Christmas is just around the corner and it’s time to think about spending quality time with your friends and loved ones. What better way than to indulge in a quintessential festive experience? We’ve listed some of the best (and brightest) illuminations around the city and suggest you prepare to be dazzled.
Tokyo Midtown Christmas Illuminations November 13 – December 25 (Bubble Illumi until December 16)
The Midtown Christmas Illuminations, one of the most well known in Tokyo, is featuring a soap bubble effect this year, until December 16. Thousands of LED lights and balloons will create a space-like atmosphere, perfect for your pre-Christmas Instagram shot. Yet this is only one part of the famed illuminations, with the main attraction still centered in the Square Garden, a free space with an amusing array of lighting by Roppongi Midtown. The latter is free and a very worthy starter to this list.
5:00pm-11:00pm. Free entry. 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Station: Roppongi
Marunouchi Illuminations November 8 – February 17
Avoid the impending feeling of your holiday being over and going back to less merry days at work by heading to Marunouchi, where the illuminations last until mid-February. Take the time to give your heart that extra little bit of brightness, or if you simply miss out on all of the illuminations that end in December or January, make this your plan to ensure you make the most out of the jovial season, sans time pressure and worry. The Marunouchi setup has gold-colored illuminations wrapped around the trees which line the area’s main boulevard.
5:30pm-11pm. Throughout December: 5:30pm-12am. Free. 2-2-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda. Station: Tokyo or Nijubashimae
Meguro River Illuminations November 9 – January 6
Meguro River is known for its beautiful cherry blossom season, which happens every spring. However fans of the area can tell you that it is just as beautiful — if not more — in the holiday season. As temperatures drop and all the leaves on the trees fall, Meguro River Illuminations is the right place to capture a sense of cherry blossoms in the winter. Pink colored LED lights will be shining along the Meguro River, reflecting on the river just like the cherry blossoms in the spring.
5pm-10pm. Free. 2-9 Higashi-Gotanda, Shinagawa. Station: Gotanda or Osaki
Caretta Shiodome Illuminations November 15 – February 14
At the Caretta Shiodome Illuminations this year, the organizers take us on a journey to the world of Frozen and Tangled, two of the most popular Disney movies here in Japan. Each theme will be taking turns weekly, leaving you with no worries about catching the theme you’re looking forward to most. The Caretta Shiodome Illuminations will be running until February.
November 15 — December 31: 5pm-11pm. January 3 – February 14: 6pm-11pm. Free. 1-8-2 Higashi-Shinbashi, Minato-ku. Station: Shiodome or Shinbashi
Tokyo Dome Winter Lights Garden November 7 – January 17
Illuminations during the Christmas season may be similar to the ones you’ve experienced overseas — after all, the theme was born in the West. However this year, Tokyo Dome City has decided to reflect its own identity, with the Winter Lights Carden illuminating a Japanese-style design. Japanese-inspired crafts will be implemented in each of the decorations, including Edo Kiriko, Temari, Mangekyo, Origami, Hanabi, Take Akari and Wagasa. Indeed, this may be the most locally reflective illuminations of them all.
4pm-12am. Free Entry. 1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku. Station: Suidobashi
Showa Kinen Park Illuminations December 8–25
Going to the park in the cold weather isn’t ideal, but if you can watch a set of alluring illuminations and their corresponding reflections, you may decide it’s worth it. Your decision would be right. At Showa Kinen Park, a whopping 15,000 individual champagne glasses are scattered about in what can only be a highly and beautifully coordinated organised mess. Visiting the park in the early evening is strongly recommended as there will be a daily fireworks show launching around 7pm. This isn’t to be missed!
5pm-9pm. Adults: ¥450. 15 years and older: ¥210. 65 years or older/JH students and younger: Free entry. Station: Tachikawa