Halloween has come to an end and all things spooktacular are beginning to bow down to the season of mulled wine, mince pies and merriment.
As families finish off their sugary plunders from an evening of trick-or-treating, the beam of a single light bulb flickers to life in the darkness. As if awoken by the warmth of the first, more bulbs begin to flash and glow, turning on one by one as if a wave in a sea of light. Within seconds, what once was only darkness, develops into a magnificent display bursting with bold colours and designs that dance in the night.

What I am describing of course, is a winter light display.

In Japan, light installations play a major role in the winter season; the displays bring families and friends together throughout the cold nights and evenings to admire, to remember and to bring hope in the future.

Light displays and festivals can be experienced in pockets all across the country; to name just a few, there are the ‘Midtown Christmas’ and the ‘Artelligent Christmas’ lights at Akasaka and Roppongi Hills, in Osaka a display lights up the castle, the traditional cottages of Gifu’s Shirakawa-go becomes a winter wonderland when they are lit up against a backdrop of snow, and of course Kobe’s Illuminarie steals the show as 200,000 light bulbs illuminate the city in remembrance of the victims of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.

In Wakayama, Festa Luce is the highlight of winter illuminations.
The event is held in Wakayama’s Marina City, which is known for its European themed architecture and aesthetics. Staying true to the theme of the resort town, Festa Luce pays homage to the winter festivals of Europe, with full-sized glowing christmas trees, gigantic reindeer sculptures wrapped in fairy lights, christmas market stalls serving up the best winter warmers, and not a single corner left untouched by light.

The festival was first held in 2017, and has seen a total of more than 280,000 visitors over the last 3 events. This year, the event has been upgraded to include even more lights in the display in order to ‘brighten’ the mood as this year, which has been less than enjoyable for most, draws to an end.

Festa Luce

Dates: Saturday 31 October 2020 – Sunday 14 February 2021
Hours: 17:00 - 21:00
Location: Porto Europe, Marina City, Wakayama

Same-day Ticket
Adult - 1500 yen
High School Student and over - 750 yen
Junior High School Students and below - free

Advanced Ticket
Adult - 1300 yen
High School Student and over - 650 yen
Junior High School Students and below - free

This year, organisers of the event have decided to make Festa Luce free for children of Junior High School age and below. During a year when events and festivals have been cancelled one by one, Festa Luce hopes to provide children with a treasure trove of happy memories. Support the decision over at camp-fire.jp

By - Connie Sceaphierde.