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The Season of Dazzling Christmas Lights Has Arrived! Embark on a Journey Across Eastern Japan to Experience Lively Events Such as Fireworks Displays and Markets.

Illuminations adorn the winter streets with heightened excitement brought by the appearance of Christmas trees. The route we're introducing this time is a journey to enjoy the nightscapes and illuminations of the snowy wonderland. The illuminations which are particularly striking during the cold season are a sight to behold. Depending on the timing, you can experience a fantastical world of light alongside snowy landscapes, so dont forget to be mindful of weather conditions when planning your visit. 

The journey begins with an express train from Sapporo Station to Hakodate Station. From there, you'll take the Hokkaido Shinkansen to Morioka Station and transfer to the Akita Shinkansen to reach Akita Station. Be aware that during the snowy season, transportation delays are common, so checking your means of travel frequently is advised. Additionally, public transportation is recommended as parking may be unavailable near illumination venues or traffic congestion may occur. 

“2023 Sapporo White Illumination” – Sapporo City, Recreating the Christmas lights and the Christmas Market of Munich, Germany!

Sapporo, chosen as one of Japan's new top three nightscapes, shines even more brilliantly during winter. The “2023 Sapporo White Illumination” (pictured). Beginning with around 1,000 light bulbs in Odori West 2-chome Square in 1981 (Showa 56), this Christmas light event has evolved in both scale and content every year, becoming one of Japan's premier events. Symbolic installations grace Odori Park, while Sapporo Station Front Avenue and Kitasanjo Plaza (Akapla) to the north, as well as the south exit of Sapporo Station, serve as venues. To the east and west, tree decorations along Minamiichijo Street gleam beautifully. 

Recommended sight seeing spot
“2023 Sapporo White Illumination”
The iconic “Sapporo White Illumination,” marking the beginning of winter in Sapporo, commemorates 43 years of dazzle this year. With 740,000 light bulbs, the event transforms the streets of Sapporo into a fantastical spectacle. Additionally, until December 25th (Monday), visitors can enjoy the ambiance of Christmas in Munich, the sister city of Sapporo, at the “2023 Munich Christmas Market in Sapporo” (pictured). Held simultaneously, this event features booths in Odori Park West 2-chome and you can buy authentic German Christmas cuisine and a variety of Christmas-themed goodies.

DATA

Address: Around 1-chome to 6-chome, Odorinishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo City, Hokkaido
Date: November 22nd, Wed. 2023 - March 14th, Thu. 2024

“2023 Hakodate Christmas Fantasy” - Hakodate City, A Giant Christmas Tree Floating in the Sea with Fireworks Every Day!

The view from Mount Hakodate, awarded the prestigious three stars in the “Michelin Green Guide Japan” (6th edition revised in February 2020) is a place worth a making the journey. The night view, in particular, is a must-see attraction representing Hakodate city. During the winter, various places in the city, including Hachiman-zaka Slope, are decorated with illuminations (the photo shows the "Hakodate Christmas Fantasy"), making the city even more dazzling. 

Recommended sight seeing spot
2023 Hakodate Christmas Fantasy
The “Hakodate Christmas Fantasy,” held near the Red Brick Warehouses in the Bay Area, is another spectacle not to be missed. The most impressive sight is the giant Christmas tree floating on the sea (pictured), but the fireworks that go up every day at the tree lighting time, and the "Premium Red Tree" where the tree turns red for 15 minutes three times a day (18:30, 19:30, 20:30) are also popular. Along the Bay Hakodate promenade, a number of popular local eateries set up soup bars (16:30-20:00, tickets sold at the venue, 700 yen per cup), offering warm soups made with locally sourced ingredients from the southern Hokkaido region under the theme of “local production for local consumption.”

DATA

Address: Around 14-12 Suehiro-cho, Hakodate City, Hokkaido
Date: December 1st, Fri. - 25th, Mon. 2023

“Morioka Illumination Bright 2023-2024” - Morioka City, Historical and Cultural Museums, Shopping Streets, and Downtown Morioka Station are Illuminated Fantastically!

The “Morioka Illumination Bright,” which began in December 2022 as the successor event to the “Morioka Yuki Akari,” illuminates seven locations in the central part of Morioka city with Christmas lights (pictured). Morioka city is home to Morioka Castle, which served as the residence of the Nanbu clan since the 16th century and is one of Japan's Top 100 Castles. Today, the castle ruins have been transformed into Morioka Castle Ruins Park, a popular relaxation spot for locals. The main venue for the Christmas lights is the Morioka Historical and Cultural Museum, located adjacent to the Morioka Castle Ruins Park. 

Recommended sight seeing spot
Morioka Illumination Bright 2023-2024
The “Morioka Illumination Bright 2023-2024” (pictured), will be held with the main venue in front of the Morioka History and Culture Museum, and illuminations will also be installed in the surrounding shopping streets.. By strolling through the city enveloped in Christmas lights, crossing bridges, and exploring various cultural aspects and streetscapes, you can experience the charm of winter offered in Morioka. Christmas light decorations will also be set up in front of Morioka Station during the same period. Additionally, events linked to the lighting of the Christmas lights are scheduled to take place at the main venue during this period. For further details, please check the official website.

DATA

Address: Around 1-50 Uchimaru, Morioka City, Iwate
Date: December 1st, Fri. 2023 - February 29th, Thu. 2024

“Akita Fantasy of Lights” - Akita City, Light Up the Central Downtown Area around Nakaiichi from Akita Station!

The "Akita Light Fantasy" (pictured) will be held from November 24th (Friday) to February 29th (Thursday) of the following year in the area around Area Nakaichi, about a 10-minute walk from JR Akita Station. A Christmas tree will be set up in Area Nakaichi, and the street trees will be decorated with champagne gold illuminations. You can take a stroll through the downtown area dressed in winter attire! 

Recommended sight seeing spot
Akita Fantasy of Lights
During the same period, the "Nakaichi Winter Park" will be held, including the Akita Light Fantasy. A number of events tailored to the seasons, such as Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day, will be held in the Nakaiichi area for about three months. Details will be updated on the website regularly, so be sure check it out.

DATA

Address: Around 1-chome Nakadori, Akita-City, Akita
Date: November 24th, Fri. 2023 - February 29th, Thu. 2024

The Usual Scenery Transforms into a Fantastical Spectacle with Christmas Lights!

The chilly season already offers stunning nightscapes, but they become even more enchanting with the addition of Christmas lights. Combined with all the events held during the period, this season provides a unique opportunity for sightseeing. Don't forget to bundle up and enjoy your outing!