Let there be LIGHT — Christmas illuminations in Japan


When it comes to the imported tradition of Christmas-time illuminations, the ante is being raised each year in Japan. Naturally, they’re often the grandest near shopping areas. The illuminations are usually put in place around November, and kept up until the New Year, while some are left on display until Valentine’s Day.

Tokyo area:

Caretta Shiodome Illumination
Nov. 17, 2016-Feb. 14, 2017
5-10:30 p.m.
Caretta Shiodome presents lights with its "Canyon d’Azur" theme, accenting the shopping center’s walls with shows occurring every 20 minutes, but every 15 minutes from Dec. 20-25, starting at 5 p.m. The light shows will begin at 6 p.m. in 2017.

Tokyo Dome City
Nov. 10, 2016-Feb. 19, 2017
4 p.m.-1 a.m.
Tokyo Dome City hosts an elaborate Christmas illumination this year with an Italian theme.

Tokyo Midtown
Nov. 15-Dec. 25
5-11 p.m.
Midtown’s holiday illuminations return this year, featuring the popular "Starlight Garden" and its 180,000 LEDs.

Roppongi Hills
Nov.14-Dec. 25
5-11 p.m.
Illuminated trees line Keyakizaka Street with light displays in Mori Garden and the 66 Plaza.

Tokyo Skytree Town
Nov. 10-Dec. 25
5:30-8:30 p.m.
Japan's tallest tower will light up for its Dream Christmas event.

Nov. 130-Dec. 25
About 240 trees along the Marunouchi Naka street will shine elegantly in champagne gold.

Yebisu Garden Place
Nov. 5, 2016-Jan. 9, 2017
Along with chic illuminations, a large chandelier and a full Christmas market.

Tokyo Tower
Nov. 3-Dec. 28
4-11 p.m.
Tokyo Tower's winter illumination will see the tower light up with reds and greens — both inside and out. There will also be a special heart projected from Tokyo Tower until Christmas day.

Omotesando Hills
Nov. 9-Dec. 25
11 a.m.-11 p.m.
The Omotesando Hills shopping complex will feature lights and even light show for the Christmas season. Visitors can even control the light shows with a special "star wand."

Gotanda — Minna-no-Illumi
Nov. 18, 2016-Jan. 9, 2017
5-10 p.m.
Trees are illuminated in an eco-friendly fashion with 120,000 pink lights strung along Meguro River near Gotanda JR station.

Shinjuku — Terrace City
Nov. 9, 2016-Feb. 14, 2017
5 p.m.-12 a.m.
Illuminations can be found all over Shinjuku Terrace City, especially around Shinjuku Southern Terrace, south of JR Shinjuku Station.

Odaiba — Venus Fort
Nov. 3, 2016-Mid March, 2017
Venus Fort will have special holiday project mappings, decorations and meals.

Odaiba  — Rainbow Bridge
Dec. 3-Jan. 3
5 p.m.
From Dec. 3 until Jan. 3, 2017, Tokyo's Rainbow Bridge will light up with colors every night. And there will be a special fireworks show every Saturday night for the rest of December.

Outside Tokyo:

Sapporo White Illumination
Nov. 18, 2016-March 14, 2017
4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Held since 1981, the event features thousands of light bulbs illuminating Odori Park 2-chome Plaza and Christmas sculptures at the O'Dori Park Site. Twinkling lights adorn trees along Sapporo Ekimae-dori to the north and south, and Minami 1-jo-dori to the east and west.

Kobe Luminarie
Dec. 2-11
Times vary by day
The illumination has been held since the 1995 earthquake in memory of the victims with Italian design-inspired illuminations.

Pageant of Starlight in Sendai
Dec. 9-31
5:30-10 p.m. (until midnight on Dec. 31)
Zyozenji Street will be illuminated with delicate lights, with the concept of giving hope and smiles to all children in Sendai.