Photo/IllutrationThe “misty space station” has a fantastic atmosphere. Standing in the background is the Flower Dome at the Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park in the Tsuruda district of Nanbu, Tottori Prefecture. (Tadashi Sugiyama)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

NANBU, Tottori Prefecture—A winter-only illumination event has kicked off at Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park, one of Japan’s largest flower parks, which covers a total of about 50 hectares.

The light spectacle makes use of 1.4 million LED lights, the largest number for illumination events in the Chugoku region. Visitors can enjoy a fantastical world of light and music inspired by this year’s prefectural government-supported theme of “space” and “Hoshitori Prefecture” (star-catching prefecture).

The event, which runs until Jan. 14, features two main attractions.

One is the “space center of light” that takes place inside a 21-meter-high glass greenhouse symbolizing Earth called the Flower Dome. A chandelier-like 7-meter-tall tower, which can glow in about 16.7 million colors, is hung from the ceiling. When a visitor touches a panel with an illustration of the mascot of the park's Flower Gallery at the dome's entrance, bouncy music starts to play, and a light show with sound effects begins.

The other main attraction is the “misty space station” in the garden of mist. In conjunction with music played in 3-minute intervals, a platform (about 80 meters in diameter) representing a space station of light makes various movements while releasing clouds of mist from its center with a fantastic effect.

The pageant of light is designed to fill the imagination with wonder for outer space, according to the park’s operator.

“We hope people enjoy the dynamic staging of light in conjunction with music,” said Tetsuya Sato, 44, head of the sales and marketing division.

In the Flower Valley section of the park, illumination from LED bulbs running along a river and installed elsewhere is reflected on the surface of the water, creating a comet-like effect. Viewed from the 1-kilometer covered Circular Walkway, which is also adorned with decorative illuminations, one can get an idea of how big the "comet" is.

About 400 fireworks are displayed daily from Dec. 21 to Jan. 6 including weekends and holidays.

The illumination event began in 2001 to attract visitors during the winter season. The scale of the event has gradually increased over the years, with the illuminated walkway covering 8 hectares since 2015.

The number of visitors has gradually decreased after peaking at about 107,600 the same year, with the figure for the last season dropping to about 75,000 owing to heavy snowfall at the start of the year.

This season, the park’s operator moved the opening day ahead by about two weeks to Nov. 9 and expects to attract 86,000 visitors.

The illumination event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The park will be closed Dec. 18 and Jan. 8. For further details, visit the official website (http://www.tottorihanakairou.or.jp/en/).