Visiting Tokyo’s Amusement Park Winter Illuminations

There is something distinct to look forward to in every season in Japan. As a country with such defined seasons (and sub-seasons – rainy season we’re looking at you) there are events in every part of the year to eagerly anticipate, and winter is no exception. As an antidote to the long nights and cold morning commutes, Japan puts on spectacular illuminations. Before we came to Japan we had never heard of ‘illuminations’ but it has now become a joy-filled word in our vocabulary. Illuminations イルミネーション are enormous light displays that take place between November and April every year to brighten the winter months.

Yomiuri Land

This year we were determined to visit some of the bigger illuminations that Tokyo has to offer and one such illumination is the Yomiuri Land ‘Jewellumination’. Yomiuri Land よみうりランド is an amusement park in south-west Tokyo that takes about 30-40mins to reach from Shinjuku Station. This year’s illumination theme was ‘Jewellumination,’ with 12 different light areas based on the 12 birthstones.

We took the gondola from the train station into the park and my oh my was it worth it. The illuminations from above were so spectacular and we got an idea of the park layout before we touched down. The park has over 6.5 million bulbs in total and it must take an incredible amount of patience and effort to construct the displays. They are so intricate and programmed perfectly to music as well.

We just got a night pass that allows you access to the illuminations with no rides passes. But if you go with just a night pass, never fear, you will still have plenty to see and do. Wandering around the lights, stopping to take photos and perusing the different rides took us about 2 hours. The light displays took to every surface imaginable; crawling up the trees, lining the roofs and fences and even lighting up a small strip of the rollercoaster track. And it didn’t stop there. There were Christmas trees erected from lights, a water and light show and light tunnels to walk through.

Even though we didn’t go on any rides, they were still fun to watch as many of them are quite unique. There are Nissan car company rides and Nissin Foods (instant noodle company) rides and experiences as well as the fashion factory. There is a whole area dedicated to rides for kids, many of which are self-propelled rides, in order to tucker them out. Some of the other rides include a standing rollercoaster, go-karting, giant drop, merry-go-round and ferris wheel. So if rides are your thing there is something for everyone and if they’re not your thing, they’re still amusing to watch, especially with the COVID guidelines to ‘scream inside your heart’ on rollercoasters.

After all of your venturing around the light displays you may be a little peckish and there is an abundance of food options throughout the park. There’s everything from pizza to churros and miso ramen. We had a delightful cheese and maple syrup pizza that was surprisingly delicious and a churro to finish off the night before we headed back onto the gondola.

Tickets

We would definitely recommend purchasing your tickets beforehand so that you don’t have to line up. You will get a QR code via email that is scanned upon entry. There are a few different ticket types that you can check out on their site but we just got the ‘night pass’ that is simply entry to see the illuminations without any ride passes. However, if you’re into rides, there are tickets that allow for unlimited ride passes and a few other ticket types too. If you don’t need unlimited ride passes you can also buy individual ride tickets in the park.

Please note that, like many websites in Japan, the ticketing information is only on the Japanese site and not on the English site. This is the link to the online tickets page on the Japanese site, just remember to right click on the page and hit ‘translate to English’ to help you book your tickets. Another tip to remember is that often translated pages go a little out of whack, so translate them back to Japanese if you go to click on something and it doesn’t work.

There is also a discount promotion on at the moment for foreign passport holders to get discounted tickets by answering the short questionnaire located here.

How to get there

Take the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station to Keio Yomiuriland Station. You then have a few options to reach the park from there.

Option 1: Gondola – We would HIGHLY recommend this option. The gondolas have an amazing view of Tokyo on the way up and then overlook the illuminations on the way down into the park. A gondola ride is ¥500 for a return trip or ¥300 for a one way trip. Note that the line was quite long for the gondola so if you’re in a rush perhaps choose another option, but this option is really cool and the line moved quite quickly so we weren’t waiting too long.

Option 2: Bus – We were unsure how the bus worked but there a some limited instructions on their site about the bus.

Option 3: Walk – The walking path follows the gondola and should take about 20 minutes. There are quite a few stairs because it goes up and over a hill, so take that into consideration too, depending on your situation.

Yomiuri Land is definitely worth a visit, even if you’re not into rides. The illuminations are so spectacular and incredible to witness.


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