Photo:Mohri Garden at Roppongi Hills

Magical Tokyo Winter Illumination Spots

It’s the most beautiful time of the year when we get excited for Christmas while embracing the cold winter. One thing you shouldn’t miss while in Tokyo is the absolutely fantastic winter illumination. The beauty and vibes just make it a perfect destination for couples. Other countries might have snowfall, Thanksgiving celebration, or Christmas bazaars; while Japan might not be famous for those, it certainly is one of the best countries that makes good use of thousands of LED lightbulbs to turn this bustling city into a magical land.

Looking for something photogenic? Here’s a recommended list of places for illumination in Tokyo.

1. Roppongi Hills

Roppongi Hills Illumination 2017: Keyakizaka street
Mohri Garden Illumination 2017
Mohri Garden Illumination 2017

This has always been my favourite. I would say Roppongi Hills has the prettiest lights and decoration especially when it comes to photography. The dazzling lights along the Keyakizaka just right outside Louis Vuitton captures the most Christmassy sensation. With the background of the majestic Tokyo Tower, the street lights up in “Snow & Blue” blue lights for every 20 minutes and “Candle & Amber” orange lights for every 10 minutes alternatively. The 1,200,000 light LED-filled street stretches up to 400 m.

Moreover, just right at the other side of Roppongi Hills is the Mohri Garden illumination, which is equally as charming with the heart shape display in the middle of the pond – definitely one of top picks for couples.

Date: 7th Nov – 25th Dec
Hours: 17:00 – 23:00
Closest station: Roppongi

2. Shiodome Illumination

Being one of the most popular illumination spots in Tokyo, this “Beauty and the Beast” themed illumination is an ideal romantic spot with the background music playing. The music runs every 15 minutes. Since this place gets very crowded, it’s best to take a walk through the illumination show and get good photos from the building above.

Date: 16th Nov – 14th Feb (except for 1st-2nd Jan)
Hours: 17:00 – 23:00
Closest station: Shimbashi station (5-min walk), Shiodome station (1-min walk)

3. Rikugien

Not only is Rikugien famous for autumn foliage, but when evening falls, this park turns into a completely different setting with more vibrant leaf colours. You can try to go during golden hour just before sunset and wait a bit for dusk to kick in to get the best of both atmospheres.

Marufish on Flickr

Fee: 300 yen for park entrance
Date: 18th Nov – 6th Dec
Hours: 09:00 – 21:00
Closest station: Komagome station

4. Yebisu Garden

Christmas street with red carpet at Yebisu Garden Place

If you are looking for an old-school big Christmas tree and some nostalgic night lights, this is the right place for you. Widely known for the “Baccarat Eternal Lights” illumination, Yebisu Garden Place is also one of the most photogenic places in Tokyo during winter while also featuring Christmas Marché up until Christmas day. Not only is it popular for winter illumination, but this place is also perfect for beer lovers. Get to know the history of Yebisu beer and techniques for beer tasting by joining the tour at Museum of Yebisu Beer. Besides these highlights, you can also have an unforgettable night of fine dining at the top of Yebisu building where you can enjoy the city night view.

For more dining options at Yebisu Place click here.

Date: 3rd Nov – 8th Jan
Hours: 16:00 – 24:00
Closest station: Ebisu station

5. Roppongi Midtown

Located just a 10-minute walk from Roppongi Hills, Midtown features over 510,000 lights with a more futuristic kind of illumination which includes a glimpse of Tokyo Tower. The Grass Square features different colours on each day of the week. Just right beside the illumination place is also an ice-skating rink for winter skating–a perfect activity for people with families and children. Besides, there are also many great restaurants at Roppongi Midtown for warm cozy dinners after the illumination.

掬茶 on Wikimedia Commons
Kakidai on Wikimedia Commons

Date: 11th Nov – 25th Dec
Hours: 17:00 – 23:00
Closest station: Roppongi, Nogizaka

Official Site

6. Marunouchi Illumination

If you are stopping by Tokyo station, be sure to just take a stroll along the Marunouchi Nakadori Street outside the station, which is filled with dazzling winter lights.

Kabacchi on Flickr
OiMax on Flickr

Date: 9th Nov – 18th Feb
Hours: 17:00 – 23:00
Closest station: Tokyo station

7. Omotesando Illumination

Wouldn’t it be marvelous to be shopping for Christmas presents strolling under this beautiful scenery? Omotesando, one of the biggest shopping streets in Tokyo, is lit up with thousands of lights stretching from Harajuku crossing to Aoyama Street during this time of the year. Even better, there are plenty of cafes around which offer mouth-watering dishes and hot chocolate.

Ari Helminen on Flickr

Date: 30th Nov – 25th Dec
Hours: 16:00 – 24:00
Closest station: Omotesando, Meiji-jingu mae, Harajuku

8. Nakameguro River

Nakameguro River is most popular for cherry blossoms during spring time, but little did one know that the river will also be lit up with illumination in mid-December.

Date: 15th – 24th Dec
Hours: 16:00 – 21:00
Closest station: Nakameguro

Official Site

Zengame on Flickr

Make sure to check those places out and let us know which your favourite illuminantion was.

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