Last Fireworks of the ‘Summer’

A few weeks ago we were down at the beach near Enoshima, where it was the closing hanabi of the Summer festival season – yes, in October. I think it’s one of the last formal fireworks events in Shonan for the year, and it attracted several thousand people, on the beach and the strip of grass and parks between the beach and the main coastal road.

The whole thing went for just under an hour, a little longer than normal, but not as long as some of the big ones around Japan. The atmosphere was great though; there’s just something relaxing about being down by the beach, sitting around and watching fireworks – and quite a few people were finishing off BBQs.

When the fireworks finished, in an impressive finale, there was a generous round of applause. It was also good that  had quite a few designs I hadn’t seen before, and there were fewer ‘character’ based ones like Doraemon, which I find a little cheap.

I should say, I’m awful at taking pictures of fireworks, mainly because I’m, you know, busy watching them instead of getting the camera right. Instead of a shakey and blurry picture of fireworks then, I thought I’d put in an equally generic photo of sunset around Fuji from Enoshima I took as we were waiting, and a short video as I was testing out my new GoPro.

Fuji from the beach
Fuji from the beach

To give a rough idea, here’s a 60 second video of the finale, though if you look around the net, there are much better examples!

明けましておめでとうございます – 27年/2015!

Another new year is upon us – 2015, or heisei (平成) 27 by the local system – so Happy New Year, or Akemashite Omedetougozaimasu as is said. (Or Ake Ome to it’s friends).

After a year off, this year I was back down to the ocean to watch the first sunrise, and whilst there was the usual numbers of people, and upbeat atmosphere to it, it was pretty much clouded over. Ah well, it still felt good and it still qualifies as ‘hatsuhi’, the first sunrise.

This year there was a little more organisation along the coastal road to stop people parking and obstructing traffic, the usual modded cars with insane exhausts, and the bosazoku on their modded motorbikes. All in all, it’s a good thing to go down and witness, and after watching the eastern horizon for a while, you can turn around, and watch the year’s first sunrise on the snow covered sides of Mt. Fuji.

Have a great year!

New Year 2015

Sun Rise

Sunrise on 2015!

Enoshima on Shonan Press

A few of us who live in this area of Japan (Shonan) are putting together a small blog about the place, and write some bits about locations, shops, foods, festivals and all of that and we’re calling it Shonan Press. I put my first piece up on there regarding Enoshima – it’s a great place to visit, and I’ve included a decent variety of photos from the place. I’m looking forward to getting more content up there! Feedback appreciated.

Fuji from Enoshima
Fuji from Enoshima

Enoshima

Depending on how you look at it, Enoshima (江ノ島)is either a very small island or a large rock outcrop, a few hundred metres away from the beachfront near Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture, to the south west of Tokyo, connected to the mainland by a road causeway.

It’s a popular tourist spot, and quite iconic in the local area. Even though we’ve lived near it for a few years, it was only last month we decided to actually go and take a look around, all the way to the small tower on top, now known as the Sea Candle.

The east of the island is mainly marina, parking and walking areas, with the west being the rising rock, which forms the main climb and attraction of the island. The lower third is a tourist zone, which has some places to eat, and some ‘interesting’ tourist gift shops selling items like puffer fish lamps, flattened grilled octopus and such.

Climb up a bit further, and you can access the escalator which speeds you to the top, or you can walk the steps up. It’s not actually *that* far up, and the walk down is quite leisurely. The middle third is mainly temples, some gardens, ponds and increasingly beautiful view of the coast on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other.

The top is actually a lot flatter than I thought, with some beautiful Asian and European gardens, and some nicer (and more expensive) places to eat than you find at the base. We had a late lunch at the Lon Cafe, and I have to say, that was the best French toast I have ever had.

The Sea Candle is only a few floors high, but it still commands impressive views of the whole area, and you really get a sense of Sagami Bay’s size, just being that little bit further out into the ocean.

It can take a good part of the day to wander around and sit in the gardens, and have a look around the temple areas, and some of the thousands of notes and ema (絵馬), which are commonly found at temples around Japan. You can even stop for some tea, or take in one of the regular events.

After Enoshima, we decided to drive a kilometre down the coastal road to the Moana Makai restaurant for some Hawai’ian / Japanese curry and food. It’s very, very popular so expect a wait, even for parking as it’s rated as one of the best places to eat in Kamakura, and you get that great view over the ocean.