Hiroshima Illumination

On Sunday, I went with some friends from church to see the lights in Hiroshima! This was my first time purposely going to see a major lights display (called イルミネーション, “illumination” in Japanese), as opposed to just happening to see them in whatever place I was going. (I was taken to see some in Hokkaido once.) I’d heard they were really cool and that I should see them. Apparently, this is the first year the Hiroshima displays were done with LED lights.

Into the tunnel of lights!

These “illuminations” are put up this time of year, partly because of the Christmas season; but because there are other light displays that have nothing to do with Christmas at all, I think it’s also simply intended to be something nice to do around this time of the year in winter. There are light displays running up and down both sides of the street, and it’s not just the same thing the whole way down; instead, there are many different displays that you can see as you walk along. There were also food stands and food trucks along the way selling taiyaki and yaki-imo (roasted sweet potato), as well as an oddly-shaped triangular car-truck playing music loudly to advertise suggestive DVDs…


There were also lots of cute places for kids to take pictures (with long lines of parents and children waiting to get a photo). It was pretty crowded around this balloon.

Get ‘yer kids inside, quick!!

There was even a pirate ship! There’s a whale tail, and a the ship’s wheel just sorta floating out there in the sea (my friend pointed that out, haha. It turned out bright, bright white in my picture).



Behind the ship is where I took my being-eaten-by-a-whale picture! I’m so glad it turned out (^_^)


There were also “couple photo” opportunities everywhere.


This next picture is what I mean by “lights that aren’t really Christmas lights.” I suppose the cake could be explained away as a Japanese Christmas cake tradition, but the overhanging behind it reminds of a Cinderella carriage or something. We were trying to figure out the theme, actually. There were fruits and sweets made of lights shining in the trees, and a light-carrot. I just do not know…

Light-cake, light-strawberry, light-carrot, and light-grapes hanging in the tree… Of course, there’s a couple cake, too, probably for wedding shots.
Rainbows leading to a light-up organ. (The musical instrument, I mean. The themes didn’t get that weird.)

My favorite display out of all of them, though, was the castle. It was made entirely of lights, and what makes it even more fun than just a Christmas display (or St. Patrick’s, haha) was that you could go inside.


What makes the illuminations along the street unique and fun is that you can walk inside and take pictures, surrounded by lights.

I can’t even tell what I’m looking at!
This is looking straight up into the blue spire in the center of the Light Castle.

The castle even had a “bell tower,” and when you walked out the other end, you could hear it “toll” through a speaker somewhere.


That ends my first large-scale lights visit in Japan! I hope you enjoyed it :)

Song of the Day: Jean Baptiste Lully, “Marche Pour la Ceremonie des Turcs”

9 thoughts on “Hiroshima Illumination

  1. Impressive!! Thank you for sharing. It certainly beats are christmas light displays. I am glad you were able to experience it.

    1. It was really cool! I can’t really compare it to US Christmas lights displays, because we have some pretty crazy ones in Santa Rosa, too–they’re just in a different “format” (on houses instead of all up and down a main street). I’m glad you liked it :)

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