The forest is dark, and the beam from your torch barely pierces the night. You are not alone. In the woods are lanterns, strange sprites, floating squid and a young girl, who asks your help in recovering a gem. There’s something else, too – the dragon who stole it.
Magical journeys have been a part of our stories since prehistoric times, and now multimedia shows like Japan’s Island Lumina have the technology to make them come to life in thrilling style – don’t drop that torch! This project in Nagasaki uses projections, light, music and old-fashioned suspense to build an immersive adventure in a real forest.
The show takes place every night, and features a girl named Yura, who leads visitors through wooded passageways, over glowing stepping stones and into underwater forests and mazes, while drummers play and light installations flicker.
The route runs through a forest on the small, volcanic island of Iojima, which is connected to Nagasaki by a bridge. Nagasaki might be best known for the nuclear bomb the Americans dropped on it in August 1945, but it’s a lively and appealing city today, with great museums, a lovely harbour and an excellent food scene.
Iojima, meanwhile, has some excellent beaches and great seafood – which means it’s popular in summer, but quieter in winter. This big-name project aims to pull in out-of-season visitors, as well as entertain the summer crowds.
Iojima and Nagasaki are part of Kyushu, Japan’s sunny, subtropical southern island. Here, you’ll find onsens, great beaches, temples, monkeys and surfing. It’s easy to build an itinerary exploring the island, taking in Nagasaki, the buzzing city of Fukuoka, Kumamoto (home to a famous fortress) and leafy Hiroshima. And in between exploring cities, steaming it up in onsens and lazing by the sea, you might just find a dragon in the woods…