Aug 5, 2008

Fireworks Display in Nagaoka

August 3, My friend and I visited Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture, to see fireworks. The city's fireworks are quite famous in Japan and some people say this fireworks display is the best in Japan. Anyway, we left home early in the morning, traveled to Nagaoka City by Shinkansen bullet train, got to the city shortly after 11 o'clock, visited a sake brewery, saw fireworks, got on a night train, and then came back in the morning of the next day. Somehow a forced march.

In front of the Nakagoka Station, I found this structure. What do you think this is? (See the end of this article for the answer.)

One of my friends living in this city drove to the station to pick up us. He took us to a sake brewery in the city. Actually, this brewery is operated by him and his family. There, we were treated to a good sake, daiginjo that this brewery entered in the new sake contest. This sake smelled brilliant and tasted mellow. Quite a nice sake although it was aged and, according to my friend, changed in its taste.

By the way, we used kikijoko, or sake-tasting cup, to enjoy this sake. I found that this cup is really big! It can even sufficiently contain a beer can.

Late in the afternoon, we moved to the dry riverbed of the Shinano River, where people could sit down to see fireworks. True to its reputation of the Japan's best firework display, there are so many people at the fireworks-viewing site. However, the riverbed of the Shinano River was too broad to completely be occupied by this many people, and I didn't feel so much that the site was "crowded."

Unlike fireworks display held in many other places in Japan, they can prepare many firework launching spots because they, I guess, can use a broad shore of the Shinano River. And, the sky of the Nagaoka City serves as a big screen for displaying large-scaled art of firework. In the end of the show, they blasted off big shots of fireworks into the sky in the entire field of vision from as many as five launching spots at the same time, and, moreover, this continued for a minute or several minutes (I didn't measure the exact time). I am sure this was the greatest fireworks I have ever seen!

When I watched these fireworks lying on my back, the blast sounds strongly hit my chest and penetrated it to reach the ground, and shocked the ground. Then the ground, I felt, shocked my body again from my back. Ineffable majestic power and excitement ran through my body.
This was really great fireworks. Although the photos below cannot convey the power of these fireworks as much as I felt, here I place them.

Well, we had some extra time after the fireworks display until our train left. So, quite naturally, we dropped in at an izakaya restaurant close to the station. It was quite a hot day, and chilled beer was nice!

Of course, when visiting Niigata, sake lovers must not fail to enjoy jizake (local sake). Actually, we ordered sake tasting sets.

Today's Sake
Daiginjo Hakkaisan (Hakkaijozo )
Sweet and mild taste
Junmai-daiginjo Rokuno-esshu (Asahishuzo)
Discree aroma and meaningful taste with complexity unlike other ordinary daiginjo sakes. They use a rice variety called Senshuraku for this sake. Does this complex taste originate in this rice?
Kubota Suiju (Asahi shuso)
Good aroma, clean-cut, and mellow taste

Answer: If you see this from the opposite side, you will find two fireworks launchers.


McAlpine said...

I am drinking the rokuno esshu sake right now at 2:41am, and it's delicious! Thanks for the recommendation!

Ichibay said...

I'm pleased you like it. I think the Esshu series has strong apeal.