When it comes to winter illuminations, Japanese illumination is so beautiful. Nearly all the major cities of the country feature its own version of the magical attraction, some of which start as early as October and end as late as February.
Among the largest illumination events of Japan, the Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination of Nagoya of the Aichi Prefecture stands as one of the must-see festivals.
Overview of Nabana no Sato
Nabana no Sato is a flower park that can be found near the Nagashima Resort. It is known for hosting some of the most impressive flower festivals of Japan during the spring, summer, autumn, and outstanding winter illumination displays from October to May.
The park covers an estimated total of 300,000 sq. m. of land, making it one of the largest flower parks of Japan. Some of the most popular blooms that can be found at the property include cherry blossom trees, tulips, cosmos flowers, and hydrangeas.
Given the rather large size of the complex, there are several restaurants available within Nabana no Sato for tourists to take a break and enjoy a nice meal. These places feature Chinese, Japanese, and Western cuisines, as well as the popular Nagashima-chi Beer.
Guide to Japan’s Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination – 2017 – 2018 Dates and Light Displays
The Winter Illumination Festival of Nabana no Sato for this year started on October 14, 2017 and will run until May 6, 2018. Nearly every section of the massive park will be covered in whimsical lights, but tourists should make it a point to view the following displays:
Sea of Light Clouds
The Sea of Light Clouds is the very first thing that welcomes visitors into the winter illumination festival of Nabana no Sato. A vast flower field is wonderfully illuminated with hundreds and thousands of blue LED lights that make it seem as though the area is filled with countless stars and clouds.
There are also several arches embellished with crystal white LED lights scattered throughout the section. Given the romantic setting of the Sea of Light Clouds, the place is quite popular with couples.
The Great River of Lights
The Great River of Lights makes use of a unique installation that allows LED lights to move and twist in different directions. At night, the illuminations reflect beautifully on the surface of the water, making the entire display seem like a series of stars falling and dancing in the sky.
This section is situated at the very center of the massive flower park, making it visible from nearly any other area.
The Corridor of Lights
The Corridor of Lights, or better known as the Tunnel of Lights, serves as the most popular attraction of the Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination. It stretches on for about two hundred meters and is composed of numerous string lights that have flower petal-shaped light bulbs.
The Blue World
The Blue World is a shorter and bluer version of the Corridor of Lights. It makes use of three different kinds of blue LED lights, giving the 100-meter tunnel a dreamlike ambiance that easily transports visitors to another world.
Other Things to Expect at Nabana no Sato During the Summer, Spring, and Autumn Seasons
Nabana no Sato is just as beautiful on other days of the year as it is during the winter season. The main attractions of the flower park are as follows:
The foot spa of Nabana no Sato can be found a few minutes away from the main entrance of the park, near the Mugi and Katsumaru restaurants. Here, visitors may take a few minutes to enjoy the bath’s therapeutic waters, before or after exploring the other sections of the flower park.
Further ahead, a few hundred meters behind the Basho-an, a Japanese noodle restaurant, visitors can find a stunning plum garden that houses weeping plum trees and daffodils. There is also a Chinese restaurant nearby known as the Tousen, which serves delicious dim sum, rice bowls, and noodle dishes, among other things.
Towards the east portion of the Nabana no Sato, the Begonia Garden can be located a short walk away from Tousen. This area features four greenhouses filled with different kinds of begonia flowers that come in yellow, orange, pink, and red variations.
At the very last greenhouse, visitors can enjoy some tea, coffee, and snacks at the Veggia Teahouse/Café.
After going through the first two sets of greenhouses of the Begonia Garden, a beautiful Rose Garden greets visitors with a wide array of rose species. Similar to the first garden, this section also has its own teahouse/café that serves different snacks and drinks such as soft serve ice cream and rose tea.
Hydrangea/Japanese Iris Garden
Heading back towards the front area of Nabana no Sato from the exit of the Begonia Garden, the Hydrangea/Japanese Iris Garden can be found at the leftmost section of the park. This place is particularly stunning during the month of May when its flowers are in full bloom.
On rainy days, the blue and purple hydrangeas also stand out quite beautifully against the gloomy ambiance.
Hanahiroba Flower Garden
Right next to the Hydrangea/Japanese Iris Garden, the largest Hanahiroba (Sunflower) Garden can be seen. This area also houses vast fields of tulips, dahlias, and cosmos flowers which bloom during the spring and autumn seasons.
However, it should be noted that this section may be closed during certain months, so it is best to first check Nabana no Sato’s official website to see if any maintenance works will be done on the planned day of visit.
Satono-yu is the Nabana no Sato’s on-site hot spring bathhouse that allows visitors to soak their troubles away amidst a plethora of seasonal flowers that come in nearly every color. It is conveniently located after all the park’s different gardens to allow visitors a chance to heal their bodies from the stresses of exploring the massive complex.
Those who want to access the facilities of the bathhouse are required to pay an additional admission fee of 1,000 yen per person for adults or 500 yen per person for children. There is also a teahouse and Jacuzzi available within the area.
How to Get to Nabana no Sato from Tokyo, Kyoto, and Other Parts of Japan
The easiest way to access Nabana no Sato is to first make the trip to Nagoya. Numerous systems may be taken from different parts of Japan, namely:
The JR Tokaido Shinkansen connects the city of Nagoya to the many other cities of Japan.
From Tokyo, a one-way trip usually takes about a hundred minutes of travel time and can cost 10,000 – 11,000 yen per person. From Kyoto, a significantly shorter 35-minute trip can be taken and only costs about 5,000 – 6,000 yen per person.
Highway buses may also be taken by those who want to experience long rides through the cities of Japan.
One-way bus rides from Tokyo to Nagoya usually take about 5 – 6 hours to get from one point to the other and cost 5,000 yen per person, while those from Kyoto to Nagoya only take about two and a half hours and cost 2,500 yen per person.
For those who want to better understand the transportation system of Japan, taking one of the JR local trains to the Meitetsu Nagoya Station is highly recommended. It should be noted that this option requires tourists to make several train transfers but is relatively easy to understand.
From Tokyo, a one-way trip usually takes a total of six hours of travel time and costs about 6,300 yen per person, while a trip from Kyoto only takes two and a half hours from end to end and costs about 3,000 yen per person.
Other Winter Illuminations in Japan
As mentioned, the cities of Japan host their own winter illuminations every year. Those interested in checking out the other equally beautiful displays of Tokyo, Osaka, and Tochigi, to name a few, should keep the following events in mind:
Caretta Shiodome Illumination
The Caretta Shiodome Illumination is an annual event held at the town of Shiodome in Tokyo, Japan. Its main attraction is a massive display which consists of countless LED lights that create an ocean-like scene.
For this year, the event will be starting on November 16, 2017 and will run until February 14, 2018. Tourists can check out the illumination from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM, daily, except on the 1st and 2nd days of January.
The Midtown Christmas Event of Tokyo Midtown consists of multiple illuminations displays scattered throughout the complex. Among its many attractions, the Starlight Garden located behind the main tower of Tokyo Midtown serves as the most popular.
Tourists can easily find this place from the Roppongi Station and can view the illumination from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM, daily starting on November 15, 2017 until December 25, 2017.
Osaka Hikari Renaissance Illumination
Osaka Hikari Renaissance Illumination is held at Nakanoshima Island every year. The display stretches on from the Eastern end of the Nakanoshima Park all the way to the Osaka City Hall. Some of the island’s historic buildings are also included in the event through the use of creative displays that are projected onto their walls.
Other elements that make the event even more festive include art installations, light tunnels, and various food stalls.
Compared to the other illumination events of Japan, the Osaka Hikari Renaissance Illumination has a significantly shorter run, which starts on December 14, 2017 and ends on December 25, 2017.
The Midosuji Illumination of Osaka refers to various displays scattered throughout the length of the Midosuji Street. Reaching almost three kilometers in length, the Midosuji Illumination serves as the longest one of its kind in the world.
Colorful LED lights and decorations give life to the ginkgo tree-lined street that runs through the central city of Osaka, alongside numerous festival shops and food stalls. The event runs from November 12, 2017 to December 31, 2017 and makes for a great late night activity.
Ashikaga Flower Fantasy
The Ashikaga Flower Fantasy is among the best winter illuminations of Japan and is one of the three largest illumination events of the Kanto Region. More than four million LED lights are used for the event, which cover nearly every surface of the Ashikaga Flower Park.
Some of its most popular attractions include a tunnel filled with hanging lights and a whimsical lights show that is programmed to change according to the beat of the music.
For this year, the event started on October 21, 2017 and will continue to run until February 4, 2018. The displays are lit from 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM, daily. However, it should be noted that the Ashikaga Flower Park will be closed on December 31, 2017.
Sendai Pageant of Starlight
The Sendai Pageant of Starlight is held at Jozenji-dori Street, which features more than 150 zelkova (keyaki) trees. These trees are wrapped with over five hundred thousand LED lights that give the area a warm, yellowish glow at night.
A large Christmas tree, light tunnel, and charming ice skating rink can also be found at the event, particularly within the Kotodai Park.
The illumination event is only held during the month of December, this year starting on the 8th all the way to the 31st day.
Sagamiko Illumillion is another one of the Kanto Region’s largest winter illumination events. It is held at the Lake Sagami Resort Pleasure Forest and makes use of nearly six million LED lights that come in different colors.
Aside from light tunnels, the event also features an animated lights show, various amusement park rides, and a music-synchronized, dancing water fountain display for visitors to enjoy. The large event will run from November 3, 2017 until April 8, 2018.
Given the many attractions housed by the venue, an admission fee of 800 yen per person will be cost.