Translated by Lester Somera
Winter In Japan 2019-2020: Illuminations And Ice Skating Rinks
Written by MATCHA
In Japan, the winter season and winter holidays are a special time of the year. Whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday, you can spend this season admiring magnificent light-up displays, ice skating, and shopping. Read more to learn about where and when to try unique winter activities.
Spend the Winter Holidays in Japan with Lights and Ice Skating
In Europe and America, Christmas and winter holidays hold religious significance and is a time to be enjoyed with one's family and relatives. In Japan, however, Christmas is considered a romantic holiday for couples to spend time together. For example, on a typical Christmas date, couples go to an upscale restaurant and exchange expensive presents. With friends, Christmas celebrants prepare fried chicken and chocolate cake, drink alcohol, exchange presents and have a pleasant time.
For those traveling in Japan, in addition to food and presents, special winter events, like light-up displays and ice skating, are another part of the fun. This article introduces suggested ways to take in the season.
1. Go See Illuminations
In the winter, many places in Japan are lit up brilliantly with illuminations. Below are popular spots with colorful and whimsical scenery where you can enjoy being transported to a magical, wintery dimension.
Tokyo German Village in Chiba Prefecture
At the popular Tokyo German Village, you can enjoy the scenery of a German country town along with delicious food; it is also well-known for its two million glimmering LED lights. Every year the illumination undergoes drastic changes, and you can even enjoy fireworks at the same time, depending on the season. We recommend the view from the Ferris Wheel.
Light Up: November 1, 2019 - early April 2020
Marunouchi in Tokyo
About a million LED bulbs are set up along the length of the 1.2 km Tokyo Marunouchi Naka-dori, enveloping the street in champagne gold light.
Light Up: early November 2019 - mid-December, 2019
Kobe Luminarie in Hyogo Prefecture
Luminarie is perhaps the most popular light display in the country. Set against the night view of famous Kobe City, the gorgeous lights are sure to make you sigh in amazement.
Lit Up: December 6 - December 15, 2019
2. Spend the Day Gift Shopping
Around this time, department stores and fashion outlets hold many limited-time sales and offering year-end bargains. It is a great time to purchase holiday presents.
Purchase Limited-Edition Items
Every year, various fashion brands put together Christmas-only cosmetics sets, which feature special designs and come with limited-edition pouches for you to enjoy. These cosmetics can be procured at department stores. Since they’re so popular, they sell out fast, so do some research about the specific items you want beforehand. Also, many sweets shops prepare chocolates, traditional sweets and special assortments specifically for Christmastime. Enjoy the atmosphere in the stores, which feels totally different from the normal shopping vibe.
The year-end sale is one of the allures of Christmas, as many departments and shopping outlets will run blowout sales to sell through their inventory. The bargains aren’t limited to fashion goods, as you can also find cheap home appliances and items for your home interior. Some sales start even before Christmas, so do some investigating and head out early to do some shopping.
3. Enjoy Ice Skating
There are a great number of ice skating rinks in Tokyo which are specially installed in winter. Skating around in the wondrous atmosphere produced by the lights is a special pleasure that can only be had during the holiday season. We’ll introduce you to a few of the rinks you can skate on.
Akasaka Sacas in Tokyo
Akasaka Sacas is a temporary ice rink that operates annually in winter. The outdoor rink has a fairytale-like atmosphere, and ice shows, skating lessons, and other events are held here.
Ice Skating Season: November 23, 2019 - late-February, 2020
Futako Tamagawa Rise in Tokyo
Accessible from Shibuya in about ten minutes, Futako Tamagawa has an exceptional location. Made from natural ice, the 390 square meter skating rink at Futako Tamagawa Rise is enjoyed by people of all ages.
Ice Skating Season: mid-December, 2019 - late-February, 2020
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse in Yokohama
The Red Brick Warehouse, a popular shopping and sightseeing destination in Yokohama, also opens a skating rink in winter. Usually themed around art and ice, the Red Brick Warehouse skating rink cooperates with a diverse array of artists every year.
Ice Skating Season: first Saturday in December 2019 - mid-February, 2020
There are many events that travelers can only enjoy if they come to Japan during Christmastime. How about spending a wonderful Christmas in a uniquely Japanese atmosphere?