One of Japan’s Best Winter Illuminations at Nabana no Sato

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Photo by Carlos Honda
December 22, 2014

Now that we have hit December it is beginning to feel a lot like winter. One of the things I love most about the winter season here in Japan is the spectacular winter illuminations that can be seen across the country. One of the very best is at Nabana no Sato (なばなの里) in Mie Prefecture.

Nabana no Sato is a theme park dedicated to flowers. Located on the island of Nagashima in Kuwana City, the park is famous for its seasonal flower shows. While I do enjoy the beautiful flowers on display the highlight for me every year is the winter illuminations.

Nabana no Sato can claim to have one of the biggest and best illumination displays in all of Japan.

Japan doesn’t hold back when it comes to lights and Nabana no Sato is no exception. The park is illuminated with around 8 million LED lights, which turn it into a winter wonderland straight out of a fairy tale.

The theme of the displays changes from year to year. Last year the theme was “Nature” featuring a giant LED illuminated model of the World Heritage Mount Fuji. This year, the main display and theme is “Niagara Falls”. The huge scale illumination of Niagara Falls is stunning at about 20 meters in height and 120 meters in width.

light-tunnel

One thing that doesn’t change every year is the world famous light tunnel. The tunnel is created using around 1.2 million light bulbs, and is truly spectacular at 200 meters in length. It draws in the crowds each and every year. It is definitely my favourite part of the winter illuminations at Nabana no Sato.

A new addition in recent times has been the Kawazu Sakura light tunnel. Just as spectacular as the light tunnel but not quite as large or long. It is around 100 meters long with 700,000 pink LED lights. The tunnel is popular with couples and is designed to resemble the Kawazu cherry tree, which is an early blooming variety of cherry tree. It certainly attracts the eye with its pink colour and is a hint of the warmth of spring which is a few months away.

Kawazu-Sakura-Light-Tunnel

The park is quite large and does involve a lot of walking, so you will be glad to hear that there is also an “ashiyu” foot bath. The foot spa is free to use and is a welcome relief to soak your tired feet as well as to warm up from the cold. The foot spa is made from natural spring water contained underground. Make sure to bring a small towel to enjoy the experience.

Entry to the park is ¥2,000 during winter, which includes an in-store coupon of ¥1,000 to use within the park. This can be used to purchase some souvenirs at the shops, or even used to put towards a meal at one of the many restaurants around the park.

My favourite is the full size beer hall called the Nagashima Beer Garden (長島地ビール園). It is a must for any beer lover and features 3 types of locally brewed craft beer, as well as some pretty tasty izakaya style bar food.

Details:

Address: 270 Komae, Nagashima-cho, Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture 511-1144
Hours: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Admission: Standard ¥1,500 Winter ¥2,000
Winter Illuminations: October 25, 2014 to March, 31 2015
Contact: 0594-41-0787

Access:

From Nagoya you can take either a JR or Kintetsu train to Kuwana Station. Take a non-stop direct bus to Nabana no Sato (なばなの里) from Kuwana Station bus rotary, which is right in front of Sangi Nishi Kuwana Station. Buses run every 30 minutes or so and it’s about a 10 minute ride and ¥240 one-way.

If you’re coming by car from Nagoya both Route 23 and Route 1 cross the island of Nagashima. Once on the island, follow signs for Nabana no Sato. By expressway, The Higashi Meihan Expressway (東名阪自動車道) crosses the island of Nagashima. Get off at the Nagashima Interchange (長島IC) and follow the signs to the park.

Topics:  

Japan blogger, photographer and traveler.
  • Hi Flavia, Yes, still definitely on until March 31st. You can visit their website for confirmation http://www.nagashima-onsen.co.jp/nabana/illumination/index.html/

  • Kelsie Fowler

    Hi John, How much time do you think you need to spend at Nabana no Sato?

    • Hi Kelsie, I would recommend at least 2-3 hours to fully enjoy all that the place has to offer. You can enjoy the restaurants and foot-spa along with the beautiful flowers so take your time and enjoy the experience.

      John Asano

  • Guanga

    Hello, I was wondering if you think it’s worth it to make a trip there in the afternoon? Or does the magic only happen at night?

    • It is also beautiful during the day when you can see all the beautiful flowers in bloom. The illuminations only run from October to March.

  • Hello! Yes, I think that is possible. You can get to Nagoya easily from Kyoto. Nabana no Sato is really close to Nagoya and it is only around 20 km away.

    I hope you enjoy it

    John Asano

  • AL

    Hi! We are staying in Kyoto and Osaka for 6 days but would like to make a day trip to Nabana No Sato. How do you recommend we best travel there? We are budget travelers by the way 🙂

    • Hello! Make your way to Nagoya from either Osaka and Kyoto. You can get a Kintetsu Limited Express from Osaka to Nagoya for a much cheaper price than the Shinkansen, but it takes around 2 hours. From Nagoya you can take the JR Kansai Line to Kuwana and then follow the instructions posted above in the article.

  • Diego

    Hello John! just discover your blog and i like it!Want to ask you about the time illumination begins.We are going next month an planned to visit Nabana no Sato but want to know when we must go there…maybe 4-5 pm? Thanks in advance John.

    • Hello Diego, You are going to love it. You can visit any time of the day, but the illuminations will not come on until the evening, which is just before 5 pm in winter. There is plenty to do there so if you arrive late afternoon it would be perfect. You can check out all the seasonal flowers, take a foot spa and then enjoy the illuminations. Hope you have a great time! John

  • Mai Phuong Du

    Hi John, this just look amazing, I’m planing to go this November 2016. Will the show still be available?

    • Thank you! Yes, it will start up again around October 2016, but the theme and main attraction change every year. I’m looking forward to hearing what it will be in 2016.

      John

  • Maria Fransisca

    Hi John, i found your blog about nabana no sato and now ive decided that i will go there this end of Feb, but im so confused about the transportation coz i cant seems to find how to go from Nagashima spaland to Nabana no Sato, do u mind letting me know how?
    thanks!

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