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Nabana no Sato – Japan’s Best Winter Illumination 2023-2024 That’s Not Only in Winter

Japan has many spectacular winter illuminations each year, in fact, a lot of great ones can be found in Nagoya. Many have a Christmas theme with Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and raindeers and that’s why they usually end by January. 

But one of the greatest winter illuminations in Japan can be found not far from Nagoya and it runs for more than half a year, giving you ample opportunity to enjoy this spectacle of lights during your visit to Japan. From October to May (or even June) each year, Nabana no Sato turns on the lights!

What is Nabana no Sato?

Nabana no Sato is a flower park

Nabana no Sato is a flower park in Kuwana, 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.

Year-round, the park invites visitors with beautiful seasonal flowers, from plum and cherry blossoms to tulips, and roses. Every season has its own highlights and they also sell delicious flower-flavored ice cream.

But the main reason thousands of travelers visit Nabana no Sato 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 20 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 illumination in Central Japan.

Led panels depicting cherry blossoms

The highlight of Nabana no Sato is the illumination show which has a different theme every year. 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 tunnel of light

Another highlight at Nabana no Sato is the Tunnel of Light. There are actually two tunnels, both offering breathtaking and amazing photo opportunities.

The first one spans 200 meters and is adorned in a beautiful yellow hue every year. It is likely the longest light tunnel in Japan. The second tunnel is shorter at 100 meters, and its theme changes annually, offering new colors to discover.

Pictures turn out exceptionally beautiful on rainy days when the water that collects on the ground reflects both the people and the millions of lights.

When Can You See the Illumination at Nabana no Sato in 2023-2024?

Red Mount Fuji LED show

The winter illumination at Nabana no Sato is not only one of the largest but also one of the longest illuminations in Japan. This year’s illumination started on October 21st, 2023 and it will run until June 2nd, 2024. That’s a total of 225 days. 225 chances for you to see this spectacular and beautiful illumination event.

The theme of the main illumination stage changes every year. In the past, we had themes such as Japan, depicting scenes of Japanese history with Mount Fuji as a recurring motif, or Sakura with lots of beautiful cherry blossoms.

This year’s illumination is called The Golden Pyramid, let’s find out where the journey takes us.

Seasonal Lightup Events and Flower Viewing Opportunities

Plum blossom light-up

Because the illumination season is so long, other seasonal light-up events coincide with it. Below you can find the list of separate light-ups between October and June taking place at Nabana no Sato at night.

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

Nabana no Sato Is Not Only an Illumination but So Much More!

Nabana no Sato is first and foremost a flower park open all year round. But as such, it also offers many fun activities and shops to happily spend the whole day there.

Additionally, when you pay the entrance fee you will get a 1,000 yen voucher for consumption within the park. This voucher can be used for any of the attractions and shops mentioned below. 

Island Fuji Observation Platform

The Island Fuji in the sky

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 lit-up park below but also of the surrounding areas of Kuwana, the Nagashima Spaland, and on clear days the lights of Nagoya’s Harbor.

One ride in the flying Mount Fuji-shaped observation deck takes about 7 minutes and costs 500 yen.

Flower Garden in Andes Begonia Garden

Flowers inside the Flower Garden in Andes

At the Flower Garden in Andes you can see beautiful colorful flowers even in the midst of winter. This greenhouse is a beautiful miracle of life and color. The roughly 5,000 begonia flowers are a sight not to be missed, it’s also pleasantly warm inside, a comfortable respite from the cold outside. An additional entrance fee of 1,000 yen is required.

Food Stalls

Grilled Mochi and Oshiruko sweet red bean soup

The many food stalls are a great opportunity to taste some of the delicious Japanese street foods.

If you have never had festival food before we 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 those with a sweet tooth, we recommend trying the traditional red bean soup called Zenzai, or you can opt to buy a slice of cake or a crepe.

Restaurants

Besides the affordable finger food described above, there are also multiple restaurants spread around the park offering Japanese, European, and Chinese food.

Specialties of Nagoya food tour banner

Locally Brewed German Style Beer and Beer Garden

Entrance to the Nagashima Beer Garden

Nabana no Sato sells 3 types of beers (wheat beer, dark beer, and pilsner beer) at their own beer garden and beer hall. They brew the beer according to German tradition at their own brewery serving it with Japanese Izakaya foods such as Edamame, Miso Kushi Katsu (pork skewers), and Gyoza (dumplings). They also have a sausage plate to go with the beer and German-looking interior of the beer hall.

Footbath

Many guests enjoying the foot bath

If you visit during the coldest months of the year (January and February) a visit to Nabana no Sato can be freezing cold. There is nothing better than to sit down at the hot footbath fed by a natural hot spring which is available for free to use inside the park.

The water is hot and will not only warm 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 simply bring one to be prepared.

Nabana no Sato Onsen

Entrance to Sato no Yu Onsen

If a footbath is not enough for you, you can also visit the hot spring facilities available inside Nabana no Sato.

Like most Onsen in Japan, there are separate facilities for men and women. If you want to find out more about Onsen around Nagoya check out this article.

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 1,500 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.

*Unfortunately, people with tattoos are not allowed to use the Onsen area.

How to Go to Nabana no Sato from Nagoya?

Nabana no Sato from above

Many visitors choose to stay in Nagoya for their visit to Nabana no Sato and the other attractions within the expansive Nagashima Resort.

You can opt for a day trip from Nagoya to Nagashima Resort, where you can enjoy the morning and afternoon at Nagashima Spa Land riding rollercoasters and shopping at Mitsui Outlet Park. Later in the evening, head to Nabana no Sato to experience the enchanting 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 (IC) exit.

There is ample parking available for free 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 1000 yen.

Note that the last bus back to Nagoya departs at 21:05.

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, or you can opt for a Kintetsu Rail Pass which will give you unlimited rides on the Kintetsu Railway and Nara Kotsu Bus Lines within your selected time frame. This means you could visit Nabano no Sato as well as Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, and Mie from Nagoya all for the same price. Check prices and buy your pass here.

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.

We highly recommend this tour since it is only slightly more expensive than doing it self-guided.

Book your day tour to Nabana no Sato today on klook.com!

Spend One Day at Nagashima Resort

Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima
The Nagashima outlet, Image via nagoya-info.jp

Our suggestion is to spend 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 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 of 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.

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.

Nabana no Sato (なばなの里)
Opening hours: During Illumination season 10:00 to 21:00 (on some days until 22:00)
Price: Adults 2500 yen (including 1,000 yen consumption voucher), children under 6 free
* Note: opened during the New Year holidays. Price and hours differ during the Christmas Special Event, which requires purchasing tickets in advance.
Address:  Urushihata 270, Nagashimacho Komae, Kuwana, Mie 511-1144
Website (Japanese only) | Google Maps

This post was last updated in October 2023
Although we strive to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information possible, please note that changes may occur nonetheless. We recommend you confirm any relevant information such as event cancelations or changes, opening hours, or possible restrictions using a direct source. Please keep in mind that these sources might be in Japanese only.

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About the author

In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. Her goal is to make everyone interested in Nagoya, her adoptive home, online through her writing and offline through unique food tours.
17 Responses
  1. Ismael Ariola

    We are planning to visit Nabana no Sato this March 2023 and we don’t know how to go there. From Nagoya, where shall we board a Shinkansen with our JR Pass? Can we visit the place up to 8:00 PM because we want to experience Winter Illumination then go back to Nagoya on that hour on the same day? Thank you for your time reading this message.

    1. Hi Ismael,
      This is Elly.
      Here are the steps to get to Nabana no Sato from Nagoya Station:

      Take the Kintetsu Nagoya Line from Nagoya Station to Kintetsu Nagashima Station. You can purchase a ticket at the station.
      At Kintetsu Nagashima Station, transfer to the Yokkaichi Line and get off at Nabana-no-Sato Station. The journey takes about 15 minutes.
      From Nabana-no-Sato Station, walk for about 10 minutes to reach the park’s entrance.
      Alternatively, you can take a direct bus from Nagoya Station to Nabana no Sato. The Meitetsu bus operates the service, and it takes approximately 45 minutes to reach the park.

      Unfortunately, the JR Pass cannot be used to directly access Nabana no Sato as the park is not located on a JR Line. However, you can use the JR Pass to take the Tokaido Shinkansen from Nagoya Station to Kyoto or Osaka Station, and then transfer to a non-JR line to reach Nabana no Sato.

      Alternatively, you can use the JR Pass to take the JR Tokaido Line from Nagoya Station to JR Yokkaichi Station, and then transfer to the Kintetsu Line to get to Kintetsu Nagashima Station. From there, follow the steps I mentioned earlier to reach Nabana no Sato.

      While the JR Pass may not cover the entire journey to Nabana no Sato, it can still be a cost-effective option if you plan to travel extensively within Japan using the JR Lines.

      1. May

        Hi Elly. We are staying at Nagoya on the 23rd to 25th of October. We are unable to buy online tickets to Nabana no Sato illumination anymore as we just discovered it! Are we able to purchase it on the day when we arrive at the park or will that be a waste of time? Is there anywhere else we could purchase it?

        1. Hi Christine,
          I just made a call to Nabana no Sato for confirmation. They said that you could buy the tickets on the same day. Visa and Master cards are not accepted but you can pay in cash.
          Hope you have a great day!!!

  2. Tena Lee

    HI LENA
    i AM PLANNING TO VISIT NABANA NO SATO ON 5TH OCT. IF IS NOT THE Illumination SEASON AS YET. WHAT ARE THE THE THINGS I COULD DO THERE?

  3. renc

    great post! had a lot of insight and included it in my trip. Just wondering how to get back to Nagoya/nagoyastation? will it be the same way? I have read somewhere that the bus only runs until 9pm is this true? Just afraid of getting stranded and taxi is not an option. thank you in advance

  4. Nicole

    Hi, we were booked through Klook to do Nagashima Mitsu Outlet & Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination Bus Tour on 10th December. It just got cancelled. and they will do a refund. I can’t find any other tours now for that set date. We added that extra day to do this. Any ideas? We will have a JR pass and staying in Nagoya. Thank you. Nicole.

  5. Linda

    Dear Elisabeth,
    I would like to visit Nabana no Sato on 1 jan 2024, is it advisable as it is a new year day and will it be too crowded?

    On the other hand, do u have the link to book the direct bus tickets online?

    Regards/Linda

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