The best winter illuminations of 2016-17 in Japan   冬イルミネーション

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Sagamiko Illuminations are the biggest in the Kanto region

Illuminations in Ashikaga Flower Park

Caretta Shiodome in Tokyo

Rohm Illuminations in Kyoto

A tunnel of lights in Kobe

A feast for the eyes

The end of the year in Japan is heralded by beautiful winter illuminations. Here is a selection of some of the best displays in the country. 

From Tokyo to Kobe through Kyoto, here are the most beautiful winter illuminations in Japan.

Sagamiko Illumination (Kanagawa)

Until April 9, 2017

This is the biggest event in the Kanto region: one hour from Tokyo, the Lake Sagami "Pleasure Forest" is ablaze with six million colored lights, spread over several attractions including the "Swan Palace", a 360° audiovisual show of water and lights, and multiple animations. Visitors can also use the amusement park rides at night during this festival.

Admission: 800 yen. From Tokyo, take the JR Chuo Line to Takao, then the JR Chuo Line to Kofu and get off at Sagamiko. It's an 8 minute walk from the station.

Flower Fantasy in Ashikaga

Until February 5, 2017

Flowers and lights are a winning combination for this festival, one of the most renowned in the country. In all, 3.5 million lights decorate the flower park this town is famous for, about 1.5  hours north of Tokyo. Wisteria and roses glow in the night and delight the many visitors. Musical performances are also scheduled.

Admission: 800 yen. From Tokyo, take the Shinkansen to JR Oyama then the Ryomo line to Takasaki, get off at Tomita. Included in the Japan Rail Pass. The Flower Park is a 10 minute walk west of the train station.

Caretta Illumination in Tokyo

Until February 14, 2017

Welcome to the "Forest of Spirits"! This is the theme of these illuminations, now in their 11th year, organized in the Caretta Shiodome shopping center. The event promises a record number of lights with its "Canyon d’Azur", a vast installation consisting of pillars of light, activated with the ringing of a bell and triggering a spectacular audiovisual light show.

Free entry. 5 minutes from JR Shimbashi Station.

See other ideas for Christmas in Tokyo.

The Happiness Corridor in Nara

From 8 to 14 February 2017

For the occasion, Kofuku-ji, Todai-ji and Kasuga Taisha Shrines are linked by dreamlike, azure illuminations to form a "corridor", to the delight of the 400,000 annual visitors. It's an opportunity to revisit the three jewels of Nara in a new light...

Rohm Illumination in Kyoto

Until December 25, 2016

These illuminations are the largest in the former imperial capital. Until Christmas day, 800,000 LED lights twinkle in the 82 trees along Sai-doori street, outside the headquarters of Rohm, a Japanese electronic parts manufacturer based in Kyoto. Simply magical...especially as sound and music are also part of the display.

Free entry. At the intersection of Gojo-doori and Sai-doori.

Luminarie Kobe

Until December 11, 2016

This is Kobe's festival of lights, one of the oldest of Japan's illuminations. Started in 1995 in memory of the victims of the earthquake of January 17 that year, the event aims to spread hope and a message of peace. Thousands of tiny lights decorate frames in various intricate shapes, forming tunnels of lights, towers, and cathedrals that sparkle in the night.

Free entry. Short walk from Motomachi or Sannomiya Station to Higashi Yuenchi park in Kobe.

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