Joe's Japan Travel Journal
by Joe, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Ashikaga Flower Park

Thousands of flowers and thousands of lights at the Ashikaga Flower Park

It's December in Japan, and that means it's time for winter illuminations in cities across the country. While major urban centers' light-ups often get the most attention (like some of the ones Raina visited this week in Tokyo), there are plenty of smaller towns that also put on impressive displays during the winter season as well. This week, I made my way to one of the most popular illuminations just outside of the greater Tokyo area in Tochigi Prefecture's Ashikaga City.

The Ashikaga Flower Park in Ashikaga is well-known for its gorgeous array of hanging wisteria and other flowers in the spring, but it also draws huge crowds in the winter for another attraction. During its annual illumination event, every inch of the park gets decked out in hundreds of thousands of multi-colored LED lights, covering flower bushes, lining walkways, and arranged into huge, creative objects on a truly impressive scale. Some of the more eye-catching objects include two-storey Christmas trees and pyramids, light tunnels, an enormous, ever-changing LED "screen" covering a hill which cycles though creative imagery, and music-syncronized light shows.

The park is easily accessible from Tokyo in 90-120 minutes by train, located right in front of JR Tomita Station (see access details here). This season's illumination lights will be up from December 10, 2014 to February 5, 2015. Admission costs 700 yen, and the park is open from 15:30 to 21:00 for the illumination. Bring warm clothes, though, as it gets rather cold and windy in the evenings.

Alomost every part of the park was illuminated, including several huge Christmas trees over reflecting pools
The light-up features an enormous LCD board (and several smaller ones) with ever-changing animated picture stories
Starry tree
An owl and LCD-style Raijin (the traditional Japanese god of thunder)
One of several LCD Christmas scenes above a lighted path
A much-needed, well-heated shelter with a fireplace and hot food and drinks in the middle of the park
A couple going to ring a love bell
In lieu of the beautiful hanging wisteria you can find here in the spring, there were several places with thousands of hanging lights, all pulsating simultaneously to syncronized music
A sea of hanging lights
Christmas poinsettias showcased in special glass cases in a reflecting pool
Wisteria lights reflected
Color-changing pyramids on the water
A four-seasons-themed forest path in the back of the park featuring butterlies for spring...
...and snowflakes for winter
Cinderella's pumpkin carriage
One of several light shows synced to music, this one centered around a huge tree
The surprisingly impressive views all around the park make for a worthwhile visit

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List of Posts:
2017/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2017
2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/03/24 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Mitake
2015/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Takao
2015/11/12 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2015/11/11 - Autumn Color Report: Fukuroda Falls
2015/10/30 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2015/10/22 - Autumn Color Report: Northern Alps
2015/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Northern Alps
2015/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Fuji
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Hachimantai
2015/10/14 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2015/10/13 - Autumn Color Report: Hakkoda
2015/10/08 - Autumn Color Report: Nasu
2015/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/04/14 - Cherry Blossoms 2015: Yoshino
2015/04/13 - Cherry Blossoms 2015: Miharu
2015/04/08 - Cherry Blossoms 2015: Matsumoto Report
2015/01/29 - Crabs, Peonies and Castle Cruises in Shimane

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/16 - Seasonal Illumination: Osaka
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Kobe Luminarie 2014
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Ashikaga Flower Park
2014/12/05 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2014/11/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Nara
2014/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2014/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Hakone
2014/10/29 - Autumn Color Report: Shima Onsen
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2014/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/10/08 - Autumn Color Report: Nasu
2014/10/07 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2014/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2014/08/20 - Kusatsu Onsen Beautification