In the cold, clear winter air, sparkling lights shine even more beautifully. Merging light, sound, and nature in satisfying and tasteful productions, these Kansai sensations are perfect for making memories just in time for the Christmas season.
1. Nesta Resort Kobe’s Spectacular “Nestyle Mina-Hikari no Sanpo Michi”
As part of its re-opening in November 2018, Nesta Resort Kobe added a year-round illumination area called “Nestyle Mina-Hikari no Sanpomichi.” The first thing you’ll see upon entering is the rainbow-colored “dancing wall.” You’ll surely be mesmerized by the fantasy of light created by music, projection mapping, and nearly 3 million magnificently shining light bulbs.
The “Wonder Tunnel” is a 220-meter, 1 million full-color LED tunnel of light and sound.
Among the many impressive sights, “Mermaid Paradise” shines light on a real yacht.
Nesta Resort Kobe
894-60 Tarusho, Hosokawacho, Miki, Hyogo, 673-0703
Hours: All year 18:00 - 22:00 (Last entry 21:00, varies depending on the season. Nesta Resort Kobe itself opens at 9:00 on weekdays and 8:30 on weekends and holidays)
Admission: One-day pass for Nesta Resort Kobe: Adults (junior high school students and above) 3,630 yen, children (4 years old to elementary school students) 2,530 yen (tax included), free for children under 3 years old
2. “Arashiyama Hanatouro” - Illuminating the historical cultural heritage of Sagano and Arashiyama
Togetsukyo Bridge Illumination
“Arashiyama Hanatouro”, held from December 13th to 22nd, 2019 is a striking illumination of the Sagano and Arashiyama area’s riverside and bamboo forest landscapes as well as local cultural heritage sites including temples and shrines. The light reflecting off the mountains and waters near Togetsukyo Bridge create a particularly magnificent scene.
Ikebana Promenade (Image from past exhibit)
Along the “Light and Flower Road,” several large ikebana works will also be on display.
A glimpse of the bamboo forest
Along both sides of the path from Nonomiya Shrine to Okochi Sanso Garden, bamboo groves stretch into the sky, and when lit up, a fantastic scene spreads out overhead. 2019 marks the 15th edition of Kyoto’s signature early-winter event.
Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro 2019
Ukyo-ku and Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto (approximate locations)
Phone: 075-212-8173 (Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council Secretariat), Weekdays 10:00 - 18:00
Hours: December 13 - 22, 2019, 17:00-20:30
Admission: Free (admission fee to local sites required separately)
Photo provided by: Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council
3. Osaka’s City-wide Festival of Light
(C) Osaka, Hikari Fest Executive Committee (2019 Envision)
Entering its 7th year, Osaka Hikari no Kyoen (“Festival of Lights in Osaka”), blankets the city with light, and has quickly become a leading tourist attraction in Osaka. Iconic Midosuji Boulevard, Nakanoshima, and numerous other sites throughout the city are lit up in this awe-inspiring city-wide event.
In one of the main attractions, Midosuji Illumination 2019, a 4 km stretch from Umeda to Namba will be illuminated from November 4th to December 31st. This year, there will also be social media-ready “Photo Monuments” all around the city.
(C) Osaka, Hikari Fest Executive Committee (2019 Envision)
Another major tourist draw will be Nakanoshima’s Osaka Hikari Renaissance 2019. Included in this part of the festivities, projection mapping and light paintings will decorate Osaka City Hall, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018. The main Nakanoshima light program takes advantage Osaka’s waterside scenery and will be on display from December 14th to 25th.
(C) Osaka, Hikari Fest Executive Committee (2018 photo)
In addition to the city’s elaborate festivities, many other unique lighting displays can be found throughout Osaka Prefecture from November and into the new year.
Festival of the Lights in Osaka
Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka (approximate location)
Phone: 06-6441-0071 (Osaka Hikari Feast Executive Committee Secretariat)
Hours: November 4, 2019 - January 31, 2020 (Please check the official website for details. Https://www.hikari-kyoen.com/)
4. Wakayama Marina City’s “Northern Winter, Christmas” Light Festival
Wakayama Marina City's “Festa Luce – A place to meet true Christmas” will be held from Saturday, November 2, 2019 to Sunday, March 1, 2020. The event’s theme, “A Northern Winter and Christmas” will provide festival goers with the chance to enjoy the atmosphere of Christmas in Europe, and this year’s array of projection mapping will be on an even larger scale than last year.
This festival of light and sound is meant to evoke the feeling of a Nordic winter with its Christmas Market and Finnish Sauna. Other attractions include a Finnish Santa Claus and the digital “SonoScriptum” that lights up in response to your voice.
Wakayama Marina City
1527 Kemi, Wakayama City, Wakayama, 641-0014
Phone: 073-484-3618 (Festa Luce Executive Committee Secretariat)
Hours: November 2, 2019 - March 1, 2020 17:00 - 21:00 (last entry 20:30); December 14 – 25 17:00 - 22:00; Only open on weekends and holidays January 6 - February 7 and February 17 - March 1
Admission: Same-day ticket: adults 1,500 yen, children, 800 yen (3 years old and older); Advance ticket: adults 1,300 yen, children 700 yen (tax included)
5. Kyoto’s “Rohm Illumination” – Fantastic Light and Music
Promenade of light
Kyoto’s largest winter light display was started in 1995 by Rohm Co., Ltd., an electronic parts manufacturer. Approximately 860,000 bulbs on 86 trees line Sai-dori (Kasuga-dori) near the company’s head office, and various events such as an a cappella concert performed by university students are held on weekends and holidays. The 21st edition will take place from November 22nd to December 25th, 2019.
Two round bayberry trees at the intersection of Gojo-dori and Sai-dori serve as the entrance to the display. After passing the bayberry trees, you’ll enter the “Light Promenade” made of dazzling lights that cover the branches of the metasequoia trees on either side of Sai-dori.
Light cocktail garden
On the Rohm office’s plaza lawn, a lively, large-scale LED light and music show takes place. The university a cappella concert also takes place in the square, and you can enjoy a fantastic stage with illumination that changes with the students’ singing voices.
Rohm Co., Ltd.
21 Saiinmizosakicho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 615-8585
Hours: November 22 - December 25 16:45 - 22:00, 2019 (Lights start at 17:30 on November 22)
This season presents a shining fusion of theme park excitement, natural beauty, modern cityscapes, and historic sites, culminating in a unique Kansai experience worth checking out!