Post: Wednesday November 25, 2015
Tokyo Midtown represents the pinnacle of the Tokyo design scene, an edgy confluence of sky-scraping wonder that is home to the famed “Art Triangle,” and various permanent sculptures. As superb as these treasures are, however, few of them can compare to Midtown Christmas 2015, a Tokyo illumination spectacle during which an impressive total of 520,000 lights decorate an entire park in the heart of the city, the beauty and innovation on display sure to inspire holiday cheer. This year’s festivities, which mark the 9th anniversary of the event, began in mid-November. Let’s take a look at some of the high-lights.
Photo by Hajime Nagahata on Flickr
The main attraction of Midtown Christmas, Starlight Garden, is a three and a half minute light show synced to music. Using 180,000 full colored LED lights, MIDTOWN creates a stunning galaxy on earth, a space world where immense planets appear to float amid a sprawling sea of stars. All of this is accomplished through a cutting-edge combination of Vision Dome technology and an entirely new illumination system called “MAKI,” which adds a dazzling sparkle to the Starlight Garden for the finishing touch.
Though Starlight Gardenis the main part of this particular Tokyo illumination event, the stroll leading up to it is equally entertaining, providing a magical entryway into a glittering planetary starscape. Before beginning your celestial journey, you are beckoned by the most earthly of creatures: Trees, each with their own happy holiday messages to impart.
Photo by chibicode on Flickr
A total of five luminous “welcome trees” are located throughout Midtown Christmas. At 5 pm, Christmas music will issue forth from their branches, proclaiming a renewed sense of holiday cheer every night during the event.
The trees at the starting spot, where people begin their Midtown Christmas cruise leading up to Starlight Garden, offer a host of prismatic delights designed to immediately put people in the holiday spirit. Trees just outside of the Midtown entrance spring to life in vibrant pink and white; and trees inside the plaza area are cast in four different colors expressing natural phenomena such as aurora, sunrises, rainbows and blue skies. These colors go beyond the typical Tokyo Christmas lights, expressing themes that everybody can relate to.
Stepping onto Starlight Road, the path which connects to the garden, you will feel as if surrounded by calming candlelight. With its harmony of man-made illumination and natural trees, this area is meant to convey the feeling of omotenashi, the spirit of Japanese hospitality.
Before Tokyo Midtown was developed, this area was previously the home of the Japanese Defense Agency. A 70-year old Camphor tree, which stands in the Midtown Garden like a sentinel on watch, is thus said to have been protecting this area. 10,300 LED lights illuminate this symbolic tree, highlighting its decades-old vigil for all to see.
Internationally-renowned singer Enya planted this tree as a symbol of her wish for peaceful coexistence between humanity and nature. The Enya Tree has actually been a part of this Tokyo illumination in years past and continues to promote a feeling of tolerance and unity.
20,000 LED lights illuminate 9 trees to create an effect reminiscent of falling snowflakes, the atmosphere made ever more enchanting by the shape they take: Champaign glasses! With a total of 9 gleaming glasses to choose from, couples, friends and families alike shouldn’t have trouble finding one to stand under to soak in the romance of the holiday season.
Photo by Guilhem Vellut on Flickr
Awash with white and blue in equal measure, this is the final path on the journey of light and the entryway into Starlight Garden. Perhaps due to the color scheme, walking on Starlight Road feels akin to ascending farther and farther into the atmosphere before touching the stars—an appropriate sensation given the final destination!
Santa Tree, Diamond Dust, and Frost Flower Chandelier
The Santa Tree, located inside the Galleria, is actually made up of 1800 small Santa Clause ornaments all stacked together to form that most iconic shape of Christmas. Enjoy finding your favorite Santa!
Never mind that diamond dust is actually a natural phenomenon that can only happen in areas of the world where the winter is extremely cold. The brilliant and breathtaking effect is recreated right here in relatively balmy Tokyo, also inside the Galleria.
Frost Flower Chandelier
Frost flowers, also known as Angel Wings, are created when flowers freeze, their petals and stems appearing to extend out as beautiful needles of ice. Apparently angel wings often occur naturally on frozen lakes, but why wait for nature to provide? Enjoy a chandelier fashioned after crystalline frost flowers, nature flawlessly rendered as art, located inside the garden terrace.
Photo by Taichiro Ueki on Flickr
Other Tokyo Illumination 2015 Holiday Events
Roppongi Hills Keyakizaka Galaxy Illumination
With its crimson candlelight vibe, not to mention the hidden treasures along the way (look carefully for some surprises!) this relatively new Tokyo illumination is nothing short of heartwarming.
Date: 11/4/2015 – 12/25/2015
Time: 17:00 – 23:00
Place: Roppongi Keyakizaka Dori
Access: Tokyo Metro Roppongi Station
Ebisu Garden Place
An immense crystal chandelier that looks as if created from snow and ice is the main attraction during this event, which also features trees festively cast in a matching pearly white light.
Date: 11/7/2015 – 1/11/2016
Time: 16:00 – 12:00
Place: Ebisu Garden Place
Access: JR Ebisu Station, East Exit, Exit 1.
This Tokyo illumination is a sensational annual explosion of 500,000 dazzling LED lights strung grandly on the trees between Omotesando and Jingumae.
Date: 11/5/2015 – 12/25/2015
Time: 11:00 – 23:00
Place: Omotesando Hills
Access: Tokyo Metro Omotesando Station, Meiji jingumae Station, JR Harajuku station
Akasaka Terrace Oto x Terrace
This event eschews illuminated trees for a slightly more futuristic concept, a string of simple, flashing white sculptures that appear to be made of glow rods. Enjoy these curiosities—and some shopping—as you stroll along the avenue.
Date: 11/5/2015 – 2/25/2016
Time: 16:00 –24:00
Place: Akasaka Terrace
Access: Tokyo Metro Akasaka Station, Akasaka Mitsuke Station, Tameike Sanno Station
Approximately 200 roadside trees along Marunouchi Naka-Dori Street of approximately 1.2km connecting Otemachi and Yurakucho shine with brilliant and elegant “champagne gold" colors by about 1 million LED lights. Various Christmas events also will be held around the street.
Date: 2015/11/12 - 2016/02/14
Time: 17:00 - 23:00 (In December hours will be extended to 24:00)
Place: Along Marunouchi Naka-Dori Street and elsewhere
Access: JR Tokyo Station (Marunouchi Exit), Metro Otemachi Station
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