During the winter, many venues across Tokyo install festive light displays. Illuminations -- as they are called in Japan -- are popular date spots, especially around Christmas.
Most of Tokyo's light decorations coincide with the Christmas and New Year period. However, many do run late into early spring. If you have yet to visit any, read on to discover some of the city's longest-running winter illuminations. There is still plenty of time left to enjoy them all!
(main photo courtesy of Yomiuri Land)
【Chiyoda ward】Marunouchi Illumination 2019
Marunouchi elegantly decked in lights ※photo not from this year
During the winter, Tokyo's Marunouchi area -- the city's main business center --basks in nocturnal lights that add a magical glow to the neighborhood. The Marunouchi Illumination 2019 is a light festival that blankets the main Nakadori street with warm, champagne gold colored lights. The light decorations cover about 1.2 kilometers of streets that connect Tokyo Station's Marunouchi exit to areas dotted with luxury brand shops.
Marunouchi decked in elegant champange gold lights
Champagne gold lights: only at Marunouchi (photo is from past event)
Marunouchi Illumination 2019 installs around one-million LED lights. Illumination events often feature a palate of vibrant colors, such as blue, red and pink. However, Marunouchi adopted a single color this year to create an elegant, sophisticated ambience. The champagne gold-colored lights give Marunouchi's streets a warm glow with a romantic touch.
Eco-friendly light display ※ photo from previous event
The latest Marunouchi Illumination uses lights that consume less power, without compromising brightness. The "new eco illumination" bulbs have been upgraded to perform with 65 percent less power than standard eco-friendly lights. Marunouchi Illumination 2019 is also fully powered by green energy sources such as solar and wind power. The Marunouchi district has always pioneered innovation, even when it comes to decorating the streets.
【Marunouchi Illumination 2019 overview】
Duration: runs until February 16, 2020（Sun)
light up time：17:30〜23:00（time schedule subject to change)
venue: Marunouchi Nakadoori・around Tokyo Station
【Chiyoda Ward】KIOI CRYSTAL WINTER '19 / '20
Crystal themed KIOI CRYSTAL WINTER '19 / '20（photo courtesy: Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioi-cho public relations office）
KIOI CRYSTAL WINTER '19/'20 is a winter light festival at Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioi-cho. This year's event is based on a crystal theme that wraps the venue in sparkly white and blue lights.
Sadly, the Christmas tree decked with about 48-thousand crystal glass pieces was removed from the venue at the end of December 2019. However, the light show still goes on until February 14th.
About 410-thousand lights are installed on the ground and fourth floors of Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioi-cho, as well as the areas along the Benkei moat, which lies south of the venue.
Lights along the Benkei moat (photo courtesy: Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioi-cho）
Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioi-cho is also a lovely place to shop, which may perhaps give you more reason to visit the KIOI CRYSTAL WINTER event.
Post on Instagram and win gifts.
Join the Instagram-related promotion that runs until the end of the illumination event on February 14, 2020. Participants stand a chance to win a bottle of champagne and other perks. All you need to do is snap photos of Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioi-cho's glittery winter scene and post them on Instagram with a designated hashtag. An AI-powered system selects the best photos, of which the top 20 will be put on public display.
【KIOI CRYSTAL WINTER '19 / '20 overview】
duration： until February 14, 2020（Friday）
Light up times：16:00〜23:00
※ times may vary. Lights on 4th floor are turned off at 22:00.
venue：Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioi-cho
address： 1-2 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0094
admission : free
【Shinagawa Ward】TOKYO MEGA ILLUMI 2019-2020
The Oi racecourse in Shinagawa ward is flooded with colorful lights during the its TOKYO MEGA ILLUMI event.
Sakura tunnel （photo courtesy : TOKYO MEGA ILLUMI）
The venue is split up into two areas with different themes -- Twinkle Mega Tree and TIme Travel. Here is quick look at the must-visit spots.
Rainbow fountain: water, music and lights
Watch the water dance at the fountain show (photo credit: TOKYO MEGA ILLUMI)
The time travel-themed area uses cutting edge technology to reenact various periods of Japan's past from the 17th to late 1980s. TOKYO MEGA ILLUMI has added a new attraction to this area -- a rainbow-colored fountain that puts on a captivating show of water, music and dancing lights.
The magical Aurora Forest
Aurora Forest （photo credit：TOKYO MEGA ILLUMI）
The Oi Racecourse is famous for its "twinkle" night races held throughout most of the year. Apart from betting, the racecourse attracts couples and families with its amusement-park like atmosphere.
The Twinkle Mega Tree area builds on that vibe with a new installation called Aurora Forest.
The new attraction features an aurora created by advanced light technology. The colorful aurora hangs over a row of glittering trees, creating a scene that sure to hold one spellbound. Drop by the massive Oi Racecourse to discover the magic firsthand.
Get close with the racecourse horses
Befriend a horse（photo courtesy：TOKYO MEGA ILLUMI）
TOKYO MEGA ILLUMI also holds events featuring its horses, so make time for them too. Meet the guide horses (inside the paddock,) and pose for photos at the horse carriage (near TWIN kuru-kuru Fantasy.)
【TOKYO MEGA ILLUMI 2019-2020 overview】
duration：event runs until March 29, 2020 on Fridays, weekends and holidays
light up time：16:30〜21:30 / 17:00〜21:30 / 17:30〜21:30
address： 2-1-2 Katsushima, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 140-0012
18-years and above 1,000 yen / elementary to high school students 500 yen
＜set price （comes with 500 yen coupon for use within venue）＞
18-years and above 1,300 yen / elementary to high school students 800 yen
※ Check the Tokyo Mega Illumi official site for more details about installations and events (https://tokyomegaillumi.jp/enjoy/)
【Inagi City】Yomiuri Land Jewel-illlumination®︎
The entire amuzement park turns into an illumination event （photo courtesy: Yomiuri Land）
Yomiuri Land is an amusement park straddling the cities of Inagi in Tokyo and Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture. The park is currently hosting its massive annual Yomiuri Jewel-illumination event, which marked its tenth anniversary. There is more to enjoy at this year's illumination festival, as all 12 areas have been fully upgraded with new attractions. Check out the special events too.
Sparkly lights produced by world-renowned lighting artist
Aphrodite's Court area（photo credit: Yomiuri Land）
Yomiuri Land's illumination event is produced by the world famous lighting designer Mikiko Ishii.
This year's event features thousands of shiny lights representing gemstones, such as rubies, sapphires, and topaz. The brilliant display is created by original LED lights exclusively installed at Yomiuri Land.
Jewelry Ski Slope
Slide down a slope of lights（photo courtesy: Yomiuri Land）
Jewel-illumination is more than just a pretty sight. One of the best things about Yomiuri Land's festival of lights is that it offers many fun activities. Our favorite is the Jewelry Ski Slope, where one can slide down the glittering slopes created with colorful red, blue and pink lights. This makes for an unforgettable experience.
Starship : enjoy the view upside down
The STARSHIP ride offers a special view of the park （photo credit: Yomiuri Land)
Since Yomiuri Land is an amusement park, how about taking a thrilling ride to enjoy the scene upside down? The looping Starship is one the park's most adrenaline-pumping rides. The highest point of the ride offers a very brief, yet breathtaking view of the lights below, before the ride plunges down and spins. Be warned, this experience is not for the faint of heart!
【Yomiuri Land Jewel-illumination ®︎ overview】
duration： runs until May 5, 2020（Wednesday・Japanese public holiday）
light up times：16:00〜20:00 OR 16:00〜20:30
February 4 (Tuesday) 〜 February 6（Thursday), March 10 (Tuesday)
※Additional closures in March. Check Yomiuri Land official website for details http://www.yomiuriland.com/jewellumination/guidance/)
venue： Yomiuri Land
address： 4015-1 Yanoguchi Inagi-shi, Tokyo 206-8725
18-years and above ：1,500 yen / junior and high school students 800 yen / elementary students・65-years old and above 500 yen / admission free for preschoolers
＜night pass （night admission ticket ＋unlimited night rides ）＞
18-years and above : 2,500 yen / preschoolers, primary and high school students, 65-years and above: 1,700 yen
Enjoy Tokyo's light festivals that run late into the winter
Most Illumination events in Japan take place around Christmas. Yet,Tokyo has many that run late into the winter season. Some even remain open until Japan's week-long spring holiday in early May.
Tokyo has many pretty light festivals worth exploring in good company, with a significant other, or even alone on a whim.