This festival of lights, located at Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, has lights on a scale never seen before.
In 2012-2013, the display incorporated 10 million light bulbs (the most in the world) spread across the park’s expansive grounds.
From a lit up palace and canal to waves of blue light, there’s no way you could ever count them all. Today I’ll be introducing the four main illuminated areas of Huis Ten Bosch.
Rainbow-Colored Lights on Windmills (Rainbow Flower Garden Area)
Huis Ten Bosch is a Netherlands-inspired theme park. Inside you’ll find red brick buildings, a canal with flowing water, windmills and chapels, and a palace. There are also many rides and attractions, but for many people, simply enjoying the European style atmosphere is enough.
In the winter, the illumination is definitely the must-see feature! I’m here to tell you all about the “Kingdom of Light”, complete with 10 million light bulbs.
Passing through the entrance, you’ll arrive at the windmill area. The lit-up windmills and the rainbow colored flower fields have been named the Rainbow Flower Garden.
The Rainbow Flower Garden is one of the four most popular displays of light in Huis Ten Bosch. Voices of delighted visitors float through the night air.
Blue Waves at the Art Garden of Light
The next of the four main areas is the Art Garden of Light.
Stretching far as the eye can see, blue waves of light move to the tune of music playing in the background. They call it the “crystal blue wave”, and the impact will take your breath away.
This area alone uses 6.5 million light bulbs, making it Japan’s single largest display. Guests can walk down the path that cuts through the huge expanse of the display. The lights occasionally change from blue to other colors, so if you linger awhile you can see a slightly different looking version of the Art Garden of Light.
Towards the back of the display sits the glass-walled Art Garden of Light Cafe & Bar , a great place to stop in if you’ve grown tired of walking. Spend a wonderful time drinking and looking through the glass at the light display outside.
The Slightly Scary Thriller Fantasy Museum
Next up on the list is the Thriller Fantasy Museum. This is the haunted town section of Huis Ten Bosch.
During the day guests can experience various thrill rides and events, but at night, the area turns into a whimsical display of twinkling lights.
The atmosphere is a bit different from the other displays, set apart by the colors chosen for the lighting. The mixture of red and blue colors maintains the Thrill Fantasy Museum’s scary appeal.
The light show runs every day, so make sure to check it out if you’ve got time. It starts at 6:00PM, with a music and dance show happening every 30 minutes.
Also, be sure not to miss the “Thriller Night” zombies that only come out for the latter half of the winter season. In 2013, they appeared on February 2nd, 9th, 10th, 16th, and 23rd, from 7:00PM after the music and dance performances. Watch as they do battle with the private military company “BLACK SAND”!
Don’t forget to check the event schedule beforehand.
Splendid Show at the Palace of Light
The fourth and final area on the list is the Palace of Light, located deep inside the park. The palace is one of the main symbols of Huis Ten Bosch, and everything from the halls to the fountains are lit in colorful, beautiful splendor.
There’s even plenty to see on the way there! There’s an artsy fire display in front of the palace, and torches are placed in a line along the cloisters, heightening the anticipation for guests as they approach the main building.
The piece de resistance is the illumination show, a striking spectacle in which lights flicker in rhythm to loud sounds and music. The styles of music range from romantic to epic, making for a truly impressive show.
It’s held every 15 minutes.
The Many Lights of Huis Ten Bosch
That’s all for the introduction of the main light display areas, but there is plenty more to see. The lights reflecting in the canal and the beautifully colored tower and chapel have a great atmosphere and are very romantic.
The list goes on and on. Two other worthwhile attractions are the light up ferris wheel and promenade. I recommend enjoying a meal at a restaurant while gazing at the scenery or looking at the lights from an observation deck or ferris wheel car.
Huis Ten Bosch is truly huge, with an area comparable to that of Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea combined. Imagine such a large place turned into a light display! It’s so big that it almost doesn’t make sense that it exists in tiny Japan. Even if you’re just staying nearby, it’s worth it to visit here at least once.
If you do decide to go and check out the lights, I recommend arriving around sunset. There are so many places to see that if you arrive too late, you may not fit it all in before the park closes (hours of operation vary – see official website for details). Also check the site for information about parades and shows to make sure you don’t miss anything!
This year (2014-2015), the spectacular Kingdom of Light runs from October 31st to April 13th. Come one, come all – you’re sure to be dazzled.
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