Visit Osaka This Christmas For the Grand Wish Christmas 2020 Illuminations
04.October.2020 | SPOT
Grand Front Osaka has announced a Christmas event this year called ‘Grand Wish Christmas 2020’ which will run from November 11 to December 25. ‘Winter Voyage’ is the theme for the event which will switch on host of dazzling illuminations to warm up the cockles of everyone’s heart this coming winter.
Winter Voyage: A journey of hope to connect the world
The ball-draped Winter Voyage Tree was created by Japanese designer Kimi Hasegawa and will be placed inside the mall’s Knowledge Plaza. Guests will also be welcomed by the Champagne Gold Illumination which has been fitted with 400,000 balls, and there will also be a photo exhibition made in collaboration with travel culture magazine TRANSIT that showcases beautiful sights around the world.
*Please note that parts of the event are subject to change or cancellation depending on the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Winter Voyage Tree: The main Christmas tree
The balloons that adorn the tree each represent a continent and how the world is connected to the same sky. The Winter Voyage Tree is a magical Christmas tree to deliver wishes this winter, with the balloons each having motifs of animals, buildings, and plans from each place around the world. See them illuminated with the ‘Lighting Show’ this winter.
Running: November 11, 2020 – December 25, 2020
Lighting Show: [Weekdays] 17:00-Midnight / [Weekends] 16:00-Midnight
Location: Knowledge Village, Grand Front Osaka North Building Floor 1F
Champagne Gold Illumination
126 trees around the 1 hectare-wide Umekita Plaza in front of Osaka Station will glow with 400,000 champagne gold lights.
Running: November 11, 2020 – February 23, 2021
Illumination Time: Everyday 17:00-Midnight
Locations: Umekita Plaza, Keyaki Namiki, West Side of Grand Front Osaka’s North Building
TED HYBER -Ugly Christmas Sweater-
Ted Hyber is a giant teddy bear created by French contemporary artist Fabrice Hybert. A symbol of Grand Front Osaka’s Umekita Plaza, he will be dressed up in an “Ugly Christmas Sweater” this year.
Running: November 11, 2020 – December 25, 2020
Location: Grand Front Osaka South Building
TRANSIT Photo Exhibition – “It’s a beautiful planet”
Travel culture magazine TRANSIT will be showcasing a selection of photos taken by a number of artists such as Yayoi Arimoto, who works for the magazine, taken around the world. It’s a great opportunity for those unable to travel in the current climate.
Running: November 11, 2020 – December 25, 2020
Location: Grand Front Osaka North Building Floors 3F-6F
Grand Wish Christmas 2020
Grand Front Osaka Official Website: https://www.grandfront-osaka.jp/
Keyakizaka Lights, a Tokyo Winter Tradition, to be Held Again in 2022
02.October.2022 | SPOT
From November 11 until December 25, 2022, Roppongi Hills Christmas will cover Tokyo in glittering lights once again. The Keyakizaka Lights, one of Tokyo’s most popular winter attractions, will also take place in 2022, with the 400-meter-long Keyakizaka street covered in over 800,000 blue and white LED lights.
For the first time in three years, the Mohri Garden will be covered in lights as well. The annual Christmas market will invite guests to experience an authentic German Christmas, and Christmas cakes and gourmet food unique to Roppongi Hills will be for sale.
The Roppongi Hills Christmas event utilizes LED lights and has done so since the first event was held in 2003. Clean power will be used again this year, and the lights will be switched on from 5 PM until 11 PM each night.
Roppongi Hills Keyakizaka Lights
Running: November 10 – December 25, 2022 *Daily from 5:00 – 11:00 PM
*Lights may begin at a different time on November 10 only.
Location: Roppongi Keyakizaka Street
Official Site: https://www.roppongihills.com
Japan’s Largest Fireworks Show Opens with 800 Drones and 45,000 Fireworks
01.October.2022 | SPOT
To promote the 2025 Osaka Expo, hundreds of drones and thousands of fireworks lit up the sky at the planned site for the event. SKYMAGIC LIVE PTE. LTD., known for creating original shows using drones, put on the show on Yumeshima, a man-made island in Osaka’s Konohana Ward on September 25, 2022. The event was the first large-scale outdoor drone show in the Kansai region, with 800 LED-equipped drones flying through the night sky.
Nearly 15,000 visitors were in attendance at this spectacular event. The event aims to promote a hopeful future in which Japan thrives after the impact of the pandemic, and also aims to promote the upcoming Expo to people around the world. 45,000 fireworks were set off, marking one of the largest fireworks displays in Japan. Launched to rid the area of bad luck, guests will likely never forget the unique display of futuristic technology and traditional fireworks.
As the fireworks show began, countless drones took off one after another into the sky. As many would expect, Myak Myak, the official character of the Osaka/Kansai Expo, appeared above the crowd, standing 135 meters tall and 80 meters wide. A countdown to the Expo appeared after, with the Let’s Go Expo 2025 logo shining in the sky, made entirely by synchronized drones.
Archived live footage of the event is also available.
Ryota Shirahama, chairman of the event’s organizing committee, made a comment regarding the impressive event. “Japan’s resurgence is about to begin,” he said. “The world has been looking down, and we want it to look up. We want people to look towards the future–that’s the goal of this project. Yes, there was a pandemic. But like the phoenix seen during the drone show, we can start over. I hope that those who saw the show will be inspired to take a new step forward.”
Let’s Go Expo 2025 Countdown 3 ~Yumeshima Fireworks~
NAKED Night Walk Art Project to Open at Famed Zuiganji Temple in Matsushima
Japanese creative company NAKED will hold a Night Walk event at Zuiganji Temple in Matsushima, located near one of the top three most scenic spots in Japan. The event will run from October 29 until November 23, 2022.
The NAKED Night Walk was created to revitalize hot spring resorts and other tourist spots during the pandemic. This special event will bring the illuminated experience to Zuiganji Temple, one of the Tohoku Region’s most famous Zen temples. Guests will be invited to carry beautiful lanterns around the grounds, maintaining social distancing while enjoying the cool evening weather. These lanterns will cast one of three unique designs onto the ground below–a starry sky, a camellia flower, or a lotus.
Guests can also enjoy NAKED’s Flower Fortune Telling, pulling unique paper flowers from a massive wall, with each holding a personalized fortune. These flowers can then be tied to a nearby tree to further spread NAKED’s art. You can also take home your flower as a souvenir!
The event will only run for a limited time. For more information including admission fees and hours, see the official website!
NAKED Night Walk – Matsushima, Zuiganji Temple (National Treasure)
Address: Zuiganji Temple (Chonai-91 Matsushima, Miyagi District, Miyagi Prefecture)
Running: October 29 – November 23, 2022
Hours: Weekdays 17:00-20:00 / Fridays, Weekends, Holidays 17:00-21:00
Official Site: https://zuiganji.or.jp/
NAKED to Open DANDELION PROJECT for Peace in Umeda, Osaka
26.September.2022 | SPOT
NAKED and Ryotaro Muramatsu’s interactive art installation, the DANDELION PROJECT, is coming to Umeda, Osaka. The project aims to connect people around the world, stressing the importance of world peace. Those wanting to participate may do so from October 7 until October 9 at Umekita Sotoniwa Square.
In July 2020, Umekita Sotoniwa SQUARE opened under a unique premise–it would be open for 1,000 days only. The outdoor area was inspired by cities of the future, featuring plenty of green space. The DANDELION PROJECT fits in perfectly with this concept, using modern technology and networking to create art that also serves as a universal prayer for peace. This is the second time the work has been exhibited in Osaka–it was shown in Nakanoshima during the Osaka Hikari no Renaissance 2021 event last December.
The DANDELION PROJECT is inspired by the idea of world peace and hopes to help transcend barriers and connect people in an increasingly divided world. So far, it has appeared in 25 locations–19 in Japan and six abroad. In Japan, it has popped up at Tokyo Tower, Nijo Castle, and other historical sites. Abroad, it has been shown in Paris, Singapore, San Francisco, and Shanghai. The piece aims to bring about change by planting (or installing) dandelion-inspired art around the world, while it invites people visiting these dandelion exhibits to send their prayers for peace as a digital flower in real-time.
The exhibition will also be a satellite venue for NAKED GARDEN ONE KYOTO, a next-gen art project allowing guests to experience Kyoto virtually from September 15 until December 25, 2022.
NAKED – DANDELION
Running: October 7 – October 9, 2022
Venue: Umekita Sotoniwa Square
*Open daily during event period
Official Site: https://sotoniwa-uk.com/
Abeno Q’s Mall Announces Collaboration with Street Fighter II Starting October 1
Street Fighter II will collaborate with a commercial facility for the first time in history! The beloved fighting game will take over Abeno Q’s Mall in Osaka from October 1 until October 31, 2022. Popular characters from the game will appear all over the premises, and visitors will be able to take part in unique games to win exclusive prizes.
There are also a number of interesting challenges that will pop up around Abeno Q’s Mall. At the entrance, visitors will be greeted by Ryu and Ken, the main characters from Street Fighter II, as they unleash their Hadouken. Guests will be able to take pictures with Ryu with a special AR Photo Spot, and characters and stages from the title will appear around the mall. A participatory game event, Street Fighter Challenge, will be available for customers spending ¥3,000 or more (including tax). These customers will actually be able to test their Street Fighter skills, with winners winning a ¥500 yen mall gift card if they are victorious. Fans of the fighting game won’t want to miss this unique event!
© CAPCOM CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Abeno Q’s Mall/Street Fighter II Collaboration
Running: October 1 – October 31, 2022
Address: 1-6-1 Abenosuji, Abeno-ku, Osaka
Official Site: https://qs-mall.jp/abeno
Special ‘Roots of Kawaii’ Exhibition Marking Rune Naito’s 90th Birthday to Open in October
A special exhibition commemorating the 90th birthday of Rune Naito will be held at the Hanshin department store in Osaka from October 19 until October 31. Titled ‘Roots of Kawaii,’ the event will look back at the life of the esteemed artist, illustrator, writer, and designer. Known for his illustrations of large-headed baby-faced girls, he first became interested in art after discovering the works of Jun’ichi Nakahara, joining Nakahara’s company after graduating high school. In 1959, Naito got his big break, designing the cover of the girls’ magazine Junior Soleil. Following this, Naito would become active as an illustrator for a number of magazines, and from the 1960s on, he began other activities, even producing a line of commercial goods from glassware to stickers.
The exhibition’s theme is ‘Life’s fantastic dreams,’ and over 300 items will be on display, including rare original drawings, goods, personal sketches, and more. The event will be held in celebration of Rune Naito’s birthday on November 20, and will also feature a special shop. Admission is ¥1,000 for adults, ¥700 for high school and college students, and free for junior high school students and younger. Discounts are available by preordering tickets. For details and tickets, check out the official website.
Rune Naito’s 90th Birthday Exhibition
Running: October 19 – October 31, 2022
Venue: Hanshin Department Store, Umeda Main Store 8F
(1-13-13 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka)
Sebastian Masuda to Unveil Hands-On Live Performance Work
From September 30 until October 2, 2022, artist Sebastian Masuda will present a hands-on live performance work titled Polychromatic Skin – Minitsukeru, nugisuteru at kagoo in Kitakagaya, Osaka.
Masuda, who currently resides in New York, is returning to Japan temporarily to prevent this colorful and experimental participatory live performance, inspired by the street style of the 90s. The title of the artwork is pulled from the artist’s intention to break through and liberate people’s unconscious stereotypes that stand in the way of gender freedom. This work is the second in a series following Polychromatic Skin -Gender Tower- and Polychromatic Skin -Gender Wall- to be exhibited at Roppongi Art Night 2022.
The theme of this art piece is ‘wearing something by taking it off.’ Audience members will participate in the live performance by wearing masks, tops, and bottoms based on the idea of androgyny, or the body of a human before it is divided into male or female.
Upon entering the art space, guests will be surrounded by live music consisting of drums and violins and visuals, while being invited to act accordingly to create their own art. Each session lasts 60 minutes, and participation in the live performance must be reserved in advance. Tickets to view the works without participating in the performance will be sold at the venue on the day of the event.
The performance will take place at kagoo, a former warehouse space in Kitakagaya, an artistic area of Osaka. A free area at the entrance will feature a pop-up store filled with Sebastian Masuda’s art, along with items from 6%DOKIDOKI, a popular Harajuku apparel brand celebrating its 27th anniversary in 2022.
<Comment from Sebastian Masuda>
“In Brooklyn, New York in 2018, I wandered off to go to the restroom at a club. The male and female signs on the restroom doors had been smashed together, and the sign only said ‘non-gender.’ Bewildered by the unexpected instructions, I opened the door with the usual color and found a completely different sight than I was expecting. Shocked to realize that there were stereotypes hiding unconsciously within me, I returned to the club floor to find the space is as fun as ever. Since then, I’ve wondered if there is a way to break the stereotypes I have. I can’t stop thinking about it.
Is breaking down the walls the only shortcut?
The right answer is inside all of us.
Sometimes, to see the truth, you just need to put something on.
Cast off the self by taking it off.”
Polychromatic Skin -Take Off by Wearing-
Running: September 30 – October 2, 2022
Venue: kagoo (5-4-19 Kitakagaya, Suminoe-ku, Osaka)
Miffy’s Collaboration Cheesecake Appears at Osaka-Umeda Station
13.September.2022 | FOOD
From September 22 until October 3, fans of Miffy will want to head to Hankyu Osaka-Umeda Station! Some tasty collaboration sweets will be available at the station, including some scrumptious cheesecake.
As part of the ongoing collaboration between Miffy and the Hankyu Railway, a new Cheesecake Bar will be available at the Dick Bruna TABLE POP-UP SHOP at Osaka-Umeda Station, which will be open for a limited time. This is a dream collaboration between the very popular Miffy Cheesecake Bar at Dick Bruna TABLE Kobe, a wine bar and cafe where fans can enjoy wine and food along with Dick Bruna’s world-famous illustrations, and the maroon color of the Hankyu Railway. Rich cheesecake and blackcurrant will be sold in sets of two, and sweets lovers won’t want to miss it.
How could you not want to try these tasty Miffy goods?
Cheesecake Bar – Miffy Maroon Color Version
Available: September 22 – October 3, 2022
Venue: Dick Bruna TABLE POP-UP SHOP in Hankyu Osaka-Umeda Station
Address: Hankyu Osaka-Umeda Station 2F, Inside the Central Ticket Gate
Hours: 11:00-22:00 *Opens at 13:00 on September 22
Kansai’s Largest Illumination Event to Start Third Phase on October 8
10.September.2022 | SPOT
The third phase of the popular illumination event at the English Garden Rosa & Berry Tawada will be held from October 8, 2022 until February 12, 2023! One of the largest light-up events in the Kansai region, this year’s theme is ‘Evolutionary Lights!’
Let Time Pass in The Golden Forest
Visitors will be welcomed into a glorious forest of golden lights as they arrive in the main area.
The clock tower rises in the center, and the spectacular production begins at the start of nightfall when the tower itself begins to glow and 100 trees are enveloped in golden light.
The White and Silver Garden of the Fairies
The area has undergone a major transformation, from the warm European-inspired colors of last year’s event to a mysterious silvery-white color scheme. Visitors can also enjoy the popular light-up experience Miraculous Blue Roses and the Seven-Colored Prayer Tree.
※Details: Lights and effects are triggered in response to the sound of bells rung by visitors and special pedals stepped on as they explore the event.
Shaun the Sheep Area
A special Christmas display inspired by the new Shaun the Sheep movie, releasing in December 2022, will be on display.
*Images of the special display will be available in mid-September.
SHAUN THE SHEEP AND SHAUN’S IMAGE ARE ™ AARDMAN ANIMATIONS LTD. 2022
Galactic Express Milky Way
The Milky Way is said to be a magnificent shade of blue. The Milky Way Galaxy Railroad, which requires a separate fee, runs through the area, inviting guests to explore a sea of stars. Why not take a trip through this glittering world of lights while taking some incredible photos?
Why not visit this incredible sea of lights this winter?
Rosa & Berry Illumination 2022-2023 – Evolutionary Lights
Running: October 8, 2022 – February 12, 2023 *Closed on Tuesdays
Hours: 17:30-21:00 *Subject to change depending on the season
Venue: English Garden Rosa & Berry Tawada (Maibara, Shiga)
Official Site: https://www.rb-illumi.com/
Sumikko Gurashi Characters Appear at Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest
From November 12, 2022, until April 2, 2023, visitors to Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest in Kanagawa Prefecture will be able to enjoy an incredible light-up event featuring Sumikko Gurashi characters! The outdoor resort is only an hour from Tokyo and won’t disappoint.
A World First! Illuminated Sumikko Gurashi Area
Visitors can enjoy riding the 250-meter-long Rainbow Lift for an aerial walk above the millions of lights. The adorable Sumikko Gurashi characters will be waiting for guests in a special themed area.
Goods Featuring Original Illustrations Available–with a Collab Menu!
The event will also offer goods decorated with newly-drawn art inspired by the Lake Sagami lights, with Sumikko and her friends enjoying the show. Along with merchandise, guests will also be invited to sample collaboration food and drinks at the park’s restaurant Wild Dining. Each dish will also come with a bonus!
Come enjoy these incredible lights along with everyone’s favorite Sumikko characters! With 6 million lights on display, this is one of the largest in the Kanto area. More details will be coming soon, so keep an eye out!
Sumikko Gurashi x Lake Sagami Illumination
Running: November 12, 2022 – April 2, 2023
Light and Shadow 2022 Event at Hotel Gajoen Tokyo Attracts Over 10,000 Visitors
Hotel Gajoen Tokyo, which blends a hotel and a traditional Japanese museum, is celebrating summer in the spookiest way possible. From July 2 until September 25, guests can enjoy the ‘Wa no Akari x Hyakudan Kaidan 2022 ~Light and Shadow: 100 Stories~’ event, inspired by the tradition of telling ghost stories in summer to send a chill down your spine. Since opening, over 10,000 visitors have come to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Each of the seven exhibition areas is connected to the stairway, and each has its own theme pulled from the overarching theme of light and darkness. From Light of Passion to Midnight Light, guests will be surrounded on all sides. As you ascend the stairs, a festive atmosphere transforms into a more frightening one. Although the ghosts are out to play, guests are welcome to enjoy the many art pieces and crafts on display.
Sokyu Room / Lights of Passion
This Kabuki stage is filled with the passion of women who are addicted to love, a common theme in many traditional plays. The eye-catching Japanese umbrellas and lanterns will no doubt leave an impression, and the wistful music is titled Red Thread. The tale depicted here tells the story of a woman who becomes a haunting specter clad in flames of passion, sobbing and laughing in time with the song.
Still Water Room / Inverted Light
The three trees crowned with horse heads were created by the artist Eros Nakazato. Guests will feel as though they’ve been transported to the middle of a meadow as they explore this fantastical room covered in traditional paintings. In the work The Reverse of the Reverse, there are no wild horses on the earth, and those who have been tamed by humans sway in a beautiful and sad way. To make this scarier, the story has been reimagined as guests look through a crystal ball–now, humans are ruled by horses
Starlight Room / Midnight Light
Passing through a corridor of suspiciously flickering yokai lanterns, you will find that the clock has struck midnight. In the darkness, as most humans are asleep, specters are having a lively party. Playful cats dance and play and a number of artistic works by contemporary artists are on display. The music played fuses Japanese and ethnic instruments, some of which are interspersed with the voices of creatures of the night.
Experience this immersive art experience that will delight all five senses through light and shadows while you can!
Wa no Akari x Hyakudan Kaidan 2022 ~Light and Shadow: 100 Stories~
Running: July 2 – September 25, 2022
Hours: 11:30-18:00 (Last entry at 17:30) *Closing at 17:00 on August 20 (Last entry at 16:30)
Venue: Hotel Gajoen Tokyo Hyakudan Staircase (Tangible Cultural Property Designated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government)
Official Site: https://www.hotelgajoen-tokyo.com/
Official Chiikawa Shops in Harajuku and Osaka to Hold 1st Anniversary Fair
Last year, Chiikawa Land, the first official Chiikawa shop, opened at the Harajuku and Osaka Umeda branches of KIDDYLAND. Both locations will celebrate the 1st anniversary of the shop’s opening with a special fair on August 5, 2022.
Chiikawa is a popular character first revealed by Japanese illustrator Nagano on Twitter. In December 2020, the official online store Chiikawa Market opened, and Nagano released a book compiling the manga panels they drew and posted on Twitter. The characters have become massively popular, with the artist’s social media accounts racking up over 1.1 million followers. From collaboration cafes and exhibitions to a recent anime series, the sky’s the limit for these adorable characters!
「Holographic Sticker (Not for Sale) *Designs will differ between the Harajuku and Osaka Umeda locations.
Holographic Pin (Not for Sale) / For guests spending ¥3,300 or more (including tax)
Picnic Blanket (Not for Sale) / For guests spending ¥5,500 or more (including tax)
Mug (Not for Sale) / For guests spending ¥8,800 or more (including tax)
Limited Edition Chiikawa Land Harajuku x Marion Crepes Collab
Limited Edition Chiikawa Land Harajuku x Marion Crepes Goods
Chiikawa Land Osaka Umeda Limited Edition Goods
Both the Harajuku and Osaka Chiikawa Land locations are visited by fans each day, and each store has developed unique products to celebrate the first anniversary.
The Chiikawa Land Harajuku location will offer products in collaboration with Marion Crepes, while the Osaka Umeda location will sell limited edition products featuring the characters in cute traditional costumes. Special bonuses will also be handed out to guests spending particular amounts, so why not come out and grab some new goods?
©nagano / chiikawa committee