I have been to several illumination events in central Tokyo, but after visiting the likes of Kobe Luminarie (which was one of the first illuminaton event I visited in Japan – clearly I set the bar too high with that as my first), the ones in central Tokyo have been somewhat underwhelming.
Logically, illumination events should be visited when it’s dark. The darker the better. But when it comes to events in Japan, I suggest you arrive earlier. We arrived at Tokyo German Village at about 4pm and the sun was just setting. But already, a crowd had gathered at the vantage point waiting for the lights to come on. So do come early to beat the crowd, especially if you are driving. Once the parking spaces near the event are filled, you may end up being redirected to a parking lot much further down the road. And don’t even get me started on traffic jams like what we experience when visiting the illumination at Nabana No Sato.
Now, here’s another tip for you when visiting illumination events. Try to be there BEFORE the lights come on. Because at the very moment they switch on the lights, there will be “Ooooos” and “Ahhhhs” echoing through the crowd – which I always find very amusing. And we’ll join in and “Oooo” and “Ahhhh” along. It adds to the fun!
Unfortunately Tokyo German Village doesn’t publicise an exact timing at which they will turn on the lights, which makes it a bit hard to plan. On their website, it only says that the lights will come on when the sun sets.
After soaking in an overview of the illumination from the vantage point, we headed down the hill and into the field of lights.
Up close, we noticed light sculptures of objects like boats and animals like swans – so I’m guessing the blue lights were supposed to be like a river.
We found a little hut by the lakeside and the boys ran inside to play.
After playing, the boys decided they were starving and we saw a few food kiosks nearby and grabbed some jumbo sausages for them. I have to say the food selection here was rather disappointing. I usually look forward to the food stalls during events in Japan. The food kioks here paled in comparison.
After they filled their tummies with jumbo sausages and hot chocolate, they were energetic once again and ready to continue exploring the rest of the event ground!
We continued to proceed through the rainbow tunnel – which was my favourite part of the illumination at Tokyo German Village.
Walking through the rainbow tunnel felt like being in a totally different world!
After exiting the tunnel, we continued on, passing by fields of neatly arranged lights.
We found some interactive elements for the boys to play with. Like a bell for them to ring, and a rocket where they could push a button and smoke would come out from its bottom.
We finally reached the cluster of German-inspired buildings. (Remember this is Tokyo GERMAN Village?)
Lights have been strung all over the cottages!
We found some bicycles where, when we paddled them, it would activate the bubble machine! MY was too short to paddle, so MF did the paddling while MY went around playing with the bubbles. Kids just LOVE bubbles!
When the boys had enough fun, we continued walking through the field of lights towards where the lights formed the bear and duck were.
How funny the bear looked from a different angle! If I didn’t go up to the vantage point beforehand, I wouldn’t even have realised this was supposed to be a bear.
We found more of the little huts, and needless to say, the boys ran inside to play.
Right next to the huts were some dinosaur light sculptures. I thought it was hilarious for the kids to look out of the window to see a T-Rex staring back at them! The small witty things that the Japanese do.
We let the boys play all they wanted as we were reaching the end of the route soon. As we left, we passed by some more animal light sculptures.
On the whole, I really enjoyed the illumination at Tokyo German Village. It may not be the largest illumination event in Japan in terms of light bulb count. But the light bulbs were concentrated over a relatively smaller area – making it look a lot more impressive than some other illumination events I have been that boasted a higher lightbulb count.
It was a great event for kids because of the interactive elements. The huts, the bicycle, the rocket, the bell. These little touches made the visit much more enjoyable for children.
Getting to Tokyo German Village
The best way to visit Tokyo German Village is with a rental car. However, it may seem a bit pricey to rent a car to drive out in the evening just to visit the illumination. So what I recommend is to rent a car for a day to visit Mother Farm in the morning, followed by the illumination at Tokyo German Village in the evening.
If you prefer to take the public transport, the nearest station is Sodegaura Station. To find the fastest train route from where you’re at, use Hyperdia and key in ‘SODEGAURA’ as your destination. As an example, the ride from Tokyo station takes 79 minutes with 1 transfer, and cost 1140 yen per person per way.
During the illumination period, shuttle buses will be provided between Sodegaura Station and Tokyo German Village. There were limited buses a day, if you miss them, you will have to use a taxi which will be very expensive.
Below are the timetables from Tokyo German Village website at time of publishing. I have inserted English translation for easy reference. Please check their website for the corresponding timetable for shuttle timings before you visit in case they make changes.
Weekday Shuttle Service Timetable:
Weekend Shuttle Service Timetable:
The map below shows the bus stop at Sodegaura station to board the bus. I have pinned the corresponding location on Google Map -> Here.
Information on Tokyo German Village Winter Illumination:
Dates: Early Nov – End March
- The village is open from 0930 to 2000.
- Illumination begins from sun set.
- Last entry is at 1930.
- 500 yen per pax (age 4 and above) for visitors arriving by public transport
- 2000 yen per car for visitors arriving by their own vehicle
Map Code (what is this?): 49 561 209
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