Have you ever been or heard of Huis Ten Bosch (ハウステンボス)? This Dutch-style theme park got its name, which literally means “house in the woods,” from one of the three official residences of the Dutch royal family. It is the largest theme park in Japan featuring a wide variety of old Dutch-style buildings that house hotels, villas, theaters, museums, shops, and restaurants nestled among canals, windmills, amusement ride facilities, and a flower park. If you are planning to be in Nagasaki during the upcoming autumn and winter seasons, there is an event happening at Huis Ten Bosch from November 2017 which you absolutely should not miss!
The “Hikari no Oukoku,” which means “Kingdom of Lights,” is an annual illumination event that has been held at Huis Ten Bosch since 2010. It also has been crowned the best illumination event in Japan for four consecutive years since 2013. The 2017 edition is said to be the largest in the world featuring a total of 13 million light bulbs and puts the sprawling theme park literally in a different light as you enjoy the various attractions in a European atmosphere under the stars and surrounded by sparkling illuminations. Coupled with the fact that the event lasts for a long six months i.e. from 3 November 2017 to 6 May 2018, there is plenty of time for you to fit this into your itinerary during your autumn or winter trip.
If you still need more convincing, check out these 10 highlights from the 2017 event. Do take note, however, that some attractions may start later and/or end earlier than the full event period.
The 3D projection mapping show for 2017 will be held on the facade of Palace Huis Ten Bosch from 25 November and is said to be the largest in Japan spanning a length of 110 meters and in wide 4K resolution. Whether you are a photography enthusiast or you simply enjoy watching projection mapping shows, you should definitely bring your camera to take some beautiful shots.
Note that there are also other projection mapping shows taking place at various smaller buildings within the theme park so don’t confuse them with the main projection show on the palace building.
Fancy having some drinks at an elevated glass cafe surrounded by beautiful illuminations? The Sky Café of Lights (光の天空カフェ) is the answer to your fantasy because it offers an unobstructed view of the surrounding blue and white-themed light display titled “Hikari no Taki (光の滝)” i.e. “Waterfall of Light” and a glass floor which gives you the feeling of floating in a sea of lights. This attraction will be open to public access on the first day of the event i.e. 3 November 2017.
In the lead-up to Christmas, how can the event not feature a beautiful Christmas tree? The Hikari no Tenkuu Tree (光の天空ツリー) i.e. the Sky Tree of Light towers above all with a height of 30 meters and features a beautiful illumination show where the lights dance to the rhythm of the accompanying music. Check out for yourself how the tree transforms itself from the first day of the event.
At the Flower Road area of the theme park, you will be greeted by the Rainbow Flower Garden (レインボーフラワーガーデン) which celebrates the union of flowers and lights set against the signature Dutch windmills. Note that this will only be available for viewing until the end of January 2018.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll under colorful umbrellas and music-themed 3D illuminations as you check out the bustling shops at the Attraction Town area.
Over at the canal that features the attraction “Hikari to Hunsui no Unga (光と噴水の運河)” i.e. the “Canal of Light and Fountains,” you can take a boat ride for 800 yen (discounted price of 400 yen if you have the theme park’s passport ticket) where you can see the marriage of lights and fountains up close. As your boat passes through the canal, the lights will change accordingly, thus offering an element of surprise as you admire the beautiful light show.
Ferris wheels are must-have attractions in theme parks so the event also features the illuminated White Ferris Wheel using as many as 70,000 LED light bulbs titled “Hikari no Kanransha (光の観覧車).” Besides observing the beautiful Ferris wheel from afar, how about taking a ride on it to take in a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the lit-up theme park for just 700 yen per person? If you have the passport ticket, be sure to show this to the staff to get a 100-yen discount off the standard price.
At the mention of visiting zoos, people tend to think of it as something to be done in the day. As such, how about seeing the animals you are familiar with such as the elephant, giraffe, panda, zebra, flamingo, and dolphin literally in a different light at the Hikari no Doubutsuen (光のどうぶつえん) i.e. Zoo of Light taking place at the Art Garden?
In the vast palace garden surrounded by a forest, be treated to a beautiful illumination show featuring orchestra music at the Hikari no Orchestra (光のオーケストラ) i.e. Orchestra of Light. Just head to the Harbor Town area where you need to pay an admission fee of 600 yen per person for entry to the palace grounds. For those who hold an annual membership, you will be able to enter free of charge, while for other passport ticket holders, the applicable ticket charge is 400 yen each.
Last but not least, check out the world’s largest lighted dragon measuring 13 meters in length and 6.5 meters in height which moves along with the lights and spews out fire. For those who are interested in riding this lighted beast, just join the queue for the rides which come with a fee.
Now that you’ve seen what this event has to offer, how about checking it out personally to experience a different side of Huis Ten Bosch during your holiday in Nagasaki?