Odawara is always a nice spot for a day trip from Tokyo. Using the limited express train Romancecar from Odakyu Line starting in Shinjuku you can have an relaxed trip to Odawara that only lasts about 70~80 minutes. Even though it is a day trip for most people, right at the moment, it is worth staying at Odawara until the sun set down and it got dark inside the city. Then Odawara will light up the night and impress your eyes!
Odawara Castle (小田原城) is probably the main attraction of the city. It was built in the middle of 15th century, but destroyed in an earthquake in 1703. It was rebuilt for several times within the years and got its current form. By today, it is the closest castle keep you can visit from Tokyo. Next to the castle, you can visit the History Museum and the Samurai Museum which are also located at the castle area.
This winter Odawara castle is celebrating a special event for the first time: Winter Sakura Illumination (冬桜イルミネーション ～光と音が織りなすファンタジーショー～) combines beautiful lights with music. See various flowers light up and flying over the walls of the castle including cherry and plum blossoms. The colors while the show are changing fitting to the four sesons of the year, creating an amazing atmosphere with the music in the background.
While breaktime people can press a button right in front of the castle keep and start their own short combination of light and sound. There are five different short performances like this and it will be a surprise which one is played.
Sit down at one of the benches in the court and enjoy the show!
The Winter Sakura Illumination at Odawara castle is held from 9th December 2017 to 4th March 2018 between 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day. Viewing the illuminations is free. Take care on the way through the castle area which is just light up with some lanterns in the night.