The 8 best winter illuminations in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara!


Are you wondering where to go sightseeing in Kansai in winter?

In Japan, major illumination events will be held in various locations.

Starting with Umeda, Osaka, the center of Kansai, historic buildings and symbols in Kyoto and Nara will be decorated with gorgeous colors for a limited period of time. This year, Kobe’s traditional festival, which is filled with the prayers and hopes of the citizens of Kobe, will also make a comeback. Please be sure to include it in your travel plans.


※All photos are for illustrative purposes only.


<Osaka>Festival of the lights in OSAKA 2023

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「Midosuji Ilumination2023」~2023/12/31

「OSAKA Hikari-Renaissance 2023」2023/12/14~2023/12/25

「Illuminaight Bampaku」~2023/12/30(Friday, Saturday and Sunday only),2023/12/28


“Festival of the lights in OSAKA 2023” is a major winter event that takes place in various locations throughout Osaka Prefecture!

“Midosuji Ilumination2023” will illuminate Midosuji, the symbolic street connecting Umeda, Shinsaibashi, and Namba, for a total length of 4 kilometers. At the Umeda Suction Tower, the starting point of Midosuji, Japan’s first landmark laser will pierce the sky!

“OSAKA Hikari-Renaissance 2023”, the Osaka City Central Public Hall, an important cultural asset located in Nakanoshima, will be decorated with projection mapping using overwhelming visual beauty, sound effects, and the latest technology.

The symbolic Tower of the Sun at the “Illuminaight Bampaku” in Expo’70 Commemorative Park will be decorated with luster and color.


Venues: Midosuji area, Osaka Central Public Hall, Expo’70 Commemorative Park, etc.



Access (Umeda Suction Tower):
5-minute walk from Hankyu Osaka-Umeda Station,
a short walk from Hanshin Osaka-Umeda Station

<Osaka・Umeda>UMEDA SKYBUILDING Christmas 2023

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Umeda Sky Building, a tourist spot in Umeda, is also holding an illumination event, with an LED mapping tree using the latest digital technology welcoming visitors to the plaza on the first floor. The tree is 25 meters high, making it a very impressive sight!
At the Kuchu Teien Observatory, the indoor observation floor on the 40th floor will be transformed into a forest of white trees! The space is enveloped in blue light, as if it were covered with snow. Don’t forget to take a commemorative photo at the photo spot that resembles a snow globe!


Venue: Umeda Sky Building



9-minutes walk from Hankyu Osaka-Umeda Station,
13-minutes walk from Hanshin Osaka-Umeda Station





An illuminated space appears with Osaka Castle, one of Osaka’s tourist attractions!
The history of Osaka, from the Warring States Period to the present day, will be represented with approximately 3.5 million illuminated bulbs on the vast waterfront of light.


In addition to the fun Osaka-style programs, unique illuminations, and LED neon lights, there will also be participatory illuminations such as a gimmick in which the lights move along with the movements of the participants and a glowing seesaw. The night is sure to be full of attractions and vividly illuminated scenography.


Venue: Osaka Castle Nishinomaru Garden



14-minutes walk from Tanimachi 4-chome Station
on the Osaka Metro Tanimachi and Chuo Lines.



Date:~2023/12/25(Christmas illumination) ~2024/2/29(Winter illumination)


The tree at Grand Front Osaka entertains visitors with surprising tricks every year. This year, a 12-meter high tree with a merry-go-round motif will make its debut. The gorgeous sound and light lighting show is also a must-see!

This year’s event is also a collaboration with the world-famous LEGO (R) brand. A rally in which you can complete your own LEGO (R) mini-figure is being held.

Outside the facility, the Umekita Plaza and the Yaki-no-Namiki trees will be decorated with gorgeous champagne gold, adult-like illumination, creating a fantastic winter mood.


Venue: Grand Front Osaka



4-minutes walk from Hankyu Osaka-Umeda Station,
5-minutes walk from Hanshin Osaka-Umeda Station

<Osaka・Umeda>Also recommended! Umeda's Winter Event “UMEDA MEETS HEART 2023”




The town of Umeda will be decorated and illuminated in the shape of hearts.


Messages of dreams and hopes from children will be displayed as giant artworks, stamp collecting will be held to make walking around the town fun, and the whole town will be filled with heartwarming hearts.
From December 15 to 17, a Marche (at Nishi-Umeda Park) with hot drinks and gourmet kitch


Venue: Umeda area



Short walk from Hankyu Osaka-umeda Station
and Hanshin Osaka-Umeda Station

<Hyogo>Kobe Luminarie




Kobe Luminarie, a winter festival held in the heart of Sannomiya, has been held as a symbol of hope for the citizens of Kobe, who suffered great damage in the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.
This year, the event will be held for the first time in four years, and the venue has been expanded.
Under the theme of “Kobe, Shining Light for the Future,” giant works of light will appear, including the 39-meter-wide, 19-meter-high “Spalliera” light wall hanging (Kobe East Park venue) and a 70-meter-long corridor of light (Meriken Park venue).


Venue: Kobe East Park, Former Foreign Settlement, Meriken Park



Kobe East Park,Former Foreign Settlement /
10-minute walk from Hankyu Kobe Line Kobe-sannomiya Station,
10-minute walk from Hanshin Main Line Kobe-Sannomiya Station
Meriken Park /
10-minute walk from Hankyu Kobe Line Hanakuma Station,
10-minute walk from Hanshin Main Line Motomachi Station

Kobe East Park⇔Meriken Park/13 minutes walk

<Kyoto>NAKED YORU MO-DE 2023 Heian Jingu Shrine

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The shrine pavilions of Heian Jingu Shrine are transformed into a different world with light and sound effects!
This is a new type of event in which important cultural properties and the Japanese garden are decorated with art such as projection mapping and lantern lighting.
Of particular note is the interactive art “Corridor of Light”. Lanterns illuminate the long corridor of Daigoku-den Hall, an Important Cultural Property, which is normally off-limits to visitors. If you place the lanterns in the right places, the projection mapping will change!


At “Chozuya of Light” visitors can also experience the magical experience of having colorful lights projected in the palm of their hands as they purify their hands and mouths before praying.


Venue: Heian Jingu Shrine




Take the Kyoto city bus from Hankyu Kyoto Line Kyoto-kawaramachi Station
and alight at OkazakikoenBijutsukan/Heianjingu-mae.
It's a 5-minute walk from there.

<Nara>Tenpei Water Symphony

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A limited-time water projection is now being held at the Heijo-kyo(Nara Palace Site Historical Park), the capital of Japan that flourished some 1,300 years ago and is registered as a World Heritage site!

The huge water screen, 15 meters wide and 5 meters high, will be projected on a winter evening with a variety of visuals and effects.


The water projection reproduces the world of the Tenpyo Period with motifs such as the origins of Heijo-kyo, the concept of the five colors handed down in Buddhism, and world heritage sites around the world. Enjoy the fantastic space of shimmering water and colors!


Venue: Heijo-kyo(Nara Palace Site Historical Park), Suzakumon Hiroba



Transfer from Osaka Namba Station on the Hanshin Namba Line to the Kintetsu Nara Line.
2-minute walk from Yamato-Saidaiji Station.

Illuminations that warm the heart are a special treat on a cold winter night. We hope it will be a memorable part of your trip to Japan!

About the author

Your source for sweets and gourmet information!
Editor and writer in charge of outing information media in Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka area for more than 10 years.
I will introduce you to the most popular stores, talked-about gourmet foods, and sightseeing spots in Japan.



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