The tree is up, Home Alone is on, and traditional Georgian khachapuri is baking in the oven. Less than a week left before we all rip open our meticulously wrapped gifts, pop a bottle of bubbly and devour those homemade chocolate chip cookies. Celebrations are just around the corner and you can already feel the festive vibes in the air. I love Christmas and New Year with all my heart. The season seems to bring a feeling of comfort, love and harmony that makes you forget about the chaos of your daily life. Both Mr. B and I do miss being away from the family and our traditional celebrations, however we are also incredibly excited to spend this holiday season in Tokyo! Of all the places in the world this city definitely knows how to capture the festive soul of holiday cheers with shimmering lights adorning the city scape, roasted chestnuts overflowing in the Christmas markets and glühwein to warm even the coolest of nights. While most Japanese do not formally celebrate Christmas, they have taken the tradition of decorating the city to a whole new level. Throughout the city you can admire illuminations that wow the audience by using projection mapping, digital choreography and interaction techniques. Some of the most beautiful areas of Tokyo are decorated for the season with Christmas trees forming perfect silhouettes in the midst of the city’s plazas and department store atriums. Endless strings of LED lights wrap around trees along the streets creating a magical and romantic atmosphere. From Roppongi Hills to Yebisu Garden Place and beyond, Christmas in Tokyo is an experience that can easily rival with the ones I got in London and Paris during my past travels. During the last few weeks I have been on a scavenger hunt for the most impressive display of Christmas lights. In keeping with the spirit of the season, I am counting down to Christmas by sharing with you some of the most stunning illuminations of the metropolis!
Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi during Christmas is a sight to see. This year they feature Starry Sky Illuminations. A surreal atmosphere created by a dynamic sea of brilliant lights and soothing audio effects seems to whisk you away for a magical trip along the galaxy…. Here is a video I filmed.
Canyon D’azur At Carreta Shiodome Center. Your heart will overflow with the holiday cheer the instant you see this alluring ice blue world. The outdoor courtyard of Carreta has been transformed into a valley of around 270,000 LED lights. This year they are celebrating their 10th anniversary with hourly illumination and music shows running every 20 minutes from 17:00 till 23:00. At the end of every show public is allowed to walk through this glittery wonderland and take family photos by the Christmas tree. I managed to film some part of the show for your enjoyment.
Roppongi Hills is another spectacular spot filled with twinkling lights, casting a glow over the city. This year’s Artelligent Display features about 1,200,000 LEDs shining up the Keyakizaka street. The color of the lights change every 20 minutes turning from a “Snow and Blue” theme to “Candle and Red”. While at it, don’t miss the German-style Christmas Market featuring beautiful decorations and carols. Browse through the wooden huts for gift inspiration or numerous hand-made ornaments while sipping on warm glühwein. Explore Yebisu Garden Place to enjoy warm-toned illuminations of Baccarat Eternal Lights. A majestic crystal chandelier designed to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Baccarat is the main feature of the square. Measuring 8.4 meters tall by 4.6 meters wide and adorned with a total of 410 lights, it’s the largest chandelier in the crystal maker’s history! The red carpet and a corridor of the brilliantly lit trees lead to a stunning 10-meter-tall tree and a cute little Christmas Market. Tokyo Dome is another place overflowing with the spirit of Christmas and is a great spot to enjoy a childlike merriment.
The amusement park, carousel, Ferris wheel, shopping center and dynamic LED-lit colorful tunnels will bring sea of joy to kids and adults alike!
Naka-dori Street in Marunouchi features a more classic and cozy European-style Christmas light-up with bulbs elegantly twinkling on the trees in the shades of champagne gold. And don’t miss out on an ice rink inside the Marunouchi Building! Kitte Shopping Complex in Marunouchi is the perfect setting for getting away from the winter chill, while still enjoying the splendor of the season. The ornate ceiling and magnificent Christmas tree create a beautiful wintery atmosphere.
Last but not least, head out to swanky Ginza for a fair share of glitz, glamor and some luxurious Christmas (window) shopping. This Tokyo version of New York’s 5th Avenue or Paris’ Champs Elysees is filled with designer boutiques and high-end department stores housed in tall buildings with spectacular architecture. Almost every store has some sort of holiday display and the street is lined with Christmas trees and lights. Don’t miss this elaborate light display at Bulgari.
Enchanting, isn’t it? Where are you spending your Christmas? Comment and share with me your memories of the most spectacular Christmas lights you have seen! :) Merry Christmas everyone!