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11 spectacular winter illuminations in Japan you shouldn’t miss

Check them out if you’re going to Japan this winter.

Winter illumination at Keyakizaka Roppongi, Japan.
Winter illumination at Keyakizaka Roppongi, Japan. (Photo: Gettyimages)

One of the reasons why I love visiting Japan is because it is fascinating and filled with activities no matter which season you’re there. In spring, you can go for hanami (flower viewing); in summer, there are fireworks festivals; in autumn, you can admire the fall hues and picturesque landscapes; and in winter, if you haven’t seen them, you should not miss Japan’s sparkling, colourful illuminations.

These winter illuminations are often dedicated spaces, gardens, castles, shrines and temples that light up and add warmth to the chilly night. Whether you’re visiting with friends, families or your other half, it will make an Insta-worthy and beautiful experience.

Check out these 11 spectacular illuminations if you’re going to Japan this winter!

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KANTO REGION (EAST)

1. Tokyo Mega Illumi 2023-2024 Ticket (Oi Racecourse Illumination)

S$4.49 S$8.85 at Klook

Tokyo Mega Illumi 2023-2024 Ticket (Oi Racecourse Illumination). (Photo: Klook SG)
Tokyo Mega Illumi 2023-2024 Ticket (Oi Racecourse Illumination). (Photo: Klook SG)

2. Ashikaga Flower Park Illumination Day Tour with Strawberry Picking

S$88.09 at Klook

Ashikaga Flower Park Illumination Day Tour with Strawberry Picking. (Photo: Klook SG)
Ashikaga Flower Park Illumination Day Tour with Strawberry Picking. (Photo: Klook SG)

3. [Shizuoka Bus Day Trip] Izu Winter Trip! Atami Plum Garden & GRANPAL Amusement Park Illumination | Depart from Tokyo

S$84.04 at KKDay

[Shizuoka Bus Day Trip] Izu Winter Trip! Atami Plum Garden & GRANPAL Amusement Park Illumination | Depart from Tokyo. (Photo: KKday SG)
[Shizuoka Bus Day Trip] Izu Winter Trip! Atami Plum Garden & GRANPAL Amusement Park Illumination | Depart from Tokyo. (Photo: KKday SG)

4. Illumination cruise on the Meguro River in Tokyo (shared cruise)

S$26.93 at KKDay

Illumination cruise on the Meguro River in Tokyo (shared cruise). (Photo: KKday SG)
Illumination cruise on the Meguro River in Tokyo (shared cruise). (Photo: KKday SG)

KANSAI REGION (WEST)

5. Kobe Illuminage Advance Ticket | Instant Reservation Confirmation (Hyogo Kobe)

S$16.16 at KKDay

Kobe Illuminage Advance Ticket | Instant Reservation Confirmation (Hyogo Kobe). (Photo: KKday SG)
Kobe Illuminage Advance Ticket | Instant Reservation Confirmation (Hyogo Kobe). (Photo: KKday SG)

6. Kyoto Illumination & Rurikei Onsen Ticket in Kyoto

S$21.59 S$22.49 at Klook

Kyoto Illumination & Rurikei Onsen Ticket in Kyoto. (Photo: Klook SG)
Kyoto Illumination & Rurikei Onsen Ticket in Kyoto. (Photo: Klook SG)

7. Osaka Castle Illuminage *LIMITED Time Event

S$13.49 at Klook

Osaka Castle Illuminage *LIMITED Time Event. (Photo: Klook SG)
Osaka Castle Illuminage *LIMITED Time Event. (Photo: Klook SG)

OTHER REGIONS

8. Yakurai Garden Starlight Illumination Admission Ticket Reservation (Miyagi)

S$3.59 at KKDay

Yakurai Garden Starlight Illumination Admission Ticket Reservation (Miyagi). (Photo: KKday SG)
Yakurai Garden Starlight Illumination Admission Ticket Reservation (Miyagi). (Photo: KKday SG)

9. Mahora Iwate Ice World 2024 Admission Ticket Reservation (Iwate Prefecture, Morioka City, Illumination)

S$8.98 at KKDay

Mahora Iwate Ice World 2024 Admission Ticket Reservation (Iwate Prefecture, Morioka City, Illumination). (Photo: KKday SG)
Mahora Iwate Ice World 2024 Admission Ticket Reservation (Iwate Prefecture, Morioka City, Illumination). (Photo: KKday SG)

10. Nagashima Mitsu Outlet & Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination Bus Tour

S$77.49 at Klook

Nagashima Mitsu Outlet & Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination Bus Tour. (Photo: Klook SG)
Nagashima Mitsu Outlet & Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination Bus Tour. (Photo: Klook SG)

11. [Advance Discount] NAKED Night Festival Kochi Castle Admission Ticket Reservation (Kochi Prefecture Illumination)

S$7.18 S$8.94 at KKDay

[Advance Discount] NAKED Night Festival Kochi Castle Admission Ticket Reservation (Kochi Prefecture Illumination). (Photo: KKday SG)
[Advance Discount] NAKED Night Festival Kochi Castle Admission Ticket Reservation (Kochi Prefecture Illumination). (Photo: KKday SG)

BONUS: FREE ILLUMINATIONS

If you prefer non-ticketed winter illuminations in Japan, there are also simple but still enchanting ones scattered around the cities. For instance, in Tokyo, you can consider visiting Roppongi Keyakizaka Dori, which gives you a splendid view of illuminated trees along the street with Tokyo Tower in the background. You can also head over to Midtown Illumination, which is also in Roppongi.

If you’re visiting the theme parks like Huis Ten Bosch, Yomiuriland, Tokyo Disney Resorts or Universal Studios Japan, you’ll also find the parks decorated with Christmas trees and festive lights. My favourite is Universal Studios Japan’s humongous and sparkling 30-metre-tall Christmas tree.