If you are looking for a unique Christmas destination, why not check out Tokyo? This capital city of Japan is full of everything from neon lit skyscrapers to ancient temples.
Every year during the holidays, the city goes out of its way to light up with different districts competing to create jaw dropping displays. With so much to see and do, it can be difficult to get to everything, but here are a few attractions you won’t want to miss.
Light up and Illuminations
When it comes to the best spots to catch displays, here are some to choose from.
· Marunouchi Illumination: This spot will be lit up by champagne colored LED bulbs making it a treat to stroll down the boutique and café lined streets.
· Midtown: The Midtown area will also be filled with champagne color bulbs. A main attraction will be the 3-meter snow globe located in the Midtown Garden area. Be sure to check out the countless Christmas trees and ice-skating rinks in the area.
· Omahara: The rooftop garden at the Tokyu Plaza Omotesando in Omahara lights up for Christmas with 160,000 orange-tinged light bulbs. Enjoy while eating a holiday themed picnic meal.
· Yebisi Garden Place: The Yebisu Garden Place has a winter display that features one of the largest chandeliers in the world. At 5m tall and 3m wide, it’s a sight to behold, especially when its decorated with lights. While in the area, be sure to check out the Entrance Pavilion, Clock Plaza, Promenade, Center Plaza and Glass Square all of which will be lit up for the holidays.
· Futako-Tamagawa Rise: This shopping mall features a traditional Christmas tree based on the Holy Family. It has shimming lights, baubles and ornaments made of straw and wood. Look carefully to check out the tiny city that surrounds the tree. While there, walk up the light up staircase and take a spin on the ice-skating rink.
· Odaiba: Also known as the entrance to Odiaba, the Decks mall has a 20 m tall tree, a Tokyo Tower and a Rainbow Bridge. There is also a massive tree on the fourth floor dressed up in an ocean theme of blue and white ornaments.
Yomiuri Land Jeweled Illumination
This Japanese amusement park is a great place to visit any time of year. During Christmastime it features a display that will impress even the most jaded of display watchers.
Inspired by a jewel theme, the park features millions of lights meant to look like sparkling gems. There is a 25m tree and lit up roller coasters throughout the area. Past years have featured displays based on the 12 colorful birthstones of the year.
Team Lab’s Tree of Resonating Colors of Life
This attraction is becoming a yearly tradition. Taking place at the Odaiba shopping mall, Venus Sport, it features an interactive Christmas tree, The Tree of Resonating Lights. The 8m tree is created by the teamLab art collective and is made from spheres that change colors and make sounds when touched.
While there, be sure to check out teamLab Borderless, a museum attached to the mall that also features the collective’s creations.
Animal lovers will not want to miss a chance to visit the Tobu Zoo. During Christmastime, it’s lit up with an illumination that features thousands of lights. Stop by at the Heartful Garden which will be decked out with flower shaped lights and animal shaped displays. Then head over to Swan Pond to check out the famed Sakura Illumination.
Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest
This amusement park is a sight to see during the holidays. It features the Sagamiko Illumination. With over six million LED’s it claims to be the largest display in the Kanto region. While in the park, be sure to hop on the many amusement park rides and check out the lush greenery and musical fountains.
There are also several Christmas markets in Tokyo. Here are a few you won’t want to miss.
Ennichi Terrace: Located in front of Tokyo Tower, this is great place to buy beverages like German beer (which is surprisingly popular in Tokyo), gluhwein (mulled wine) and hot chocolate. If you’re hungry, check out the hot pot dishes, clam chowder or platters of ham and sausages.
Soramachi (Sky Town) Christmas Market: The Sky Town Christmas market starts in early November and runs through the holiday season. It has delicious food items like hot wine, beer and sausage. It’s also a great place to pick up decorations and other trinkets.
The market itself is full of holiday cheer with an illuminated garden on the fourth floor and the Sky Tree all lit up.
Roppongi Hills Christmas Market: The Roppongi Hills Market is a great place to buy holiday decorations like wreaths, poinsettias and trees. The market is decked out with decorations. While in the area, be sure to check out nearby illuminated streets like Keyakizaka.
Setagaya Boroichi: This market may not be one of the most glamorous, but it is a great place to find antiques, décor, used clothing, toys, food and delicious daikan-mochi rice cakes. It takes place only twice a year, once in mid-December and once in mid-January.
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse: This Christmas market is located in Yokohama which is 60-90 minutes from Tokyo but it’s worth the trip. The handsome old warehouse building contains wooden stalls that sell Christmas cake, wine, beer and sausages. It also hosts crafts workshops and meet and greets with Santa. While there, be sure to check out the ice rink which is located in the same complex.
Tokyo is truly a magical destination during the holidays. What will you be feasting your eyes on when you visit?