Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kawasaki- Daishi, Yokohama, and the Marine Festival

This past Monday (Marine day), I went to two different festivals (sort of). Monday was a national holiday for Japan known as Marine day. Marine Day according to Wiki:

"Marine Day" was declared a national holiday in 1995 as a day of gratitude for the blessings of the oceans and to hope for the economic prosperity of maritime Japan. First observed on July 20, 1996, the Happy Monday System (ハッピーマンデー制度 Happī Mandē Seido?) legislation moved the date from July 20 to the third Monday of July from 2003.

I decided to take advantage of this and go to the "festival" being held in the Minato Mirai area of Yokohama (or what I like to refer to as downtown Yokohama) and the wind chime festival being held in Kawasaki- Daishi.

When I got off the train, the environment was a little surreal. It almost felt like I was back in Kyoto. Kawasaki- Daishi is a very traditional area that is mainly comprised of the Heiken-ji temple complex. Every year, Heiken-ji has a wind chime celebration, and I toted myself out there to go see it.

The main shopping strip was pretty filled with people. Every where you looked, there was food and traditional items being sold alongside the wind chimes.

The temple complex itself was packed with people. This is a view of the complex looking down from the steps of the main temple building. You can see the smoke from the incense "cauldron" in the center of the image.

As with every celebration in Japan, there is a TON of delicious food being sold. I indulged in strawberry shaved ice and okonomiyaki (a type of egg omelette).

All in all, the wind chime festival was awesome. I only stayed for a couple of hours as there wasn't much to do, but it was still really cool to go see. I also compiled some short video clips together that I took while I was there.

After the wind chime festival, I headed south towards downtown Yokohama to see fireworks and the events being held at the Marine festival.

Monday was the last day of the 3 day long festival and there were supposed to be fireworks and a lot of performers and cool things going on. The fireworks never happened (they were cancelled for some reason) and there really weren't any events going on either. The official website, which can be found here:, lied. Not knowing the fireworks had been cancelled, I knew I had to kill some time to wait for them to happen. The Pokemon Center of Yokohama was having a little festival as well, so I decided to head towards Landmark Tower. First, I passed through Cosmo World, seeing as I had never been there.

Pictures weren't really allowed in the area (to my knowledge), but I snapped a quick one with my phone. I bought a cute little clutch that I now keep my phone and flip cam in alongside my key and passmo, and they were handing out free shitajiki (pencil boards) at the entrance. The Pokemon Center in Yokohama is just as awesome as the one in Tokyo. Also very cool is the Moe Garden shop next door and the Jump Shop. The Moe Garden sells all Studio Ghibli items and the Jump Shop sells all Shonen Jump things. Pretty cool and very moe. :3

After leaving the Landmark Tower, I stumbled upon another magic show going on (this was actually the 3rd one I saw in a day). Magic shows in Japan are quite different than ones in America. Here, they comprise of magic, balancing and juggling acts, and small feats of acrobatics. They also typically have some sort of balloon animal routine involved. I guess they are more like jack-of-all-trade shows, really. This guy had a huge audience though. I didn't really stay to watch. :/

After all of that, I waited around 2 hours for the fireworks to start, which never happened. The Marine show pretty much was a bust, but it allowed me to see parts of downtown Yokohama I had never been to before. I did take a series of videos though.

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