There are many reasons why December is a great month to visit Tokyo. First of all, the weather is accommodating for travelers. Unlike summer with its scorching heat and humidity, the air in winter Tokyo is fresh and the days are often sunny, giving you and your lover a perfect opportunity to take amazing shots of the city.
The second reason would be winter illuminations, which are taken very seriously in Japan. The city is decorated with numerous LED lights and colorful ornaments, and Christmas music is playing almost everywhere!
However, one of my favorite events in December are the weekly Odaiba fireworks!
You might be wondering, what is Odaiba? In short, Odaiba is a man maid island in Tokyo Bay. Built in the 19th century for defensive purposes, it is now one of the symbols of futuristic Tokyo. Having an artificial sand beach, it is one of the very few seashores where you can enjoy the magnificent view of Tokyo Bay, unobstructed by harbor areas and cargo ships. During the years of living in Tokyo I always made sure to take my friends who are visiting to Odaiba. So far no one could help but gasp with admiration, and here is why!
Going to Odaiba is a lot of fun on its own. A special line called Yurikamome is automated, meaning there is “no driver” and elevated, meaning you’ll get a spectacular view! It departs from the business area of Shimbashi and takes you through Shiodome, where you can enjoy winter illumination and harbor area, where you can take a peak at the docks. Then it crosses the Rainbow Bridge, allowing you to take amazing pictures of the Tokyo waterfront.
For the best experience, I would recommend you take the front seat in the first car.
About the firework and preparation
Odaiba fireworks, called “Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks” in Japanese, is a yearly event that takes place every Saturday in December. The vast area of shopping malls, museums, game centers and the park become decorated with Christmas illumination at night, bringing the festive spirit. Due to the planning of Odaiba waterfront area, it becomes a natural theater with levels descending from the shops and restaurants down to the pedestrian area and then to the beach. This is why there is plenty of space for everyone to get a good view of the fireworks, unlike similar events in the summer, where you have to save the viewing spot for a few hours before the firework starts.
Personally, my favorite place to watch the firework is on the beach, in front of the Decks shopping mall. Make sure to dress warm, because it might be windy. A beanie and gloves would be helpful. There are several wending machines nearby where you can get a hot tea or coffee while waiting. If you are still cold, cuddle with your special one, it always helps! 😉
The fireworks start at 19:00 sharp and last approximately 10 minutes without breaks in between. During those 10 minutes there is a 100% chance you will hear the words “kirei”(“beautiful”), “sugoi” (“cool”) and “kawaii” (“cute”) from nearby Japanese girls and women. Here is your daily doze of Japanese vocabulary to learn on the trip! ☺
The reason for such excitement is the various shapes of the firework: in addition to the standard circles, lines, dots and rain, you will see pink hearts, Santa Claus, cats and smiley faces.
This one turned out blurry, but there is the heart-shaped firework.
What to do after
Continue the date with a romantic walk to the Statue of Liberty. Not the original one, but a smaller replica next to the Fuji TV Building, illuminating the surroundings with its spaceship-like design.
Statue of Liberty and the Rainbow Bridge. Smiley face firework and the Rainbow Bridge.
Too chilly to go outside? Have a candle light dinner in one of the restaurants with the view of Tokyo Bay and rainbow bridge, enjoy the rides in the Joypolis indoor theme park or take memorable photos in the Tokyo Trick Art Museum. In other words, have a terrific time on your date!