Tokyo is a massive, modern city with an ancient history. This is what makes winter illuminations in Tokyo unique and wonderful. They make use of modern technology to light the city in stunning ways, setting up an enchanting winter wonderland for locals and visitors alike.

While winter in Tokyo does not offer the same blooms as you might find in spring, or the great walls of snow you’ll find in less urban areas of the country, these winter illumination shows will allow you to enjoy a special winter in Japan even if you can’t travel far.

Here are the ten best winter illuminations in Tokyo to explore!

1) Meguro-gawa Minna no Illumination

Illuminations along Meguro River. Photo Credit: 目黒川みんなのイルミネーション実行委員会.

Experience spring in the midst of chilly Tokyo nights! This unique show recreates cherry blossoms alongside the Meguro River, a popular cherry blossom viewing spot during their actual season. This display is environmentally friendly and uses self-generated electricity created using recycled waste edible oil that has been collected from nearby restaurants and homes.

The illumination uses 4000,000 cherry-hued LEDs across a total of 2.2 kilometers. These bright artificial blossoms are reflected beautifully in the river just like the real ones are during spring. There are also some interesting and delightful “garden igloo” domes are roomy places to relax and look at the display.

Date: November 9, 2018 to January 6, 2019
Time: 17:00 to 22:00

2) Caretta Shiodome Winter Illumination

What an amazing illuminations! Photo Credit: caretta shiodome.

The theme of this very popular winter illumination changes every year. You can find it, no matter its theme, at the Caretta Shiodome, a large mall that is easily accessible from Shimbashi, Ginza, and Tsukiji. The display combines lights and music in a wonderful performance that repeats every 15 minutes.

The themes are usually very child-friendly and in the past few years have had a Disney-oriented theme, including the hit movie Frozen. Many people rank this winter illumination as one of the best Christmas light displays in the entire world. Often there are special features featured at the 5 PM opening show.

Date: November 15, 2018 to February 14, 2019
Time: 17:00 to 23:00

3) Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination

Photo Credit: Odakyu Electric Railway Co., Ltd.

This display is located at the “town” of Shinjuku Terrace City, which are the shops found near the Odakyu Line side of Shinjuku Station. Every year it has a new upbeat theme and is now in its second decade. Not only are there plenty of lights on display, but the display is also set up with plenty of unique, fun, and bright photo spots.

This winter illumination is a unique display that reflects the area and the people who live there very well. There are sometimes some special decorations with a unique theme that you have to be on the lookout for.

Date: November 14, 2018 to February 14, 2019
Time: 17:00 to 24:00

4) Shibuya Ao no Dokutsu

This is simply wonderful view of winter Illumination. Photo Credit: 青の洞窟SHIBUYA 実行委員会.

This is a truly unique display of light that transforms Shibuya Park Street into something entirely different. It is also called Shibuya Blue Cave or Shibuya Blue Grotto and you will quickly see why. 600 thousand blue lights are string across the trees lining the area and make it into a grand and palatial view.

This display easily draws millions of visitors for every month of its run. While many winter illuminations in Tokyo are dazzling and fun, this one has an air of mystery. It feels like you have gone to some new and fantastic place.

Date: November 30, 2018 to December 31, 2018
Time: 17:00 to 22:00

5) Nakameguro Jewel Dome illumination

Photo Credit: Jorudan Co.,Ltd.

This late December winter illumination sits along the Meguro River in Nakameguro. The entire town of Nakameguro comes together to make their home shine like a jewel. Approximately 220 cherry trees all along the river will be hung with about 30 thousand lights to make them look like they are made of shining gold.

The winter illumination display runs about one kilometer along the river. Walking along it is a magical experience, like strolling through a fantasy land where the world is made of jewels.

6) Yebisu Garden Place Winter Illumination

Photo Credit: SAPPORO REAL ESTATE CO., LTD.

Entrance to this incredible winter illumination is free and you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck! This very popular display of light is located at Yebisu Garden Palace. It is unique in that it provides a distinctively European Christmas atmosphere.

There are a number of things to see at this winter illumination display, including entrance with its Christmas trees, the Colopl Canal Walk which is decorated all in blue, a truly magnificent centerpiece Christmas tree, the incredible Baccarat Chandelier, a skating rink, and a wonderful Japanese take on the traditional Christmas Market. If you find yourself in Tokyo around Christmastime, this is a great way to blend old favorite traditions with local flavor!

Date: November 3, 2018 to February 23, 2019
Time: 16:00 to 24:00

7) Yomiuri Land Jewellumination

Photo Credit: YOMIURI LAND.

Yomiuri Land is considered the largest amusement parks in Tokyo city. Packed with many thrilling rides, this attraction is worth exploring year-round.This amazing display is found at Yomiuri Land, located an hour away from Shinjuku on the Odakyu line. It consists of 6 million lights and is the largest in the metro area.

Enjoy the festive fun of Pink Sapphire Town, go ice skating, and view a seasonal take on Yomiuri Land’s fountain show. The winter illumination focuses on jewel tones and brilliant colors, immersing you in a gloriously brilliant experience.

8) Odaiba Illumination “YAKEI”

Photo Credit: DECKS Tokyo Beach.

This illumination actually runs throughout the whole year, but it is at its most striking in winter. 40 trees are strung with 2200 thousand colorful lights over the course of 200 meters. These works of color and light highlight an incredible view that includes Tokyo Bay, Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge, and Tokyo Skytree.

You can also visit the Illusion Dome, which is a projection system that detects human motions and projects 360-degree images of them on a screen. There is also the Odaiba Memorial Tree, which is the largest living tree in Tokyo, which is 20 meters tall and 10 meters wide. During the winter, it features even more lights than usual and is even more worth as nighttime visit.

Date: November 1, 2018 to January 31, 2018
Time: 17:00 to 24:00

9) Marunouchi Illumination

Photo Credit: Shoestring at Wikimedia Commons.

If you are going to stay in a hotel nearby Tokyo Station, then explore Marunouchi, a commercial district in Chiyoda ward. The experience of beautiful Tokyo City at Christmas time cannot be forgotten as it creates a number of amazing illuminations throughout the city.

This winter illumination is one of the oldest in Tokyo and features close to a million champagne gold LED lights strung across more than 200 trees up and down the 1.2 kilometer stretch of Marunouchi shopping street. It begins in November and extends into February.

Date: November 8, 2018 to February 17, 2019
Time: 17:00 to 23:00

10) Roppongi Hills Winter Illumination

Roppongi Hills Winter Illuminations along Keyakizaka street. Photo Credit: 掬茶 at Wikimedia Commons.

Roppongi Hills is Tokyo’s one of the largest recent development projects along with Tokyo Midtown. The area offers its visitors a number of things to do and see in Tokyo, especially at night. When winter arrives, this place becomes one of the magical places to explore in Tokyo City.

This is one of the most popular winter illuminations in Tokyo. The trees lining a 400 meter stretch of Roppongi Keyaki-zaka Street are decorated with 700 thousand LED lights. You can see Tokyo Tower in the distance, making it a great area for some incredible views and photography.

Date: November 5, 2018 to December 25, 2018
Time: 17:00 to 23:00