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Winter illuminations light up Osaka Castle
Last Updated: 2013-12-13 07:14 | Xinhua
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A digital art show employing three- dimensional (3D) projection mapping and other illuminations to colorfully decorate Osaka Castle and surrounding facilities opened on Thursday evening. It is the first major winter project at the city's landmark to be organized by a theme park operator for promoting tourism in the western Japanese commercial city.

At 6:00 p.m. local time, after sunset, the western side of the wall of the 55-meter-high Osaka Castle was lit up by computer- generated projection-mapping graphics which displayed a series of fantastic images featuring seasonal characters, flowers, verdant greenery, colorful butterflies and waterfalls to temporarily change the historical samurai residence dating to the 16th century into an amusement spot.

During the 9-minute program, the surface of the castle and its 24-meter-high stone wall, constructed to repel surprise attacks by medieval cavalries, were covered by big flames followed seconds later by waterfalls, offering dynamic scenes to stir the audience' s imagination about the history that Japan's castles have witnessed in the past.

In the northwestern side of the castle's garden, meanwhile, there is another spectacle in front of a Japanese-style official guest house where evening visitors can watch a story involving a Japanese garden that amazingly transforms into a wide baroque garden with jewel-like illuminations accompanied by classical music.

The city's unique event, called the Osaka Castle 3D Mapping Super Illumination, was produced by Huis Ten Bosch Co., a theme park operator based in Nagasaki, southwestern Japan. The company partnered with local governments with the aim of attracting more tourists to the castle in winter, when the number of visitors tends to drop off.

A spokesperson for Huis Ten Bosch told Xinhua that since they have the know-how as a local amusement provider to gather and entertain people at night, they decided to come to Osaka for the first time to expand their winter business in the city center and create a seasonal hotspot.

Concerning the new project, Kenji Sasaki, a travel analyst, told Xinhua that the Osaka event apparently brings benefits both to the city and the park operator, which produces similar night displays in Nagasaki Prefecture on a regular basis.

"Since the show plays an advertising role, the company hopes that those coming to the Osaka event will then visit the theme park located in the western edge of the country," he said.

During the event, which continues through mid-February, the company will also create a 10,000-square-meter electrical garden emerging from the center of the castle's tranquil garden, lit up by thousands of blue LED bulbs.

After Thursday's evening preview for the media, the digital show will be officially open to the public from Saturday, and prices for admission are ranging from 1,600 to 3,500 yen (about 15 to 34 U.S. dollars) per adult depending on the options.

The organizer expects more than 500,000 people to come to the venue.

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