December 19

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All Is Illuminated

Tokyo really rolls out the electric carpet when it comes to holiday light displays. This one in Shiodome was pretty spectacular even before it started sparkling and flashing in time to the Nutcracker Suite.

Different parts of the “trees” lighted up in time to the music

There was one “tree” you could walk through as it changed colors

But Shiodome wasn’t the only place with spectacular lights. Roppongi Hills had a blinding display as well, with Tokyo Tower blazing in the background in all its orange glory.

Avenue of lights reflected in the enormous Louis Vuitton building

A red-blossomed camellia obligingly blooms at Roppongi Hills, making it unnecessary to deck it out with ornaments

Pulses of shimmering light and color flowed over this sculpture, reflected in the Mohri Garden pond

At Ebisu Garden Place, the Christmas spirit was embodied by an elephantine Baccarat chandelier.

One hopes for no earthquakes while this is on display (Thanks to Adam for a better photo than the one from my camera!)

Shinjuku took the whole romantic date idea to a new level with this vaguely Christmas tree-shaped chapel thing. Couples were lining up to “Hold Hands, Touch the Posts, and Bathe in the Glow and Sound of Power!” As each couple stepped up and grasped the metal terminals, organ peals erupted and the structure was awash in colored light. Each one was different, so they never knew if they were going to get the Light of Courage (orange), Light of Love (pink), Light of Reliance (blue), Fine Light (yellow), Healing Light (green) or hit the jackpot with Light of Hope (rainbow).

And if you’d like to see the illuminations the next time you’re in Tokyo, directions & maps to Roppongi, Ebisu Garden Place & Shinjuku Southern Terrace are on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had. The Shiodome display is in the Corredo building courtyard, right at Shiodome Station.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

When Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death wasn’t an accident, his life begins to unravel…read more