All you need to know to fully appreciate Hiroshima’s Dreamination lights

Hiroshima’s illumination extravaganza starts tonight when thousands of colored LEDs stretching about 2km in total length and fashioned into some 500 “objets” are switched on a 6pm and the Dreamination begins.

Great effort goes into creating a back story to go with the display and you can’t really appreciate the illuminations to the full without a knowledge of what they portray.

This year’s story wrought in gaudy lights is that of a princess miniaturized by a witch. A prince takes on the task of reversing the spell and restore the thumb sized princess to marriageable size. He is advised by a squirrel and a rabbit and some of their mates in the Forest of Fruit to ask for the intercedence of the forest spirits.

The prince, princess in hand, jumps on a train, but it will not move. As the castle bells toll, however, a sailing ship appears out of the sky and lifts the train over mountains and valleys to the land of the forest spirits. The spirits say that for their wishes to be granted a great withered tree on an island over the sea must be fed with water from a sacred waterfall in which a golden maple leaf has been steeped. Plus, for good measure, and to include as many of the illuminated objet as possible, they should journey to an ice staircase in a hot air balloon and where the princess should try on a glass slipper that whey would find there.

The prince and princess flew over snow-swept land until they found the ice staircase. The princess slipped on the glass slipper, and, lo and behold, she was returned to normal size, just as the spirits of the forest had said.

A pumpkin carriage shows up at the ice staircase and takes them to the sacred waterfall up which beautiful red fish are swimming. However, when they try to approach they find themselves lost in a mysterious forest. Here they find a magic broom which tells them to hop on and it will take them to the Maple Mountain.

They are unable to find the golden maple leaf they need when they notice the elusive leaf reflected in the sacred water they are carrying. Leaf in hand, they board a handy boat and are guided to the island over the sea by friendly whales and dolphins. On arriving at the island they hear the sound of music which turns into a beautiful rainbow that stretches as far as the eye can see.

They follow the rainbow, find the great withered tree and feed it the sacred water. Rainbow beams shoot out of the tree and the surrounding land and tree burst with renewed life and vigor. A huge crane swoops down and carries the prince and princess back to the castle. On their return the prince forges a ring out of the golden maple leaf, presents it to the princess and they live together happily ever after.


The story in Japanese can be found here (apologies for any translation errors).


Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.

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