Enjoy an Illuminating Holiday Experience in Shinjuku

Seasons define life in Japan. In spring, cherry blossoms paint the country in pink. Summer is filled with the sights and sounds of festivals. Fall brings a beautiful array of colored leaves, and holiday illumination adds a warm glow to combat the long cold nights of winter.
If you are spending the holidays in or near Shinjuku, one of the most popular and accessible illumination displays is right under your nose. The Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination, organized by Odakyu Electric Railway Co., Ltd., is a long-standing event that envelops the southern side of Shinjuku Station in a sea of sparkling lights. Running from mid-November to mid-February, it’s easy to work this event into your travel itinerary.

The hot spots

In addition to a spectacular arrangement of holiday lights, the Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination includes a variety of festive displays, including towering Christmas trees and photo spots for taking that perfect Christmas (or New Year) card picture with your special someone. You can find a map of all the locations here. If you are short on time, just head straight to the main event—the illumination of the entire Southern Terrace, the newest part of the world’s busiest train station.

Holiday shopping

Why the penguin? This year’s event features a collaboration with Suica, the prepaid electronic money card primarily used to pay train fares. The Suica Penguin has been representing the brand since 2001.

Whether you are souvenir or Christmas shopping (or doing a little of both), the holiday lights of Shinjuku Southern Terrace will put you in the holiday mood without fail. Shop to your heart’s content with easy access to three of Tokyo’s major department stores, including Takashimaya and Odakyu. Additionally a visit to the massive Tokyu Hands, eight-floors of shopping goodness, will ensure that you don’t leave Tokyo without the perfect gift or souvenir—even if you are simply treating yourself.

When you finish shopping, be sure to take in all of the glistening holiday lights in a cozy café or a stylish diner nearby. Takashimaya is filled with local dining options on its upper floors. And, don’t fret if you feel a little homesick—the Southern Terrace Starbucks is in a prime location for viewing the holiday lights from the comfort of the great indoors.

Just the beginning

Still haven’t gotten your fill of holiday lights? Even more illumination displays are just a train ride away. Ticket gates for the Odakyu, Keio, and JR train lines as well as the Toei and Tokyo Metro subway lines are just minutes away from the Southern Terrace, granting you easy access to famous winter illumination displays in Roppongi, Omotesando, and Shiodome. See where the holiday spirit takes you, and have a blast exploring an illuminated Tokyo.

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Writer / Translator

Originally from Riverside, California, I've been living, working, and writing in Japan since 2009. Japan has become my second home, and I'm especially fond of Shinjuku, Tokyo. That being said, I also love getting out into the countryside and exploring the entire country. Through Tadaima Japan, I hope to share the wonders of Japan with a wider, international audience. Check out my articles if you enjoy exploring on foot, convenient cafes, and affordable dining.


Address Tokyo, Shinjuku, Sanchome
Hours 4:00 a.m. – 1:30 a.m.
Price Varies
Close None
Access JA Saikyo Line; JS Shonan-Shinjuku Line;
JY Yamanote Line; JC Chuo Line (Rapid);
JB Chuo-Sobu Line
Phone +81-050-2016-1600
Language Japanese
Website https://www.shinjukustation.com/