Winter Illuminations in Japan

Writer: Saki N.
Editor: Karen W.
Translator: Theo F.

As the weather gradually gets colder, we head into December. Christmas gets closer and streets become decorated with beautiful lights. Have you ever seen them?

Today, I would like to write about winter illuminations that you can visit without having to transfer trains from the university, are recommended by TIU students, and are displayed in our university!

1. Winter Illuminations you can visit without having to transfer

① Shibuya, The Blue Cave

Many people may know this ‘Blue Cave’ as it is a very popular illumination spot. It is being held for the first time in three years, partly due to COVID-19. This year’s ‘Blue Cave’ also features a giant Christmas card set up with music box sounds at the Yoyogi Park Zelkova tree-lined area. Lighting times are subject to change, but please visit before Christmas ends to enjoy the sacred blue atmosphere.

Date and Time: 12/8 to 12/25, from 17:00 to 22:00

Place: Along the Shibuya Park Street towards the Yoyogi Park Zelkova Trees

From school, you can arrive at Shibuya in 54 minutes.


② Sunshine Aquarium, Marine Garden Illumination

This illumination differs from the ‘Blue Cave’ in that it features different vibrant colours. The lights reflecting on the natural greenery and water, combined with the night view of Ikebukuro, creates a very magical space. This illumination takes place all year round, but during autumn and winter, special night-time opening hours take place from 18:15 to 21:00, allowing visitors to enjoy a wonderful illumination that matches the night-time hours.

To get into Marine Garden, you have to first pay for the aquarium ticket, which costs 2400 yen for adults and 1200 yen for kids.

You can reach Ikebukuro in around 37 minutes from the university.


2. Winter Illuminations recommended by TIU students

Although these locations might require some transferring from Kasumigaseki, it is not that complicated.

① Ebisu Garden Place

The beautiful champagne-gold illumination lights of Ebisu Garden Place, combined with the large, colourful chandelier in the centre square, creates a mystical atmosphere.

Date: 11/12 to 1/9

The huge chandelier lights up every 30 minutes from 5pm to 11pm.

From Kasumigaseki you can first go to Ikebukuro, then transfer to Yamanote Line, and get off at Ebisu. This takes around 1 hour and 5 minutes.


② Roppongi Hills: O-Yane Plaza

The Roppongi Hills Christmas Market is held at the O-Yane Plaza in Roppongi Hills. This venue is said to be the world’s largest reproduction of the Christmas Market in Stuttgart, Germany. Along with beautiful Christmas lights and decorations, you will find original German Christmas goods and authentic German food, such as glühwein and sausages. Enjoy the atmosphere of a German Christmas while eating warm and delicious food, which is more Christmassy than Japanese illuminations.

Date and Time: 11/26 to 12/25 from 11:00 to 21:00

Get off at Ikebukuro and transfer to Yamanote Line, where you should get off at Yoyogi station. From here, get on the Toei Oedo Line and get off at Roppongi station. This takes about 1 hour and 13 minutes. 


3. Winter Illuminations at TIU

Every Christmas season, TIU’s First Campus holds an illumination display in front of the gate, next to Building 2 and on the path leading to Buildings 3 and 6. It gets dark earlier in the winter, but the twinkling lights make the inside and outside of the campus warm and festive. Even if you don’t usually stay at school until late, why not spend a little longer than usual at school and enjoy the illuminated campus on your way home?


In this article, we have introduced you to winter illumination locations both in Tokyo and here at TIU. Winter in Japan is very cold, but please enjoy the beautiful illuminations with your loved ones while drinking a hot drink and creating wonderful winter memories.

Please take a look at “Using the Train in Japan” on our website if you are interested!

References for transit:

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