Winter illuminations (light displays) are very popular in the winter months in Japan, with most starting in November and going through January. One particularly popular and unique display is in Shibuya ward in Tokyo, where they take a piece of Yoyogi park and a drag of the city and line it with over 600,000 blue LED lights.
Shibuya Blue Lights
You can start just near the intersection near Shibuya station and walk to the edges of Yoyogi park in Harajuku or vice versa to experience the lights. The Mrs. and I started in Yoyogi, seeing as the walkways are much wider, since the park was designed for pedestrian traffic. The air that night was very hazy and misty, blanketed by light rains earlier in the day. From afar, the park gave off this eery blue glow, making it easy for us to navigate towards it. Once inside, your senses are assaulted by the blue light: Everything gets an odd glow, sometimes purple in nature, as you walk through the myriad of visitors taking pictures, time-lapses, and generally enjoying the simple magic of colored lights. The nearly full moon added a nice touch to the evening.
Google Home Snow Globe Experience
Not to shy away from self-promotion, Google set up a glowing orb guests could walk into for an interesting experience. You enter the wire frame, illuminated by shifting LED colors and give the command “OK, Google!” From there, Google’s AI begins playing a short Christmas jingle and smoke-filled bubbles begin floating out of the ground beneath you. You have roughly 20 – 30 seconds to take your fun pics, videos, and what have you before you are ushered out and a dutiful employee comes in and mops up any slippery residue from the bubble party you just experienced.
Overall, it’s a super cool and free experience you can enjoy for a few minutes in Shibuya. It’s not as crowded in the park, but once you get on the main roads, you’re quickly reminded that you are back in Tokyo, and a bit of the magic fades. Regardless, the smiles of visitors and the festival-like atmosphere will definitely bring a warm feeling to you on an otherwise cold Tokyo night.