Nagasaki, located at the western most tip of Japan, is a region full of foreign influences thanks to the vibrant trade period it shared with Europe and China, while the rest of Japan was cut off. This mix of culture and its rich heritage attract visitors to Japan in all seasons.
This Winter, Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki has secured the title of the Brightest Place in Japan. Upgraded in scale and subsequent extravaganza, the staggering 13 million light bulbs used to create the Kingdom of Light carries forth the aim to yet again create the world’s greatest illuminations. The event runs from November through to 18 April 2016 and is so extensive in caliber that you will be hard pressed to see it all in one day.
During the Japanese Winter, the entire town is literally dripping in fluorescent lights after sunset and the shows and performances further charge the atmosphere with movement. A new addition to the Kingdom of Light in Nagasaki is an illuminated waterfall known as the Waterfall of Light. Light falling from a height of 66m off of the Domtoren symbol tower, flows effortlessly into the expansive blue sea, otherwise known as the Art Garden below.
Huis Ten Bosch is not a one-hit wonder which dies down for the rest of the year. It is a must-see in all seasons with its impressive event schedule showcasing a flower festival in the Spring. A gorgeous array of Tulips feature in the Festival of Flowers, lest you grow tired of the Sakura or Hanami parties monopolizing the photo feeds in all of Japan. Is this even possible?
Now I am not one to bungee jump unless in the case of survival, but if you are braver than I there is an event with your name on it, The Bungee Jump of Light. Whether the lighting of it makes it more attractive to do or not, it is thrilling to watch other brave souls who choose to plummet the 20m to ‘see the light’ or a panoramic view unseen by the audience.
If you have your children underfoot, the Snow Slider of Light in which they slide down any icy lit up slide in super tubes can be an oasis for many a parent after a long walk around the grounds. Whether you choose to join in the sliding fun or not it is a fun way for all ages to enjoy the last of the snow before Spring comes.
I did say this was a parade. And what is a parade if people in costumes and cute Japanese characters are not marching to a beat. The Huis Ten Bosch musical troupe are an interactive glittering spectacle which encourage the audience to take part in the parade with use of illuminated bicycles, a Big Train and other staples like the Dragon float which spans 20m in length. If you are familiar with 3D Projection mapping events, then you will undoubtably want to see the new projection effects on offer before tiring and finding some sort of refreshment. If you are the type who never tires or who cleverly packed an onigiri or two to keep you going, the lit-up Safari animals alongside the pink flamingos are a treat.
In Amsterdam City, Harbour Town and Tower City you can find a variety of restaurants and Cafes to enjoy dinner, but the more eat-on-the-go affair is located in Attraction Town. From fondue to sausages and frozen yogurt pots to the dreamy treats at Flower Ice Café, the variety of Japanese food and Western cuisine is endless in Attraction Town. If you are looking for a cocktail the majority of places are in Amsterdam City but don’t forget to check out Art Garden’s Light Café and Bar.
With the added attractions this year, it is the ultimate spot for those that love the entertainment of Tokyo Disneyland but not the price and are interested in the town of Nagasaki over and above the Dutch themed park. The entrance fee for some of the events is a very reasonable 400yen when a passport is presented (800yen full price), which leaves a little spare change to buy some Dutch cheese, Boerenkaas, in Flower Road. A lady has to be forgiven for not wanting to leave any place called Cheese Castle and Chocolate House.