In many countries, city streets light up for a few weeks during the holiday season. But in Japan, there are winter illuminations. Thousands of lights twinkle brightly in beautiful patterns, sometimes synchronized with music. Streets, parks, and specific sections of cities light up in November and stay lit through early January. Some even keep their sparkle as late as mid-February.
I’m just a big kid, and I LOOOOOOVE lights. So it goes without saying that winter is one of my favorite times of year in Japan. I’m ALWAYS looking for displays. There’s just something so exciting and magical about seeing all these tiny bulbs flicker and glow.
One of the most impressive illuminations I’ve seen is at Yomiuri Land in Inagi. Yomiuri Land is a small amusement park in the Tokyo Prefecture, and every year, from October to February, it puts on a Jewellumination. Millions of gem-colored lights glitter in ornate arrangements put together by light designer Motoko Ishii.
The whole park is covered in lights. And there are a few areas that have unique musical exhibits. One of the coolest parts is riding the gondola; the views are spectacular. The Ferris wheel is fun, too. The radiance of the lights from up there is truly amazing. At least I think so; I went with my favorite six-year-old and she was also impressed (and she’s a little hard to please).
Most (if not all) of the attractions and food booths are open during the Jewellumination. Most of the rides are for children, with the exception of one roller coaster, a free fall tower, and a bungee jump. But it’s a great place for kids. The pricing is a little weird though; some rides are not included in the park entry fee (you can also purchase entry-only tickets for less if you just want to walk around and enjoy the sparkle). The lights turn on at 1600 and the park stays open until 2030. Yomiuri Land is not very big, and, when we went, the lines weren’t very long. A trip here doesn’t have to be an all-day event. But it’s certainly fun, and the glimmer is definitely worth the trip.