Walking along the Yuigahama beach in Kamakura City on the edge of the Pacific Ocean I saw this couple having fun with some sparklers. It looked fun and romantic. Fireworks are very popular in Japan and an integral part of Japanese culture. Unfortunately there are very few places for people to enjoy them safely in the crowded cities of Japan. But the beach will always do nicely.
Since for the last few days at Yuigahama, the famous Pacific Ocean beach just on the edge of Kamakura city to the south west of Tokyo, there’s been a rather unusual algal bloom, a phenomena known as akashio (赤潮) in Japan and often called “red tide” in English. It is a natural occurring phenomena when concentrations in plankton grow rapidly and has nothing to do with tide nor is it often very red. Sometimes these algal blooms are associated with a kind of plankton that can glow with a bluish light in the dark but there hasn’t been any reported bioluminescence so far this time at Yuigahama, although I have heard that there were some two nights ago in Enoshima, further down the coast to the west of Kamakura but I am not sure how correct those observations were. If you live in the area, tonight might be the best night of the year for a midnight walk along the beach!
I was a little disappointed with bloom, as it looks a little bit and could be poisonous I was in no mood for swimming so instead I decided to head as far as possible to the east along the beach. I got quite far when another very interesting natural phenomena occured, a kaimu, or ocean mist. For a few minutes there were white wisps of smoke blowing in over the water, as if there were many small fires further out in the ocean. The sun was still blazing though, but in a few minutes a thick wall of mist rolled in from the ocean, completely obscuring the sun and turning midday into early evening in a few minutes. It reminded me of the solar eclipse we had a couple of years ago. Visibility was very bad in mist and the water level rose very quickly, which sent quite a few beach goers scrambling to get their stuff out of the rising water. The silence was also erie, sounds being muffled and nothing much being visible. Quite an experience! The mist last about an hour but even as it passed it left a strangely muted sky much of it remained until nightfall, all over the city of Kamakura.
All in all, it was an interesting day at the beach. I tried to look out for dead marine life but didn’t find anything out of the ordinary, the odd dried up blowfish or carp. As I always do, I also gathered a full plastic bag of plastic garbage that had drifted in from the ocean or been blown out on the beach by careless beach goers. If everyone picked just one piece of garbage every time they visited a beach the world would be a cleaner place in no time!
The last of the sunlight as it washes over Enoshima’s Nishihama beach. Despite the late hour the beach was crowded, no doubt to see the exceptionally visible Mount Fuji. I seem to have knack for finding lost toy dinosaurs. This mecha dinosaur must surely be the offspring of this magnificent beast? There was a young lady doing ballet near the water, and as I walked out onto the breakwater pier a couple of kids came scrambling up from the rocks. A good ending to a perfect day.
This western beach near Enoshima island is even more popular than the eastern beach I blogged about earlier. Not least because it is connected to the grand Enoshima Aquarium, a must see for most people and especially for families.
Some of the best beaches around Tokyo are to be found near Enoshima to the south west of Tokyo. Considering that they are within an hour on the train from the biggest city in the world they are remarkably clean. There are two beaches near the island, the Nishihama and the Higashihama. In the 1964 the beach was used a venue for the yachting and visiting the beach became very popular. These days about a million people a year visit the beach.
I wasn’t the only one enjoying the spectacular sunset by taking a few photos, even one of the surfers had his camera out!