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.
A popular dish during the winter in Japan is the hot pot (na-be). It’s usually shared among several people and they eat it while it cooks over a tabletop stove. The delicious flavor is concentrated in the soup from all the delicious ingredients. Towards the end of this meal, people will usually put rice cakes or udon noodles in the leftover soup, or even make rice porridge by adding rice and eggs.Read More
Sun, 3rd February: Setsubun Setsubun is a day that marks the changing of the seasons, and especially marks the day before Risshun, the day when spring begins to draw near. There are many events held in Japan on February 3rd. It is said that demons come out during this season, so people drive them off by throwing roasted beans. During these celebrations, people yell out loud, “Oni-wa-soto, Fuku-wa-uchi,”literally meaning “go away demons and bring good luck.”After that, people throw roasted beans at other people disguised as demons, wearing masks and special ‘demon’ attire. Mon, 4th February: Risshun ‘Risshun’ starts on this day and it used to be considered New Year’s […]Read More
You may be familiar with Mt. Takao, the closest and easiest hike near Tokyo. If you’ve experienced all that Mt. Takao has to offer, it’s time to go deeper into the mountainous Okutama region. A mere 90-minute train ride from Shinjuku Station, Lake Okutama is an accessible escape into nature with scenery and activities that everyone can enjoy.Read More
With a seemingly endless number of holiday illumination displays throughout the city, Tokyo has no shortage of holiday cheer. There are fantastic light displays in several convenient locations, but to see the best and brightest that the country has to offer, you must venture well beyond central Tokyo’s skyscrapers and out into the countryside.
Thankfully, the Sagamiko Illumillion, held since 2008 at the Sagamiko Pleasure Forest resort and amusement park, is well worth the journey. Read on to find out what to expect, how to get there, and ways to make the most of your trip.Read More