Best Winter Illuminations in Western Japan 2023–2024
Where to Enjoy Winter Illuminations in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and more
One of the top attractions in Japan in winter is winter illumination and it can be enjoyed across the country throughout the season. I have previously introduced the best winter illuminations in Japan and Tokyo, but since there are more and more new illumination events held across Japan, this time, I would like to share the best illuminations spots focusing on Western Japan.
From large-scale light-up events to city Christmas lights, here are the best winter illuminations in Western Japan including Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Kyushu!
Nabana no Sato
Nabana no Sato (なばなの里) is a theme park dedicated to flowers, green and hot spring bath, which is located in Mie Prefecture. The park can be enjoyed through the year, yet it attracts visitors especially during winter by the gorgeous illumination. The park hosts one of the biggest illumination events in the country in terms of scale and quality, featuring approx 8 million LED lights that illuminate the entire park. One of the highlights is “the Tunnel of Lights”, where visitors can stroll under the 200 long light tunnel.
Date: 21 October 2023 to 2 June 2024
Official Website: https://www.nagashima-onsen.co.jp/nabana/illumination/index.html
More info ▶ Nabana no Sato: Spectacular Winter Illumination
Laguna Ten Bosch
Laguna Ten Bosch (ラグーナテンボス), located in Aichi Prefecture, is an ocean theme park complex featuring attraction rides, entertainment shows, swimming pool, market, restaurants, hotels and shopping facility. The winter event “Laguna Illumination” will be held in with the concept of “light of life”. With three divided area of Ocean, Land and Sky, the event offers a range of illuminations such as large-scale light installations, Christmas trees and projection mapping.
Date: 3 November 2023 to 7 April 2024
Official Website: https://www.lagunatenbosch.co.jp/laguna/english/index.html
Rose & Berry Tawada
Rose & Berrt Tawada (ローザンベリー多和田) is an English-style garden located in Maibara City, Shiga Prefecture. The garden is filled with various flowers and plants including many different types of rose and perennial plants. Rosan Illumi is the largest natural illumination in Kansai area, featuring colourful LED lights illuminating trees and gardens. There is a special light up in the popular Shaun the Sheep Farm Garden, too. The event has been held since 2019 and will be the last year in 2023.
Osaka Festival of the Lights
Festival of the Lights in Osaka (大阪・光の饗宴) is one of the largest and the most spectacular illumination events in Japan, attracting around 10 million visitors during the season every year. This citywide illumination event takes place at several locations in Osaka City with over 20 small and large light-up and installations. Two main programs of the event are “Mido-suji Illumination” with the spectacular illumination avenue and “OSAKA Hikari-Renaissance”with the artwork of projection mapping and light.
Harvest Hill (堺・緑のミュージアム ハーベストの丘) is a scenic agricultural park in Sakai City, Osaka which visitors can enjoy interaction with animals, nature and various hands-on activities in the vast space of 35ha. The park will host a large scale light up event “Wonder Night Hill” during winter. Their unique illumination is designed for people to enjoy not only with their eyes but using the five senses, and there are several interactive installations and effects of lights and sounds.
NAKED Yoru Mode Heian Shrine
A special light-up event NAKED Yoru Mode Heian Shrine (NAKEDヨルモウデ 2023 平安神宮) will be held for a limited time at Heian Shrine (Heian Jingu) in Kyoto. The event is produced by NAKED, the creative production company who delivers the cutting-edge interactive art experience. Various artworks such as light-up, projection mapping and interactive art will be displayed at the shrine site at night.
Kobe Luminarie (神戸ルミナリエ) is a spectacular illumination event held annually in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture. The event originally started in 1995 to commemorate the Great Hanshin Earthquake and has been running over 20 years until today. The event was formerly held every December, but it will be in January in 2024. The colourful and gorgeous light installations which are designed by Japanese and Italian artists are displayed at multiple locations in Kobe City. The event invites a couple million visitors every year.
Kobe Illuminage (神戸イルミナージュ) is a large scale illumination event taking place at Michi no Eki Kobe Fruit Flower Park Osawa. In 2023-2024 season, the event features a range of colourful and dreamy illuminations with the theme of “Secret Garden”. The highlight of the event is illumination palaces and three types of palace is available this year: Pink Palace, Ice Palace and Arabian Palace. There are also unique contents such as an illumination tunnel, a massive piano with light-up keyboard and a light-up dog park.
Himeji Catle (姫路城), a hilltop Japanese castle complex in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture, is one of the most famous landmarks in the country. It was designated to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1993 and is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the registration this year with a special event.
Related article ▶ Himeji Castle: The UNESCO World Heritage Japanese Castle
The light-up event “Himeji Castle: Castle History 30th Kyoka Suigetsu” will be held from 22 November to 11 December. With the theme of “Connecting the Castle History by Light”, the event will create a magical space with lights, digital arts, water and sounds. There are expected to be about 60,000 light bulbs, laser searchlights, installations and lanterns illuminating the magnificent Himeji Castle at night.
Hiroshima Dreamination (ひろしまドリミネーション) is a winter illumination event held at many locations in Hiroshima City. With the theme of fairyland, the Hiroshima Peace Boulevard and the city center will be illuminated by approx 1.4 million colourful LED lights for 2 months.
Huis Ten Bosch Kingdom of Lights
Huis Ten Bosch (ハウステンボス), the Dutch town themed park in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture, featuring a picturesque European town with buildings, canals, windmills and gardens with seasonal flowers. The park hosts the Kingdom of Light, featuring 13 million colourful LED lights illuminating the entire park. The illumination can be enjoyed all year round, but there are also seasonal shows and installations that change according to the theme of each season.
More info ▶ Huis Ten Bosch: Kingdom of Lights
Okinawa Southeast Botanical Gardens Illumination
Okinawa Tropical Illumination (沖縄南国イルミネーション) is an illumination event held at Chura Yashi Park Okinawa Southeast Botanical Gardens. It was ranked in the third place of the nationwide illumination award for two years in a row and also chosen as one of three best night views in Okinawa. It features approx 4 million colourful LED lights, illuminating the garden with the botanical garden motifs such as lotus flower, palm tree, hibiscus and jade vines. Enjoy the tropical Okinawan vibe during winter!
Date: 27 October 2023 to 26 May 2024
Official website: https://www.southeast-botanical.jp/illumination2023/
Do you want to check more illumination spots in Japan? Then please check out these articles, too!
Thank you very much for reading! If you need more information about travelling Western Japan, you may wanna check out these articles below, too!