Keyakizaka Illumination
Photo: Minchun Chen/Dreamstime Keyakizaka Illumination

December 2020 events in Tokyo

Plan your December in Tokyo with our events calendar of the best things to do, including illuminations, Christmas markets, concerts and art exhibits

By Time Out Tokyo Editors

December is when Tokyo turns all sparkly – thanks to the illumination shows, of course – while Christmas markets, ice skating rinks and other seasonal favourites also open up across the city. And the holiday cheer only gets louder as we get closer to New Year's, with a mouth-watering menu of parties, markets and other events taking place over those well-earned vacation days.

Our December highlights

teamLab: The Tree of Resonating Colors of Life
Photo: teamLab

1. teamLab: The Tree of Resonating Colors of Life

Things to do VenusFort, Odaiba

Odaiba shopping mall Venus Fort is once again hosting Japanese art collective teamLab’s interactive Christmas tree The Tree of Resonating Colors of Life. The 8m-tall tree is made from special spheres that change colour and make sounds when touched, causing a chain reaction with neighbouring spheres that turns the whole tree into an interactive art display. You’ll find the tree at the Olive Plaza on Venus Fort’s second floor...

Takashi Murakami Haha Bangla Manus 2020
The Bloodstone Public Collection Courtesy Gagosian With the cooperation of Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. ©2020 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

2. Roppongi Hills Takashi Murakami Project

News Art

You’ll have a new reason to visit Roppongi this holiday season as artist Takashi Murakami has taken over the Roppongi Hills complex. Known as the Roppongi Hills Takashi Murakami Project, the event features an over-the-top art installation, a flower-themed café and numerous opportunities to catch Murakami’s art, including at the Stars exhibition at Mori Art Museum and a colourful afternoon tea at Grand Hyatt Tokyo...

Midtown Winter Moments
Photo: Tokyo Midtown

3. Midtown Winter Moments

Things to do Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi

This year’s Tokyo Midtown illuminations are champagne gold colour, creating a romantic atmosphere – especially in the Midtown Garden area, which features a 3-metre tall snow globe with falling snow and flickering aurora illuminations. Kids will love the step lights that change colour when hopping from one to another, as well as the on-site ice skating rink. Until December 25, you’ll also find a number of Christmas trees installed at Tokyo Midtown, including a large tree in the Midtown Garden area that boasts 25 presents...

Sagamiko Illumillion
Photo: ©2020 Pokémon. ©1995-2020 Nintendo/Creatures Inc /Game Freak Inc

4. Sagamiko Illumillion

Things to do Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest, Sagamiko

The risquély named Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest will once again be pulling out all the stops for its winter illumination show. Sagamiko Illumillion claims to be using the largest number of lights in the entire Kanto region (over six million LEDs). The event includes accompanying music, and light displays that take advantage of the fountains and lush greenery of the park. A new addition to the annual spectacle this year is an entire area dedicated to Pokémon...

Tobu Zoo Winter Illumination
Photo: Tobu Zoo

5. Tobu Zoo Winter Illumination

Museums Tobu Zoo, Saitama

Tobu Zoo shakes things up for winter this year with its annual illumination show that’s synchronised to music and features about three million LEDs. In front of the park’s Heartful Garden, you can watch aurora lights and an illumination show using computer graphics and music. The 8,000sqm Heartful Garden itself is decked out with flower-shaped lights and lit-up installations of zoo animals...

Odaiba Illumination: Yakei
Photo: Decks Tokyo Beach

6. Odaiba Illumination: Yakei

Things to do Decks Tokyo Beach, Odaiba

Known as the entrance to Odaiba, the Decks mall gets in on the seasonal light-up fun with this illumination show featuring a 20m-tall illuminated tree, plus plenty of Instagram-worthy photo spots to enjoy with Tokyo Tower and Odaiba’s Rainbow Bridge in the background. Until December 25, you’ll also find a massive Christmas tree on the third floor of the mall...

Yomiuri Land Jewellumination
Photo: ©Yomiuri Land

7. Yomiuri Land Jewellumination

Attractions Theme parks Yomiuri Land, Tama area

Yomiuri Land's annual winter illumination show will bedazzle even the most ardent illumination-fiend. As the name might suggest, jewels are the focus here: literally millions of colourful LEDs are set up throughout the vast theme park evoking sparkling gems. The park is split into 12 areas, while visitors can also expect to be treated to a 25m-tall dazzling mountain and lit-up roller coasters...

Yayoi Kusama
Photo: Song of a Manhattan Suicide Addict 2010 © Yayoi Kusama

8. The Vision of Fantasy That We Have Never Seen is This Splendor

Art Yayoi Kusama Museum, Waseda

After a brief hiatus, the Yayoi Kusama Museum has reopened, and with it comes an exhibition of the artist's new and recent works which have never been displayed in Japan, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

This showcase consists of works that were created by Kusama over the past decade, including her most recent one-metre square paintings, an immersive installation as well as a new Infinity Mirror Room...

The Yokai Pandemonium 2020
Photo: Kadokawa Culture Museum/Twitter

9. The Yokai Pandemonium 2020

Museums Kadokawa Culture Museum, Tokorozawa

This spooky spectacle is the second exhibition at the Grand Gallery inside the new Kadokawa Culture Museum in Tokorozawa, Saitama prefecture. The exhibition is supervised by Japanese author Hiroshi Aramata, who is also a member of the World Yokai Association. Here you can learn about different types of yokai – supernatural spirits, demons and other scary creatures in Japanese folklore – through sculptures, paintings and artefacts...

Sailor Moon Cafe Eternal
Photo: ©武内直子・PNP/劇場版「美少女戦士セーラームーン Eternal」製作委員会

10. Sailor Moon Cafe Eternal

Restaurants Multiple venues

This new pop-up café to promote the latest Sailor Moon movie, due to hit Japanese cinemas in January 2021, serves up themed food and merchandise. Head to Tokyo Solamachi from December 24 and Tokyo Shinjuku Lumine Est from January 8 for some highly Instagrammable meals starting at ¥899...

Photo: Rico.Okaniwa

11. Sea of Clouds and garden light up at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Things to do Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, Mejirodai
In the morning hours during spring and autumn, Japan’s more mountainous regions are renowned for their beautiful cloud formations. Thanks to Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, you don’t need to leave the capital to enjoy those spectacular misty views. You can experience the ‘Sea of Clouds’ several times a day at the hotel’s large, traditional Japanese garden, with the first show taking place from 6.30am...
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