• The Tokyo Mega Illumination was ranked as the most popular light show in Tokyo this year
  • Since it started 3 years ago, it has been getting bigger and bigger each year
  • This year, there are many new additions to the show and more places to check out the beautiful lights!

Neon lights and bright skylines that illuminate the night sky often characterize Tokyo.  Some areas of Tokyo are so well lit from the surrounding neon and LED lights that even when walking through these areas at night, they’re as bright as day.  

While just walking around places like Shibuya and Shinjuku at night is enough to experience your own make-shift light show, Tokyo also has many official light shows to enjoy as well. In Japan, light shows, as well as Christmas tree decorations, are both referred to as “illumination.”

example of a shopping centers illumination in japan
An example of what ” illumination” displays at shopping centers are like. Even Christmas-like decorations in Japan are simply referred to as “illumination.” Image sourced from Favy.

These kinds of light show attractions are often found at shopping malls, parks, or outside of major train stations in Japan.  Of course, while these places likely put on a great show, they pale in comparison to the top-ranked light shows found in Tokyo.

The Tokyo Mega Illumination

a birds eye view of the tokyo city keibas tokyo mega illumination
Looking over part of the Tokyo Mega Illumination from afar. Image sourced from Shinagawa Keizai Shinbun.

The number one most popular light show or “illumination” show in the city has a rather straightforward name, the Tokyo Mega Illumination, or the Tokyo Mega Illumi as abbreviated by Japanese people. 

Tokyo Mega Illumination is a combination of a traditional light show utilizing lasers, light beams, and music.  Tokyo Mega Illumi also uses a synchronized fountain to shoot water in all kinds of shapes and forms that reflect the light beams along with the beat of the music.  

The Tokyo Mega Illumination show started 3 years ago and has been increasing its scale each year.  It takes place at the Oi Racecourse, a horse racing stadium, in Shinagawa, Tokyo on days that there aren’t any races during the winter months only.

What’s the show like?

A Rainbow Fountain of Light

looking over the rainbow fountain
The Tokyo Mega Illumination’s Rainbow Fountain. Image sourced from ShinagawaLocations.

While the name may imply one big show, the Mega Illumi experience actually has 3 major components. The main light show is known as the “Rainbow Fountain of Light” and is a 15-minute show that combines their synchronized fountain with lasers and light beams that flash the colors of the rainbow along with the music.  

Aurora Forest

Aurora Forest at the Tokyo Mega Illumination.
Tokyo’s Aurora Forest looks like something out of a dream. Image sourced from SagasWhat Tokyo.

The next component is the “Aurora Forest.”  Here, the latest laser technology is used to mimic the Aurora Lights in the night sky while you are surrounded by illuminated trees.  For a clearer picture, imagine trees decorated for Christmas, but on steroids.  

Taiki Playing with Light

Taiki Playing with Light at the Tokyo Mega Illumination.
Taiki Playing with Light puts you in a real life fairytale. Image sourced from Qetic.

The last component is known as the “Taiki Playing with Light” section. This section has a massive tree that happens to sit in a portion of the Aurora Forest that has its own set of lights that shine onto it in different patterns that follow the music.  It is said to look like something out of a fairy tale.  

Edo Sakura Tunnel

Edo Sakura at the Tokyo Mega Illumination.
Taking a stroll through the Edo Sakura Tunnel. Image sourced from Tokyo Cheapo.

In addition to these 3 main sections, there is also a 100 meter (330 foot) long tunnel called the “Edo Sakura Tunnel” lined with Christmas lights that look like cherry blossoms that you can walk through.  There are also more cherry blossom and rice patty renditions made to light up outside of the tunnel as well.  

Rice Patty Illuminations at the Tokyo Mega Illumination.
Get a taste of rural Japan at the Rice Patty Illuminations. Image sourced from Yakei-CVB.

Glow Otaki Waterfall

Glow otaki at the tokyo mega illumination
The Glow Otaki waterfall looks like a Ghibli movie scene. Image sourced from Matcha.

At the Glow Otaki, loosely translated to “large glowing waterfall,” you can gaze upon a waterfall-style light show.  These two sections were added this year. 

Additional Attractions

Furthermore, there is a restaurant where you can enjoy a meal while looking out at the show as well as the lit-up trees and aurora lights.  There is also a large open lawn for kids to play freely.  

The New “Big Naked Book”

Tokyo Mega Illumination Big Naked book
The Big Naked Book section uses AR technology to aid your experience at the Mega Illumination. Image sourced from PR times.

On top of this, also added this year was the “Big Naked Book” section.  I know what you’re thinking…but it’s not what you think.  While the name may sound a little weird and not kid-friendly, this section actually gets its name from a collaboration with one of Japan’s leading augmented and virtual reality companies, Naked Inc.  Why they named the attraction and company naked, however, remains a mystery to me.

Nonetheless, this section utilized augmented reality technology or AR, to see horses, horseshoes, and stars that pop up out of nowhere, causing you to feel like you’re in a real-life fairy tale.  Why horses?  Don’t forget you are at a horse race track! 

When and How to See the Show!

Make sure you go and check out the Tokyo Mega Illumination while you can!  The show has already started and is on until April 2022 at the Tokyo City Keiba racecourse. The Tokyo Mega Illumination is on daily as long as there are no races held. Entrance opens at 4:30pm and doors close at 8pm before they turn off the lights at 9pm. Tickets are only 1,000 yen (8.80 USD) at the door, and 800 yen (7 USD) if bought in advance online or at your local convenience store. See you there!

Sources:

https://www.oricon.co.jp/special/57507/?ref_cd=oriconrecommend

https://www.tokyomegaillumi.jp/