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Japan Largest Most Popular Illuminations - Bumble Bee Mum

In Japan, light-ups (or ‘Illuminations’ as the Japanese call it) are ubiquitous when winter arrives.  The whole nation lights up with illumination events, big and small.  I don’t care much for the small ones frankly – because they are pretty much like the Orchard Road Christmas light-up we have here in Singapore.  If I were to fly all the way to Japan, I want to visit the BIGGEST, the BEST of the BEST illumination events. I am talking about MILLIONS of light bulbs, not thousands. So this week on Travel Tuesday, let me bring you to Japan’s largest illumination events!

Kyoto Illumiere

Light Bulb Count: Approx 1 million

Let’s start from the *ahem* smallest event on the list at 1 million bulbs.  You would think Kyoto, being one of the most traditional cities in Japan, would not be so enthusiastic about fancy illuminations.  But that is not the case.  The most popular illumination event in Kyoto is actually the Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro, but that doesn’t really involve twinkling light bulbs. Instead, check out Kyoto Illumiere – where 1 million bulbs light up in Kyoto’s largest illumination event. Do not forget to catch the aurora light shows!

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting There: Take JR Sagano Line from Kyoto Station to Sonobe Station (園部駅) and hop on the shuttle service from the West Exit. (Click here for details.)

> Visit Official Website for Kyoto Illumiere

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan Illumination

Japan Largest Most Popular Illumination - Osaka Aquarium

(Image Source: Kaiyukan)

 

Light Bulb Count: Approx 1.3 million

If you are visiting Osaka with kids, I believe Osaka Aquarium should be high up on your list of places to go. In winter, the aquarium lights up with 1.3 million light bulbs, making it one of the world’s biggest aquarium illumination events. (Not sure if other aquariums in the world are even competing?)

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting There: Osakako Station on the Osaka City Subway Chuo Line. (Click here for details.)

> Visit Official Website for Osaka Aquarium Illumination

Laguna Ten Bosch

Japan Largest Most Popular Illumination - Laguna Ten Bosch

Light Bulb Count: At least 1 million (I suspect a lot more)

So nobody has a count of how many light bulbs are used at Laguna Ten Bosch’s Winter Illumination, but the arch itself is made up of 1 million bulbs! Laguna Ten Bosch’s illumination is well-known for its 3D mapping shows – be sure to catch them!

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting there: Free shuttle service available from JR Gamagori Station (蒲郡駅). (Click here for details)

> Visit Official Website for Laguna Ten Bosch Illumination

Tokyo German Village Illuminaton

Light Bulb Count: Approx 2.5 million

Located at Chiba in the outskirts of Tokyo, Tokyo German Village’s Winter Illumination is very popular among the Tokyoites.  However, the lack of public transport makes it difficult for tourists to visit.

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting There: A rental car is recommended for visiting Tokyo German Village.  Alternatively, shuttle buses are available on selected dates during the illumination period to ferry visitors to and from Sodegaura Station (袖ケ浦駅).  (Click here for details.)

> Visit Official Website for Tokyo German Village Winter Illumination

Abeno Tennoji Illuminage (Osaka)

Japan Largest Most Popular Illumination - Osaka Abeno Tennoji Illuminage

(Image Source: Illuminage Group)

 

Light Bulb Count: Approx 3 million

Conveniently located at Tennoji Park in Osaka, you will find an Illumination Zoo, made up of approximately 3 million light bulbs!

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting There: Walk from Tennoji Station (天王寺駅)

> Visit official website for Abeno Tennoji Illumination

Okukawachi Illuminage

Japan Largest Most Popular Illumination - Okukawachi Illuminage

(Image Source: Illuminage Group)

 

Light Bulb Count: Approx 3 million

On a similar scale as the Tennoji Illumination above and organised by the same Illuminage Group, the Okukawachi Illumination is lesser known due to its more secluded location in the outskirts of Osaka. Recommended if you have a rental car and would like to get off the beaten tracks!

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting There: A rental car is recommended for getting to Okukawachi Illuminage. Or 10 minutes taxi ride from Kawachi-Nagano Station.

> Visit Official Website for Okukawachi Illuminage

Suma Aqua Illuminage (Kobe)

Japan Largest Most Popular Illumination - Sumi Aqua Illuminage

(Image Source: Illuminage Group)

 

Light Bulb Count: Approx 3 million

Okay, I think I know who is completing with Osaka Aquarium for the largest aquarium illumination.  Suma Aqualife Park Kobe boasts an illumination event of 3 million light bulbs!

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting There: Walk from Sumakaihinkoen Station

> Visit Official Website for Suma Aqua Illuminage

Ashikaga Flower Fantasy

Light Bulb Count: Approx 3 million

Ashikaga Flower Park is famous for it extensive flower fields in warmer months. But what do you do with a flower park in winter when flowers can’t bloom? You light it up with approximately 3 million light bulbs of course! Keep those tourists coming even outside of flowering season – genius!

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting There: Ashikaga Flower Park is a 1 km walk from Tomita Station (富田駅). (Click here for details)

> Visit Official Website for Ashikaga Flower Fantasy

Seibuen Illumination

Light Bulb Count: Approx 3 million

There is something about Japanese theme parks and illuminations, as you would soon find out.   It almost seems mandatory for theme parks in Japan to illuminate the WHOLE PARK with tiny colourful light bulbs, otherwise nobody will visit in winter. Bring on Seibuen’s Illumi-Ju with its 3 million light bulbs.  An easy side trip from Tokyo by train.

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting there:  Seibuen can be reached via Seibuen Station (Seibu Seibuen Line) or Yuenchi-Nishi Station (Seibu Yamaguchi Line).  (Click here for details)

> Visit Official Website for Seibuen Illumi-Ju

Yomiuriland Jewellumination

Light Bulb Count: Approx 4 million

Approximately 4 million light bulbs illuminate Yomiuriland amusement park in winter. Easy access from central Tokyo by train makes this illumination event extremely popular among locals and tourists alike.

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting there: Yomiuriland can be reached via Keio Yomiuriland station (Keio line) or Yomiuriland-mae Station (Odakyu line). (Click here for details.)

> Visit Official Website for Yomiuriland Jewellumination

Toki No Sumika Illumination

Light Bulb Count: Approx 5 million

Located near Hakone / Gotemba, Toki No Sumika Illumination involves approximately 5 million light bulbs lighting this family-friendly resort. A highlight of this event is a 450m long Hikari Tunnel! If you are headed to the Hakone region in winter, why not pop by Toki No Sumika in the evening?

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting There: Free shuttle bus (25 min ride) is available to bring visitors between Gotemba station and Toki No Sumika. (Click here for details.)

> Visit Official Website for Toki No Sumika Illumination

Kobe Illuminage

Japan Largest Most Popular Illumination - Kobe Illuminage

(Image Source: Illuminage Group)

 

Light Bulb Count: Approx 5 million

Kobe is not all about Kobe beef.   Kobe’s more well-known illumination is Kobe Luminarie, which takes place right smack in Kobe city centre.  However, if you have a rental car, a much larger illumination event, Kobe Illuminage, awaits you with 5 million light bulbs.

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting there: A rental car is recommended for visiting Kobe Illuminage.  Alternatively, shuttle buses operate between JR Sanda Station (三田駅) and Kobe Illuminage site on weekends and public holidys.  (Click here for details)

> Visit Official Website for Kobe Illuminage

Sagamiko Illumillion

Light Bulb Count: Approx 5.5 million

Yet, another theme park illumination, approximately 5.5 million light bulbs illuminate Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest. The park rides are operational during the illumination period – and the illuminations complement the rides. Hop on the automated jeep to take you through the illuminated zoo, ride up a chairlift where rainbow lights line the path below you, and go up the ferris wheel for a birds eye view of the entire park.

Maps: Show location on Google Maps

Getting There: Direct buses to Sagamiko Illumillion event are available from Shinjuku station in Tokyo. (Click here for more information.)

> Read about our visit to Sagamiko Illumillion

> Visit Official Website for Sagamiko Illumillion

Nabana No Sato Illumination

Light Bulb Count: So many that nobody bothered to count?

A quick google search of “日本最大イルミネーション” (Japan’s largest illumination) churned out one name consistently over numerous ranking websites. Nabana No Sato. Taking place over half a year from end Oct – early May, visitors will have ample opportunity to visit this illumination even in spring when cherry blossoms bloom. Nabana No Sato can be visited as a side trip from Nagoya.

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting There: The nearest train station is Kuwana Station (JR / Kintestu lines). From there, it is a 20 min bus ride to Nabana No Sato. (Click here for details)

> Visit Official Website for Nabana No Sato Illumination

Huis Ten Bosch Kingdom of Flowers & Lights

Japan Largest Most Popular Illumination - Huis Ten Bosch

Light Bulb Count: 13 million!

If you are visiting the less-touristy Fukuoka in the Western end of Japan and thinking you’re going to be left out of the fun, YOU ARE SO WRONG.  Welcome to the World’s Largest Illumination Event (as claimed by Huis Ten Bosch) – The Kingdom of Flowers and Lights, bragging a whopping 13 MILLION light bulbs! Seriously, who’s counting?? And get this: You can BUNGEE JUMP into the sea of lights.

Map: Show location on Google Maps

Getting There: Huis Ten Bosch station

> Visit official website of Huis Ten Bosch

Have you visited any illuminations in Japan? Which is your favourite?

Are there any illumination events in your country?

Pin it up for later!

Japan Largest Most Popular Illuminations - Bumble Bee Mum

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Supposed to be a stay-home mom, but hates staying home. Definition of parenting is bringing the boys out for 'experiential learning' in Singapore, Japan and wherever else in the world her husband can afford to pay for.

33Comments

  1. Lydia C. Lee says:

    What fun – we do a xmas one in the Hunter valley each year….

  2. I really REALLY wanted to see one of the illuminations in mainland Japan. When we did our holiday trip, we missed a few of them by DAYS. It was a little heartbreaking, but we still had a great time!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I know what you mean about heartbreaking. When you see something exciting and realise your travel dates are off by that one day or two and you’re like ‘Noooooooo!!’ But yeah, I’m sure Japan was fun even without the illuminations.

  3. We don’t have anything like that here in Australia, those light shows look amazing.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Lydia said there’s one at Hunter Valley during Christmas. But that’s like all the way on the other end of Australia from Perth. Maybe you should ask Perth government to consider starting one. :p

  4. mummybean says:

    I didn’t realise there were so many light shows in Japan. Have you been to any yourself?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I have been to many of the smaller ones in the cities. The only large one on this list I visited was Sagamiko Illumillion. Many of the larger illuminations are not that accessible by public transport, so this coming trip I’m going to rent a car and go around checking some of these off my bucket list!

  5. Wow,I only knew about all these light shows after reading your blog. Thanks for the effort in compiling!

  6. Oh my gosh! I thought some of our displays were over the top, but they are nothing in comparison to some of these! And the video from Seibuen is fantastic. Thanks for posting – it sure sets the mood for the upcoming winter holidays!

  7. Reminded me of the Osaka Castle Light Show I went for at the beginning of this year. So pretty and dreamy. :)

  8. Angie.S says:

    It must be MAGICAL – these illuminations but also freezing cold to admire them when night falls. Would love to experience one of these in my lifetime at least once. Thanks for sharing this little known aspect of Japan with us!

  9. Joanna says:

    I never knew that Japan had so many illuminations! Your post really makes me wanna go to Japan just to see them! The Zoo Illumination and Jewellumination are definitely top on my list!

  10. suanne says:

    thank you! when r u going to japan?

  11. Phoebe says:

    Wow! That’s very pretty! I’m just wondering would that be consuming a lot of energy too?

  12. I wouldn’t want to have to change all those light bulbs – or pay the electricity bill! Maybe they have solar power? :-)

  13. jewels says:

    What a great compilation…! And defo need to check this out at some point…! And hurrah, another SG blogger!

  14. Ruth says:

    Wow! I see Japanese take their illuminations very seriously. I have never been in one of these big events but I think it will be awesome to attend. When I was a kid, I remember riding with my parents and sibling around the most illuminated streets in our town. Of course, it cannot be compared to the Japanese experience.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      In Singapore, we also have a habit of driving along Orchard Road during Christmas light up season when the road and surrounding shopping centres are illuminated. But it is really nothing compared to the big ones I’ve attended in Japan. After I attended one, every year end I yearn to go back to Japan to be part of their illumination events again!

  15. Ariza says:

    Hello, do you know how long it takes from Sonobe Station to the Kyoto Illumiere location by shuttle bus? :)

  16. Tiffany says:

    Hi I’m planning my trip to Japan end of this year and your blog has been an immeasurable resource for me! I’m visiting Tokyo, Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Osaka (with some day trips in the Kansai region) but after checking some of these illumination events, it seems like they haven’t updated this year end 2016 dates. Does that mean that the event will be moved somewhere else or is always at the same place? Sorry for the noob question!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      The illuminations are usually at the same place every year and the dates are usually about the same (maybe at most a week difference year to year?). So you can plan around last year’s dates and venues. :)

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