America's Christmas-light fruitcakes would be wise to take a lesson from the Japanese. At a resort called Nagashima Spa Land about 60 miles east of Kyoto is an eye-bugging display of 7 million gleaming LEDs, revolving around a dreamlike Mount Fuji that looks like it was given a Dairy Queen swirl in a rainbow sea of ectoplasm.
The Nabana no Sato light show is a wintry celebration of the natural beauty of flowers and nature, as interpreted through factory-produced strands of electric wire and plastic. Visitors fork over cash for the chance to enter a hallucinatory landscape of burning trees, swimming photon dolphins, and a lifelike projection of the mysterious northern lights. The Japanese-culture site Spoon & Tamago recently deemed it the "absolute largest display of lights in all of Japan," picking out for wonderment its endless tunnel of golden sparkle-sparkleness that should "make you feel like you’re walking under the Milky Way":
The arguable centerpiece is the shimmering Fuji, constantly transforming in color to become a lava-pouring monster, a brooding cloud-covered formation, and an astronomical portent with the Sun balanced on its peak like a blinding crown. It's even better than the real thing, if you happen to be a circus ringleader or under the influence. Take a look at a few of its various guises (more are shown here):
Yes, those are animated cetaceans leaping out of the glowing "water" in the third photo. The rest of the park is spectacular, as well, particularly the aurora borealis. How long before Norway sues for copyright infringement?
The architects of this illuminated wonderland must also be weather nuts, because in addition to the magnetic storm in the skies they've included a rainbow:
And spring is in the air with this blossoming tree – perhaps a cherry?
For folks who will never make it to this lovely, machinated glen, here are a couple more scenes from various years inside the park of lights: