My Trip to Sand and Flower Festa in the Kagoshima Countryside
The other day, I went to Kagoshima, the southern-most prefecture in Kyushu.
Kagoshima is a prefecture located in the southernmost area of Kyushu with a population of about 1.7 million. Consisting of two peninsulas and multiple remote islands including Tanegashima Island, the famous world heritage site, it is a prefecture blessed with rich nature and warm climate. The prefecture is best known for grand Mt. Sakurajima, which is an active volcano erupting several times every day. You can get close to the astounding energy of nature here. Naturally for an area with such an active volcano, the prefecture is spotted with many hot springs. Especially among various types of hot springs, sunaburo (sand bath) is synonymous with Kagoshima and is also my favorite. The prefecture is also renowned for kurobuta (Berkshire pork), Sakurajima radish, satsuma-age (fried fishcake) and various other local specialty foods and many visitors keep coming back for those special treats the prefecture offers.
The prefecture has also accepted cultural articles from abroad earlier than any other places in Japan since old days and produced many historical figures, most notably Takamori Saigo.
Sand and Flower Festa in Fukiagehama Beach
吹上浜砂の祭典, Event Period: May 1st – 31st, 2016, Map
“Sand and Flower Festa (Suna No Saiten)” is one of the annual events held in Kagoshima. It is an art event hosted by Minami-Satsuma City, Kagoshima, every year, where you can get close to the sand sculptures created by artists both from within and outside Japan. It makes the subject of great attention every year in Kagoshima and attracts many visitors from around Japan. Due to the recent earthquake in Kumamoto, the prefecture adjoining Kagoshima, it was concerned that the event might be called off but it took place as scheduled.
Every year the event sets a specific theme for sculptures. The theme for 2016 was “ocean.” A variety of works exhibited at the event site included an adorable sculpture by local students as well as a 10 meter tall spectacular piece of art by professional sculptors from abroad.
Sculptures rising high up to the sky are strengthened with reinforcement agent and can hold against strong wind and rain. While commonly themed on “ocean,” each of the sculptures had its own originality and never bored the eyes of the visitors.
From subtle expressions of human facial expressions and fine hairs to every single small window of large buildings are represented in elaborate details that you almost doubt they are made of sand. You will never get to see such finely skilled sand sculptures anywhere else around the world but here at this event.
The event site was a good size and would allow you to see all the works within an hour. There was also a special area with a stage where you can enjoy watching dances and songs by local performers while having something to eat.
Local specialty food offered at cheap prices is another great thing about this event. During the Golden Week holidays (late April to early May), the event also features a fireworks display, so you can enjoy the event all day from morning to night. Whenever there is a chance, make sure to check out this event and discover yet another attraction to enjoy during your trip to Japan. The event goes on until May 30th this year, so it’s still not too late!
*The parking space tends to be scarce during the Golden Week holidays, so in case you visit the event during the holidays, make sure to arrive at the event site as early as possible.