Because I’m helplessly drawn to things that glow in the dark (gee, ya think?), I recently returned to two of my favorite lit-up-for-winter amusement parks, because I’d heard that they’d updated their gazillion-fairy-twinkle extravaganzas. (And you can check them out too, if you’re anywhere near Tokyo, until Valentines Day!)
SAGAMIKO “ILLUMILLIONS” THEME PARK
Fair warning: the Sagamiko “Illumillions” park is instabae heaven, but while it’s fun to walk around and look at all the lights, it does look better in pictures than in real life, and it’s HELLA COLD AT NIGHT because it’s on the side of a mountain out in the country.
This place is a bit of a trek from Tokyo (it takes about an hour by train from Shinjuku Station, then a short bus ride), but if you love whole hillsides carpeted with lights, Sagamiko is fun to see once. Tips & tricks for getting there are here.
Open:Until April 7, closed Wednesdays and Thursdays
Hours: 16:00 – 21:30 (last admission 30 minutes before closing time)
Admission: Adults ¥1000, Children ¥700, Pets ¥700
And I dare you to walk away mid-spurt during the dancing fountain shows. That wheel o’ vortex thing in the middle also becomes a shimmering screen of mist, onto which they project bubbles, snowflakes, (and, more mysteriously) herds of reindeer.
Getting to Yomiuriland takes a little time, but it’s worth it! The best public transportation option is to take the Keio Line to Yomiuriland Station, then either hike up and over the hill to the park (takes about 20 minutes, but it’s free) or hitch a ride on the gondola (which isn’t).
Open: Until February 17, every day except Jan 21-24
Hours: 16:00 – 22:00*
Admission: You can go see the illuminations with a special Night Entrance Fee that starts at 16:00 and includes a free pass for all the attractions: Adults(18-64) ¥1400; Middle and high school students ¥600; Children ¥300 (under 3 are free); Senior(65+) ¥600
*Check their English web page here for other prices and hours, because sometimes they’re open later
And by the way, don’t miss all the amusing stuff that you’ll only see in
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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!