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This Article was written by Milosh
Tis the season, everybody!
You all know what that means! Santa is coming to town.
Spending Christmas in Japan may be a bit of a different experience to what you are used to, but one thing is the same. The Lights!
This time, we will be talking about that universal gaudiness and merriness of the city during the Christmas bonanza due to, of course, Christmas Illumination Events. And illumination is yet another thing the Japanese excel at.
Illumination of the Osaka City starts late November and stays illuminated until Christmas day (12/25), and not a single day longer. Making it a very magical place to visit specifically during this time, and, also, a somewhat depressing first day after Christmas, leaving you wandering aimlessly in the greyness of the city.
Osaka in Winter has no snow, but high humidity makes it a very cold one nonetheless.
So, while you pile up on all the "heat techs" at home, you might want to have a little walk through Osaka City because Japan excels at a very wintery, merry and jolly, Illumination Events.
In Osaka City, besides lighting the 4km long Midosuji boulevard, there's the annual Renaissance of Light, themed illumination event a couple of blocks (and parks) long.
The lights and the sign welcome you at the start, in front of the Osaka Municipal Office, by Yodoyabashi station, and then lead you through the Nakanoshima Street, or as I like to call it, the George Michael tunnel, where, needless to say, you will hear “Last Christmas” at least twice, depending on how much time you need to get that Instagram shot.
At the end of the tunnel is one of the popular sights in Osaka, Osaka City Public Hall, which during this event serves as a canvas for the Projection Mapping that starts around 6 pm and shines until 9ish. The Projection goes in around 15 minutes cycles, which gives you plenty of time to check out the Christmas Market stalls, and for that, you will need only one phrase of Japanese to remember, which is ホットワインください！（hotto wain kudasai) = hot wine, please.
With Christmas just a few days away, and another wine to keep you warm, everyone is friendly, and the chances of accidentally making new friends are high. Jolly times.
On the side of Nakanoshima Park, the newly renovated part of the park now hosts the Taiwan Illumination with lampions and images from Taiwan. This one is a must for those chasing some Instagram bangers. And it's just so pretty it would be a shame not to see it.
Between the Public Hall, Christmas Market and the second part of Nakanoshima Park, extends the French Boulevard, a no-car, now very lit street that leads you from projection mapping to the Rose Park.
There, you have the Smile Exhibit, led lamps inside of children-style drawing paper face ornaments. At the entrance of Rose Park, there's a stall where you can make your own shiny smile and place it on one of the branches in the park.
Right in the middle of Rose Park is a big Snowman, which is a Snowman that is big. Pretty self-explanatory stuff there.
Usually, this is where street performers entertain the masses, and there are a couple of food stalls here as well. Either go proceed into the dark Nakanoshima Park, which is absolutely beautiful in Summer, or go back and see the lights one more time.
These are the nine stops of Renaissance of Light that make for a one big, romantic walk in the heart of the City of Osaka.
▶The entrance is free.
▶Closest stations are Yodoyabashi or Kitahama.
Walking from Umeda or Shinsaibashi is also a recommended walk.