Home to neon skylines, cutting-edge electronics, Akihabara and robot restaurants, Japan is also the birthplace of the game-changing blue LED. Her winter nights are a perfect blank canvas for intricate and impressive "illuminations" (light displays and shows), drawing crowds of locals and tourists alike.
Illumination events draw many tourists by Nathan Hosken
Cultures across the globe ward off the darkness with wintertime events, bonfires, candles, lanterns, and in the modern era twinkling strings of holiday lights. From Hokkaido to Okinawa, shopping centers, city streets, and botanical gardens all put on their holiday best. Almost every prefecture in Japan boasts a special light display or hosts events for brightening up the winter nights. Some include synchronized audiovisual shows, smoke machines, brilliant LED sculptures and other special effects.
Illuminations in Shinjuku, Tokyo by Nathan Hosken
Tokyo Dome City illuminations by Nathan Hosken
Many Japanese light festivals now use projection mapping technology (3D mapping) to display vivid images on the sides of buildings.
Projection mapping in Tokyo by Nathan Hosken
Unlike some other countries, Japan's light festivities are not limited to December. Some go through to the new year and a few even extend up until Valentine’s Day. If you are traveling in Japan this winter, be sure to keep a look out for these sparkling celebrations!
Lighting up Tokyo's winter nights by Nathan Hosken
Visiting Tokyo this winter? Here are the top spots for Illuminations from December to February.