Fabulous Winter Wonderlands Top 5

Fabulous Winter Wonderlands Top 5
Now that winter season is fast approaching.

Illuminations are a hallmark of winter in Japan, and as the Christmas and New Year seasons arrive, gorgeous illuminations appear in every area of Japan, setting hearts tingling.

A visit to Japan to catch sight of these orchestrations of light would make an excellent travel plan, don’t you think?

Let’s take a look at ZEKKEI’s illumination ranking!


Ase no Kirameki Shiroyone Senmaida (Ishikawa)

At number five is Shiroyone Senmaida in Ishikawa Prefecture. Though there are over a thousand rice paddies across this spacious area (“Senmaida” means “a thousand rice paddies”), locals and volunteers do all of the farming here by hand, without a single piece of agricultural machinery. Designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System, this region is also called the “holy land of Japanese agriculture.”
When enveloped in the magical glow of lights, this “holy land” becomes Ase no Kirameki (the “Glittering Ridges”). From October 10 (Sat.) this year to March 13 (Sun.) next year, 21,000 solar LEDs will set the fields alight from sunset. The amazing spectacle of hundreds of rice paddies lit up at night can perhaps only be seen here, and a visit is more than worth the trip.


The Tottori Sand Dunes Illumination(Tottori)

Number 4 is the illumination at the Tottori Sand Dunes. For a brief time only, these brown dunes cloaked in sand are transformed into brilliant dunes of light.
This year, which marks the 13th anniversary of this illumination, has Wa (“The Japanese Spirit”) as its theme. A variety of events will be held, such as an idol (young entertainer) festival as well as dance performances. These will be held from December 12 (Sat.) to December 27 (Sun.). Be sure to enjoy the contrast between the dunes during the day and the same dunes lit up at night.


Jozenji-dori’s “Pageant of Starlight”(Miyagi)

Third on our list is Sendai’s Pageant of Starlight, the most popular illumination in Japan’s northeast. The symbol of Sendai (called “the City of Trees”), the zelkova trees lining Jozenji-dori are lit up with a brilliant shine like a starry sky with hundreds of thousands of lights.
One thing that you especially must see is the Starlight Wink, when the lights are extinguished all at once and then re-lit. This event is scheduled to be held from December 6 (Sun.) to December 31 (Thu.)


Illumination Tunnel, Lake Toya Hot Spring (Hokkaido)

Coming second is the Illumination Tunnel at the Toya Lake Hot Spring. From November into February of next year, the Illumination Tunnel will bring an aura of the fantastic to the streets of this hot spring town.
The tunnel, 70 meters long and gorgeously decked out in around 400,000 decorative lights, is a stunningly splendid sight that will stay in your memory forever. Don’t miss out on this mystical, magical pageant of light!


Sapporo White Illumination, Odori Park (Hokkaido)

At the top of our list is an entry from Hokkaido. Sapporo White Illumination is held at three different locations: Ekimae-dori, Minami-ichijo-dori, and Odoro Park. This year the Illumination will be held from November 20 (Fri.) to December 25 (Thu.) at Odori Park.
When the temperature drops and the snow begins to fall, the light glittering through the snowflakes adds to the brilliant shine. A White Christmas wrapped up in the shining glow would be a perfect memory to share with that special someone! Plus, there will be illuminations on Ekimae-dori from November 20 (Fri.) to February 11 (Thu.) and on Minami-ichijo-dori from November 20 (Fri.) to March 14 (Mon.), so be sure to go see those too!

So, what do you think about illuminations in Japan? Even out in the frigid winter air, you can pass a lovely hour or three beneath a stirring, beautiful illumination. Come visit this year with that special someone and enjoy winter in Japan.

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