Large scale illuminations have become a new winter tradition in Japan. Held all over the country, they certainly brighten up the long dark nights. Here are the Hiroshima area’s most popular illuminations.
Hiroshima Dreamination, Hiroshima city
1.4 million LEDs light up Hiroshima’s city center in an attempt to create a winter fairyland of peace with a mind-boggling backstory. The main displays line Peace Boulevard and the atmosphere is quite festive. Kids giggle as they run among the sparkly creations and couples canoodle.
More restrained lighting along the river next to Peace Memorial Park is very pleasant, though this year’s somewhat controversial lights around the A-bomb Dome are very blue. The giant Christmas tree in front of Pacela shopping center is a good place for seasonal selfies and look out for the Hiroden’s decorated tram in the run up to Chistmas too.
Peace Boulevard and surrounding streets 11/16-1/9 17:30-22:30
Flower and Light Pageant, Hiroshima City Botanical Gardens
The illuminations at the Botanical Gardens combine the low light pollution of the countryside with reasonably easy access and is the most Christmassy of the local illuminations.
Free shuttle bus from JR Hatsukaichi Station (North Exit)
|Leaves JR Itsukaichi Station||15:30||16:10||16:50||17:30||18:55||19:35|
|Leaves Botanical Gardens||15:50||16:30||17:10||18:35||19:15||20:45||21:20|
Winter Illuminations, Bihoku Hillside Park, Shobara
This expansive park in Shobara is a favorite destination for dating couples looking for a romantic setting and families after some holiday magic. Deep in the countryside, the lights really pop. The 17:30 switch on is pretty cool and the Japanese village area is surprisingly tasteful. Fireworks every Saturday.
11/15-1/9 17:30-21:00 (Final admission 20:00) Closed 12/31, 1/1, 1/5
Access: 5-10 minutes from Shobara IC on the Chugoku Expressway
If you are heading to these illuminations, why not drop in at the Magical Art Museum, interactive digital exhibition at the Okuda Genso Sayume Art Museum in Miyoshi (one stop before Shobara on the Chugoku Expressway when heading east from Hiroshima).
Illumination Road, Kure
Nautical (and military) themed installations dominate the in this port town’s illuminations which feature 150,000 LEDs. It wouldn’t be Kure if there wasn’t a somethingth scale model of the famous battleship Yamato and there is indeed a glowing 13 meter long representation.
December 2-January 3 17:00-23:00
Miroku-no-sato “Music Illumination”, Fukuyama
Miroku-no-sato amusement park in Fukuyama goes all out with the illuminations. 800,000 bulbs light up the 50m ferris wheel and many many displays. Fireworks on 12/23 & 12/24.
November 7 – 11/28, 2016 (Sat, Sun and Holidays), December 1 – January 9 everyday except New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
Night admission (from 16:30): Adults ¥800, Children ¥500
Access: 30 minutes by bus from JR Fukuyama Station