This month’s destination: YomiuriLand
Even if you’re past the age when roller coasters and carousels thrill you, get thee to Yomiuriland at night to see this annual twinklefest! Every year they deck the aging amusement park with millions upon millions of dazzling lights—designed by Motoko Ishii, the lighting designer who famously lit up Tokyo Tower, Senso-ji temple, and the Rainbow Bridge—and every year is more spectacular than the last. This year, the “Jewelluminations” theme is (ahahaha Japanese naming alert) “Resonance of Gold and Birthstone.”
It really is worth the price of admission—these are just a few of the twelve areas you can explore, and it takes hours to see them all. Additional yen will naturally be hoovered from your pockets by the souvenirs, snacks and drinks for sale all over the park, but even if you indulge, they aren’t nearly as silly expensive as most places.
You can also get more substantial eats like curry rice and spaghetti, which is good because it takes hours to walk around the park and see it all (even if you don’t go on any rides), and there’s nowhere decent to eat nearby.
This year, the Jewelluminations event runs from October 20, 2020 – April 4, 2021. The park is open all year, from 10:00 – 20:30 (calendar with days they’re closed is here and ticket prices are here) but if you come just for the after-dark festivities, they sell a cheaper nighttime ticket that lets you in from 16:00 – 20:30.
Night admission only: Adults ¥1500, Students ¥800, Seniors (>65) ¥500, Children free
Night admission and unlimited rides pass: Adults ¥2500, Students ¥1700, Seniors (>65) ¥1700, Children ¥1700 (children under 3 are free)
Here’s where Yomiuriland is:
Here’s how to get to Yomiuriland from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo:
Once you get to Keio Yomiuriland Station, look for the gondola terminal across the street and up some stairs (photos of what to look for are here, on the Yomiuriland access page). It’s a 5-10 minute ride to the park entrance and costs ¥300 per person one way, or ¥500 per person round trip. You can also walk to the entrance from the gondola terminal on stairs that follow the gondola path. It take about 20 minutes, and if you’re not up for climbing a lot of stairs up a big hill, the gondola might be a better bet.
Ticket prices (including rides) are here
I used the Japan Navigation phone app to figure out this route, and you can easily use it too, when your actual date and departure time. It’s also good for finding the easiest way to get to Gyōda from where you’re staying. Here’s where to get the app and how to use it and here’s where to buy a Japanese transit card and how to use it. (I searched the route from Shinjuku Station, because it’s huge and central, but you might find a closer place to catch the Shonan-Shinjuku Line, if you search from where you’re staying.)
Thanks to the Yomiuriland Jewellumination website for this year’s photos
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Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had