The Tunnel of Light at なばなの里 (Nabana no Sato)
Hey guys! Today I wanna share one of the perks of living in Japan over the holiday season: crazy bad-ass Christmas lights, or as the Japanese call them イルミネーション (illumination).
Holiday season abroad
There really is no nice way to put this, so I’ll just say it. Living so freaking far from home during the holiday season sucks big time. Especially if you are unable to go home for any reason. It probably wouldn’t matter where you are in the world, they just celebrate the holidays wrong, ya know? Rational thought tells us that of course the entire world doesn’t celebrate the holidays like your family, but that doesn’t stop us from thinking that they should. I won’t go into very much detail right now, I’ll do another post for Christmas culture in Japan, but I’ll just say that it is a super lovey-couple time and they eat KFC and cake. (what even?) Granted I’ve grown to look forward to Christmas KFC and cake, but it’s still not quite Christmas to me.
That’s totally not the point of this post, so I’ll try to just stick to that. (lol) One thing Japan does really well for Christmas is lights. I don’t mean Griswald-style (debatable), but all out Christmas light productions with LED lights and serious planning. They go all out.
なばなの里 (Nabana no Sato)
One of the best, most famous places to go for illumination is Nabana no Sato, located in Kuwana, Mie. This is a hop, skip and a jump (or bus ride..or if you’re lucky a car) from where I live, so pretty much everyone goes every year.
Nabana no Sato is actually a flower park that’s part of a larger facility known as Nagashima Spa Land. The whole area has an amusement park, onsen/hot spring, an decent outlet mall, and the flower park. You can read all about it on their website, in English!
The theme of the lights changes yearly. Last year, the theme was Niagara Falls and it was absolutely amazing!
Giant Niagara Falls light display at Nabano no Sato
I haven’t made it to the park yet this year, but the theme is “Heidi and the Alps,” so I expect it will be just as stunning as last year.
One of my favorite parts of the whole park was the different light tunnels. They are pastel-colored and sort of Spring-y, so they help to kind of warm you up in the freezing freaking wind. This one rotated from green to pink, I believe.
Pretty pastel tunnel
What to expect
- It’s going to be insanely crowded. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take away from the beauty of it all, but expect a lot of people. (and couples, lots and lots of couples- it’s totally a date spot, but don’t be afraid to go with friends!)
- You’re going to do a lot of walking. The park is pretty big, and you’re gonna want to take it all in, so expect to walk a lot.
- It’s cold. Um, it’s outside in the winter and I think I already mentioned the wind. (seriously, it slices through your clothes, no lies)
- Admission into the park is ¥2,000 during the winter months, but that does include two ¥500 yen coupons that you can spend inside. I’m pretty sure I bought stuff at the food court.
- They have their own craft beer! It was really good and I’m spending both of my coupons on that this year, lol.
Make your own holiday spirit!
Every where you look during the Christmas season in Japan, you’re going to see awesome decorations. Take it all in, smile, and remember what the season is all about! Even if you can’t be with family, you can make the most of the festiveness and enjoy the mess out of being abroad this Christmas.