It was the third time that we went to Great Biwa Lake Fireworks Display, which is held in the beginning of August every year. Last year, about 350,000 people gathered around the Biwa Lake in Shiga, a city near to Kyoto, to enjoy 10,000 shots of breath-taking fireworks illuminating the night sky.

The display lasts about 1 hour, usually starts at 19:30. However, it’s almost impossible to find a good spot after 16:00, so we got there around 14:00 just to make sure that we could secure a location with clear view and get everything ready before the viewing area is flooded with people.

Everything went well, at first. We were there by the lake on time, got our plastic sheeting pinned to the lawn, grabbed some food and drinks, set up camera tripod… and then the only thing left is to wait.

So did all other tens of thousands people. Hours and hours of waiting.



Unfortunately, we had no luck with the weather this year. Totally bad luck.

During the waiting, it rained several times. Everyone was kept busy wiping water off their sheeting and covering bags and belongings with plastic bags. Some guy sitting in front of us got himself all wet and went off for new set of clothes, however his fresh, dry clothes got wet  again in another round of rain.

IMG_6016   (The surface of the lake was dark as tar.)

What we failed to realize was that it was just the beginning of our ordeal. 30 mins before the start of the display, everything seemed getting better: the rain stopped, the sky cleared up, the wind got weaker… I reset the tripod, waiting for the first bang into the sky. 10 mins left, 5 mins, 4, 3, 2… IT STARTED RAINING AGAIN!!!

Rumblings and cursing burst out in the crowd, as the sudden rain pouring down. All these made it ironic and tragic when we heard a cheerful voice from the speaker said:” Welcome to the Great Biwa Lake Fireworks Display 2014! Please enjoy!”


I missed a couple of first shots while protecting my camera from rain drops in a hurry. And I was too busy covering everything up in the darkness, half of my body was exposed to the rain. The rain got even heavier and we weren’t able to keep our sheeting dry as we did a couple of hours ago. I was sitting in the water, literally. Wet pants definitely won’t make me look good but I didn’t care much, since everybody was stuck in the same place.

So, whatever. I’m all wet anyway, why not try my best to take some good shots and make this misery a worthy experience??

IMG_6142  (Stay or leave? A Japanese girl in Yukata, holding a transparent umbrella, found it’s difficult to decide.)

IMG_6122  (Fireworks through a transparent umbrella)









It wasn’t until the moment I turned off the camera that I realized how cold it was.

I was utterly soaked and trembling (it’s summer, for God’s sake!) , all I want was a cup of hot tea!

Our bad luck finally ended when we found the city hall building nearby was open to public, offering exhausted tourists a warm place for rest. They had hot drinks available from vending machines (YEEEEAH!!!), they even had clean, bright, well-equipped toilets(AMAZING!!!) I couldn’t be more grateful.

(The entrance hall of the building was crammed with people who were trying to grab a hot drink.)

IMG_3681 (Japanese girls in YUKATA)


Well, this is my worst experience of watching fireworks. But at least we weren’t told to go home without anything. That would be the worst.

Biwa Lake, see you next year.


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