Christmas lights: chintzy glitz or harmless fun?

Ross Hall

December 8, 2021

Photograph of bright Christmas decorations with a ferris wheel surrounded by two windmills

Japan takes Christmas very seriously. The Halloween Pumpkins are barely packed away before the Christmas lights come out. Shopping malls are festooned with trees and fairy lights, and the occasional Santa Clause. For a country that doesn’t recognise the 25th of December as a national holiday, it can be a little confusing. Until you appreciate it’s all in the quest for consumer Yen.

Sometimes the lights are elevated from decoration to art form. The Hyogo Prefectural Flower Center is one such example.

Photograph of a selection of Christmas decorations
The light show at the Hyogo Prefectural Flower Center

Regular readers will know I enjoy visiting this park every now and then to enjoy the transition of the seasons. This time it was to see the annual “light show”.

It didn’t disappoint.

Photograph of an illuminated house decoration
A house serves as a lamp in the middle of the light show.

To some it might look a little cheesy. Bright lights, Santa Clause, Japanese mascots. It does look like an explosion of light bulbs and chintzy decorations. They even drafted in the greenhouses, turning tropical plants into flower displays.

But it’s also fun.

Photograph of a traditional Father Christmas decoration
Father Christmas, as found in the tropical greenhouses

Kids wandering around cooing at Santa. Adults desperate to capture the perfect shot. Couples holding hands and enjoying the moment. Even I was caught up in the moment, merrily snapping away, and my wife telling me I should have brought my tripod.

At the end of the day, isn’t having an hour of two of fun what these light shows are about?

Photograph of a Santa Claus Christmas decoration with sinister lighting
A somewhat sinister Santa Claus
Photograph of an illuminated Hello Kitty decoration
Even Hello Kitty made an appearance

I'm Ross, a digital editorial designer and content creator from the UK now living in Japan. I help growing companies plan, source, produce and promote a range of content. Find out more

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