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Beyond Tokyo DECEMBER 2020

This month’s destination: YomiuriLand

Let’s go see the millions of twinkling lights at 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.”

Yomiuriland Jewelluminations aerial view
An overview of the delights in store
Yomiuriland Jewelluminations Amethyst area
All the rides are lit up too, and if you enjoy a good turn on a ferris wheel or spin on a roller coaster, it’s extra-fun to see all the twinklies from high above the ground or whipping down between the fairy-lit treetops. You can get a pass that includes unlimited rides, or buy individual ride tickets inside the park
Yomiuriland Jewelluminations Diamond area
This tunnel in the “Diamond” area is my favorite thing—it’s a Wonka-esque animated light show you can walk through
Yomiuriland Jewelluminations Aquamarine area
They don’t stint on the number of lights, and it really does look this spectacular. This rainbow alley is in the “Aquamarine” section, but every tree in the park looks this good
Yomiuriland Jewelluminations Ruby area
The plaza in the “Ruby” section looks especially fun this year, with color-changing glow balls pulsing amid a rainbow flower design and that perennial favorite, the tent of lights you can walk under
Yomiuriland Jewelluminations Garnet area
You can find the old-fashioned carousel in the “Garnet” section, and this year the trees around it are festooned with multicolored sparklies
Yomiuriland Jewelluminations Moonstone area
The “Moonstone” patch is a little underwhelming this year, but it’s worth trekking over there because it’s still home to the all-time kid favorite…
Yomiuriland Jewelluminations ski slope slide
…the “ski slope” of lights you can slide down
Yomiuriland Jewelluminations fountain show
But the most entertaining thing in the park are the extravagant productions that take place every fifteen minutes at the big fountain. The shows rotate between two “dancing water” productions and a third where live dancers join the music, lights, video and water choreography

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.

Yomiuriland Jewelluminations wishing bells
In the “Ruby” area, you can make a wish for ¥500 by holding hands and hanging a golden bell among the others jingling in the breeze
Yomiuriland Jewelluminations lit up cotton candy
The best junk food for sale is this ¥500 ball of glowing cotton candy…
Yomiuriland Jewelluminations color changing drink
…but color-changing fruity drinks are sold at all the concession stands too, and it’s almost worth the ¥650 to walk around sipping from a color-changing hand grenade

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.

Yomiuriland Jewelluminations map
Here’s a map of the park, showing where each area is. The rectangle with the green tree circles on the left edge is the entrance plaza and ticket booths

Tickets

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:

Yomiuriland Jewelluminations location map
As you can see, it’s technically still in Tokyo, but the 25-minute ride from Shinjuku Station puts you in what feels very much like countryside

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.

Yomiuriland Jewelluminations local map
Here’s a map of where the gondola terminal is

Ticket prices (including rides) are here

Yomiuriland Jewelluminations train route

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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More Beyond Tokyo destinations are in the JAPANAGRAM ARCHIVE

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

“A great read!” —Liza Dalby, author of Geisha and The Tale of Murasaki

Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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