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Japan: Tochigi (Ashikaga Flower Park Illumination)

The famous wisteria tunnels

The famous wisteria tunnels

100-year-old Wisteria tree

100-year-old Wisteria tree

The Ashikaga Flower Park located in Ashikaga City is recognized for its gorgeous array of hanging wisteria and other flowers which bloom in spring. People from all over Japan visit the large botanical garden to see the spectacular tunnels of hanging fuji (wisteria). During the winter months, the park draws crowds with another famous spectacle, its winter illumination event.

Starting the second week of December and running through the first week of February, every inch of the park is decorated using 2.5 million multi-colored LED lights. Lights are strung across flower bushes and line the walkways. Even the park’s famous wisteria trellis is decorated with lights that are synchronized to music. There is a 75-foot tall Christmas tree, multi-colored pyramids and an ever changing LED screen which cycles through various holiday images. One of the more eye-catching displays is the illuminated torii, a traditional Japanese gate commonly found at the entrance of a shrine. These gates are said to mark the transition from the irreverent to the sacred however, in the case of the Ashikaga Flower Park winter illumination event, the gate marks the transition from the ordinary to the magical.

The park is an hour and a half ride from Tokyo (exit JR Tomita Station). The entrance fee is ¥700 for adults and ¥350 for children. The illumination event begins at 3:30 PM and concludes at 9:00 PM.

Although there are many holiday illumination events throughout Tokyo and its outlying areas during this time of year, the scale and beauty of the Ashikaga Flower Park display is certainly worth seeing! Definitely dress warmly for the event as it gets very windy and cold when the sun goes down!

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Web page: http://www.ashikaga.co.jp/english/

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