Third annual Nikka Yuko Winter Lights Festival ready for visitors

By Dori Modney (@Dori_Modney on Twitter)
December 2, 2018 - 8:15pm

LETHBRIDGE --  For the third straight year, Nikka Yuko’s immaculately manicured Japanese Gardens have been decked with thousands of lights to offer enchanted evening viewings.

The media was granted a sneak peak Friday night - we can confirm the beautiful display continues to dazzle visitors -- residents will want to visit more than once throughout the Christmas season and bring visitors.

Nikka Yuko began incorporating a 'season of light' observance into a Winter Lights Festival and creating a new attraction to draw-in visitors in 2016.

That year, more than 96,000 lights were placed on trees and other features in the garden to create an illuminated wonderland.  In 2017, the festival featured 114,000 lights, and this year, there are more than 115,000 lights.

Many cultures around the world have celebrations during the winter months as a means of dispelling the darker days, and the Japanese culture is no exception. In the Japanese culture, light is used in celebrations, remembrance of loss and to bring good energy.  

Planning for the Nikka Yuko garden began several years before Canada’s Centennial in 1967, to recognize contributions made by those of Japanese ancestry to Southern Alberta, and Lethbridge in particular. It was opened in July of 1967 as a symbol of international friendship. The name was created from the Japanese words Ni (from Nihon meaning Japan), ka from Kanada or Canada, and Yuko, which means "friendship" to formulate “Japan-Canada friendship”.

This year's Light Festival opened on Saturday, December 1st, and will run into the New Year. It will be open from 6:00 to 9:00-pm, with intermittent Sunday viewings. However, residents are encouraged to check the Nikka Yuko website for notification of specific cancellations due to extreme cold, wind or snow. Additional information can be obtained by calling the visitor centre at 403-328-3511.


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