Winter lights, or “illuminations”, as called in Japan, are must-sees during the wintertime. Hundreds and thousands (and even millions sometimes!) of lights are placed throughout parks, gardens and more.
These “illumination spots” are staple wintertime date spots, and are sure to set the mood for a romantic, dreamy evening.
In particular, these three illumination spots in the Kanto region – Shonan no Hoseki in Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Ashikaga Flower Park in Ashikaga, Toshigi and Sagamiko Illumillion in Sagamihara, Kanagawa, are known to be the Three Major Illumination Spots of the Kanto region.
In this article, we will introduce each of the Three Major Illumination Spots of the Kanto region.
Three Major Illumination Spots of the Kanto Region
The Three Major Illumination Spots of the Kanto Region are chosen annually, and the tradition began in 2012.
Every year, yakei (night view) professionals choose three illumination spots to represent the year. The three locations of 2018 were chosen by 5,542 yakei professionals.
Shonan no Hoseki, Ashikaga Flower Park and Sagamiko Illumillion were chosen for the 2018/2019-winter season.
1. Shonan no Hoseki (Enoshima, Kanagawa)
Shonan no Hoseki Illumination
The Shonan no Hoseki Illumination was chosen for the 2012 Top Three as well.
This event takes place on Enoshima, and island just off of the shore of Kanagawa’s Shonan coast. The event centers around the Enoshima Sea Candle, a lighthouse that is known as a prominent symbol of the island.
View from Enoshima Sea Candle
Enoshima Sea Candle is open even during the event. From the lighthouse is a beautiful view of the illuminated island.
At the Samuel Cocking Garden, which is the main venue, there is a blue tunnel with an entrance made of 70,000 Swarovski crystal beads.
The yacht harbor on Enoshima, too, is lit up. The night views on Enoshima during the winter season are absolutely breathtaking.
Tulip Garden Light-up
You can also find a massive tulip garden in the Samuel Cocking Garden. Over 20,000 tulips blossom throughout the garden grounds. Enoshima’s mild winter climate allows for tulips to bloom even during the winter season.
After sunset, the tulip garden gets lit up as well.
Event period: Nov. 23, 2019 (Sat.) to Feb. 16, 2020 (Sun.)
Event hours: 5:00p.m. – 8:00p.m. (last entry at 7:30p.m.)
*until 9:00p.m. (last entry at 8:30p.m.) on weekends, public holidays and Dec. 23, 2019 (Mon.) to Dec. 30, 2019 (Mon.)
Light-up starting time: Nov. 23, 2019 (Sat.) to Jan. 13, 2020 (Mon.) : 5:00p.m.~
Jan. 14, 2020 (Tue.) to Feb. 16, 2020 (Sun.) : 5:30p.m.~
Enoshima Sea Candle entrance fee: ¥500 for adults; ¥250 for children
Sights to see in the Enoshima area during the day
2. Ashikaga Flower Park (Ashikaga, Tochigi)
Ashikaga Flower Park Illumination
For four years in a row (2016 – 2019), the winter lights at Ashikaga Flower Park have been voted number one in the Kanto region. Over 4,500,000 lights are used for the park’s illumination event.
Two new themes, Rainbow Magic and Illumination Pyramid/Underwater Lights, have been added to the 2018 event.
Ashikaga Flower Park’s Detailed Lights
Water lily made from lights
The production of the lights is done by those at the park who maintain the flowers and tree, to make sure the flowers and trees are accurately expressed.
The wisteria light-up is a popular attraction during the event. These wisterias are actually entirely made of lights!
Event period: Nov. 2, 2019 (Sat.) to Feb. 6, 2020 (Thu.)
Light-up hours: 4:30p.m. – 9:00p.m.; until 9:30p.m. on weekends and public holidays
Park entrance fee: ¥1,000 for adults; ¥500 for children
Sights to see in the Ashikaga area during the day
3. Sagamiko Illumillion (Sagamihara, Kanagawa)
Cherry blossom light-up
Winter light-up using 6 MILLION lights!
The Sagamiko Illumillion light-up uses 6 million lights, which is the most number of lights used in all of the Kanto region’s illuminations. The displays of Sagamiko Illumillion are interactive and fun.
The rainbow lift goes up a hill made of rainbow lights. Other fun illumination activities include a mini rollercoaster and some lights that react to music.
Throughout the park, there are several spots that are perfect for photos.
See the rest of Pleasure Forest in the day!
Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest
The Sagamiko Illumillion event takes place in Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest, a site equipped with an amusement park, camping ground and more. With a free pass, you can enjoy the park and its rides during the day along with the illumination event at night.
Event period: Nov. 2, 2019 (Sat.) to Apr. 5, 2020 (Sun.)
*Closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays between Jan. 8, 2020 (Wed.) and Mar. 12, 2020 (Thu.)
Opening hours: 4:00p.m. – 9:00p.m. (last entry at 8:30p.m.)
*Until 9:30p.m. on weekends and public holidays between Nov. 2, 2019 (Sat.) and Jan. 13, 2020 (Thu.) and Dec. 21, 2019 (Sat.) to Jan. 5, 2019 (Sun.)
Entry fee: ¥1,000 for adults, ¥700 for children (elementary school students and below)
Sights to see in the Sagamihara area during the day
Enjoy the winter lights in warm clothes!
Keep in mind you will be outside for a few hours when going illumination seeing. Don’t forget to dress warmly in layers when going to see these winter lights!