RocketNews 24 (by KK Miller):
If you are in Niigata this March, you can live out your Tangled fantasy with a breathtaking view of floating lanterns that rival the beauty of the Disney movie and the festival in Thailand that inspired the film’s iconic scene.
There is a spectacular sequence in Tangled, when we see Rapunzel make her way into a kingdom during its annual lantern festival. The scene from the movie was beautifully crafted, giving us a picturesque but seemingly impossible view of a truly incredible festival. Fans wanted to know if they could experience something like this in real life and the Yi Peng Festival in Thailand comes awfully close, so many have added the wonderful festival to their must-see list and have been flocking to see it.
But it turns out that people in Japan don’t have to go all the way to Southeast Asia to see a lantern festival of that nature; they only have to go to Niigata.
Tsunanmachi in Niigata Prefecture has been holding a lantern festival since 2012, called the Tsunan Yuki Matsuri (“Tsunan Snow Festival”). This event takes advantage of the small number of tall buildings and electric lines in the area to send up paper lanterns over the course of the night with a grand finale of over 1,000 lanterns being released at the same time. The heavy snowfall in the area, much of which is still on the ground in March, creates serene and silent surroundings as tons of little lights to go floating up into the sky.
The next festival will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at the New Greenpia Tsunan Ski Area (New Green Peer on Google Maps). There is plenty of free parking and entrance to the festival is also free, though you’ll need to shell out a little bit of cash if you want to send up a lantern yourself.
If you find yourself near Niigata next March, you owe it to yourself to be in Tsunanmachi.