Illuminating the Holiday Season in Japan
In Japan, Christmas lights, called “illuminations” (イルミネーション) in Japanese, go up as early as mid-November and can remain on display as late as March. Businesses, main streets and big parks go all-out with spectacular LED reveries and exquisitely decorated Christmas trees for passersby to experience. The illuminations play an important role in creating the festive and romantic mood of winter in Japan and they are more astounding with each passing year.
The Kobe Luminarie (神戸ルミナリエ) in Kobe, Japan, is one of the most striking displays every year. Kobe hosted its first illumination festival in December of 1995 in memory of the Great Hanshin Earthquake which struck the region in January of the same year. The Italian-designed illuminations were donated by the government of Italy, and the soft, solemn glow of the hand-painted lights became a symbol of remembrance and hope. The Kobe Luminarie was originally meant to be a one-time event but, with the strong request from local citizens, it has become an annual event now its 19th year.
Want to see more illuminations? Visit the location pages below to view photos and videos from the best Christmas lights in Japan this year: