About the Festival
As we prepare to celebrate the 22nd Ashikaga Flower Fantasy in 2023, we find ourselves reflecting on the festival’s storied legacy, which has illuminated the Tochigi nights with a grandeur that transcends time and trends. This esteemed festival, adorned with over 5 million LED lights across the sprawling 100,000 square meters of Ashikaga Flower Park, is not just a festival—it’s a phenomenon. Having been consecrated as the best illumination event for seven straight years, it stands as a beacon of beauty and creativity. The festival is famed for its triad of thematic wonders:
- Light and Flower Collaboration: A dazzling marriage of light with the delicate amethyst sage.
- Flower Park Christmas: Our Christmas Fantasy, where festive cheer meets floral splendor.
- New Year Illumination: A radiant welcome to the new year with a kaleidoscope of lights.
Delve into the heart of the festival with these featured lighting displays:
- Illuminated Flowers: Wander through a canvas where flowers glow like living jewels under the night sky.
- Audiovisual Shows: Engage in a symphony of sound and light, where each note paints the air with color.
- Light Projections: Witness the park’s surfaces come alive with stories told in light.
- Curtain Lights: Walk beneath cascades of light that fall like celestial rain, shimmering with each passing breeze.
- Fairy Lights: See the gardens softly whisper with the delicate embrace of fairy lights in every corner.
- Tunnels of Lights: Journey through corridors of radiance, enveloped in an endless glow that guides you to the heart of the festival’s fantasy.
Each display is not just a sight to behold but a chapter in the grand narrative of the Ashikaga Flower Fantasy, a testament to the artistry and innovation that continues to define this magnificent event.
Festival Dates (2023-2024)
The 22nd Ashikaga Flower Fantasy weaves its nocturnal magic from October 18, 2023, to February 14, 2024. Each chapter of this illuminated saga has its own time to shine within the overarching narrative of the festival. Mark your calendars for these enchanting periods:
- Light and Flower Collaboration: Experience this harmonious fusion beginning October 18 through mid-November, where lights and florals create an ethereal tapestry in the crisp autumn air.
- Flower Park Christmas (Christmas Fantasy): From late November until the end of December, the Christmas spirit is aglow with festive lights, transforming the park into a winter wonderland of joy and light.
- New Year Illumination: Greet the new year with brilliance from January 1 until the festival’s close on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2024. It’s a celebration of beginnings and the enduring light within us all.
Each segment of the festival offers a unique allure, crafting a seasonal story told in dazzling light and color, ensuring that every visit within these dates is a unique chapter of the same beautiful story.
Where It’s Located and How to Get There
The enchanting Ashikaga Flower Fantasy takes root in the serene beauty of Ashikaga Flower Park, a botanical haven nestled in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. As twilight descends, the park transforms into a canvas of lights, becoming the pulsating heart of this legendary festival of lights.
As for reaching this magical destination, the nearest airport to Ashikaga Flower Park is Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. From Narita, visitors have a bouquet of travel options to reach the festival:
- By Train: The most scenic and convenient way, involving a transfer at Tokyo Station or Oyama Station to get onto the JR Ryomo Line which directly serves Ashikaga Flower Park Station.
- By Bus: Direct buses may be available, offering a straightforward route to the park.
- By Car: Rental services are available at the airport for those who prefer a road trip through Japan’s picturesque countryside to the park.
Traveling by train from other cities in Japan is an adventure in itself. Here’s how to embark on your journey to the festival:
- From Tokyo: Take the Shinkansen or a local JR line to Oyama Station, then switch to the JR Ryomo Line, which will bring you directly to Ashikaga Flower Park Station.
- From Kyoto: Board the Shinkansen to Tokyo Station, transfer to the JR Utsunomiya Line to Oyama Station, and then hop on the JR Ryomo Line to your floral destination.
- From Osaka: Catch the Shinkansen to Tokyo Station. At Tokyo, switch to the JR Utsunomiya Line, ride to Oyama Station, and finally, the JR Ryomo Line will carry you to Ashikaga Flower Park Station.
- From Nagoya: Take the Shinkansen to Oyama Station and transition to the JR Ryomo Line, which leads you to the light festival’s doorstep at Ashikaga Flower Park Station.
Other amazing lights festivals in Asia are:
As the day begins to wane and the dusk quietly ushers in the night, Ashikaga Flower Park opens its gates to a world alight with color and wonder. The festival welcomes visitors from 3:30 PM, allowing ample time to arrive and settle into the ambiance of the approaching twilight.
The true spectacle begins at around 4:30 PM when the first flickers of fairy lights start to punctuate the evening, signaling the park’s transformation into a nocturnal paradise. The glowing tableau reaches its crescendo as more and more lights awaken, casting a spellbinding glow until the park’s soft closure at 8:30 PM.
This window of five enchanting hours invites guests to meander through an ever-changing landscape of lights—each moment a fleeting dance between shadow and brilliance, an experience not to be missed.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit Ashikaga Flower Fantasy?
Embracing the splendor of the Ashikaga Flower Fantasy is an experience that promises memories worth far more than its modest entrance fee. For the joy of witnessing this spectacle of lights, adult visitors are invited to contribute 1,300 Yen (approximately $8.64), while a child’s passage into this fairy-tale setting is a mere 700 Yen (about $4.65).
These admission prices are your keys to a realm where every glowing path and twinkling tree has a story to tell. They are not simply fees but investments in moments of wonder that you and your loved ones will carry long after the lights dim and the night retires.
Weather and What to Wear
As we journey through the months of the Ashikaga Flower Fantasy, the weather is as varied as the displays of lights. October marks the transition from warm to cooler days, with average highs around 20°C (68°F) and lows of 10°C (50°F). As we edge into November, the mercury dips slightly, ushering in crisper days. By the time December arrives, the chill of winter is upon us, with temperatures often ranging between 5°C (41°F) to 10°C (50°F). January and February are the coldest months, with the possibility of the thermometer hovering near freezing, especially at night when you’ll be enjoying the festival.
To ensure you’re comfortably wrapped in warmth as you wander through the light exhibition, here’s what we recommend wearing:
- Thermal Underwear: A snug base layer to keep your core temperature steady.
- Sweaters or Fleece: A middle layer for insulation, essential for those cooler nights.
- Winter Coat: A waterproof and wind-resistant outer layer to shield against the elements.
- Warm Trousers: Jeans or insulated leggings/tights can be perfect for strolling around.
- Boots: Waterproof footwear with a good grip, to handle any chilly or damp conditions.
- Accessories: Don’t forget gloves, a beanie, and a scarf to protect extremities from the biting cold.
- Umbrella: An umbrella or a raincoat, as occasional showers are common in October and November.
Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby
After a night spent wandering beneath the celestial dance of lights, find your rest in the comforting embrace of nearby accommodations.
Toyoko Inn Tochigi Ashikaga Station North
Located just a stone’s throw away from Ashikaga Station, Toyoko Inn offers the quintessential balance between convenience and comfort. Guests can enjoy an array of amenities including free Wi-Fi, a complimentary breakfast to kick start your day, and modern rooms equipped with all the essentials for a restful night’s sleep after an evening at the festival.
CANDEO HOTELS Sano
Immerse yourself in contemporary elegance at CANDEO HOTELS Sano, situated a brief drive from the festival. This hotel prides itself on its sleek design, spacious rooms, and sky spa, where you can soak in the views of the cityscape. Amenities like free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour front desk, and a delectable breakfast buffet round out a stay designed for ultimate relaxation.
Ota Grand Hotel
Experience the blend of tradition and modernity at Ota Grand Hotel, an establishment that boasts a welcoming atmosphere with its comfortable rooms, each featuring free Wi-Fi, ensuring you stay connected. It’s conveniently positioned for festival-goers and offers the added convenience of on-site dining options to savor local flavors before retiring to your room for a tranquil night’s sleep.
What to Eat
Savor the flavors of Ashikaga as you explore the culinary delights that complement the visual feast of the festival.
Situated in the heart of Ashikaga, Kyo Kanoko offers a serene dining atmosphere where traditional Japanese cuisine meets seasonal ingenuity. Specializing in kaiseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, diners here can enjoy delicately plated dishes that are as visually stunning as the surrounding light festival, all while enjoying the establishment’s famed hospitality and tranquil setting.
A cozy European-style bistro tucked away in the streets of Ashikaga, Dolce is a haven for those with a sweet tooth. Beyond their delectable selection of pastries and sweets, Dolce is also known for its hearty pastas and sandwiches, perfect for a comforting meal under the twinkling twinkle lights of the season. The warm, inviting ambiance paired with their rich coffee makes it an ideal spot to unwind after a day of festival wonders.
A modern eatery with a casual vibe, Fortuna presents a diverse menu that’s sure to cater to every palate. Located conveniently close to the festival’s glow, this spot is known for its fusion dishes that blend local flavors with international techniques, creating an innovative dining experience. With each plate beautifully crafted to please the eye and palate, dining at Fortuna is much like the festival itself — a feast of lights, color, and taste.
More Things to Do in the Area
While the Ashikaga Flower Fantasy captivates by night, the city’s cultural and historical treasures offer a delightful experience by day.
Just a short journey from the heart of Ashikaga, the Kurita Museum is an oasis for those who appreciate the fine art of Japanese ceramics. The museum showcases an exquisite collection of Imari and Nabeshima ware, offering a deep dive into the history and intricate craftsmanship of these renowned porcelain styles. Guests can stroll through the elegantly curated exhibits and even participate in pottery-making workshops, taking a piece of Ashikaga’s artistry with them.
A scenic retreat that resonates with folklore, Orihime Park is named after a celestial weaver from Japanese mythology and provides a tranquil escape from the festival’s sensory splendor. Visitors can wander through beautifully landscaped gardens, enjoy seasonal blooms, and find a moment of peace by the park’s soothing water features. It’s a space where nature’s artistry is on full display and serves as a perfect daytime complement to the festival’s evening brilliance.
Ashikaga Museum of Arts
For the art aficionados, the Ashikaga Museum of Arts is a cultural gem located within reach of the festival’s lights. It offers a rich tapestry of exhibits ranging from classical to contemporary art, focusing on works that celebrate the beauty and history of the Ashikaga region. Beyond its visual collections, the museum often hosts concerts and cultural events, making it a hub of artistic activity to enrich your visit.
A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Visit to Ashikaga Flower Fantasy
As the final twinkles of the Ashikaga Flower Fantasy fade into the night, we carry with us the luminous memories of a world bathed in light and color. This festival is more than a visual feast; it’s a heartwarming journey that ignites wonder and wraps up the cold months in a blanket of joy. Let the lights dim and the stars take over until the next season, when once again, we’ll reunite under the shimmering skies of Ashikaga’s floral paradise.
Is there parking available at the festival?
Yes, there is parking available. It’s recommended to arrive early as spaces fill up quickly due to the popularity of the event.
Can I smoke within the festival grounds?
Ashikaga Flower Fantasy is a smoke-free event to ensure the comfort and safety of all guests. Designated smoking areas are provided outside the festival premises.
Are pets allowed at Ashikaga Flower Fantasy?
Unfortunately, pets are not permitted within the park during the festival for safety reasons and to preserve the integrity of the floral displays.
Is the festival accessible for those with disabilities?
Absolutely. The park is designed to be wheelchair-friendly, with accessible paths and facilities to accommodate all the guests.
Are there any age restrictions for the festival?
The festival welcomes visitors of all ages. It’s a family-friendly event with something magical for everyone to enjoy.
What should I do if I lose something at the festival?
Lost and found services are available at the park’s main information center. We suggest marking personal items with your contact information.
Can I bring my own food and drinks to the festival?
While outside food and drinks are allowed, we encourage you to try local delicacies from the food vendors to enhance your festival experience.
Is photography allowed during the festival?
Photography is not only allowed but encouraged! Visitors can definitely capture their beautiful moments, though it is important that you respect the space of others and do not use drones or professional lighting equipment without prior permission.