Winter has come yet again. What shall we do to celebrate the spirit of Christmas? One thing for sure I know I like to do every year is go and see the illumination lights that are displayed all over Tokyo city. Ever since I came to Japan I noticed that the illumination lights here are significantly better compared to where I came from.
It is a popular attraction in the holiday season for Christmas and New Year’s. Usually most illuminations are displayed between November and December but some even start earlier from October or last longer up until spring.
Of course each sections of the city offers different illumination displays, either for free or a set price. It is best to look up which ones catch your interest. I personally would like to recommend the illumination show in Tokyo Midtown. Which is a shopping mall located in Roppongi. It’s great because not only is there a light show to come see during the evening, there is also a variety of other activities in the area you can do during the day making it good way to spend the whole day with friends, family or a loved one.
If you decide to check out the light show at Tokyo Midtown, I recommend starting your day in the afternoon as there are a bunch of other things you can do before the light show. For example, you can start off by going to The National Art Center nearby. It houses a variety of special exhibitions and education programs and it changes every couple of months or so. So I recommend to check their website to see what is being displayed at the moment. There is also the Art Library which is great for anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of art.
Next, you can easily grab lunch if you’re feeling hungry as there are a bunch of surrounding restaurants and cafes nearby. One of my favorites is this Vietnamese restaurant located inside Tokyo Midtown because they have the best curry dish there. Afterwards, you can walk around the mall and shop if you’d like to kill some time.
Once the sky starts to get darker, you can start to walk through Roppongi Hills and see some other illuminations displayed on the trees. You will see there are a lot of people taking pictures because the night show has begun. I would recommend you to go to Mori Tower first, the Mori Art Museum and Observatory floor there is definitely worth going. The website introduces Tokyo City View as an observation facility located in the center of one of the world’s metropolis, Tokyo, features an indoor observation gallery 250 meters above sea level and a Sky Deck outdoor observation deck 270 meters above sea level. Isn’t it amazing? At the entrance of Mori tower, you can see the Giant Spider Statue, which symbolizes Roppongi Hills.
When you come down from the Mori Tower, you can see a lake that is surrounded by illuminated lights. It is a historical landmark known as the Mori Garden. By the way if you’re hungry again, don’t worry. There are also many nice restaurants cafes in the area as well. Such as Shake Shack, Cinnabon and other variety shops.
If you’re well fed and satisfied now that you ate, it’s time to head back to Tokyo Midtown to watch the light show! You will there see a lot of people waiting in line. Don’t be surprised at how long it will actually take just to get near to the entrance of the actually light show.
Just be glad you had something to eat before you lined up! Wait patiently and go with the flow.
While waiting, you can either go through the brochure or see how the lines crosses the mall. You can probably realize it crosses all over the mall to places you have already walked by from earlier in the day.
After you come out from the building, you will begin to see some lights sparkle the night sky. But that is just a tiny glimpse of a world illuminated by lights you will see soon. It is like a wonderland of lights that can amaze any group age from a little child to an elderly. I was totally amazed the first time I saw it and I continue to be amazed each time because the theme changes every year. For example, last year’s theme was “A Trip to Space” to celebrate its 10-year anniversary. Not only does it change themes every year but it also changes up a bit each day. Such as the lights displayed on Monday can resemble the moon while the lights on Tuesday can resemble the colors of the planet Mars. I went there on Christmas Day which happened to be a Thursday so the lighting reflected the colors of Jupiter. It has been my go to lights show the past four years and I highly recommend it!
Lastly, you can end the long day with a nice warm drink at the 24 hour opened Starbucks nearby. While you’re drinking you can also charge you phones if they are almost dead. For me my phone’s battery always dies quickly because of the cold weather.
By Seigo & Derek
|Title||An Illuminated Night in Roppongi|
|Address||9 Chome-7-1 Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo 107-0052|
|Opening hours||11/15 Wed - 12/25 Mon 17:00 - 23:00|
|Access||6 minute walk from Roppongi Station|