It may be cold in Japan, but holiday lights are a tempting and beautiful excuse to get out of the house and away from that kerosene heater! Especially in the Kansai region, different illuminations taking place throughout December will leave you dazzled with holiday cheer without costing you any of your Christmas money. Grab a warm jacket, and perhaps some kairo to keep your hands warm and head out to see these glowing displays!
Universal Studios Japan “Universal Wonder Christmas”
If you are hankering for Christmas lights in Kansai, come experience the beauty of a masterpiece,
the world’s best Christmas show “The Gift of Angels” and “World’s most illuminated Christmas tree.” It can be found at Universal Studios Japan.
The tree was awarded the Guinness World Record™ for “Most lights on an artificial Christmas tree.” which has been recognized consecutively from 2011 to 2018, with 580,806 lights.
Wonder and enchantment await you at the world’s most illuminated tree where each color change leaves behind a different tree even grander than the last.
With innumerable luminous expressions, the beauty and magic of this experience is sure to move guests countlessly.
Perhaps one of the most famous illuminations across Japan, the Kobe Luminarie attracts thousands of visitors each year. Different from a normal holiday light-up, this display is put up every year in honor of the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. This historic and beautiful illumination features gorgeous Italian-inspired cathedral facades and is now in its 24th year. You can walk beneath these glowing lights around the Motomachi Station on the JR Kobe Line in the evening.
Lighting of Gaslight Street
Along the mainstreet of Harborland in December, in addition to the timeless glow of the gaslights, 100,000 white lights sparkle in the trees. Keyaki street usually provides quite a beautiful nighttime walk with the gaslights and the nearby illuminated ferris wheel, but these extra holiday lights make a visit here even better in December.
Where: Keyaki street in Harborland, Kobe Harborland, Map Link
When: Throughout December
Osaka Festival of Lights
The “Festival of lights” in Osaka encompasses two prominent displays that are worth checking out this holiday season. Midosuji Illumination is recognized internationally as having the most illuminated trees in the world!. This gorgeous light show takes place across a 4 kilometer stretch from the Oebashi-Kitazune Intersection to the Hanshin Mae Intersection.
Where: Nakanoshima Park, from Oebashi-Kitazune to Hanshin Mae, Map Link
When: November 4 until December 31, 2017
The second major light display in the Festival of the Lights is the Osaka Hikari-Renaissance. In addition to dazzling light-up decorations, this illumination offers four showings per evening of a projection on the facade of the historic Nakanoshima Library.
Where: Between Osaka City Hall and Nakanoshima Park, Map Link
When: December 14th until December 25th
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
The Kaiyukan Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world, turns 26 years young this year and is celebrating with aquatic-themed illuminations created with 1.2 million lights. Whale sharks, dolphins and fanciful sea creatures dance around the entrance to the aquarium beginning on November 9 and continuing until March 3. Most of the Kaiyukan Kaiyukan Illumination can be viewed for free without entering the aquarium.
German Christmas Market Sky Building
If your neck gets too tired from looking at all the lights or your eyes need a break from the glow, be sure to head over to the German Christmas Market so you can still enjoy the lights, but take breaks to shop for traditional and unique gifts! Each year at the Umeda Sky Building, an illuminated giant Christmas tree sets the stage for a lively winter market filled with vendors and holiday cheer.
Where: Floating Garden Observatory at the Umeda Sky Building (map link)
When: November 16th until December 25th