Every December, Japan is the place to visit if visually inspiring celebrations are your thing. The clear air and crispy weather makes it the perfect setting for light festivals, which are a dime a dozen in the country during this time.

Out of which, the two most spectacular and well-known festivals are the Kobe Luminarie and the Winter Illuminations Festival in Nabana no Sato, Nagashima.


1. Kobe Luminarie…

has quite a history to it’s origins. As some of you may know, the city of Kobe ( known for its world class beef and being the birthplace of Kobe Bryant) was hit with a terrible earthquake way back in 1995. Because of it’s proximity to the epicentre of the earthquake, it underwent the most devastation to its infrastructure and people’s lives.

(Image Courtesy : Kobe – mari)


The earthquake left the city without electricity and was incidentally dark all the time. To lift spirits of the people and bring back some hope to the city, a light festival named Kobe Luminarie was put on with the lights being donated by the Italian government.


(Image Courtesy : Kobe – mari)

The festival including installations by an Italian designer Valerio Festi and Kobe resident Hirokazu Imaoka.

Since then the festival, because of it’s immense popularity has been held every year in Kobe as a reminder of the tragedy and that there will always be hope. With each year, the installations and production gets better and better with over three million people flocking to Kobe to witness the grand festival. This year, the event will be held for 12 days from December 6 to 17.


(Image Courtesy : Kobe – mari)



2. Winter Illuminations Festival at Nabana no Sato


Let me just tell you this, the Winter Illuminations at Nabana no Sato are beyond breathtaking.  This five-month festival (from November to March) features the most lovely displays of light at a botanical garden in Nagashima.

During the five months, the park is transformed into a visual paradise with millions of sparkling LED lights cast over the massive gardens and water-bodies.

Every year comes with a theme and this year’s is ‘nature’. The festival organizers assure us that there will be so much more this year, from an experimental ‘sunrise’ light show as well as rainbows across the sky.

What is really captivating are the tunnels of light, which visitors can walk through. The experience is magical. Have a look!


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(Image courtesy : Giovanni88Ant)

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(Image Courtesy: Giovanni88Ant)


(Image Courtesy: bunnyojisan)