Lightopia Illumination Festival in Tokyo

Unlike most of the other illumination festivals, Lightopia has a very limited run, starting on the 22nd and finishing on the 29th of December. It’s an annual festival and is spread around various places near Tokyo Station.

Like the previous years, Lightopia features paper cups drawn by elementary school children who express their hopes and worries. It’s mainly about environmental issues, peace and Japan obviously. These candles are located in the area between Maru and the New Maru Building and can be seen from 5pm to 9.30pm. The organizers call the place the “Ambient Candle Park”.

The next zone, the “Flower Fantasia” has a topic too, although with no obvious images it is hard to guess just by looking at it: Hope for Tomorrow. While it was still pretty I had the impression that those flower pots were just put into their places without giving a thought about style. I liked the use of water however, giving some nice reflections.

Those were just two parts of Lightopia, there was still more.

The trees were also decorated with lights and while this illumination was nothing special – especially after seeing Sendai’s illumination festival – it also served to guide the visitors to the other Lightopia area. Parts of Lightopia were used to promote businesses in the area and some shops provided season illumination on their own although they were not part of the official Lightopia. A Japanese-only pamphlet with a map is distributed at the station and the two main festival site.

My favorite among the extra illuminations was the Lighting Objet 2011 at the Tokyo Building. It showed various candles and other types of creative illuminations such as this “Dragon and Penguins”.

The Marunouchi Bright Christmas 2011 Special (until December 25th, 11-20h) offered visitors the opportunity to don some feathers and get on stage.

From Tokyo Station it’s easy to reach the illumination festivals at Yurakucho (short walk) and Tokyo Dome (use the Chuo Line to Ochanomizu, then change into a local Sobu line train to Suidobashi).

Mia Jaap

Journalist, developer and passionate about Japanese and Korean language. Japan is my #1 country for travelling, penguins my favourite animals.

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