Michelle Day, Executive Director of Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, smiles as she’s seen it before. Even adults can’t resist the bell which was commissioned specifically for the gardens and cast in Kyoto. She recommends we come back on Joya No Kane (New Year’s Eve), when Buddhist monks will ring the bell 108 times – to rid people of worldly desires accumulated throughout the year.
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Bask in the festive glow of the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens
|#ExperienceTheFriendship at Nikka Yuko|
Bell tones and giggling aside, the gardens are quiet. Michelle is giving us a sneak peek of Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden’s Winter Lights Festival before it opens to the public. As the girls flick the lights on, they exclaim how different the gardens look in winter… and “how pretty!”
|Mount Fuji at Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens|
It has taken Michelle’s team of 8 over 600 hours to hang 10,000 lights (and more are yet to be put up) in a dazzling array. More than pretty lights however, the festival is a cultural experience where you can celebrate The Emperor’s Birthday or Joya No Kane (New Year’s Eve Bell Ringing Ceremony), learn about Japanese traditions, and savor Japanese treats. Enjoy a Sleigh Ride, free with paid admission, on special dates too!
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The 2nd Annual Winter Lights Festival runs from December 1, 2018 to January 26, 2019 at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens. Stay for the weekend for more winter fun in Lethbridge!
Where to Stay
The Coast Lethbridge Hotel and Conference Centre’s Winter Lights Package includes two free tickets to the festival. Book your stay here: Coast Lethbridge – Winter Lights Package.