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

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2014/12/16 - Seasonal Illumination: Osaka

Illumination at Osaka Station City

If you're in the Kansai Region in the winter and want to get into the holiday spirit, the bustling cities of Osaka and Kobe won't leave you disappointed. While Kobe's hugely popular Kobe Luminarie light festival draws huge crowds every December (see my report from this year's Luminarie), Osaka also sports a wide array of winter illuminations in many of its popular tourist hot spots. This week I spent a cold, but colorful evening making my way around the city looking for its best seasonal nighttime light displays.

My first stop was the central Osaka Station City. The station has a nice display set up on its fourth floor open air walkway with huge sheets of lights hanging from the ceiling, a music-synchronized light show, and even some interactive features. Just outside the station, the plaza between the station city and the massive Grand Front Osaka shopping mall has lit up its trees, set up hot food and drink stalls, and even made an ice skating rink for visitors to enjoy. The displays in both places shall stay lit in the evenings this winter until about 23:00 every night.

Cute colorful snowmen
Augmented Reality presents you could find with a free downloadable smartphone app
The Grand Front Osaka shopping center's outdoor plaza was lit up for the season
Hot food and drinks for sale at the Santa-bedecked food stalls on the plaza between Osaka Station City and Grand Front Osaka
An ice skating rink was set up in the plaza, too
Never too much Santa

In bustling Tennoji district, in the shadow of Japan's newly-opened tallest skyscraper, Abeno Harukas, Tennoji Park displays a large illumination in its grounds every winter. The Abeno Tennoji Illuminage features a variety of light displays, most of which include Osaka-centric iconic images. Arguably, though, the most enjoyable display is the running ninja that visitors follow the entire length of the exhibit. The illumination costs 1000 yen to see, and is open from November 1, 2014 through February 1, 2015, 17:30-21:30 every night.

The front entrance to the Abeno Tennoji Illuminage display in Tennoji Park
Lantern lane
Following the running ninja around the park was arguably the best part of the illumination
Ninja and Abeno Harukas, Japan's tallest skyscraper, in the background
A boat of lights is no match for a ninja

My last stop of the evening took me from Osaka's upscale Namba area to the administrative center of Nakanoshima Island along the Midosuji Road. Almost the entire length of the 3-kilometer road is lined with ginko trees, which in the winter are covered in colorful lights. Several of the buildings along the street also decorate their store fronts and surroundings creating a lovely atmosphere to stroll through.

On Nakanoshima Island, the event of the season is the Osaka Hikari Renaissance. Several of the beautiful old buildings on the island are lit up with creative displays and there are several light tunnels and art displays to enjoy, too. Combined with music-synchronized light shows and food stalls and cafes selling good, the atmosphere here was festive and lively. Most of the lights on Nakanoshima also stay lit till 22:00 and are free for visitors to enjoy.

The bright city lights around Namba's Midosuji Street
Champange colored lights lighting the ginko-lined Midosuji Street
Ginko and lights
The illumination along Midosuji Street stretch almost the entire of the 3-kilometer street, from Nakanoshima Island to Namba Station
Several buildings along Midosuji Street were decorated for the season
Osaka City Hall's illumination
A music-synchronized tunnel of lights, a part of the Osaka Hikari Renaissance Illumination on Nakanoshima Island
Art dispalys on Nakanoshima Island
Plenty of food vendors for the event
Osaka Chuo Town Hall amidst the lights
Osaka Chuo Town Hall turned into an ever-changing canvas
Joyeux Noël

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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