My Time Capsule: Japan: Magical Winter Illuminations

21.11.18

Japan: Magical Winter Illuminations

December 2017




Anyone going to Japan for Christmas holiday next month? Please, take me! Japan is a year round holiday destination with probably hanami or cherry blossom season is the most popular. Though I've been wanting to experience the beautiful hanami and autumn season in Japan, for some reasons I've always coming back during winter. Maybe I'm too smitten with the magical winter illuminations across the country or maybe I just love slurping piping hot ramen when it's freezing cold outside (I travel for food most of the time) or maybe I'm simply a lousy travel planner. 😂

Anyway on my previous trip to Japan last December, I tried to visit as many winter illuminations as possible in Tokyo and Osaka. All of them have different themes and equally pretty so don't ask me to pick which one I love the most. Not to mention that all of these venues are free so you can save your ¥ for a bowl of hearty ramen or a couple of Pucchin Purin later. Here's a photo essay of the events which of course don't do it justice. Go and experience it yourself! I'm sure you will be blown away by the enchanting ambiance like I've always have...



Shibuya Ao no Dokutsu 



the Blue Cave in Shibuya

The first few nights I was staying around the famous Shibuya Crossing, at Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu to be exact. When I found out it was merely 1 km to the 'Blue Cave' or Shibuya Ao no Dokutsu venue, my sister and I went for an early dinner then we walked towards the NHK headquarters. The street along the way was decorated with sapphire blue lights as a preview of the main venue. So it was an easy walk just like Hansel following the trail of breadcrumbs.

Welcome to Avatar world! I said it to myself. Well it did feel like that because my skin turned blue under the 600.000 blue LED lights along the avenue. It was crowded as expected but pretty nevertheless. This year Shibuya Ao no Dokotsu will be held from November 30 to December 31, 2018. Started at 17:00 until 22:00.


Omotesando

Omotesando


photoshoot in Harajuku

Next day I explored the stylish shopping street of Omotesando and Harajuku area which is just a couple station away from my hotel. I arrived a bit early so I waited at a nearby cafe before all the lights were lighted up. Omotesando was super packed with both tourists and locals that it was pretty difficult to get a seat at most cafes.  Finally around 5 pm, I got to see the colour of millions lights that decorated the trees along the street. Blue hour made those goldish LED lights pop out and looked more appealing. It reminded me of those sparkle bubbles after you pop a champagne cork.  It will start soon next from November 29 to December 25, 2018. Light up around sunset until 22:00



Shinjuku Minami Lumi

Takashimaya Shinjuku

Shinjuku Terrace

I checked on Google map and decided to keep walking towards Shinjuku station which is about 3km from Omotesando. Many people raved that the Shinjuku illumination is one of the prettiest. I was actually tired and famished but my curiosity won.

Last year marked the 12th year of the Shinjuku Illumination and the concept was 'making people smile'. The theme colour was baby pink of cherry blossom. I was indeed pretty and made me smile from ear to ear (and my eyes welled up with happy tears). It was so mesmerising and romantic that I almost grabbed a random guy and kiss him. Errrr...okay, maybe that's not a brilliant idea 😂
Shinjuku Minami Lumi starts from November 14, 2018 to February 14, 2019. From 17:00 until midnight.

Oh, hai! 😁

on the other side of the station
Shinjuku clock tower

After walked more than 8 hours since morning, it felt like my calves were going to explode anytime soon. With both arms full of shopping bags, I hailed and hopped on the infamous Tokyo taxi. It was expensive but I couldn't care less. My legs have given up and refused to move. Please just whisk me off to bed. Arigatou gozaimasu! 


Odaiba

Odaiba



Partire Tokyo Bay Wedding Village

Though in my opinion the illumination in Odaiba, the artificially created island in Tokyo Bay - not as grand as in downtown Tokyo, it was still enjoyable. Taken place in some major mall like Aqua City, Diver City, Venusfort and also the Decks Odaiba.

I was walking back from Aqua City to my hotel, Ariake when I saw a place that reminds me a lot of European cities. It has a chapel, a Romanesque fountain, restaurants, cobblestone streets and some shops in the complex. For a moment it felt like I was strolling around the Old City of Luzern, Switzerland. I asked Mr. Google and found out that the name of this place is Partire Tokyo Bay Wedding Village. Apparently this place is pretty popular amongst love birds who fantasise Western style wedding. It's kind of a one-stop-shopping wedding thingy. It provides everything from wedding gown, make up and all the stuff....including a (fake) Caucasian priest. Interesting place and pretty too!


Osaka Hikari Renaissance


Osaka winter illumination 

Osaka Central Public Hall

lampions

food vendors around the venue

Winter illumination is pretty big deal too in Osaka. One of the popular venue is at Osaka City Hall until to the Eastern tip of Nakanoshima Park. One of the programs is wall tapestry lighting show at Osaka City Central Public Hall. I loved it too much that I sat in freezing temperature for nearly 2 hours and watched 5 shows non stop. Each lighting show lasted about 10 minutes, every 15 minutes with a break in betwwen. I only decided to go back to my hotel when my hands turn blue and almost caught a hypothermia. Seriously it was just mesmerising (don't forget to turn the volume up when you watch the video below). Good thing there was food bazaar too in the venue so I could grab some food and drink to warm up my body. Don't miss this when you are in Osaka. Starts from December 14 to December 25, 2018. 17:00 until 22:00.





If you are heading to Japan for Christmas holiday or in Japan right now, please tag me on Instagram or Twitter. Make me jealous with your beautiful pictures of the winter illumination.
Happy holidays!😘


PS: For latest updates and more information about winter illumination in cities across Japan, please check the details in japan-guide.com


22 comments:

  1. so beautiful! If anyone knows illumination it's Japan!

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  2. Wow it all looks so beautiful and clean! I love the look of the Blue Cave- it seems really atmospheric. I had no idea they made such an event of Christmas lights!

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  3. I’ve always wanted to visit Japan for the cherry blossoms, but you’ve just given me reasons to visit Japan in winter! I love how alive the cities are at this time of the year! The winter illuminations sounds very magical and a lovely event to witness!

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    1. I really wish to experience the cherry blossoms too next time :D

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  4. I didn't know that illuminations were such a thing in Osaka and Tokyo at Winter! Another reason for me to visit. I have wanted to go to Japan for years, but the long flight from the UK puts me off. Need to look into a stop over on the way I think

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    1. I feel you, Melissa. I also dislike long flights but most of the time I force myself to endure it, hahahaha

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  5. Never knew the Japanese got into the whole festive lights act like Europe and America and by the looks of it, they are doing a better job than us, it looks a lot more professional and more cold. I think I need to experience Japan for a whole year, for this, for the cherry blossoms and to explore the islands. There seems to be so much to do!

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    1. Yes, I would also love to experience Japan for a whole year :D

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  6. Ah, I just love the whole concept of Shinjuku Illumination! And it's so beautiful. Hahaha I would have loved to hear your story about kissing a random man 😂 Japan sounds amazing in winter!

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    1. Dang, I should have done it, right? hahahha

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  7. I didn't know that Japan celebrates and decorates the streets like European countries and America during Christmas time. It is fascinating. 600,000 blue LED lights !!! I can see why you felt welcomed there. It is magical to see everything in blue :). I always thought I should visit Japan for the cherry blossoms, but apparently I was wrong.

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    1. I heard that autumn in Japan is also lovely. I can't decide which month to visit next time :))

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  8. The lights are beautiful. Such stunning displays. This is such a unique perspective of Japan...and a truly beautiful one. Sadly, I will not be going to Japan this holiday season. Though this gives me inspiration to go during winter time.

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  9. I had no idea Japan was so in to holiday light displays! It looks like they really do the city up, too. Perhaps a reason to take a trip there around the holidays!

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    1. It gets super crowded around the holidays but I can't blame when it's too beautiful, right? :D

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  10. Your visits to Japan during winter remind me of the fact that of all four trips I've made to Hong Kong they were all in wintertime as well. Do you remember how cold it got during your stay?

    "It was so mesmerising and romantic that I almost grabbed a random guy and kiss him". I wonder if you could get into trouble by doing that. Luckily you didn't. :D :D

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    1. Yessss, Bama! So relieved I didn't do that, hahahahha

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  11. Never realized that it would be so colorful in Xmas. Loving all the light decor here. Just walking around in the night would be such a treat here.

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  12. Hopefully you'll get to experience it yourself one day, Ami :D

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