Nikka Yuko to unveil glowing new feature at winter festival

The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden held a preview of a beautiful new feature, one that will add even more shine to their 2022-2023 Winter Light Festival.

The Garden is now home to a dome, called the Nikka Yuko Kamakura (Igloo) that uses 360-degree video for visitors to enjoy on the dome’s ceiling. The structure will be equipped with a heater, hosts, and hot drinks, and is designed with circular seating from which visitors can gaze up at projections of traditional Japanese and Canadian culture and environments.

The Nikka Yuko Kamakura will be fully equipped when the garden opens for its sixth annual Winter Light Festival, beginning Nov. 30. The Kamakura has room for 12 to 20 people, and the 16-foot diameter ceiling is the screen that six lasers will project images onto.

Michelle Day, executive director of the Nikka Yuko hosted the preview event and explained, “Our hostesses will provide you with different types of stories. Then starting in January we’re going to have date night charcuterie boards. You’ll come in here and have a Wild Brothers charcuterie for the two of you. We are also renting this out privately. We’ve teamed up with Four Seasons Home and Comfort; it’s not done yet, but there’s going to be a six-foot fire table-electric-and then it will also have heaters around it to warm up the guests as they sit here and enjoy their experience.”

As the techs changed the display from the northern lights to the cherry blossom display, Day said, “What we’re doing with the cherry blossoms, starting in January (and) running Thursdays, is a tea ceremony and presentation experience, so you can come in here. We don’t have access into the pavilion in winter.”

She said she wants to see the Nikka Yuko continue to enhance the relationship between itself and the college, including more content development. Three designers from the college were on hand at the preview, and the college “oversaw the technical development of the dome, ordered and implemented the equipment, and created the video content,” it was stated the Nikka Yuko news release.

Day introduced the idea of doing an Indigenous experience, or in the fall doing an urban legends theme, “a very creepy, dark, kind of sinister” presentation with folklore. “I really can’t say enough of my appreciation to the college for jumping on this bandwagon with me. It was a quick turnaround. It was an intense thing, and I appreciate all the team coming in to support this. Our team’s passion, the college’s expertise-I really want to see that continue.”

The Kamakura experience is open to the public beginning Nov. 30 during the Winter Light Festival.

Cal Braid, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Lethbridge Herald