A few days ago I posted some photos of Lake Sagamiko, and here are some more from that series. Every year at the Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest resort area there is a big illumination event at the fairground. The rides are lit up and the park attracts large crowds despite the entrance fee and the winter cold. The ferris wheel up on top of the hill looks particularly spectacular when approached from below. The lines for the rides were pretty long though, much too long for me! Read more about how to get there from Tokyo in this post.
Being a huge fan of boats (I know that Japan is more into trains, traditionally) I could not resist walking around the tiny commercial harbor of old Nakaminato City (in present day Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture). All the boats were in very good condition – I wonder if this is due to them having been recently replaced after the tsunami in 2011? My favorite from this harbor though was the Nakakaze CL82, Craft Large class patrol ship of the coast guard. Clocking in at 20m in length and weighing 26 tons it is one of the smallest regular patrol ships of the Japanese navy and coast guard. This boat was commissioned in 1996 so it definitively survived the tsunami. It belongs to the 3rd Regional Coast Guard (there are eleven), covering the Kanto are coastal prefectures of Shizuoka, Kanagawa, Tokyo, Chiba and Ibaraki. The 3rd Coast Guard even has a section on their homepage where you can download and build your own paper models of their bigger ships. Since many of the southernmost islands in Japan formally belong to Tokyo the 3rd Cost Guard has to cover a huge territory, far south of even the Ogasawara Islands. Their work must be tremendously interesting!
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!