Just next to the Tennoji Station in Osaka, you will find an urban oasis similar to New York’s Central Park or London’s Hyde Park, called Tennoji Koen or Tennoji Park. It was first opened in 1909 and is home to the Tennoji Zoological Gardens, the Chausuyama Tomb and the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art.
Annually, beginning in early November, Tennoji Koen hosts the Abeno Tennoji Illuminage, a light show featuring three million colored LEDs. The highlights of the light display include a 320-foot rainbow promenade (a tunnel lit up with all seven colors of the rainbow) and a 55-foot tall Christmas tree, called the Wonderland Tree. The illumination event supports the reconstruction efforts in the Tohoku region following the Great East Japan Earthquake, a devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake, which ripped through the area on March 11, 2011.
The Abeno Tennoji Illuminage, which runs through January 31 draws large crowds and is popular among young couples as it offers an ideal dating spot this time of the year. The lights are switched on at 5:30 PM and remain illuminated until 9:30 PM.
The park is just a 10-minute walk from the JR Osaka Loop Line Tennoji Station. Admission to the park is ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for children (Children under 3 are admitted without charge.).
So if you happen to be in the Kansai region, why not stop off at Tennoji Park and enjoy some winter time magic? Not all large scale illumination events are restricted to Tokyo and her suburbs.