Thursday, September 21, 2017

Honshu, Japan Pt. 3

The Japanese have turned fireworks into an art form. Summer is the season of multiple fireworks displays across the country. At the beginning of this month, I was fortunate enough to have attended a fireworks competition at Suwa Lake near Matsumoto City, Nagano.

There were approximately 24 entrants, the event lasted two hours long, and each selection was introduced by a moderator. The event was flanked by impressive displays of eye-popping fireworks. The whole thing was a bit mind-blowing. We have nothing like this, as far as I know, here in the states.

My Japanese friend has a friend who is a huge fireworks enthusiast. He attends multiple fireworks events each year in Japan. The below picture is one of hundreds he took that night at the show. The picture below his is mine, taken with a mobile phone. 

Not only did I see the most amazing display of fireworks at Suwa Lake, but I also enjoyed a lovely dinner to boot. The bento box picture below shows a rather decadent meal, don't you think?

Proper photo.

Taken on my android.

Bento box included in ticket price.

Waiting for the sun to go down, Suwa Lake.

Day trip to Nagano City to visit the Zenkoji Buddhist Temple--

The temple dates back to the 7th century, but, from what I understood, this latest structure was built in the early 18th century. We walked from the rather modern & user-friendly Nagano main train station to the temple. It was a pleasant 30 minute stroll along a nice-looking boulevard. The closer we walked to the temple, the posher the shops and buildings became. The below shot is just at the entrance to the temple grounds.

Walk up the main drag to the temple.

Muscled foot of one of the guardians of the temple. He stood about 20' tall & was entirely made of cypress.

Tour group just in front of the Niomon Gate. 

Temple shot.

Advert from a local dairy on temple grounds.

Back side of temple. 
If I can find any more decent shots of the trip, then I shall post a Pt. 4!


  1. Firework displays are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I do like them (a lot) but know how much distress they can cause some birds and animals.
    The bento box looks excellent. I doubt very much whether we would get anything as interesting (or tasty) included in admission here.
    And I love the temple.
    I hope you do find more shots, because I am thoroughly enjoying your trip to somewhere I have never been.

    1. Glad you like the pictures. :) My friend's friend was also telling me (through my friend's translation) that the origin of fireworks displays in Japan came about as a way to commemorate the dead. He mentioned Hiroshima & Nagasaki as examples of deaths commemorated in such a way. I found that interesting in and of itself.

      I couldn't resist and had taken a wee nibble from the bento box before snapping the picture. The combo of food presented was heavenly. I had to ask how to take the shrimp head off. It's been awhile since I've been served a whole shrimp!

  2. I find it hard to get my head around the Japanese. How can such a cultured and artistic race produce all those men who lust after women dressed in pleated tartan school uniforms and white knee-socks, and all those women who dress up to play along with them?

    1. I wonder why they over-hunt whales. We visited a market in Tokyo that was selling cooked whale. My friend asked if I'd like to try some & I said, 'No, thank you!'

    2. Oh, it is all for the benefit of scientific research. All the bits of whales which are no use for the research are recycled in restaurants.

    3. I have yet to read the results of the research, or even the conclusions of the food critics.

  3. What a beautiful country. Such history. I've watched The Last Samurai a million times. The book I'm reading by Sally Quinn tells of her living in Japan after the war. So interesting.

  4. Such history. Alas, I'm a firework curmudgeon, so pretty pictures, but watching the display would have bored me.

    1. I think American fireworks are a bit of a yawn, tbh. When my friend & her friend positively gushed I reserved judgement until about a 1/4 of the way through the competition. These folk are putting together color-combos and geometric shapes I hadn't seen before. Color me duly impressed. (Maybe the sphere with heart shapes in it woulda bowled you over, too!?)


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