Visit Kanto’s biggest illumination at Sagamiko, which this year features Paddington Bear, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben in glorious LED form.
Anything billed as a ‘pleasure forest’ immediately attracts attention and Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest really comes into its own during winter when millions of LED lights descend upon the park. This year’s theme is British with Paddington Bear – despite his Peruvian origin – ubiquitous across the park. At the entrance, an illuminated Big Ben and Houses of Parliament will greet you whilst inside a London bus, London market, Buckingham Palace and an English garden can all be seen shining in light form.
Buckingham Palace features the British Guards Band who repeat renditions of Land of Hope and Glory in a dramatic lights show complete with marchers and a fully illuminated brass band. The London market features wooden benches and fire pits surrounded by food stands where you can purchase ale and fish and chips; although the smoked turkey leg is recommended.
Elsewhere, the loose British theme allows a Niagara of light, sea of light, chairlift of light, tunnel of light and zoo of light – over 5.5 million LEDs have been used to create these spectacular displays – whilst there are also various amusement rides charged at a small additional fee such as a small roller coaster, a mirror maze, a wormhole, a big wheel and a play area for kids.
Maps are handed out at the entrance so if you are blinded by the lights you can still locate the various pleasure spots in the pleasure forest. In addition to the food stalls at the British market, there is a wild dining section where you can get some Japanese grub such as noodles or rice sets as well as the British fare. Then afterwards, when the cold has bitten, just outside the amusement park, there is an excellent hot spring to relax and warm up before heading back home. The park featuring the illumination is open from 5pm – 10pm (last entry 9:30pm) every day until 8th January and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays thereafter until 12th April. Entry is 800yen for adults and 500yen for children. Parking is available on site at 1,000yen. Alternatively, a bus runs every hour from Sagamiko station (about 10mins). Sagamiko can be accessed via the Chuo line from Takao (9mins) which is 45minutes by rapid service from Shinjuku. In total, if you time it right you can go from the neon lights of Shinjuku to the 5.5 million fairy lights of Sagamiko in an hour. Go early in the day and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery at Sagamiko before moving on to the pleasure forest.