HOME > PATH Magazine > Asia
Tokyo Illumination Part I
A Romantic Christmas in Ebisu
Christmas in Tokyo is different than in other countries where you might think of snow, sweet carols and busy streets. Instead, a Tokyo Christmas is full of calm music and quiet anticipation. And in Japan, Christmas isn’t even a holiday – the 25th of December is a normal business day. The 23rd of December is the Emperor’s birthday and is celebrated as a holiday. Given the multiple gods that influence Japanese culture through Shintoism, what meaning might Christmas have for the Japanese?
In Tokyo, Christmas is expressed through illuminations. Visit the city to see the diverse, beautiful light displays and to experience a Japanese Christmas.
*Related to the design on pages 2-4
Specify the matching spot number the same as in method number two. (Currently we are considering moving the spot information forward and the images backward)
(Considering whether the spot information for spots 1-3 on page 2 could go over to page 3)
* Besides choosing one of these methods, all of these parts will have to be completed on pages 2-4.
Tokyo Christmas by Subway, 18 Best Spots for Winter Illuminations
Ebishu is already one of the most well-known Tokyo illumination spots. But it’s still an important place to go to in the Tomita station area, so let’s focus on the best illumination spots on our PATH. We’ve picked 18 spots for winter illuminations that you can get to by taking the JR subway line in Japan.
1. Tokyo Michi Terrace 2015
Dates: 24/12/2015 – 27/12/2016
Transportation: Exit from the Marunouchi North/South exits of the JR Yamanote Line at Tokyo Station
Location: Chiyoda, Marunouchi Area
Times: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
2. TOKYO STATION Tokyo Colours, 2015
Dates: 1/12/2015 – 11/1/2016
Transportation: Exit from the Yaesu central exit of the JR Yamanote Line at Tokyo Station
Location: Chiyodaku Tokyo Station Grand Loop 2nd Fl
Open: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
3. Marunouchi Illuminations 2015
Dates: 12/11/2015 – 14/2/2016
Transportation: Walk 1 minute from the Marunouchi North/South exits of the JR Yamanote Line at Tokyo Station
Location: Chiyodaku, Marunouchi Nakadori
Times: 5 pm – 11 pm (expected to be open until 12:00 am in December)
4. NIHONBASHI ILLUMINATIONS collaborated with FLOWERS
Dates: 20/11/2015 – 14/2/2016
Transportation: Walk 6 minutes from the Nihonbashi exit (Coredo Nihonbashi) of the JR Yamanote Line at Tokyo Station
Location: Coredo Nihonbashi, Coredo Muromachi 1·2·3, Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower
5. Shinjuku Minamirumi
Dates: 11/11/2015 – 14/2/2016 (until 25/12 in front of JR HQ)
Transportation: Exit from the Sazan Terrace or the Sinnam exit of the JR Yamanote Line at Shinjuku Station
Location: Shinjuku Sazan Terrace, Takashimaya Times Square Shinjuku Mines Tower
Open: 5 pm – 12 am (expected to be from 4:30 pm in December)
6. Tokyo Dome City Winter Illumination: Fantasy of sound and light
Dates: 10/11/2015 – 14/2/2016
Transportation: 1 minute walk from the East/West exit from Suidobashi Station on the JR Chuo Sobu Line (stops at every station)
Location: Bunkyo; Tokyo Dome City
Open: 5:00 pm – 1:00 am
7. Shiodome City Center. Panasonic Tokyo Shiodome Building “SHIODOME GO-ROUND”
Dates: 13/11/2015 – 11/1/2016
Transportation: Walk three minutes from the Shiodome exit of Shinbashi Station on the JR Yamanote Line
Location: Minato, Shiodome City Center, Panasonic Toko Shiodome Building
Open: 4:00 – 11:00 pm
8. Meguro River Illumination 2014: Winter’s Cherry Blossoms
Dates: 11/21/2014 – 12/25
Transportation: Walk six minutes from the eastern exit of Osaki Station on the JR Yamanote line/6 minutes from the western exit of Gotanda Station on the JR Yamanote line.
Location: Shinagawal; Suien Square near Gotanda or Nakamegu river walk path
Open: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
9. The best Baccarat chandelier: Baccarat ETERNAL LIGHTS
Dates: 11/8/2014 – 1/12/2015
Transportation: 5 minute walk from the east exit of Ebisu Station on the JR Yamanote line. (Use the Ebisu sky walk)
Location: Shibuya; Ebisu Garden Place Central Plaza
Open: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am (Baccarat 250 year founding chandelier from 12 pm))
10. Lake Sagami Illumination 2015-2016: The largest scale lighting
Dates: 31/10/2015 – 10/4/2016
Transportation: Take a bus from Sagamiho Station on the JR Central Line and get off at the Pleasure Forest. Then walk one mile.
Location: Lake Sagami Resort Pleasure Forest
Open: 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm (final entry at 9:00 pm)
11. Illumination of LA CITTADELLA (NATALE 2015): An Italian street becomes mysteriously coloured.
Dates: 12/11/2015 – 25/12/2015
Transportation: Walk 5 minutes from Kawasaki Station on the JR Keihin-Tohoku line.
Location: Kawasaki; LA CITTADELLA
Open: 4:30 pm – 12:00 am
12. Mother Farm Illuminations 2015-2016: A beautiful world created on a farm in winter
Dates: 24/10/2015 – 31/01/2016 (Lights on every day until 11/01; Sat, Sunday, Holidays on after)
Transportation: 20 minute drive from Sanukimachi Station on the JR Uchibo Line
Location: Kira Kira Farm
Open: 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
13. 25th Annual Chiba City Illumination (Lumiere Chiba 2015)
Dates: 20/11/2015 – 13/1/2016
Transportation: Straight from the north exit of Chiba station on the JR Sobu Line.
Location: Chiba; on the Rotary Central Park Promenade next to JR Chiba Station
Open: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm (New Year’s until 3 am)
14. Saitama New Urban Center, Keyaki Square Illumination 2015-16: Illuminations made with light and music
Dates: 7/11/2015 – 11/1/2016
Transportation: Walk 2 minutes from the west exit of the Saitama New Urban Center Station on the JR Keihin-Tohoku line.
Location: Saitama; Saitama New Urban Center Keyaki Square
Open: 5:00 pm – 12:00 am (Illuminations made with light and music on the hour)
15. 2014 Mito Art Museum (Art Tower Mito) Star Light Fantasy
Dates: 1/12/2015 – 11/1/2016
Transportation: Walk 1 minute from the north exit of Mito Station on the JR Joban Line.
Location: Mito; Mito Art Museum; Plaza at the north exit of Mito Station
Opening times: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
16. Ashikaga Flower Park (Flower Fantasy, Illumination Garden)
Dates: 24/10/2015 – 04/02/2016 (Closed on 31/12)
Transportation: 13 minute walk from Domita Station on the JR Ryoumou Line
Location: Ashikaga; Ashikaga Flower Park
Open: 4:30 pm – 9:00 pm (Saturday, Sunday, Holidays until 9:30 pm)
* Along with Enoshima, Doitsumura, these are the three regional illuminations
17. Utsunomiya Illumination 2015
Dates: 19/11/2015 – 15/1/2016
Transportation: Take a bus from the south exit of Utsunomiya Station on the JR Utsunomiya Line and get off at the Prefecture Government Office and then walk for 3 minutes
Location: Utsunomiya, Orion Square, Machicado Hiroba
Opening times: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
18. Dakasaki Light Illumination 2014: Dakasaki Road is filled with flowers!
Dates: 20/11/2015 – 25/12/2015
Transportation: Walk 1 minute from the west exit of Dakasaki Station on the JR Dakasaki Line.
Location: Dakasaki; Meeting room to the west of Dakasaki Station, road in front when exiting Dakasaki Station
Open: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Free Walking Ebisu PATH
There are so many spots around Tokyo where you can see illuminations. Let’s look around the Ebisu Illuminations. There is a lot to see around the Yebisu Garden Place and also a lot of things to eat, drink and otherwise enjoy. There are department stores, restaurant areas, cafés, hotels, walking paths and, of course, the beer museum. All these spots are located near one other, so that you don’t have to walk far to get to each place and you can spend an entire day there. Once the moon starts to come out in the night sky, you can see the trees, chandeliers and other types of lights that mark the Christmas season. Just like in a fairy tale, make new memories as you stand on a red carpet viewing beautiful lights.
[Tip] Nearby tourist spot – to get to Ebisu Shibuya, take the JR Yamanote line towards Shinjuku and get off after one stop. It’s only one stop, but walking would take 30 minutes, so it’s worth it, depending on the weather. It’s hard to find a hotel around Ebisu, so head to Shibuya if you’re looking for a place for the night.
Shibuya: Shibuya is a major transportation hub and has two large department stores in one of Tokyo’s leading commercial districts. This is a great place to go if you want to see Tokyo’s latest trends in shopping and watch the city’s young people. Once the sun goes down, Shibuya gets one level brighter, so enjoy a night in Shibuya.
If you go up the platform stairs or the escalator, there are stores before you reach the turnstile. Most are used by busy local businessmen or students. But they are a good place to find a snack if you are hungry and in a rush.
Before heading to your destination, go back a little bit and check out the stores in the Atre building. To visit the building, you have to be on the Hibiya Line. The department store has all sorts of food on display that will tempt you, and they’re hard to pass up.
Hibiya Kandan Style
Hibiya Kandan Style, right next to the Atre entrance, offers a wide variety of flowers and tends to catch your eye. Try finishing off a romantic winter evening with a bouquet of flowers.
SUSHI DELI MATSUE
This place makes custom sushi, but you can also pick up a sushi lunch box. You can choose white or brown rice and a selection of salmon, shrimp, crab and tuna. Finally, you can choose your vegetables and sauce. The price for a single item is around 300 yen.
Soup Stock Tokyo
Travelling around Japan, you’ll see this place a lot. Here you can always find a filling meal, whether it’s warm soup or cold sushi. They also have a rice meal menu, so go in without hesitation. Find the meal that warms you up best for the winter.
Come out of Atre and let’s head on to our destination. Follow the moving walk to the right of the exit. Since you will see the Yebisu Beer posters and promotions everywhere, you’ll remember again you’re in Yebisu.
YEBISU GARDEN PLACE
Once you arrive at the end of the moving walk, you’ll see an escalator going down and a door going outside. If you take the escalator through the basement you’ll go through Glass Square and if you go out the doors you’ll head toward Yebisu Garden Place. After coming out of the doors, between the two European style buildings, you can see the Baccarat ETERNAL LIGHTS illumination. There is also a large sign that says YEBISU GARDEN PLACE that will let you know where you are.
The GRANO DELICATESSEN BAR, or the Grano Deli for short, has a menu that uses high quality ingredients to provide healthy food. Here you can get some lunch for a reasonable price of 900 yen and have two items with a salad. There are indoor and outdoor seats, and the outdoor seats also have heaters to help you keep warm if you want to sit outside and enjoy the European atmosphere. In the evening they offer have house wine and alcoholic drinks. If you’re looking for a romantic spot for a meal, this is a nice choice.
Museum of YEBISU BEER
Yebisu beer is familiar to Korean consumers. But if you are only just being introduced to it, you‘ll want to remember Sapporo and Yebisu. Sapporo is head quartered near Ebisu station and right next to it is the Museum of YEBISU BEER.
Yebisu is named after one of the Seven Lucky Gods, the god of liquor no less, and is often chosen as a favourite beer by Japanese and Koreans alike. Yebisu has a passionate customer base in Japan because of its distinct flavour and character. By opening the Museum of YEBISU BEER, the company hopes to be able to tell customers and tourists about the history of beer in Japan and show off the flavour of their beer.
Beer Station ( ビヤステーション )
If you go down the alley next to the Grano Deli, you’ll find the Sapporo Beer Station. Here you can enjoy a meal, as well as a whole variety of Yebisu beers. If you visit here at lunch time, the first floor offers 4-5 lunch options, while the second floor offers a full buffet. It’s only 1,000 yen for both, so you can fill up for a reasonable price.
While waiting until it’s time to see more illuminations, why not walk around the Yebisu Garden Place. In this area you can find the Esmod Japon and Vantan fashion and style schools. If you’d like to know why this era has been responsible for so many fashion creators and designers, just take a walk and people watch. If you walk toward the Westin Hotel you can see some French style buildings and enjoy European style cafés.
Follow the road to the crossroads and the road will eventually split into three. Take the road all the way to the left and you’ll discover Chyorori. This is a local ramen restaurant that was introduced on the Japanese blog site, Tabelog. While you can get individual items, if you make it there for lunch, there are lunch sets that will fill you to the brim. You can choose between sets A, B, and C, and can also choose between a salted broth or soy sauce broth. The price is around 900 yen. The set comes with ramen, a bowl of rice, a little tofu and two or three dumplings.
While this is also an Italian restaurant, it is primarily a sports bar where people come to watch games on the big screen and have a beer. It also hosts wedding receptions on the weekend and is sometimes used as a photo shoot location for the fashion and beauty magazines in the area. You might even find a famous actor or actress inconspicuously enjoying a coffee with sunglasses on.
After taking a walk around the path around the Yebisu Garden, come back to the starting point and head into Glass Square. Follow the moving walk onto the escalator and go through the ground level building to enter.
Lion Beer House (ライオン)
Right in front of the escalator connecting Yebisu Garden Place with the tower is the Lion Beer House. Its decorations will stop you in your tracks. They also have good meals and snacks and the food on the menu is great in both quantity and quantity. Especially if you’re not sure what you want to have, or if you want to relax over a beer, this place will remind you of bars in South Korea. Other outlets can also be found in both Shibuya and Shinjuku.
YEBISU OYSTER BAR
There are few foods that go better with winter than oysters. Although some people don’t like oysters, if you’re an oyster lover, this is a great opportunity to have some of the best. There are plenty of sides available as well, with fried food and sausages, so even if you’re not an oyster fan you can enjoy a beer and some snacks here. You can even try some pizza at lunch. A set is 1,000 yen, so this place has already become popular with locals.
Mitzukoshi Department Store
Popular enough that most people have heard of it, the Mitzukoshi Department Store is found near the Garden Place. While it does carry foreign brands, this department store is known for it’s strong collection of high quality local products on display. The basement has a food court and a grocery store, and the third floor has a book store and café, so there is plenty do and see here, even if you’d like to rest. In December there are special products on sale for Christmas, and it is fun to look for these and see what you can find.
Saint German Bread café
Across the street from the department store, there is a bakery that couldn’t be better for a cup of coffee. Of course, there are also a variety of delicious breads and BLT sandwiches lightly crisped with butter for less than 1,000 yen. If it’s not raining or snowing, the terrace seats are quite enjoyable.
There is a large decorated tree in front of the café that really lights up the area. Around the tree, it seems like happy faces gather like moths to a flame. Enjoy the cool weather of the winter season in the city and remember how you felt waiting for Christmas as a kid.
‘Baccarat ETERNAL LIGHTS’
Turn away from the large tree and you’ll see a red carpet. Lights along the street glow and the Yebisu Garden Place has particularly beautiful illuminations. Lanterns appear all the way around and give a romantic atmosphere to the area. In that moment, it’ll seem like you could be caught up in a fantasy.
Every year there is a different theme, and this is the 16th year that the garden has had illuminations. This year they installed a large chandelier for the 20th anniversary of the Yebisu Garden Place and the 250th anniversary of Baccarat; hence the theme of Baccarat ETERNAL LIGHTS. The chandelier weighs 1.8 tons and is 8.4 metres high and 4.6 metres wide. It uses 410 light bulbs and is an incredible sight.
Go past the chandelier and go up the stairs to reach Shyato Square. The buildings, stairs and red carpet will make you feel as if you’re in a fairytale castle. The crystal lights shimmer like Cinderella’s glass slipper.
Again, go out through the entrance and back into the shopping area. You’ll see a number of small shops here and there around the Christmas Tree. Check out the crystal Santa and reindeer and take a moment to freely look around and enjoy the area. At the stores, there are plenty of drinks and snacks, so feel free to get a bite. It’s another great spot to commemorate a beautiful night in Tokyo.
1. Ebisu Statio
From Atre, you can see the surrounding area well and is quite large. Clothing and accessories are its basic items. You can also get stationary and coffee here and find a number of the things you may be looking for.
1-5-5 Ebisu Minami, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone 03 -5475 -8500
Open: Weekdays 10:00 am – 9:30 pm / 6Ｆ Restaurant 11:00 am– 11:00 pm (1/1 New Year’s Daay, 12/31 – 1/3 subject to change)
3. Hibiya Kandan Style Atre Ebisu
Right in front of the subway station, it is often used as a meeting place and with the colours of all the flowers, you’ll feel better every time you pass by.
1-5-5 Ebisu South, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Ebisu Art Les 3 floors
Telephone 03 -5475 -8701
Opening times: 10:00 am – 9:30 pm
4. SUSHI DELI MATSUE
You can choose the ingredients you want and order them in advance so that your lunch box will be ready for you.
M 1-2-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone 03 -3711 -4364
Opening times: Weekdays 11:30 am – 2:00 pm/5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
5. Soup Stock Tokyo
This restaurant has a menu with plenty of warm soups you can enjoy on a chilly day. They have clam chowder, chicken soup, porcini, and other seasonal items.
1-5-5 Ebisu South, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Ebisu Art Les 3 floors
Telephone 03 -5475 -8446
Opening times: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Saturdays 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sundays and Holidays 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
6. YEBISU GARDEN PLACE
This spot is central for the Ebisu illuminations and is a great place to take a break. The surrounding area has plenty of shopping, bars, restaurants, and cafés, and is a popular area for locals.
4-20-3 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone 03 -5423 -7111
Opening times: 7:00 am – 12:00 am
7. GRANO DELICATESSEN BAR
Here you can get a variety of healthy foods with a lunch menu salads and sandwiches. This is a great place to recharge when you are tired from your travels. With its great location, there are some very nice seats outside on the terrace, along with some seats inside.
Yebisu Garden Place 4-20-5 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Entrance Pavilion first floor
Telephone 03 -5447 -2800
Opening times: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
8. Museum of YEBISU BEER
Here you can see the history of Yebisu Beer. If you request a tour of the museum you will receive a tour, an explanation of the facility, and two beers for 500 yen. The explanation is in Japanese, but there are pamphlets in other languages. The tour takes 15 minutes and there is 25 minutes for the explanation and for the two beers, so it takes a total of 40 minutes. A good beer and a knowledge of Yebisu Beer makes for a satisfying tour.
4-20-1 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone 03 -5423 -7255
Opening times: 11:00 am – 7:30 pm (last entry at 6:30 pm)
9. Beer Station (ビヤステーション)
This large restaurant and bar is operated by Sapporo and is an excellent place to have lunch and a wide variety of Yebisu beers. The interior seating is composed of seating that resembles a beer garden.
4-20-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Phone 0120-344251 / 03-3442-9731
Open: Weekdays 11:30 am – 11:00 pm/Sat 11:30 am – 11:00 pm/Sundays, Public Holidays 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
10. MLB café
On the outside, this building looks like a café in Paris with terrace seating, but is the world’s first MLB licensed restaurant. Even the staff wear baseball uniforms and hot pants. There are balls autographed by popular baseball players on display and lots of food and drink to enjoy while watching a game.
4-19-19 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 1F
Telephone 03 -3448 -8900
Opening times: Weekdays and Sat 11:00 am – 11:30 pm, Sun 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
11. Chyorori (ちょろり)
A local ramen restaurant that gives you a real feel for the area. It has reasonable prices and lunch sets that are very satisfying.
4-22-11 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone 03 -3444 -7387
Opening times: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
12. Glass Square
Connected to the Ebisu Garden Place Tower, there are stores here offering shopping and restaurants
4-20 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Ebisu Garden Place
Telephone 03 -5423 -7111
Opening times: Varies by store
13. Yebisu Oyster Bar
These oyster specialists offer a variety of oyster dishes in a great restaurant/bar setting. They sell a number of types of beer and have a large open space where you can stand or sit on a couch.
Address: Yebisu Garden Place 4-20-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Glass Square B1
Opening times: Weekdays 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
14. Lion (ライオン)
This is a great place for those who want to have a drink in comfort, and has an atmosphere similar to South Korean pubs.
4-20-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone 03 -5424 -1271
Opening times: Weekdays 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
15. YEBISU MITSUKOSHI
This department store has high quality local and imported brands of interior products and accessories. There is also an event area that makes for an interesting shopping experience. From the basement, you are connected directly to the Museum of YEBISU BEER. There are a wide variety of events and promotions during the Christmas season.
4-20-7 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone 03 -5423 -1111
Opening times: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
16. Saint German Bread café
This café has everything that a normal bakery has with outdoor terrace seating. Buy some bread and coffee and enjoy the space in this great café. The sign in English is Saint German, but beware as the local pronunciation is quite different. They have many types of delicious bread, but also delicious sandwiches and toast that go well with coffee.
4-20-5 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Ebisu Garden Place
Telephone 03 -5420 -0109
Opening times: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
17. Baccarat ETERNAL LIGHTS
A huge chandelier is installed in the centre of the Yebisu Garden Place. Every year they have beautiful illuminations. This year is the 20th anniversary of the Garden Place and the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Baccarat Group.
4-20 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone 03 -5423 -7111
Times lit: 8/11/2014 – 12/1/2015, 4 pm – 12 am (Baccarat Chandelier 12 pm~)
18. Christmas Marché
A market event to commemorate Christmas. This place sells Christmas decorations and related items. It is operated alongside a bar, so peruse the items for sale and enjoy the winter beer garden.
4-20-6 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Open: 21/11/2014 – 25/12, 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm