April 16, 2016


This post is not about a CD by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It's an account of the day trip the Rising Family® took last weekend to the Sagamiko Illumination, about an hour’s drive west from our home. It’s the Tokyo area’s largest festival of lights with 5.5 million LED bulbs dotting the landscape.
I have always enjoyed the Christmas season’s light-ups in Japan. In December 2015 we had intended to go to the Sagamiko amusement park/resort’s illumination as well as our annual jaunt to Yomiuriland. Fate intervened and we only made it to the latter. Naomi recently found out the last chance to hit the Sagamiko light-up fiesta would be the 2nd week of April. The weather forecast looked good. Let’s go for it, we thought. And it in the end, we may have discovered a new way for these resorts to draw visitors:
Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) + illumination (kaleidoscope of color) = Hanamillumination
Upon arrival, we bought an everything-included family day pass so the daughters could go wild on the rides. Ferris wheel, tea cup spinning, revolving Octopus, go-karts—all your typical family fun. Lady E. enjoyed the g-forces on the “Ozora Tengoku” (blue sky heaven) monstrosity, which I admit had a pretty high pucker-factor. It reminded me of a trebuchet, a medieval siege weapon used to fling bombs at the enemy. 

But the amusement ride enjoyment was compounded by the surrounding cherry trees, which were still in full bloom. So as we walked from ride to ride, the cherry petals were floating down to earth. Not exactly an atmosphere of quiet reflection about the fragility and fleeting nature of life. But it was certainly a gorgeous backdrop to the day’s frenetic entertainment.
As the shadows crept across the valley floor, the prospect of 5.5 million LED lights beckoned. It was wave after wave of colorful visual stimuli energizing the senses, and a source of something truly extraordinary.
In other words, we took in the spectacle of these lights criss-crossing and enveloping the park grounds to light up the valley. It was a memorable display. I hope some of these photos do it justice for you, dear reader.


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