Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Illuminations

Sea Candle Illumination

Holiday illuminations are shining brightly all around Japan. One spot I missed last year was the Enoshima Sea Candle. I decided to add it to calendar earlier and during a week day. Katie and her daughter, Virginia, met me in Zushi so we could ride the train together the rest of the way to Enoshima. We were hoping for a clear night. We wanted to see Mt. Fuji, sunset, and the super moon. Unfortunately, clouds rolled in during the early afternoon.

We took our time climbing up to the top and soaked in the view as we went.

I also had the chance to use my Apple Watch to take a picture of the three of us. It’s a great feature and made even easier because in various places around Japan we have seen little smart phone stands. Brilliant!

At 17:00 the lights were illuminated. They made an announcement about five minutes prior and people started rushing into the garden. Right before 17:00 there was a 10- second count down and then the lights were turned on. Everyone cheered. It was really cute. The gardens of the Sea Candle were so beautiful. It was fun to walk through and absorb the serenity of the garden. Plus, there was music playing to help set the holiday spirit.

The highlight was the long light tunnel. It was so beautiful. There were large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and crystals hanging from the sides.

It was cool to see the Sea Candle through the tunnel.

We walked through the tunnel a couple times. It was just so beautiful with all the lights.

The Sea Candle was also illuminated.

The view from the top of the Sea Candle was a delight as well.

Our evening out was just the break I needed. I spent most of the day working on rerouting our Christmas holiday plans. We were planning a trip to Bali. Unfortunately, the ash cloud from Mt. Agung continues to threaten flights. We decided to play it on the safe side and reroute our trip to Phuket. It was a bit of a hassle to change, but worth it in the end for piece of mind. I did a little more research and found a different part for us to visit this year and enjoy a relaxing holiday together. We can save Bali for next year.

Huis Ten Bosch

During my visit to the IACE travel office in Sasebo, I saw a brochure for Huis Ten Bosch. Huis Ten Bosch is theme park with a Netherlands inspired theme. What caught my eye in the brochure were the holiday light displays. I immediately added this to my list.

We arrived before the sunset on Saturday in order to see some of the park in the day light. We took a 20 minute train ride from Sasebo to the Huis Ten Bosch Station. We were amazed by the view from the start!

That huge building is the main hotel of the park. Dave and I decided we needed a return trip to experience all the park had to offer, including a stay at one of the hotels!

At the entrance of the park, visitors walk through a field with three large windmills. This time of year the fields have pansies and lights. In the spring, the fields are full of tulips. Just like Holland. Before dark.

After dark…

We enjoyed a walk around the park taking in the sights. One hotel is completely run by robots. Check out this guy!

There were tons of cute photo opportunities.

Even roses blooming!

Lots of decorations.

I also had a giggle seeing another pirate ship. My third one in the past 10 days! Notice the cute Amsterdam Row Houses in the background.

As the sun set, lights started to come on. I was giddy! We worked our way to the magical waterfall.

I hope I captured the beauty in the video. It’s truly amazing to watch.

We walked through the blue garden lights. Enjoying the lights and singing “Blue Christmas” and wishing those wine glasses had wine!

Our next highlight was a ride on the Ferris Wheel.

The ride around was 11 minutes. I’m happy to report the cars were Dave proof. They were completely enclosed so he couldn’t drop water on anyone! The views were spectacular!

After the ride, we walked to the huge tree so we could enjoy the tree lighting ceremony.

It was mesmerizing!

I took a close up of the fountain. Notice the wine fountain sign, Santa, and all the muses. Amusing!

The last highlight of our visit was the boat ride. We rode through the canal and were able to enjoy the lights and animations.

The best part was the canal light show. I recorded part of it for you.

One last funny. The parade was going on while we were on the boat. After we got off the boat, we saw part of as we were walking around. There were lots of Santas dancing and floats and Christmas music and a dinosaur. Yes, a dinosaur. Apparently, nothing says Merry Christmas like a dinosaur float!

All the lights and holiday music truly helped us get in the Christmas spirit. The theme park and illuminations were over the top. I hope we have the opportunity to return in the spring. I would love to see the flowers!

Enoshima Island

Thinking of something to do on a crisp winter mostly sunny day, Dina suggested we go to Enoshima Island. It is a small island just off the coast. We took 3 trains to get to the island. It took a little over an hour. Here was our route.


One of the trains is the Enoshima Electric train. The train actually hangs from the tracks. The train was very smooth and quiet. It was a little weird to see other trains hanging from the tracks!

Train Station

Train coming in opposite direction


Once we arrived in Shonan, we had a short walk through the town and across a small bridge that connects the island to the mainland.


On the island, there are several shrines, a temple, an observation tower (lighthouse / sea candle), lots of cafes, a garden and sea caves. Once you are on the island your mode of transportation are your feet! Keep in mind there are a lot of stairs!  Oh, and on a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji.

A Torii gate greets you once you are over the bridge and you begin climbing to the top of the island.


Our first stop was at the Enoshima Shrine. The Enoshima Shrine is a Shinto Shrine dedicated to the worship of the Goddess Benten. Benten is one of the Seven Lucky Gods. Within the Shrine are three shrines: Hatsuno-miya, Nakatsuno-miya, Okutsuno-miya.

But first, we must climb stairs.


The lanterns are part of the illuminations. I was excited to see the illuminations will last until 2/19/17. There will be plenty of time for Dave and I to return to see the lights.


Three pictures that scream “Japan.” A shrine, a fortune wall and a red bridge (over a road – yes, with cars).


Up we continue to the Shrine.

The man in the center is throwing money on to the alter and making his wish to the Gods


We had our temple books stamped and continued up the island and up more stairs!


We enjoyed a nice view along the way!


And another Shrine.


Our next point of interest was the Sea Candle. I didn’t make Dina go up into the Candle today because it was cloudy around Mt. Fuji. Another reason to return.


Our next point of interest was the Enoshima-Daishi Temple.

Temple Roof

Temple Altar

Stained Glass Window

Here, Dina returned a fortune she collected earlier this year. Fortunes must be returned to the Temple where they are collected before the end of the year. Another reason Dina suggested Enoshima for our adventure today!


Within the temple gardens were two statues of Goma, the God of Fire.


We had our temple books stamped and continued on our way. Past another shrine with a built in selfie spot. Too bad I don’t have an Apple Watch to click my picture!




On we went. This time down the stairs. It was while we were descending, Dina mentioned we had to walk back up all these stairs!! Wait, what!?!

Fortunately, there was a nice view even without Mt. Fuji.


We could have continued walking along the cliffs and down to the sea caves and tidal pools. We didn’t have enough time today for too much exploring. Another reason for Dave and I to return.

We began climbing back up!


Finally, at the top we stopped for a snack. “Octopus Cracker” You will have to eat one when you visit. It’s a cracker made out of Octopus. Seriously.

Can you see the eyes and tentacles?


We continued our walk back to the train station. We stopped for one more snack. I picked ice cream with donuts. Yummmm! Much better than the octopus cracker…


A very fun and chilly day exploring another beautiful area of Japan. I am excited to go back and see the areas we didn’t have time for and the illuminations!!

Roppongi Hills Illuminations

We packed this past weekend in Tokyo with so many fun things. I need to rewind to Friday night in order to share our experiences in The Roppongi Hills area of Tokyo.


It took about 20 minutes with walking and one train stop from the New Sanno Hotel.


My research informed me there were illuminations on the streets and the park.  After we checked into the New Sanno, we headed out for illumination viewing and dinner.

Coming out of the station, we had a great view of the Tokyo Tower and found this amazing Christmas spider. Haha


Right across from the spider was a very illuminated Christmas tree.



The special thing about the lights on the tree and throughout the garden was they continued to change colors. It was magical.

The gold heart looks like it is glowing from above. When we got closer, we realized it was just reflecting the light. At the heart, we took a picture for a Japanese family and they offered to take ours. While the daughter was taking our picture with my phone, the father stood behind her taking pictures of her taking our picture with his camera. Too, funny.


The street illuminations were lovely! So blue!



And in the other direction, there was another great view of Tokyo Tower. 

There was a Police crossing guard to help manage traffic & tourist.


We walked to the end of the street and then worked our way to finding food. We discovered a little place that had a grill, bar and beer. Winner, winner! The chef used straw on the grill to give the meat a flame fired taste!

Building the base of fire with straw

Straw starts smoking

Start of fire

Now that’s a fire!

Seriously, that’s a fire!!

I ordered tempura blue laver (fried seaweed). It was delicious.


I also ordered a new favorite of mine. It is a bowl of rice with slightly seared tuna and a raw egg on top. The bowl it is served in is very hot. When set before you, stir it quickly to mix in the egg. The heat causes it to “cook”. Trust me, you don’t have a raw egg in the bowl! It’s delicious.


Dave ordered a sesame chicken dish and a straw fired chicken dish.


The meal really good. I would love to take you when you visit. But, I have no idea where it was exactly. We were some what down a back alley in Roppongi. Not to worry, if we don’t find this place exactly, we will find something just as good if not better!

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