The list of illuminations in Nabana No Sato
My experience in one of the best winter illuminations in Japan
When winter comes, the dark and cold night in Japan sparkled beautifully with light illumination. They can be found almost in all parts of Japan, starting from the southern part of Kyushu Island until the northern part of Hokkaido Island.
The magical view of Japanese winter illumination is not only well-known among Japanese but also foreigners, including me, as an Indonesian.
Nabana No Sato, as one of the most-visited winter illuminations and the winner of the best night view in Japan, had been on my bucket list long before I came to Japan. I feel so lucky that I finally had a chance to go there during my last winter break.
I will share my experience in detail through this article.
Nabana No Sato is located in Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture. This prefecture is pretty close to Japan's 3 major cities (Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya) but the closest one is Nagoya.
The part of Kuwana City where Nabana No Sato is located is within a small island that is surrounded by Nagara River, Kuso River, and Ise Bay.
Due to this wonderful geographical condition, many tourism attractions were built on this island, such as Nagashima Spa Land (water-themed amusement park), Nagashima Spa Yuami no Shima (hot spring bath complex), Anpanman Museum, and Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima (outdoor shopping mall).
So, the people who originally wish to come to Nabana No Sato can also make their time to visit those places.
How to get there?
Since the closest big city from Nabana No Sato is Nagoya and my experience was also from Nagoya, my explanation about the direction will be only from Nagoya.
1/ Direction for train
From wherever you are, head to Nagashima Station (JR line) or Kintetsu Nagashima Station (Kintetsu-Nagoya line).
Nearby these two stations, you will find Mie Kotsu Bus that will take you to Nabana No Sato for around 10 minutes and cost you 220 yen one way.
2/ Direction for bus
Mietetsu Bus departs every 15-20 minutes, 8 AM until 7 PM, from platform number 22, 4th floor of Meitetsu Bus Center, located just next to Nagoya Station.
You can buy the ticket directly at the ticket counter even on the day you want to go but still, the availability of the seat depends on the number of the visitor on that day. The ticket price and the journey time is 950 yen (one way) and 40 minutes respectively.
At first, I planned to take the train because it's cheaper than the bus. However, in the end, I chose the bus instead cause it was less troublesome (can directly take me to Nabana No Sato, no need to transfer anywhere), faster, and just need a little bit of extra money.
What's inside Nabana No Sato?
Nabana No Sato is basically a botanical garden filled with various plants and seasonal flowers like rose, begonia, and hydrangea.
So even during the daytime or outside the illumination period, people still can go there to enjoy the beautiful landscape.
I just knew about this botanical garden information after I came home :') If I knew it beforehand, I would go from early morning and wait until evening to see the illumination light.
Lucky me, the whole illumination displays were very worth the trip!
All of them were decorated with colourful LED light, divided into 5 different parts, covering 210.000 square-meter land area. Some of them having their theme changed every year, depending on what kind of image or purpose that the designer wants to portray.
The 1st illumination that I saw is the one after I got in from the main entrance. The mix between blue and green LED light, illuminating the wave-shaped wire display.
After finished walking around the 1st illumination, I followed the designated route and found the 2nd illumination, The Great River of Light, on top of the pond that appeared on my left side.
Apparently, this illumination is the biggest on-water illumination in Japan though the pond is small and artificial. Orange and blue lights were installed in the middle of the pond while white lights were on the edge and around, giving the pond a beautiful water flow view.
The 3rd illumination, Tunnel of Light, is the highlight of Nabana No Sato I might say. The first time I knew about this place was from the pictures of the Tunnel of Light. They were so beautiful and appealing until I put this place on top of my bucket list.
200 meters-length tunnel-like structure, illuminated by thousands of star-shaped, flower-shaped, and colour-changing LED lights, was all I see in Tunnel of Light. It felt very magical to the point where I want to sit under the lights all night!
Walking towards the end of the Tunnel of Light was leading me to the centre of Nabana No Sato. This central area was spacious, with some parts functioning as a public space (facility like toilet, food stalls, dining tables, and benches, can be found here) and some parts functioning as the illumination and light projection show area.
Two things to note are that the light projection design/theme is changing every year and don't forget to go to the second floor to get the best view of the show. Right under the projection show display, there was a 10-meter canopy with dangling, purple-dominant-colored LED lights, which reminded me so much of the Japanese Wisteria garden.
Following the route again, I came across the 4th illumination, which looked pretty similar to The Tunnel of Light. Their differences only can be found in the shape of the LED light, the addition of white leaves decoration, and the tunnel length.
When I went out from the end of the tunnel, I realized that it was the last illumination in Nabana No Sato because I could see the first pond again and also the exit sign.
To imagine how the entire Nabana No Sato looks like, this beautiful 4K video from Youtube might help:
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