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Fun Times in Winter Night!
The Famous Illuminations in Hokkaido and Tohoku Region



We will soon be well getting into autumn from the end of October. While this is the best season for maple leaves, illumination spots are slowly becoming the topics of discussion on TVs and for travelers. Illuminations will start to pop up at commercial facilities all round Japan from around November each year! At the illumination spots of the Hokkaido and Tohoku areas, you may also enjoy the collaborative beauty of snows and illuminations at the right weather and timing. In particular, there are lots of light-up events in famous sightseeing areas in Hokkaido such as Toyako Onsen Illumination Tunnel and The star illumination of Goryokaku!


(1)SENDAI Pageant of Starlight
(2)Sapporo White Illumination
(3)Tips to enjoy the winter illuminations in Japan


(1)  Enjoy a unique Sendai Winter!
"SENDAI Pageant of Starlight" (Miyagi)


A well-known event that is also renowned as a unique winter tradition in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. About 600,000 lightbulbs are illuminated on about 160 Japanese zelkova trees on Jozenji-dori Street, and this event welcomes tourists from near and far. A must-see event here is the relighting event called the Starlight Wink, where the lights are turned off for about 1 minute and are lit up again all at once. There are three chances a day to witness this spectacular sight. What’s more, it is only 1 minute walk from Kotodai Koen Station on the Nanboku Line.


※As of September 2020, the event schedule is still being adjusted. Please check the official website for the latest information.

(2)  Illuminated Pieces at Sapporo Station! 
Sapporo White Illumination (Hokkaido)

Sapporo White Illumination, which started in 1981 and is known to be the first illumination event that was held in Japan. It’s held on a large scale in various areas of the city, including the Odori park near Sapporo Station, Ekimae-dori street, and Sapporo Station south exit square. A variety of large and small illuminations are set up resembling different articles such as nature in Hokkaido and Christmas, and the symbolic Sapporo TV Tower is also beautifully decorated! The Odori park main venue is only 10 minutes away on foot from the station. There is certainly full of sightseeing spots around the area, for example, the observation deck in the TV Tower where you can get a panoramic view of the illuminated surrounding, and Susukino where famous Sapporo cuisine restaurants are gathered, giving you and your family a wonderful experience in Sapporo.
Event schedule: November 20th - December 25th, 2020 (Odori Park venue), November 20th - February 11th, 2021 (Eki-Mae Dori venue), and more. 
※Information is accurate as of September 2020. Please check the official website for the latest information.


(3)  Check this out in advance! Tips to enjoy the winter illuminations in Japan

1) Winter Hokkaido and Tohoku are quite cold, so winter clothes are essential.

The coldness of Hokkaido and Tohoku in winter is extreme, particularly at night when the north wind blows at below freezing temperatures, and it might be quite challenging for some people. A beanie, scarf and gloves are good to have when you are at outdoor to keep you and your child warm. 
Extra tip: Wear two pairs of socks and undergarments to protect yourself from the cold! Ear protection, masks, neck warmers and heat packs are also useful to keep you warm!
Usually, the temperature in Sapporo from November - January is as follows.

2) Don't stop walking when it's crowded.

On weekends and holidays, photo spots can be quite crowded. Avoid stopping in the crowd and only take pictures at spots that are not in other’s way.


3) Check the light-off time! 

Most illuminations are not on all night long and might be turned off at some point at night, so do remember to check the illumination time in advance. Don’t worry!In winter Japan, the sun sets early (around 16:00 - 17:00). Since the surroundings become dark at a relatively early time, you can enjoy a romantic atmosphere even immediately after the illumination start time.


4) Check access and nearest station

It is good if the illumination spot is near the station, but it may be quite far main stations. Additionally, if the venue is far from the station or away from city center, you might have to take into account the last train/ bus time. Check the transportation schedule so that you don’t miss your trains/ buses and if you gets tired/ cold, you can return to your accommodation easily too.


5) Enjoy seafood cuisine and street food exclusively in Hokkaido and Tohoku! 

At the illumination event spots, stalls that offer local dishes using local ingredients such as seafood, hot pot, and skewers may be available. 


Click here for more information on the facilities mentioned in this article.



Enjoy Famous Snow Events in Tohoku

SENDAI Pageant of Starlight (Japanese only)

Sapporo White Illumination (Japanese only)

Winter Guide

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