Japan theme park LEDs lure visitors with grander illuminations

Japan theme park LEDs lure visitors with grander illuminations
Yomiuriland's annual illumination event started last Friday in Inagi, Tokyo.

JAPAN - As winter approaches, numerous illumination events are being held at theme parks and other amusement facilities.

Some towns also decorate their streets with festive lights, and amusement facilities are trying to draw visitors not only by increasing the number of LED bulbs they use, but also by showcasing the artistic quality of their illuminations, drawing on ingenious colour combinations or setting up lights in interesting places.

The Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, has been illuminated by 11 million lightbulbs since Friday, with the number of lights increased by 1 million from last year. Lightbulbs have even been placed at the bottom of a canal in the park, lighting the water from below.

Yomiuriland, an amusement park in Inagi, western Tokyo, has also been lit up at night since Friday, featuring 3 million bulbs, 1 million more than last year.

At the Seibuen Yuenchi amusement park in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, the number of lights increased by 800,000 to 3 million. Ashikaga Flower Park in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, introduced a special lighting effect whereby the colour changes depending on the angle.

LED technology, which is highly energy-efficient, has enabled the use of a large number of light bulbs without much worry over electricity costs. Huis Ten Bosch, which had suffered from sluggish performance, revived its business by attracting many visitors with such large-scale illumination events.

At Yomiuriland, there were 330,000 visitors over three months during the last winter season, exceeding the 280,000 visitors who came to the park's swimming pool during the summer.

With Japanese researchers awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Physics for the development and widespread use of blue LEDs, many more visitors may be drawn to see the lights.

Motoo Marumaru, a consultant and commentator on night views, said: "The era when these facilities competed over the number of light bulbs has ended. Operators need to be more creative and devise illuminations that visitors won't mind paying to see."Speech

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