COVID-19 Update for Winter Light Festival


January 18, 2021: The latest COVID regulations have been announced by the Alberta Government which now allows social gatherings of up to 10 people. Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden will be abiding by the following guidelines for the remainder of the Winter Light Festival (pending further changes):

  • Guests may now attend in groups up to, but not exceeding 10 people. Groups larger than 10 will still be asked to separate upon entry into the garden.
  • All guests, but particularly groups of 10, should be mindful of other guests to ensure they are not blocking pathways and allowing others to pass at a safe distance. Please do not crowd on the deck or other smaller areas so that all guests can enjoy every part of the garden!
  • Masks are still mandatory for all guests. This includes while waiting in line for entry, inside the garden, in the concession line, and while inside our Visitors Centre/Gift Shop.
  • Visitors Centre/Gift Shop traffic is still limited to two cohort groups and we ask that guests sanitize their hands upon entry and avoid touching merchandise unless they plan to purchase it. Our staff members will be happy to assist you with your purchases. 
December 10, 2020: The garden is pleased to announce that they have, once again, been given approval by Alberta Health Services and the City of Lethbridge to continue with the Winter Light Festival as planned. This comes as a huge relief to the staff and organizers who have put in months of dedicated work to set up and plan the festival as well as create strict measures to ensure compliance with Covid regulations.

Nikka Yuko has, however, cancelled the planned Shakespeare in the Garden events and all horse and wagon rides at this time to prevent gatherings.

The new and ongoing measures for the Winter Light Festival are as follows:

  • NEW: Masks or face coverings are now mandatory for all guests visiting the Winter Light Festival. Previously guests were only required to wear masks while inside the Visitors Centre/gift shop, but this now extends to all outdoor spaces inside the garden walls. Disposable masks are available at no charge for all guests, or they may choose to wear their own. 
  • NEW: Guests may only attend in their household cohort groups. Guests who arrive in groups larger than their household will be required to stagger their entry and must keep a distance of two metres from all guests outside of their household cohort. 
  • NEW: Capacity inside the Visitors Centre/gift shop is restricted to two cohort groups only. Guests are asked to use hand sanitizer upon entering and allow staff to assist with looking at and purchasing gift shop items as to limit touch points. 
  • Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden staff will be closely monitoring lines and traffic inside the garden to prevent gatherings and keep the flow of traffic moving and ask for everyone’s kindness and understanding as they do their jobs.  
  • Capacity inside the garden is restricted to 100 guests per half hour time slot and all guests must book their time in advance (either online or by calling the garden). There are no tickets available for walk-in traffic. 
  • Nikka Yuko asks that guests limit their visit to 30 to 45 minutes to maintain capacity restrictions.  
  • All staff will be wearing face masks at all times and we ask that guests maintain a two-metre distance from staff for their safety. Please have your mobile or printed tickets ready and held out for scanning when you arrive at the gate. · Guests must arrive at the time printed on their ticket and will not be allowed in earlier to comply with capacity limits.
  • Anyone who is experiencing signs or symptoms of Covid (including fever, cough, runny nose, or difficulties breathing) or has been in contact with someone who has tested positive or awaiting test results is asked to not attend at this time. Nikka Yuko will gladly refund tickets or move them to a later date.

At this time, Nikka Yuko is working closely with the ENMAX Centre to assist with refunds for the cancelled events and ask that ticket holders contact them directly at 403-329-7328 (Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) with any questions or concerns regarding tickets already purchased. Those who have purchased tickets for the Shakespeare events or horse and wagon rides can choose to still attend the garden on the date and time they originally purchased for and will be refunded any additional costs.

“We are in an unprecedented time and our team has had to adapt and change our plans very quickly,” says Michelle Day, executive director for Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden. “We appreciate all the messages we’ve received from our community in support of our festival and have been working hard to ensure we can still provide this slice of normalcy and joy after a difficult year. The safety of our guests and staff is our number one priority and we ask that everyone remains patient with us as we implement these new measures. Please respect our staff and these new regulations so that our Winter Light Festival can remain open through to the end of January as originally planned.”

December 9, 2020: Currently Nikka Yuko is working closely with the City of Lethbridge, Alberta Health Services, and our board to gain clear direction on moving forward with the festival. We will have an official statement tomorrow regarding our plans.

However, at this time all Shakespeare performances, all horse & wagon rides, and all private events for the month of December have been CANCELLED. The ENMAX Centre is currently processing refunds for those who have purchased tickets for these events and you can expect to see a refund on your credit card statements by the end of December.

Currently all ticket sales for December and January have been paused until we have more information.

If you would like a refund on your tickets for other dates please contact:
  • ENMAX (403-329-7328) for all tickets purchased online or through the ENMAX Ticket Centre. They are open Mon-Fri, 11AM-4PM
  • Nikka Yuko ( if you purchased your tickets over the phone at our Visitors Centre. We ask that you do not call us as our phone lines are very busy, but we will respond to all emails in a timely manner.
We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding as we make these difficult decisions and adapt to new regulations. We appreciate all the love and support we've been receiving and want to assure everyone we are working very hard to find ways to still provide this experience to our community in a safe way. We're honoured so many of you have chosen us as your winter tradition destination and are doing all we can to allow you to visit the garden!

December 8, 2020: Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden is currently reviewing the latest restrictions announced by the Alberta government today. We will make an announcement shortly regarding the rest of our winter season. Thank you to our community for their support and understanding as we adapt to changing restrictions. 

December 1, 2020: Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden is pleased to announce that we have been given the green light by Alberta Health Services and the government to proceed with the Winter Light Festival as planned. We are still limiting the number of guests in the garden and you must purchase your tickets in advance for the time you wish to visit as there will be no ticket sales at the garden. 

November 25, 2020: We're sure many of you have heard the new restrictions that were announced by the Alberta Government yesterday that include restrictions on outdoor gatherings and events. At this time, Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden is working quickly behind the scenes with the City of Lethbridge, our local MLA, and the Alberta government to seek direction on our upcoming Winter Light Festival.

As of right now, the Festival will be moving forward with regular admission, however the following cancellations now apply:

  • Horse & wagon rides on December 4 & 5 are CANCELLED
  • Shakespeare Meets Dickens performance on December 8 is CANCELLED.

If you have already purchased tickets for either of these events, we ask that you contact us as soon as possible so that we can work to rebook or refund your admission. Those who have purchased horse & wagon rides for December 4 & 5 may still attend the festival on those dates without the wagon rides, but please contact us so we can adjust your tickets.

As you might expect, our phone lines will be very busy today, so we recommend you email us at so that our staff can respond to your inquiries as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We are anticipating to hear more direction by the end of this week - please stay tuned to our social media and website for further updates.

We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause to our guests and appreciate your understanding as we continue to navigate these new restrictions. Please know that our team is working very hard to adapt quickly while ensuring the Winter Light Festival is a safe event for everyone that will allow us to bring light to our community during these tough times.

Posted on:
Wednesday, November 25, 2020