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You Need To Visit This Enchanting Lethbridge Garden With Over 170k Twinkling Lights

COOL WINTER GUIDE: Stories and information for all things winter in Alberta. Looking for the ideal winter activity? Look no further. Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden is an ideal destination year-round, but we think it’s extra magical in the winter.
Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden | Facebook

Hey, romantics. This one’s for you. If you fancy yourself a romantic and you’re a big fan of the holidays, we will venture to guess that you’re also a big old fan of twinkling lights, enchanting activities, and cute date ideas. While you may have kissed the Christmas lights goodbye, the magic doesn’t have to stop when the new year arrives. Alberta is home to a 3.75-acre garden near Henderson Lake in Lethbridge. At the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, you’ll find a beautiful, serene, and cultural experience with an authentic pavilion, water features, a waterfall, a bell tower, engaging programming, and gorgeous natural elements for you to enjoy. While this place is an absolute must-visit in the summer, we’ll venture to say that it’s even better in the winter.

The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden hosts the magical Winter Light Festival from December until the end of February each year. The famous annual festival welcomes over 30,000 guests each year to enjoy over 170,000 twinkling lights and the magic of the garden for a rejuvenating, relaxing, and transformative experience. Being that it’s the most popular event of the year, you can see where we’re coming from when we say that now is the best time to visit.

This year’s festival is a little different. They’ve transformed the Garen to present all four seasons. Haru (Spring), Natsu (Summer), Aki (Fall), and Fuyu (Winter). For each season, there are unique visual attractions and engaging elements.

You can get a general admission pass for only $13.50 or packaged admission passes where each guest gets a cookie, a drink, and admission to the Festival. Packaged admission prices are $26 for couples and $60 for a family of five. If you want to really go the mile, you can get the special Kamakura Dome Experience for an additional $10. So, let’s get into what the experience includes.

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden | Facebook

There’s a kids' corner with a traditional anime movie, 8-foot-tall Lite-Brites, and more. There are also tons of events to take advantage of. For example, there’s the Sake Guided Experience on January 13th, Setsubun Festival Weekend (change of season) on February 2nd and 3rd, Lunar New Year on February 16th, Japanese Emperor’s Birthday on February 23rd, Fuyu (Winter) Bike Ride on February 23rd, and so much more. There is a daily dome experience at 5:30pm, 6:30pm, and 7:30pm or Date Night in the Dome at the same times throughout January and February. The dome experiences offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in a 360 projector featuring designs inspired by Japanese and Canadian Culture. You’ll get the 15-minute experience and admission to the garden afterwards.

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden | Facebook

If you’re looking to impress your date, you can get the Date Night in the Dome package for $69, where you get charcuterie for two, liquor, the dome experience, access to the garden, and a tour. How cute does that sound?

If you opt for the general admission option, you’ll start your journey of the four seasons in spring. View the bright parasol display and enjoy the vibrant pinks and purples replicating the blooming colours of sakura (cherry blossoms). You’ll head to Summer next, followed by Autumn and Winter. There is so much to love about this attraction, and so much to see. From the koi pond to the igloos, firework lights to lanterns, it’s beyond magical, and we know you’ll fall in love with the serenity of it all.

Don’t wait to book those tickets, especially if you want a Dome experience.

Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2023/24 Cool Winter Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.

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