You are walking through a tunnel of light.
No, this is not the beginning of a story about a near-death experience, but rather the highlight of the Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination.
In this post, I will tell you everything you need to know for the perfect visit to the Nabana no Sato flower park near Nagoya.
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What is Nabana no Sato
Nabana no Sato is a flower park in Mie prefecture. It is part of the Nagashima Resort of which the Nagashima Spa Land amusement park, Mitsu Outlet Shopping Mall, and Nagashima Onsen are also a part of.
Year-round the flower park invites with beautiful seasonal flowers from plum and cherry blossoms, tulips and roses. Every season has its highlights.
But the main reason thousands of travelers visit Nabana no Sato every year is not the flowers but rather the award-winning winter illumination taking place there every year.
The illuminations have been a yearly event for the past 16 years and have grown in popularity over time.
In 2017 the Nabana no Sato illumination was one of the ‘Top 30 Attractions in Japan by International Travelers’. And it has won the number one spot in the ‘Illumination Rankings’ for three years in a row from 2013 – 2015.
It might just be the most popular winter illumination in Japan and it is definitely the best Nagoya illumination.
The 2019/2020 Season
The winter illumination at Nabana no Sato is not only one of the largest but also longest illuminations in Japan. This year it started on October 19th, 2019 and it will run until May 6th, 2020. That’s a total of 201 days. 201 chances for you to see this spectacular and beautiful illumination event.
The theme of the main illumination is changing every year. Last year it was Japan. Depicting scenes of Japanese history with Mount Fuji as a recurring motive.
The theme of this year’s illumination is Sakura, which is the Japanese word for cherry blossoms. We will get to see a beautiful LED light show in shades of pink. A spectacular sight for sure.
Because the illumination season is so long other seasonal light-up events can be enjoyed throughout the illumination period. Below you can find the list of events including the approximate time for each event. The exact start and end dates depend very much on the temperature and weather conditions during the season.
- End of November – End of December: Autumn Color Light-up Event
- End of February – End of March: Weeping Plum Tree Light-up Event
- End of February – End of March: Cherry Blossom Light-up Event
- End of March – End of April: Tulip Light-up Event
The Highlights at Nabana no Sato
There are so many areas and attractions at Nabana no Sato that you basically walk from one highlight of the park to the next. To make sure you don’t miss anything important while exploring the winter illumination.
I have listed the must-see spots here.
The Tunnel of Lights
At Nabana no Sato there are actually two tunnels of lights. And they are both breathtaking and amazing photo opportunities.
The first one is the long tunnel with 200 meters and it is in a beautiful yellow color every year. It is probably the longest tunnel of lights in Japan.
The second tunnel is shorter at 100 meters and its theme changes from year to year with new colors to discover. This year it is all in green.
Pictures turn out especially beautiful on rainy days when the water that collects on the round reflects the people and millions of lights.
The Illumination Show
The highlight of Nabana no Sato is the illumination show which has a different theme every year. The theme this year promises pink colors and a feeling of spring with cherry blossoms.
The show is completely done with LED lights, music, and amazing programming skills turning every single one of the millions of LEDs into a moving and flowing picture.
The show this year will be more than 6 minutes long.
When you pay the entrance fee you will get a 1000 yen voucher for consumption within the park. This is a great opportunity to taste some of the delicious foods sold at the many different stalls and shops.
If you have never had festival food before I recommend trying some of the delicious Yaki Soba (fried Japanese style noodles) or Korokke (potato croquettes filled with beef). Nikuman (steamed dumplings with meat) are also available.
For people with a sweet tooth, I recommend trying the traditional red bean soup called Zenzai, or you could buy a slice of cake or crepe.
Besides the cheap finger food described above, there are also multiple restaurants spread around the park offering Japanese food, European cuisine, and Chinese cuisine.
Locally Brewed Beer
Nabana no Sato sells 3 types of beers at their own beer garden. They brew the beer according to German tradition at their own brewery.
If you love beer, this is a stop not to be missed.
If you visit during the coldest months of the year a visit to Nabana no Sato can be freezing. There is nothing better than to sit down at the footbath which is available for free inside the park.
The water is hot and will not only heat up your feet but your whole body in no time. You can buy a small towel for your feet for a couple of hundred yen or just bring one to be prepared.
Nabana no Sato Onsen
If a footbath is not enough for you, you can also visit the Onsen facilities available inside Nabana no Sato.
Like most Onsen in Japan, there are separate facilities for men and women.
A perfect place to relax and warm up again after spending hours walking around the park in the cold weather.
The Onsen has multiple indoor and outdoor baths as well as a sauna. The entrance fee of 1500 yen includes a big and a small towel as well as shampoo, soap, and conditioner to wash your body thoroughly before entering the Onsen pools.
Island Fuji Observation Platform
In the center of the park, you will find Island Fuji a circular observation platform that rises 45 meters into the air. From the top, you will get spectacular 360-degree views not only of the park but also of the surrounding areas.
One ride in the UFO-shaped observation deck takes about 7 minutes and costs 500 yen.
Flower Garden in Andes Begonia Garden
At the Flower Garden in Andes you can see beautiful flowers even in the depth of winter. This greenhouse is a beautiful miracle of life and color. The roughly 5000 begonia flowers are a sight not to be missed.
An additional entrance fee of 1000 yen is required.
How to Go to Nabana no Sato from Nagoya
Nagoya is the closest city to Nabana no Sato and with the best connection. Most visitors stay in Nagoya for their visit to Nabana no Sato and the other features of the Nagashima Resort.
You could do a day trip from Nagoya to Nagashima Resort. Spend the morning and afternoon at Nagashima Spa Land riding rollercoasters and shopping at Mitsui Outlet Park before heading to Nabana no Sato for the winter illumination.
By Car from Nagoya to Nabana no Sato
It only takes 30 minutes by car to get to Nabana no Sato from Nagoya. Get off at the Wangan Nagashima interchange.
There is ample parking for free available at the flower park.
By Meitetsu Bus to Nabana no Sato from Nagoya
From the Meitetsu Bus Center (Stop #22 on the 4th floor) next to Nagoya Station you can take the Nabana no Sato bus. The travel time is about 30 minutes. The one-way trip costs 950 yen.
By Train from Nagoya Station to Nabana no Sato
From Nagoya Kintetsu Station, take the express train to Nagashima Station (25 minutes). From there take a direct bus to Nabana no Sato (10 minutes). The total cost is 630 yen one-way.
Kintetsu sells discount tickets that include the train, bus, and entry fee to Nabana no Sato. It costs 3300 yen from Nagoya Station. It is a discount of 260 yen.
One Day Nagashima Outlet and Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination Bus Tour
If finding your own way seems like too much of a hassle, you can book a one day tour from Nagoya that will not only get you to Nabana no Sato but also to the Nagashima Outlet for a long day of shopping before the illumination starts in the evening.
I highly recommend this tour since it is only slightly more expensive than doing it self-guided. You actually only pay a couple of hundred yen more.
One Day at Nagashima Resort
My suggestion is spending a whole day exploring everything Nagashima Resort has to offer.
Start the day early by taking the bus to Nagashima Spa Land. Spend a couple of hours at the amusement park riding amazing roller coasters.
In the early afternoon head over to Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima right next to the amusement park to do some serious shopping. It is one of the best outlets close to Nagoya with many brand stores from Japan and abroad. (For more ideas on where to shop in Nagoya read here)
For lunch, you can either eat at the Nagashima amusement park or at one of the restaurants inside the Nagashima outlet mall.
Once it gets dark, take the bus to Nabana no Sato for the day’s highlight. Enjoy the illumination, have dinner at one of the restaurants or eat from the stalls.
The day comes to a perfect end with just a couple of hours relaxing at the Onsen at Nabana no Sato. You deserve it after such a long day of walking, riding roller coasters, shopping and much more.
Now either take the bus back to Nagoya or spend the night at the Nagashima Spa Land Hotel where your comfortable bed awaits you.
Nabana no Sato at a Glance
Illumination Season: Oct 19. 2019 – May 6. 2020
Opening Hours: weekdays 9:00 a.m. – 9 p.m. weekends 9:00 a.m. – 10 p.m. illumination starts after sunset
Nabana no Sato Entrance Fee: 2300 yen
Nabana no Sato Onsen Entry Fee: 1500 yen
Nagashima Spa Land Entrance Fee: 5200 yen
Nabana no Sato Website (Japanese only)
Nagashima Resort Website (Japanese only)
Final Thoughts on the Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination 2019/2020
The Nabana no Sato winter illumination might just be the highlight of your trip to Japan. If you visit Japan between October and May put it on your Japan itinerary! Don’t forget to book your day tour to Nabana no Sato in advance on klook.com.
A visit to Nabana no Sato and Nagashima Spa Land are great activities to do in Nagoya with your kids. If you are looking for more ideas on what you can do in and around Nagoya with kids, click here.
Winter in Nagoya is the perfect time for a visit. If you are looking for more things to do in Nagoya in winter check out this post. Events and Festivals by month can be found here:
- Nagoya in November 2019 – Events and Festivals
- Nagoya in December 2019 – Events and Festivals
- Nagoya in January 2020 – Events and Festivals
December is, of course, the time of Christmas and New Year. If you are wondering how to celebrate Christmas in Nagoya, read this post.
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In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.