Christmas Day in Japan is just another working day, for the most part. The most exciting facet of the Christmas and holiday season in Japan is that all traces of it are gone by morning on December 26th. Without fail, every bell, light, and garlands, every decoration will come down, and the music stops. This disappearing act does not, however, hold for one of Japan’s most interesting holiday traditions; “illumination.”
Illuminations are roughly equivalent to the western tradition of putting up Christmas lights. Rather than putting lights up on their own houses, cities or businesses will set them up, and the people come to them. This is a trendy event for couples, and many illumination displays are set up and run from November straight until Valentine’s Day.
Here are some popular places to experience illumination in and around Nagoya.
The best place to see winter illumination is in 10 minutes from Kuwana Station in Mie. Nabana no Sato is the closest thing you will get in Japan to a neighborhood decked out by friendly competition in lights visible from space. There are lights spread out all over the entire amusement park to create a magical place for couples to stroll.
The best way to spend Christmas might be taking in an early Christmas dinner, and then heading out to Mie to see the lights. If you have a special someone, it is the perfect place to walk off your meal and enjoy each other’s company. This event is now open for almost seven months out of the year!
Noritake is a famous ceramic tableware and technology company headquartered in Nagoya. While the original Nagoya factory is no longer in operation, there is in its place Noritake Garden, which is home to a museum complex, craft center, and restaurant. At 15 minutes walk from Nagoya Station, it offers a convenient option to enjoy illumination, with a giant Christmas tree, approximately 40,000 lights illuminating the park from sundown and an appearance from (a statue of) Santa as well.
A very convenient place to see illumination is Hisayaodori Park Flarie, located in between Sakae and Osu. Illumination at Flarie offers a Christmas tree, and 150,000 bulbs throughout the garden will light up Flarie during the Holiday Season. The garden will also host a series of Christmas concerts until December 25th featuring various artists. The illumination will continue even after the Christmas season, finally wrapping up later in the new year.
Until December 25th, the park around the twin arched “138 Tower” in Ichinomiya is decorated with 500,000 lights for its Beautiful Earth extravaganza. In the surrounding Kisosansen Koen, you can take part in all manner of arts and crafts throughout the month, including a German market until December 24. Fireworks displays will also be held, all on the backdrop of Ichinomiya’s illuminated 138-metre tower on 31st.
This year the park will host its festivities from November 23th until December 31st, 16:30 until 21:00, during which visitors will be able to stroll around and enjoy the lights which decorate the park.
Last, but certainly not least, is Very Merry Christmas 2019 at Sea Train Land in Nagoya Port. With around 50,000 lights and a wealth of attractions, from a towering 85 meters high Ferris Wheel to a classic carousel, this winter event is sure to dazzle and entertain visitors of all ages. Entrance to the park is free, and the event runs from 11/17 – 12/25 from 4:30 PM – 8:00 PM (10:00 PM
Very Merry Christmas 2019 (Japanese)
At the Higashiyama Sky Tower, you can get a double whammy of illuminations. Firstly, there is the view of the glowing city below from its observation deck – designated as one of Japan’s ‘100 Night Views’ – that itself is decorated with bright stars. But also the tower itself is lit up like a giant Christmas tree. On December 21, Tokoname Children’s Choir will hold a Christmas Concert will be held on December 21 (Saturday), and there will be further musical performances on December 22 with its Christmas Live with Night View event.
Higashiyama Sky Tower (Japanese)
This Christmas, the Central Garden shopping area in Chikusa will be aglow with seasonal lights. The ‘garden’ comes to life with an illuminated forest complete with shining animals and shooting stars. Framing the spectacle is a light curtain and elegant champagne gold lights.
Nagoya Central Garden (Japanese)
It seems like all department stores in the Meieki area have one sort of illumination or another. The Dai Nagoya Building is celebrating the cinematic release of Frozen 2 with an imagining of the icy world of the Disney movie; the plaza and entrance of Lucent Tower are decorated with about 45,000 lights, with more to come for Christmas; Global Gate in Sasashima will be lit up in a ‘Green Style’; Midland Square has installed LED bulbs based on gold color sparkle like jewels for their ‘White Fantasia’ installation, and outside the JR Central Towers is a twelve-meter Christmas tree, lit up and decorated in Scandinavian style
If that isn’t enough for you, enjoy the 10,000 lights that hang in the streets around the station and then take a walk along Hirokoji-dori, which is lined with some 300,000 bulbs, making it the largest illumination display Nagoya.