6-10-2 Roppongi, Minato City, Tokyo
2022~2023 Dates: Nov. 11, 2022 ~ Dec. 25, 2022
Official Website (jp) | ▷ See more details on the Japankuru event page!

③ Yomiuriland Jewellumination

Go for the rides, stay for the lights! Yomiuriland is Tokyo’s biggest amusement park, with almost 50 rides and attractions to enjoy throughout the daytime hours, and an entire park’s worth of glittering lights to marvel at after the sun goes down during the colder months of the year. Yomiuriland’s “Jewellumination” illumination event has 12 different zones and huge swathes of tiny fairy lights in just about every part of the park. There are quite literally millions of bulbs, and the colorful gem-like points of light arch over paths, reflect in the water of Yomiuriland’s waterpark pools, and hang gracefully from the rides like glittering jewels.

Yomiuriland Jewellumination (よみうりランドジュエルミネーション)
4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi, Tokyo
2022~2023 Dates: Oct. 20, 2022 ~ Apr. 9, 2023
Official Website (jp) | ▷ See more details on the Japankuru event page!

④ Hana-Biyori x Take Akari: Hana-Akari Illumination

Hana-Biyori opened in 2020 as a botanical garden with daily indoor projection-mapped light shows, and while many of Tokyo’s tourists have been kept away from the new facility due to the COVID pandemic, it has nonetheless become a popular place for those in the Tokyo area to spend time among the flowers and enjoy light shows throughout the year. There are always colorful flowers on display in the indoor area, and the gardens are in bloom throughout the seasons, but when most plants are hibernating through the winter, fantastic bamboo lanterns and magical light displays take over to light the paths like a scene out of a romantic Japanese drama.

Hana-Biyori x Take Akari: Hana-Akari (HANAあかり~HANA・BIYORI×竹あかり~)
4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi, Tokyo
2022~2023 Dates: Oct. 29, 2022 ~ Apr. 9, 2023 (weekends only for most of 2023)
Official Website (jp) | ▷ See more details on the Japankuru event page!

⑤ Ashikaga Flower Park Garden of Illuminated Flowers

Ashikaga Flower Park isn’t actually in Tokyo, but it’s worth venturing out of the city and taking the train a little way north to Tochigi Prefecture for this spectacular illumination event, frequently ranked #1 in Japan. Each autumn and winter, lights of all shapes and sizes take the place of flowers at this huge botanical garden, becoming Ashikaga’s Garden of Illuminated Flowers. Lights sway as shining roses, float in glowing pyramids on the water, and hang from the trees in place of spring wisteria flowers (which anime fans often compare to scenes from the popular Demon Slayer). For a whole night of illumination fun, Ashikaga Flower Park is a little out of the way, but it’s pretty spectacular.

Ashikaga Flower Park Garden (あしかがフラワーパーク 光の花の庭)
607 Hasamacho, Ashikaga, Tochigi
2022~2023 Dates: Oct. 15, 2022 ~ Feb. 14, 2023
Official Website (en) | ▷ See more details on the Japankuru event page!

Bringing the Illumination to You!

The Tokyo area is home to some truly fabulous illumination events, and the light displays found around the city are truly breathtaking. But if you can’t make it to Japan this winter, or even if you just don’t want to bundle up and brave the cold weather outside, you can always bring the illumination to you! With enough glittering lights around, you can recreate the magic of a Japanese illumination in your own home, and fortunately, there are plenty of Japanese shops that are happy to send some pretty sparkly lights all around the world!

Start with a funky lamp like the ones from Actus to give your new “illumination room” a romantic glow when the sun goes down, and then you can go a little crazy with all the little lights that can bring some outsized magic to any part of your house. Try the Xtal Becrux for a touch of crystalline brilliance, or this Okitaya cherry-blossom standing lantern for some added Japanese atmosphere. If you love the look of a real glowing flame, we recommend stocking up on some of these glittering “lapis lazuli” gel candles, or these elegant blown-glass Tsugaru Vidro oil lamps made in the northern Japanese prefecture of Aomori. With all these gleaming lights sparkling, there won’t be much to differentiate your house from a real Tokyo illumination! Last you just need a cozy Japanese kotatsu (heated table) to keep you cozy in your illumination room throughout the winter! This way, whether you get a chance to explore the best events Tokyo has to offer in 2022~2023, or you just enjoy the season at home, there are ways to make the most of Japanese illumination season wherever you may be!

JAPANKURU

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