Japan Winter Illumination 2018

Japan Winter Illumination 2018
A selection of pictures from various key-sites of Japan Winter Illumination 2018. These pictures were taken during my November 2018 Japan trip.

Every November, cities and parks across Japan are adorned with thousands of lights to welcome the year-end. Here are some Japan winter illumination 2018 sites I visited during my recent trip.

Within Tokyo

Caretta Shiodome Illumination 2018

This year, Caretta Shiodome is again partnering Disney for its popular winter illumination.

According to official write-ups, the main set alternates between featuring Frozen and Tangled each week. With but three days in Tokyo, I only managed to catch the free Frozen performance, which featured a light sequence synced to Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman.

The performance was, on the whole, wintry and dazzling. If you like Disney Princesses and everything about them, this is something not to miss in Tokyo this year-end.

Caretta Shiodome Winter Illumination 2018 (Frozen Version)
A Frozen Kingdom at glitzy Caretta Shiodome for Japan Winter Illumination 2018.
Caretta Shiodome Illumination 2018 (Frozen Version)
Elsa’s spectacular Level 500 frost-mage magic changes the colours as she … lets it go and build snowmen.

Shiodome Caretta Illumination 2018
Nov 15, 2018 to Feb 14, 2019 (excluding Jan 1-2)
17:00 to 23:00
Free Admission

(Shiodome Caretta is a five to seven minutes’ walk from JR/ Tokyo Metro Shimbashi Station. But check maps beforehand to ensure you exit on the right side. It’s the side facing the Yurikamome Station)

Tokyo Midtown Christmas Illumination 2018 (Tokyo)

Tokyo Midtown’s light-up for this year consists of various items surrounding the massive complex, the highlight of which is, without a doubt, the Starlight Garden.

This was really pretty during the looping performances, brief music sets made all the more atmospheric by changing hues and mysterious mists. The entertainment, erm, also puts you in the mood for some serious expensive shopping thereafter in the mall.

Tokyo Midtown Christmas Illumination 2018
The dazzling Starlight Garden of Tokyo Midtown Christmas Illumination 2018. I personally think this is one of the best displays of Japan Winter Illumination 2018.
Tokyo Midtown Starlight Garden 2018
It’s really artsy and mesmerising, ain’t it?

Tokyo Midtown Christmas Illumination 2018
Nov 13, 2018 to Dec 25, 2018
17:00 to 23:00
Free Admission
(Tokyo Metro’s Roppongi Station has an exit leading directly to the main complex of Tokyo Midtown. However, the station is expansive. You need to read the signs to know which exit to use)

Christmas Market in Hikari no Machi Hakata (Fukuoka)

This was one Christmas Market done right!


It’s compact. There are light-sculptures both traditional and avant-garde too.

The rows of Christmas-y stores also feature a great mix of gifts and food, which you could enjoy while listening to live music from the nearby stage. Though I only spent an hour here, I immensely enjoyed my visit. It was a wonderful way to end my one and only day in Fukuoka this trip.

Hikari no Machi Hakata 2018 Winter Illumination.
Illuminated trees form a magical grove beside Hikari no Machi Hakata 2018.
Japan Winter Illumination 2018 at Fukuoka.
Beautiful light sculptures, and the Christmas Village.
Hakata Station Christmas Celebrations 2018.
More food, more lights, and Japanese-style Christmas entertainment in Southern Japan’s biggest city!

Christmas Market in Hikari no Machi Hakata
Nov 13, 2018 to Dec 25, 2018
17:00 to 23:00 (Weekdays, to 23:00 on Fridays and Eves of Public Holidays)
12:00 to 23:30 (Saturdays)
12:00 to 23:00 (Sundays & Public Holidays)
Free Admission
(The massive plaza is right in front of JR Hakata City i.e. Hakata Station)

Flower Fantasy at Ashikaga Flower Park

Okay, this was the big illumination highlight of my trip. Big as in, this was hands-down the most expansive festive light-up I’ve ever seen! (Actually, I think it’s the biggest display for Japan Winter Illumination 2018 too)

While Ashikaga Flower Park itself isn’t huge, every inch of it was adorned with glittering fairy lights, in addition to which there were several huge screens featuring thematic presentations.

If you ask me, the park is the one MUST, must-see site for Japan Winter Illumination 2018. It takes a while to reach from Tokyo, and the weather would be chilly. But believe me, the effort is well worth it.

Ashikaga Flower Park Flower Fantasy 2018 at Evening Hour.
Japan’s Ashikaga Flower Park during its 2018 Winter Illumination. Named Flower Fantasy, the event is one of the biggest light-ups in Japan, whereby over 4.5 million LED lights bring the park to life after dark.
Ashikaga Flower Park Tunnel of Love.
Tulip tunnel of love.
Ashikaga Flower Park Winter Illumination 2018.
Christmas scenes are prominently featured, of course.
Ashikaga Flower Park One Earth for All.
The “One Earth for All” display, which utilizes a water reflection effect to perfection.
Ashikaga Flower Park Winter Illumination 2018.
A triumphant castle. With moving fireworks, fanfare, and a field of glowing flowers!

Ashikaga Flower Park Flower Fantasy 2018
Oct 27, 2018 to Feb 5, 2019
16:30 to 21:00 (Saturday, Sunday and public holidays until 21:30)
Check here for hours, admission, and access.

At Major Train Stations

Osaka Station City Twilight Fantasy (Osaka)

Osaka Station City’s light-up for this year is centred at its fifth level Toki no Hiroba plaza. It’s not particularly elaborate but I think the airy location and the simpler motifs infuse the set-up with a quiet romanticism. For me, it was pleasant resting here for a few minutes, after a full day in Osaka and Kyoto.

Osaka Station City Twilight Fantasy 2018
Simple but effective. Largely thanks to airy Toki no Hiroba plaza.

Osaka Station City Twilight Fantasy 2018
Nov 1, 2018 to Feb 14, 2019
17:00 to 23:00
Toki no Hiroba Plaza (時空の広場); 5th Level
Free Admission
(I’m still trying to figure out the behemoth that is Osaka Station City. And it seems to grow every time I’m getting somewhere! All I can share is, the plaza is on an upper level. Keep taking the escalators to the levels above the JR train gates)

Kyoto Station

Some works were still ongoing around the main set while I was there. (I passed by on the night of the 13th) Nonetheless, the huge tree was still a spectacle to look at. A giant within the bigger behemoth that is Kyoto Station.

Kyoto Station Christmas Tree 2018
Kyoto Station Building Christmas Tree 2018.

Nov 14, 2018 to Dec 25, 2018 (I think)
17:00 to 23:00 (??)
(You CANNOT miss this, unless you’re at the south instead of the north exit. It’s right in the middle of that legendary 11-storey staircase)

Nagoya Station

Surprisingly, crowded Nagoya Station didn’t put up much decorations. However, the numerous departmental stores around it featured  pretty impressive main entrance displays.

JR Nagoya Takashiyama Christmas Display 2018
JR Nagoya Takashimaya’s main entrance display. Now, this is what I call order and beauty in chaos.

That’s it for this post on Japan Winter Illumination 2018. I hope I’ve inspired you to visit Japan this November and December!

Take a look at my Christmas in Singapore 2018 post too!

Japan Winter Illumination 2018
Article Name
Japan Winter Illumination 2018
A selection of pictures from various sites of Japan Winter Illumination 2018. These pictures were taken during my November 2018 Japan trip.

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