Winter Illumination in Tokyo

ByMichael Stigall
Dec 26, 2022

Winter Illumination in Tokyo

Christmas time in Tokyo can be a bit surreal. On the one hand, there are Christmas markets, gigantic sales, innumerable shopping centers, and more decorations than you would expect, but on the other hand, all magically disappear by December 26th. This is not the case with one local tradition, illumination. These dazzling light displays usually begin in November and end near the end of the winter, if not Valentine’s Day. While some of the illumination displays you currently see around the city end at Christmas, we’ve compiled a list of options you can visit during the New Year’s holidays or just during a stroll in January. 

Yebisu Eternal Illumination – Until January 10th.

We’ve talked about Yebisu Garden Place before, and their illuminations are a great option if you are looking for something to do after visiting Meiji Jingu for your Hatsumode. The theme for this year’s illumination is hope, and the illuminations also include a gigantic baccarat chandelier, which might be worth the visit in itself. 

Location: Yebisu Garden Place, 4-20 Ebisu, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Tokyo Mega Illumination – Until January 10th

A racetrack might seem like an odd choice for a place to display illumination, but the rainbow water fountain light show does not disappoint. The exciting thing about this illumination is that it is arranged in a course that takes an hour to complete. Bring a date and a camera. 

Location: Oi Racecourse 2-1-2 Katsushima, Shinagawa-Ku, Tokyo

Marunouchi Illumination – Until February 19th

This is definitely an excellent idea for a dinner date. The Marunouchi area in front of Tokyo station lines the hundreds of trees on the streets with these gorgeous gold lights from Tokyo Torch Park to Otemachi Naka-Dori. Many restaurants here make terrace dining available so you can enjoy the lights as you dine, assuming you can stand the cold.

Location: Marunouchi Nakadori, near Tokyo Station

Shinjuku Southern Illuminations – Until February 14th. 

This light show is interactive and dazzles with its theme of pink and blue. If you can visit before Christmas, the Christmas tree is stunning. 

Location: Shinjuku Southern Terrace, 2-2-1 Yoyogi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Yakei Odaiba Illumination – All year round! 

One of my favorite things about Odaiba, in addition to the full-scale Gundam and the small-scale Statue of Liberty, is their wonderful illumination year-round. It is a great place to take a walk and enjoy the sights while also enjoying the lovely ambient lights of the illumination. As a bonus, their Christmas tree is the largest in Japan!

Location: Odaiba Seaside Park 1-4-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Tokyo Dome City Winter Illumination – Until February 28th

This is one of the bigger displays in town and promises picture-perfect lighting. In addition to a large Christmas tree, there are also sculptures and interactive lighting. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. 

Location: Tokyo Dome City, 1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo-Ku Tokyo

Hibiya Magic Time Illumination – Until February 14th

Finally, we come to Tokyo Midtown Hibiya. This is an excellent option after visiting the Tokyo Christmas Market. There is an array of gold and blue lighting, giving the whole area a very warm vibe. I recommend the Park View Winter Garden on the 6th floor for the best view and additional lights.

Location: Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, 1-1-2 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

掬茶, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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