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Kuwana-shi, Japan

Nabana No Sato

These Japanese gardens are blankets of light for dark winter nights. 

There is an island at the end of the Kiso River, just before it empties into the Ise Bay, called Nagashimacho. It is home to Nagashima Resort, a popular destination for Japanese vacationers. There are rides, a water park, restaurants and malls, hot springs, and expansive Japanese gardens.

During spring, summer and autumn, the grounds of Nabana No Sato, one of the largest gardens in Japan, are carpets of color, but it’s the winter display that draws even bigger crowds than the tulips, cosmos, daisies and begonias. From mid-October to early May, Nagashima Resort embraces the night with LED flowers and trees, flipping the switch on over eight million botanical diodes.

The gardens can be crowded at any time of year, but in winter visitors make plans far in advance to see how much the light show has grown. Most of the visitors are Japanese, but with the popularity of extravagant LED displays, and technology keeping up with the pace, more foreigners manage to make it to Nabana No Sato every season.

There are acres of grounds to cover, including a luminous lake, a Lite-Brite Mount Fuji, a radiant forest, and a seemingly endless, glowing tunnel of Earthbound stars.

Know Before You Go

Nabana No Sato is one of four attractions at the Nagashima Resort (there is also an amusement/water park, hot springs and shopping mall). It's about 50 miles east of Kyoto, and 15 miles southeast of Nagoya. The easiest way to reach the gardens is with an express Meitetsu bus from Nagoya Station, and it's only 30 minutes to arrived at Nabano no Sato's entrance.