One of my favorite places to visit in Japan was Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki. I’m fairly certain it’s one of the most beautiful places I saw in Japan that wasn’t a “natural” place. Huis Ten Bosch is essentially a massive illumination park with various things to do and places to eat. There are multiple parts to the park and it’s possible to visit the entire thing in one evening, but it’s more fun to do the park in two evenings (which is what we did).
We stayed at the Hotel Amsterdam, which was situated somewhat in the center of the park so it was easy for us to get around the park to various restaurants and illuminations. We could also see quite a bit of the park from our room! We had a corner room so it was huge. 😍
Considering that I couldn’t spend Christmas with my family for the first time in my entire life, my boyfriend at the time decided to take me to Huis Ten Bosch to show me one of the more beautiful Christmas sights of Japan. It was an expensive trip, but it was the best trip I took during my time in Japan because it was very special. Plus, Christmas is my favorite holiday! We stayed there the day before and on Christmas Eve, then headed back to Osaka on Christmas Day.
Walking around Huis Ten Bosch was such an experience because everything was lit up beautifully. There were a lot of people milling about, but it didn’t matter. There was just so much to see! They also had various Christmas songs playing throughout the park; it made it feel like a winter wonderland. It wasn’t snowing, but it was just cold enough that you could feel the bite of winter. ❄️
Before this I’d never eaten fondue, but I loved it! We got the plate that was predominantly meat and some bread on the side. I got a nice fruity wine that went well with everything. It was really filling! I’m lactose intolerant so I was a little worried about whether or not I’d be able to stomach so much cheese, but I noticed that while I was in Japan I never had problems eating cheese or dairy products. 🤔 Even this much cheese didn’t bother me at all!
After dinner, we walked around all over the park and took as many pictures as possible of the various illuminations. I was obsessed with taking videos and pictures. We also took some pictures together, but I won’t share those. So prepare for a bunch of photos of illuminations!
I loved this bridge, and I probably took a million pictures of it. This was my favorite picture, though, because it doesn’t even look like we’re in Japan. It looks like we’d completely transported to somewhere in Europe!
It was possible to ride on a boat down this river, but it was fun just to watch the lights change colors. Everything was so bright and beautiful! I’m fairly certain Mariah Carey was also playing when I took this picture, ha.
One of my favorite shots is this one — the waterfall of lights turned into a big “lake” of lights at the bottom that people could take paths through. It was so beautiful, and the lights followed music and would occasionally change to show various images. At one point there was a dragon flying through the illumination! You could see this from practically anywhere in the park.
This tree was right in front of our hotel. People were completely surrounding it to take pictures, and we took quite a few pictures ourselves. It was a massive tree and looked stunning at night. ✨
This was like a light maze that people could walk through. At the center was a horse drawn carriage that you could take photos with. Everyone was really friendly and after you took someone’s photo, the person behind you would take yours.
There was this little wine shop full of different wines from all over the world, so we grabbed one from Barcelona. It was delicious! I’m not much of a red wine person, but I really enjoyed this one. I think we bought red wine because I missed my mom and her favorite wine is red, so it was kind of a nod to her on Christmas. ❤️
We spent Christmas Eve much the same way (some of these photos are from different days), and we ended the evening with a dinner buffet that was delicious and so peaceful, despite the amount of people dining around us. The service from every single restaurant was impeccable! I would expect nothing less from Japanese dining, but Huis Ten Bosch was particularly high brow. I really appreciated all of the attention to detail.
I’m not sure that I’ll return to Huis Ten Bosch in the future. It’s expensive to go (our trip was somewhere in the $2,500 range), and it’s full of bittersweet memories for me now that the person I went with is no longer in my life. It’s nice for it to just remain a wonderful memory, which is why I wanted to share it here.0