Tokyo Ao no Dokutsu Illumination 2018/2019 – Feel Yourself in a Glowing Cave



When you hear the phrase “Blue Grotto”, which place do you imagine? Blue Grotto stands for “Ao no Dokutsu” (青の洞窟) in Japanese. Actually, there are many places called “Blue Grotto” in the world. The most famous place is the Grotto on Capri island in Italy.

In Tokyo, the illumination event – “Ao no Dokutsu” is held in Christmas season in Shibuya and Yoyogi areas, which resembles the Blue Grotto in Capri island by the fascinating illumination.

In this article, I would like to tell you about the Grotto in Capri island, which became the theme of “Ao no Dokutsu” illumination event, and “Ao no Dokutsu” illumination, which is one of the most popular and top-ranked illuminations in Tokyo. Besides, I would like to introduce you to the two popular districts of Tokyo, where this illumination festival takes place.

“Blue Grotto”, Capri Island, Italy

You can get to Capri island in around 75 minutes by ferry, or in around 45 minutes by a high-speed vessel from Naples’s port. The Blue Grotto is known to a lot of people for its beautiful crystal blue water with silver reflections. While floating on water, you may feel as if you are suspended in the heavens.

A lot of people suggest you visit this marvel of nature and see why the Blue Grotto is the most famous sight on Capri island at least once in your lifetime. The Blue Grotto is a natural sea cave, 60 meters long and 25 meters wide. The cave’s mouth is two meters wide and roughly a meter high. Thus, to enter, the visitors must board small rowboats which can take 4 passengers maximum.

During the reign of Tiberius in the Roman times, this grotto was used as a marine temple, and ancient Roman statues found there are now on display at the Casa Rossa in Anacapri. For many years, sailors avoided the Blue Grotto, as the local legends told of spirits and demons living there. However, one day in 1826, a local fisherman accompanied German author – August Kopisch and painter – Ernst Fries to the cave. Their tales of its marvels have made the grotto become one of the must-see sights for any visitor to Capri.

“Ao no Dokutsu” Illumination Event

It was in 2014 when “Ao no Dokutsu” illumination event was held in Nakameguro in Tokyo for the first time. The crystalline blue illuminations’ beauty gained popularity. From 2016, the illumination festival came to Shibuya and became a big event that attracts over 1 million visitors every year. Of course, you will see this illumination event in Shibuya from November this year, 2018, as well. 600 thousand blue LED lights will glow in the most popular district of Tokyo.

Approximately 800 meters from zelkova trees row in Yoyogi Park to Shibuya Koen park street, will be all in blue. This area will receive an appearance of the blue cave and turn into a blue world. You will notice a light performance featuring the waves moves, and random flashes.

I hope you will walk the illumination street by all means. The lights are getting wider in Yoyogi Park area. So, I recommend you start taking a walk from Shibuya side and walk towards Yoyogi area. I guarantee that the feeling of excitement will increase gradually.

Shibuya and Yoyogi Venues


As you might know, Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s most colorful and busy districts full of shops, dining facilities, and nightclubs serving swarms of visitors that come to the district every day and night. Shibuya is also a center of youth fashion and culture, and its streets are the birthplace to many of Japan’s fashion and entertainment trends. Over a dozen major department stores branches are around the area serving all types of shoppers. Making a reservation at a restaurant during the Christmas season in Shibuya is essential. Please enjoy your dinner with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or your family while viewing the blue illumination outside.


Yoyogi is also a popular district for young people. There are a lot of preparatory and vocational schools, and a lot of young people live there. Yoyogi Park, which is in the Yoyogi area is the 5th largest park among Tokyo municipal parks. Many families and couples, regardless of age, visit the place during on weekends. The central field is wide open and covered with green grass. The 3 large and small fountains provide a wonderful water attraction and glow at night as well. You can also rent a bicycle at the cycling center in the park, and visitors can go around the cycling course there. Why don’t you spend a day chilling at Yoyogi park, relaxed, and walk around at night to enjoy the blue illumination?

Image courtesy of ginnylambkin*

Details and Access

Illumination Place and Period:

・Shibuya Koen Street, park street

November 30th, 2018 – January 16th, 2019

・Yoyogi Park

2, Jinnan, Kamizono-cho, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

November 30th, 2018 – December 31st, 2018

Illumination Time: 17:00 – 22:00

Official Website (Japanese only):


Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote line), Omotesando exit; Yoyogi-Koen Station (Chiyoda line), exit 3

Yoyogi-Hachiman Station (Odakyu line); Meiji-jingumae Station (Chiyoda and Fukutoshin lines); Shibuya Station (JR Yamanote line), Hachiko exit

Image courtesy of Raymond Ling

Closing Remarks

“Ao no Dokutsu” illumination festival in Shibuya is very popular among people in Japan. The organizers planned to perform “Ao no Dokutsu” illumination festival in other cities a long time ago but implemented it this year. In February 2018, “Ao no Dokutsu” illumination will take place in Sapporo, Hokkaido. And this illumination event took place in Osaka from September 11th to 30th at “La La Port Expo City”, park, Suita town, Osaka. This park has the highest Ferris wheel – “Redhorse Osaka Wheel” and the blue lights covered this Ferris wheel and its surroundings.

“Ao no Dokutsu” illumination event may come to your town next time! But if you would like to walk around Shibuya and Yoyogi with a local friend, please click on the banner below!

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l am living in Nagoya, the third largest city located between Tokyo and Osaka. I am looking forword to introducing you about wonderful festivals in Japan.

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