The second festival on our most-loved list and one that deserves at least an honorable mention in any one’s top five review is the Aug 8th show at Otsu Biwako. This is a very good show in a charming setting but the crowd can be quite daunting as you’d expect.
The setting off the beach in the town center is particularly nice but this is where the vast majority of pedestrians go to watch. They also picnic during the heat of the day to confirm a good spot and that can get a bit uncomfortable so I don’t recommend doing that. The good news is that since Biwa Lake makes a large horseshoe shape at its southern shore, the fireworks can be viewed from a very wide-ranging area. Unfortunately, if you have any designs of showing up by car, you’d better have a parking spot picked out hours before and not get any ideas about getting home at any reasonable hour. There will be two to three hours of traffic gridlock afterwards. Our recommendation therefore is to take a nice long lakeside walk back to the city after having taken a bus out to one of outer-lying areas, preferably five or six kilometers east of the city.
Roughly 350,000 people show up most years, but we think there may have been a bit fewer this year because it was held on a Monday night. We cannot expect that to happen again next year, but remember that 2012 is leap year so many pre-scheduled dates will be the same as in 2011.
Looking forward to next summer already!
Martin Werner Zander, Partner in the Smith’s School of English Company
Owner, Smith’s School Franchise in Kotoen