1. Yomiuri Land Jewellumination
    Photo: ©Yomiuri Land
  2. Shinjuku Southern Terrace Illumination
    Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa
  3. Yomiuri Land Jewellumination
    Photo: ©Yomiuri Land

10 incredible illuminations and light displays in Tokyo

Enjoy the city at its most sparkly – when Tokyo switches on its festive lights and illuminations in winter

Tabea Greuner
Written by
Tabea Greuner

The days may be getting shorter and colder, but even so, Tokyo doesn't turn into a dark and desolate place at this time of year. In fact, from autumn to winter in the city, millions of colourful LED lights are displayed in trees and all around buildings, turning Tokyo into a sparkling wonderland. Illuminations, as they’re usually known here, are big in Japan, but Tokyo’s are some of the biggest and the best.

We've listed our top picks of where to admire these light displays, which are, of course, best enjoyed in good company. So layer up, grab your scarf and head out to see Tokyo at its brightest and festive best. It’s gonna be lit.

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Tokyo's finest light shows

  • Things to do
  • Shinjuku

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, Shinjuku’s Southern Terrace illuminations are back. The event’s theme this year is ‘Jewels in my Heart’, with the trees along the 46-metre-long promenade decorated with 170,000 LEDs and colourful diamond-shaped ornaments. The path is even equipped with motion sensors that activate a special light show.

Make sure to visit the Suica Penguin Plaza as well. It’s located in front of Shinjuku Station’s New South exit, between the promenade and Takashimaya Times Square. The area is bathed in gold lights and features a special dome-shaped installation, complete with three adorable penguin statues. You may recognise the penguin character from JR East’s Suica IC prepaid cards.

The illuminations take place daily from 5pm to 12midnight.

  • Things to do
  • Hibiya

Hibiya Magic Time Illumination returns for the fifth year at Tokyo Midtown Hibiya and boasts different areas bathed in beautiful lights themed on twinkling stars in the night sky.

Stroll along Hibiya-Nakadori Street and find yourself surrounded by colourful illuminations inspired by the aurora lights. We also recommend heading up to the Park View Garden on the sixth floor of Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, which features glittering white lights shaped to resemble the Milky Way.

The illuminations take place daily from 5pm to 11pm until February 14.

  • Things to do
  • Kanagawa

Located next to Tokyo amusement park Yomiuri Land, Hana Biyori garden is lit up with a spectacular illumination display until April 9. Follow the path lined with 500 takeakari bamboo lanterns and takemari (round ball-like objects made from bamboo) and you’ll come to a historical gate that was transplanted from the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

A new addition this year is a beautiful floral mandala made from bamboo that stands at the end of a little path decorated with differently shaped bamboo lanterns. Throughout the garden, you’ll find more of those lanterns as well as takemari, which will each contain a bouquet resembling the famous ‘flower chandeliers’ found in the on-site greenhouse. You also shouldn’t miss the 100 colourful illuminated Japanese umbrellas near the Tahoto pagoda.

  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • Tama area

If you’re looking for the most OTT illumination in Tokyo, this is it. Yomiuri Land's annual winter light 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 ten areas where visitors can expect to be treated to beautifully lit attractions. 

In addition to the rainbow-lit, 180-metre-long Fortune Promenade and Crossing Sapphire Passage, this year features a large-scale illumination of a horseshoe surrounded by motifs of jewels. The highlight, however, is the fountain show, with illuminated water in different colours being sprayed into the air to create stunning shapes. Look out for the fountain’s flames and lasers, which are synchronised to the music. 

The impressive illumination was produced by world-class lighting designer Motoko Ishii, who has worked on past light displays at the theme park. This year she has added warm orange colours to the show, which resemble sunlight and match the theme of the illuminations – ‘Light is Happiness’.

The illuminations take place until April 9.

  • Things to do
  • Suidobashi

This is one of Tokyo’s glitziest illumination events with many areas around Tokyo Dome City lit up. At LaQua, you can see a ‘Milky Way’ light tunnel stretching for 140m with a red and blue kaleidoscope-like illumination. You'll also find the Meets Port Garden lit up with champagne gold lights. 

There are also many springtime-themed photo spots to check out across the event area, telling the story of the ‘Happy Rabbit’.

The illuminations take place until February 28.

  • Things to do
  • Marunouchi

The 1.2-kilometre long Marunouchi Naka-dori street, always one of the most popular Tokyo illumination spots, is lit up with about 1.2 million champagne-coloured, low-energy LED bulbs this year, making for an environmentally friendly and stylish display. Tokyo Torch Park is also lit up, and you can marvel at the beautiful scenery from the benches on Tokyo Torch Terrace.

The lights are on from 3pm to 11pm every day, which means you have plenty of time to stroll down the glittering streets that are lined with fancy boutiques and cafés. It’s sure to make for a nice pre- or post-dinner date option.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Enoshima

Enoshima’s annual illumination is widely touted as one of the three biggest and most impressive light-up events in Japan, alongside the ones at Ashikaga Flower Park and Sagamiko. There are a total of 15 illumination spots scattered across the hilly island, so put on some comfortable shoes as you’ll be trekking a lot.

Don’t miss the main attraction located at the island’s iconic Enoshima Sea Candle lighthouse, which is decked out in 70m-long strings of lights stretching from the tip of the tower to the ground, creating a formation similar to the silhouette of Mt Fuji.

The Samuel Cocking Garden, where the Sea Candle is located, is transformed into the dreamy Hoseki (bejewelled) Forest, where everything from the ground and the grass to the trees are covered in sparkling rainbow lights. Keep an eye out for the Shonan Chandelier tunnel, all decked out with luxurious Swarovski crystals and LED lights.

Most attractions are open from 5pm to 8.30pm (until 9pm on weekends and holidays) while the main attractions at Enoshima Sea Candle start at 5.30pm. You can see most of the light-ups on Enoshima for free, but you will need a ticket (¥500, children ¥250) to enter the Samuel Cocking Garden.

  • Things to do
  • Yokohama

Head over to seaside city Yokohama for the Rose Garden of Light illumination, taking place at Osanbashi pier. The floral light show is supervised by Motoo Marumaru, a night view expert and illumination producer. The roses are lit up in different patterns and colours, adding to the beautiful nighttime scenery of Yokohama’s Minato Mirai area and Yamashita Park. Close to the Rose Garden of Light you’ll find another area that’s bathed in blue and white LEDs.

The illuminations take place daily from 5pm to 10pm.

  • Things to do
  • Tokorozawa

Saitama’s pop culture-focused shopping mall, hotel and museum Tokorozawa Sakura Town is celebrating the holiday season with beautiful illuminations. The area surrounding the centre’s 12m-tall koyamaki (Japanese umbrella pine) tree is lit with LED lights and projectors, while the exterior of the neighbouring building is illuminated with a gradient of colours inspired by soap bubbles.

Other areas, including the Kadokawa Culture Museum, also have their own illuminations. And while you’re in the area, don’t forget to visit the permanent outdoor teamLab exhibit in Higashi Tokorozawa Park, right beside Sakura Town.

The illuminations take place daily until 10pm.

  • Things to do
  • Sagamiko

Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest has pulled out all the stops for its winter illumination show with a display featuring over six million LEDs. What’s more, there’s an entire area dedicated to the popular Sumikkogurashi characters. 

You can also hop on the park’s Rainbow Chairlift and sail over colourful stripes before arriving at the top of a hill to see a series of illumination art walls and a merry-go-round with illustrations of the adorable characters. Below the ferris wheel, you’ll spot a giant snow globe with five of its characters illuminated in crystal-like lights. Don’t miss the six metre-wide baby blue Sumikkogurashi lizard balloon floating on top of the water, too.

There are also plenty of Sumikkogurashi meals and desserts to snack on while you’re here. Visit the Wild Dining restaurant to eat katsu curry (¥1,900), ramen (¥1,700), strawberry crepe (¥900) or a cup of corn soup (¥700), which comes topped with character wafers and star-shaped toppings.

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