1. Nabana no Sato
    Photo: Chayakorn Lotongkum/DreamstimeNabana no Sato Illumination
  2. Izu Granpal Park Granillumi
    Photo: Izu Shaboten ZooIzu Granpal Park

7 best illuminations and light displays in Japan

Get out of Tokyo to see some of Japan’s biggest and most spectacular autumn-winter light shows, from Nagasaki to Aomori

Youka Nagase
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Youka Nagase
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We know Tokyo has some of the most spectacular illuminations, from the ever-popular Keyakizaka Illumination to the light sculptures created by artists and architects at Toranomon Hills. But the rest of Japan is full of similarly bright ideas worth catching the shinkansen for. Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi displays five million lights shaped like flowers, while Mie prefecture boasts one of the largest illuminations in Japan.

Read on for a list of the best illuminations in Japan.

RECOMMENDED: Prefer to stay in the city? Explore these illuminations and light displays in Tokyo

Best illuminations in Japan

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Until Feb 14

No need to wait until spring to see stunning purple wisterias. Ashikaga Flower Park is displaying five million flower-shaped lights including tulips, roses, water lilies, wisterias and more in every colour you can imagine. There are also large-scale illuminations shaped like adorable animals such as elephants, giraffes and penguins. What's more, you won't miss the gigantic white castle that sits in the middle of the rainbow field.

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Until February 25

At the annual Ashigakubo Icicles event in Chichibu, Saitama prefecture, an entire forest is covered with massive icicles that are created by spraying water from a nearby stream into the cold winter air. The area is especially stunning after dark when the lights are switched on for a special illumination. The frozen formations, coupled with the colourful lights, really do create a surreal landscape and you'll feel like you’re walking through a scene from the movie ‘Frozen’.

The frozen forest is open daily from 9am to 4pm, but evening illuminations are only held on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from sunset to 8pm. More details here.

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Nabana no Sato Illumination, Mie

Until June 2

Nabana no Sato hosts one of the biggest illuminations in Japan, and its main installation features an iridescent blue 'Nile River' with 25m-tall pyramid sculptures embellished in golden LEDs. But the real highlight is the 200m-long tunnel covered in small, flower-shaped champagne-gold lights, as well as a separate 100m-long tunnel with blue and orange LEDs made to look like nemophila and marigold flowers.

Izu Granpal Park Gran Illumination, Shizuoka

Until August 31 2024

Immerse yourself in over-the-top light displays at Izu Granpal Park. You’ll be walking over bridges, under tunnels and through gates covered in lights, making you feel like you’re a part of the illuminations. Most of the decorations here are paper lanterns shaped like flowers, animals, seashells and paper cranes. There's even a Jurassic area featuring over 20 life-size dinosaurs. You can go down a long slide, or even take a zipline through the park to see the lights from different angles. 

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From Dec 15 to March 10

If you’re looking for a different kind of illumination, book a tour and take a journey through Oirase Gorge in Towada Hachimantai National Park this winter. The waterfalls here in Aomori prefecture freeze during the colder months, creating spectacular icicles (also known as ‘icefalls’) that look out of this world. Tickets cost ¥3,300-¥4,400 per person (children ¥1,650-¥2,200). You can book a spot on a tour here (in Japanese only). 

Reoma Resort Winter Illumination

Until February 25

The 2023 International Illumination Award-winning winter light-up at Reoma Resort in Kagawa prefecture is one of the biggest in the Chugoku-Shikoku region. The entire park is lit up with colourful lights until February 25, including its five biggest attractions: the ferris wheel, Vivace roller coaster, West Laker boat ride, 59-metre-tall spinning swing and Kindergarten Railroad train.

Don’t miss the magical evening parade happening only on weekends and holidays – except between December 23 and January 3 when it will be held daily. Plus, there’s also a spectacular six-minute rainbow fireworks show from December 23 to 30.

More things to do this winter

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