Winter lights illuminate natural beauty of Lethbridge Japanese garden

For the first time ever, the shrubs, shrines, bridges and trees at Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge are lit up for winter.

Shrubs, shrines, bridges and trees highlighted with 98,000 LEDs

The elaborate Japanese garden light display is on until Feb. 2 at Nikka Yuko in Lethbridge, Alta. (Screenshot/YouTube)

You won't find Santa, Rudolph or any sign of Christmas at this winter light festival.

(Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden/Facebook)

At Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge, Alta., — shrubs, shrines, bridges and trees are the shining stars.

(Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden/Facebook)

The display features more than 98,000 colourful LEDs.

"We wanted to bring out that natural beauty and infrastructure of the garden landscape," said Michelle Day, the garden's executive director.

(Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden/Facebook)

The Japanese hang winter lights for different reasons than North Americans, said Day.

One example is the 200,000 hand-painted lights lit each year in Kobe, Japan to honour the lives of those who died in the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.

(Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden/Facebook)

The Lethbridge garden's lights coincide with the 75th anniversary of the federal government beginning to force Canadians of Japanese descent into internment camps, Day said.

"We thought that would be a very symbolic way to highlight the darkness that fell on Canada at that time."

(Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden/Facebook)

This is the first time the 50-year-old garden has been open in winter.

(Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden/Facebook)

The festival runs until Feb. 2, but the grounds are only open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Admission is $5 for adults or $15 for a family of four. Kids under five get in for free.