Back in the winter I wrote a story on the Sagamiko light show and mentioned I had reservations for Myoko this summer. We finally made the trip to APA Myoko Pine Valley Resort in Niigata Prefecture.
The weather was very uncertain and the prediction was for rain and thunderstorms. We arrived at Sekiyama station before noon and referring to the JR August brochure took a taxi to what was advertised as a huge sunflower display. Well that was a wasted 2500 yen round trip. It turns out it was a cornfield. The August 2016 brochure showed a beautiful sunflower field, which had not yet been planted.
We returned to the station and waited for our shuttle to APA resort. APA is huge hotel resort chain, their letters stand for “Always Pleasant Amenity.”
The Myoko Pine Valley Resort offers a well maintained golf course, tennis, miniature golf, swimming cycling, table tennis, disk golf, fishing, a communal onsen, a bathhouse with natural hot spring water, and hiking.
But the biggest attraction is the Happiness Illumination. The display includes a Guinness world's largest image using solar powered LED lights called the “the sky of the flower garden.” The show also features the world’s largest tunnel of light measuring 984 feet, “the Gate of Happiness,” which was all up hill for some good exercise.
This year they used 1.6 million lights to cover nearly 10 acres taking about 1 ½ hours to walk.
In two areas they had 3D water projection mapping. It was very colorful and interesting.The theme was about the birth and life of dragons. Many displays featured lights in sync with upbeat music.
At the end of the illuminations there are several food and souvenir booths. If you need a full meal, the resort has some good restaurants.
Our luck was with us again it did not rain during our stroll through the light show.
It is hard to compare this display to the Sagamiko illumination since they are completely different. I would rate both as excellent.
The Happiness Illumination show runs from August to Mid-November, so it does not compete with winter shows.
The event hours are from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM and there is an admission charge of ¥1,000 (¥900 if tickets are purchased in advance).
APA Myoko Pine Valley resort is accessible from Tokyo via the Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet Train) to Nagano and transfer to the JR Shinetsu Main Line towards Naoetsu, to the Sekiyama Station. There are local buses that take you from the station to the resort or if staying at APA then make reservations for the free shuttle.
This is another great way to spend your summer days in Japan.