Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Nabana no Sato : Winter Illumination 2014

Nagashima Island near Kuwana city in Mie Prefecture is home to a variety of attractions, all forming part of a widespread resort, the Nagashima Resort. Its proximity to the cities of Nagoya, Toyota, Yokkaichi and Kuwana make it a popular vacation destination. It has many attractions to cater to various age groups.

The Nagashima Resort comprises of 4 main facilities - The Nagashima Spa Land, an amusement park which also includes a Water Park, A hot spring/ onsen complex, an outlet shopping mall and a flower park named Nabana no Sato. The popular Nagoya Anpanman Museum is also part of Nagashima resort.

Of all the facilities, Nabana no Sato, the flower park is located a 15 minute ride away. The park is famous for its seasonal flowers throughout the year, and also hosts a flower festival in spring. This flower festival is also reputed to be one of the largest such festivals in Japan. From spring to summer, the park is home to a variety of flowers- Hydrangea, Tulips, Roses and Daffodils.


But the park perhaps attracts maximum visitors in the winter, when the park hosts a Winter Illumination event. The Winter illuminations are held from November to end of March.The illumination is one of the largest illumination events in Japan and as such attracts large crowds from all over the country.
 The natural beauty of the park transforms into a magical world when the lights are turned on around dusk. 




The main attraction of the Winter Illumination 2014 event is the Mt Fuji. 
This theme coincides with Mt Fuji's inclusion in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2013.






The Mt Fuji light up display reflects colors of the 4 seasons and the passage of time from daybreak to night.  
  
The lights change colors at frequent intervals giving a magical feeling.


The lake near the chapel in the centre of the park is also lit up. 



Visitors pass through a "Tunnel of light" on their way to the Mt Fuji display.


On the return route visitors pass through another tunnel, Momiji tunnel which is lit up in red lights.


The park also features Island Fuji, a moving observation deck which offers good views of the park. 



The park also has a walk through Plum orchard, which was in full bloom during our visit. 







Walkways lined on both sides with Plum trees make this area a pleasure to visit.


The Weeping Plum trees with their white and pink blossoms are a pretty sight. 

A few Cherry trees were also beginning to blossom.
A giant green house, known as Begonia garden has a large display of potted Begonia plants throughout the year. Entrance is charged separately for the Begonia Garden.

The park also has many restaurants, beer garden, gift shops and even an onsen to cater to visitors. Visitors can also soak up their tired feet in an " Ashi yu", a foot bath. 

During the winter illumination, Nabana no Sato can be fairly crowded during the weekends. It would be a good idea to visit the park in the afternoon or early evening and then wait till the lights are up. We did the same so that we could enjoy both the floral beauty by the daylight and the illumination by night. 

Tickets are priced at 2000 yen for elementary school children and above during the winter illumination. The tickets also include vouchers for 1000 yen which can be used at the gift shops and food joints in the park. Entrance to Begonia Garden, Onsen and the Island Fuji are charged separately.

Address:  Mie Prefecture, 511-1144 , Kuwana city, Nagashima cho, Komae Urushibata 270

Phone: 0594-41-0787

Opening hours : 9:00 am to 9:00 pm 

Tickets :
During Winter Illumination :2000 yen (Elementary school students and above); includes vouchers for 1000 yen
Rest of the year : 1500 yen 

Parking: Ample Parking available

On certain days a shuttle bus operates between the parking area of the Nagashima Spaland area and Nabana no Sato. Check in advance. 

Website: http://www.nagashima-onsen.co.jp/nabana/illumination/index.html/ 

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