The harbor in Hitachinaka City (ひたちなか市) is famous in Ibaraki prefecture north east of Tokyo, for its fine produce and fresh seafood. The city itself was formed when the two neighboring cities of Nakaminato (那珂湊市) and Katsuta (勝田市) merged in 1994. For most young people it is better known for its rock festival taking place every year since 2000. Since I love harbors and boats of all kinds it is a given that I visit the harbor rather than the city itself when I travel in Japan. At the time of the big earthquake in 2011 all of the things you can see in these photos were wrecked by the tsunami but four years later the is absolutely no damage to be seen in the harbor itself. The fish market is especially interesting, but I arrived too late in the afternoon to do anything more than have a quick sushi lunch before the fisherman packed up their shops for the night. However if you have a big family and want to score a deal I can recommend being the last customer at the market, I saw a few big boxes of fish going pretty cheap!
A few weeks I was at Odaiba on during their fireworks season and managed to be on time to take a few photos. I am really not good at this sort of photography – some day I would like to team up with someone very good and get some proper instruction! These are all taken free hand with hands so cold that I could hardly control the shaking, it was the steadiest I could get, thank God for heavy cameras! If you are in Tokyo and want to see proper fireworks keep an eye out for the surprisingly regular Odaiba Fireworks!
The great Buddhists temple of Hasedera in the city of Kamakura to the south west of Tokyo has one of the greatest prayer wheels (マニ車 in Japanese) that I have ever seen in Japan. Housed in its own protective building, the house is centered on a giant prayer wheel made in wood joinery itself housing tens of thousands of handwritten pray slips, visible when the little door in the walls and the wheel itself are open. On the 18th of every month the wheel may be turned by members of the public, but on other days ordinary people can still use the prayer wheels attached to the walls. Prayer wheels are common in Tibetan Buddhism where the act of spinning a wheel containing a prayer is considered having the same effect as saying the prayer itself. Naturally one spin on this wheel is worth several weeks of actual praying!
The other weekend I visited Yuigahama Beach in Kamakura City to the south of Tokyo. Despite the cold winds and the chilly temperature in the ocean there were lots of surfers – just as usual. It is always interesting to go down there with a longer lens, something you can’t really do in summer for obvious reasons. A curious gentleman crow tried to join but as any beach goes knows, one does not bring for to the beaches of Japan! The crows are not as bad, it is the kites circling above you are more worried about.