This winter, Shinagawa City and the Shinagawa Tourism Association are introducing three beautiful illumination experiences for visitors to Tokyo. The Meguro River Illumination, Oimachi Illumination, and the romantic Valentine’s Day/White Day illumination at Nishi-koyama are sure to provide a bright and cheerful way to warm your spirits this winter break.
A modern take on a Japanese tradition
The Meguro River area is known as a top destination in Tokyo for taking in the famed beauty of Japan’s cherry blossoms. However, that needn’t mean those visiting in winter should miss out. Perhaps you can think of it as hanami (the Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers) with a twist. These modern day illuminations light up the night was beautiful colors and draw crowds looking to enjoy the night lights. Of course, the illuminations themselves aren’t the only things to light up at night. From the water, you’re afforded grand views of Tokyo, making a boat on the river the best way to take in the sights of the nighttime skyline.
For a traditional experience, Funasei’s historic fleet of yakatabune (Japanese style houseboats) offers guests a truly authentic experience, indulging in the freshest of Japanese cuisine while cruising the waters and taking in the sights of the spectacular illuminations. These entertaining cruises are perfect for friends and family and provide an authentic experience complete with Japanese lanterns and tatami style seating.
Shinagawa’s Rich Cultural History
Shinagawa itself has a long and storied history. Once the first station out of Edo (Tokyo) along the famous Tōkaidō, Shinagawa enjoyed a strategic position on the harbor, and it is for both of those reasons it had legitimate claims of being known as the gateway to Tokyo. In days gone by the area bustled as it does now, only with traditional inns and eateries, and was a leisure destination for many during the Edo Period.
Those looking to explore the city on foot should check out the urban illuminations complete with pedestrian walking decks in the Oimachi Station area of Shinagawa.
For a more romantic escape visit Nishi-koyama during February and March to for Valentines Day and White Day.
Kick-starting the holiday season
Running from November 20 of this year to February 16 of the New Year, the Meguro River’s opening ceremony featured Cinnamoroll, Shinagawa City’s sightseeing ambassador, to officially kick things off with the help of an enthusiastic crowd. The children absolutely loved playing with the cuddly mascot. When the countdown from ten had expired, the river came to life as 423,980 radiant pink light bulbs began to dance off the water’s surface, mimicking night-time blossoms, much to the delight of the crowd.
These lights will be available for locals and tourists, families and couples this holiday season. Visit Shinagawa City and the Meguro River areas to view the best and brightest of Tokyo's offerings.
Take in the experiences
- What: Meguro River Illuminations
- When: November 20th, 2017 to February 8th, 2018
- Where: Along the Meguro River. Nearest stations: Gotanda or Osaki station
- Website (Japanese): http://www.minna-no-illumi. com/
Funasei Yakatabune River Cruises
- What: Enjoy your night out on a party boat with full course meals and tatami seating.
- When: Available all season
- Where: Yakatabune & Cruiser Funasei
- Website (English): https://www.funasei.com/english
- What: Illumination with Cinnamoroll statue and Pedestrian walking decks.
- When: October 28th, 2017 to January 8th, 2018 (Cinnamoroll) and until March 31st, 2018 (Pedestrian deck)
- Where: Oimachi Station West Exit (Cinnamoroll) and Oimachi Station East Exit (Pedestrian deck)
- Website (Japanese): https://www.city.shinagawa.tokyo.jp/PC/shinagawaphotonews/shinagawaphotonews-2017/hpg000032314.html
- What: This event celebrates both Valentine’s Day and the Japanese tradition of White Day
- When: February 10th to March 18th, 2018
- Where: Plaza in front of Nishi-Koyama Station
- Website (Japanese): https://www.city.shinagawa.tokyo.jp/PC/shinagawaphotonews/shinagawaphotonews-2017/hpg000030417.html