It’s that time of year again! Tokyo’s Illuminations are free, and they never disappoint! Here are my favorite places to see them.
New this year! NAKAMEGURO
One of my favorite places to see cherry blossoms at night is now awesome in winter too. Right now, the bare branches of the trees along the Meguro River are all lit up in blue!
November 23 – December 25, 17:00 – 21:00
Can’t. Stop. Watching. This mesmerizing field of lights is choreographed to an ethereal wintry soundtrack. The 2014 Starlight Garden theme is “Space Journey,” and features stick illuminations that shoot four meters into the air.
November 13 – December 25, 17:00 – 23:00
Inside the Shiodome complex, this year’s Caretta illumination is called “Canyon D’Azur,” and the courtyard is decked out in the usual extravaganza of colored lights set to music.
November 13 – January 12 (closed 1/1-1/2), 17:00 – 23:00
Over at Roppongi Hills, Keyakizaka-dori’s blue and white lights turn red & gold and light up with hearts twice each hour, as part of their “Artelligent” displays throughout the mall. Here’s the schedule:
The best place to see them (and get a view of Tokyo Tower) is actually from the bridge over the street by the Louis Vuitton store.
November 4 – December 25, 17:00 – 23:00
The trees lining the promenade between Shinjuku South-East Exit and Times Square are always strung with lights, but this year they’ve added colorful globes, and the big Christmas trees nearest the station are each strung with a different color of lights.
November 12 – February 25, 17:00 – 24:00
EBISU GARDEN PLACE
This display doesn’t change from year to year, but if you haven’t been there, the view from the red carpet that leads from the Christmas tree to the gigantic Baccarat chandelier is worth seeing once.
November 8 – January 12, 16:00 – 24:00
Do you know anyone who’s planning a trip to Japan? Are you looking for all the secretly fun stuff to do in Tokyo?
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Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!