Miki invited Sonia and me to go with her to the Wano Akari x Hyakudome Kaidan Illumination Festival 2018. The Aesthetics of Japanese Illumination is currently being held at the Legendary Hotel Gajoen in the Meguro area of Tokyo. We met on the train Wednesday morning and rode together to Tokyo. I have visited the Hotel Gajoen each year for the Hina Doll Festival. This festival included illuminations from all over Japan. These beautiful lanterns greeted visitors at the entry.

The Illumination Festival was held on the historic 100 stairs portion of the hotel. As you climb the stairs, there are individual rooms where the illumination exhibits are set up. This picture of me on the stairs makes me smile. There is so much “Japan” about it. First, I’m in sock feet and carrying my shoes in the reusable plastic bag I was given at the entry. Second, there are small kokeshi dolls in little beds on the stairs, kawaii!! Third, the stairs are all numbered! I guess it makes inventory easier? Three words that describe Japan: Clean, cute, and organized.

Before we get to the illuminations, let me take a detour and share a few pictures of the kawaii kokeshi dolls. Well, mostly kawaii. A couple were scary.

Now on to the illuminations. The first room held a beautiful painting with many textures and colors. The painting reminded me of sand in a bottle – that changes when you flip it.

Also part of the exhibit where small igloos with kokeshi dolls inside. Their faces were very interesting.

The second room held three magnificent illuminations that filled the entire room. The floor of the exhibit was a shiny black glass. It reflected the light of the illuminations. The structures were made of wood and then covered with paper. It really created a beautiful work of art.

We continued up the stairs to the next exhibit. This exhibit was full of different illuminated sculptures. Some were made of glass and others were made from washi paper.

The next room along the stairs contained my favorite picture. I made up my own story. She is a beer princess being shot out of a cannon. She is sent to save everyone from the impeding tsunami wave. She is encouraging everyone as they run to grab their beers!

Also in the exhibit was a beautiful picture of Mt. Fuji.

Up and up we climbed. The exhibit in the next room incorporated items found in nature and light. I only took a few pictures. There were easily twenty different types of shells and flowers. The lotus flowers hanging from the ceiling were made of paper.

We made it to the very top and were rewarded with an incredible Ikebana exhibit. The arrangement was the size of the entire room. Plus, hanging from the ceiling were Japanese wind chimes. They have a dainty sound and ring summer joy into the air.

A few pictures of us, enjoying our visit!

After our visit, we headed back to Yokohama for sushi lunch. We stopped at a higher end conveyor sushi. I enjoyed tuna of course. But, I could help take a photo of the “slice” of watermelon for ¥350 ($3.50)! Can’t you buy a huge watermelon for that price in the U.S.?