Articles by Simon Bernard    

LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE at the Towada Lake Fireworks Festival!

The 44th annual KOSUI Festival 2009 will take place at Lake Towada on Saturday, July 18th and Sunday, July 19th. 湖水(Kosui), meaning lake water, gives you the hint where the fireworkís extravaganza will take placeÖfrom the middle of Lake Towada! Entrance is free!

Lake Towada is in a designated National Park and represents some of the best scenic beauty that Japan has to offer. There is a 44km (27 miles) route around the lake and and many observatories. There are small capes and inlets around the lake surrounded by cliffs, each exhibiting its own form of lakeside beauty.

The lake glitters an emerald green in the summer sun as it reflects the deep green of the forest on its shores. As day turns to night, the setting sun adorns the lake with an orange glow, which at night is replaced by beautiful reflections of light from the nearby hotels and inns. It is on this gorgeous venue that the fireworks will start at 20:00 both nights.

There are many ways you might consider to enjoy the festival. The close proximity to the base allows you to make it a day trip. It only takes about an hour and a half by car to the lake, but you can expect heavy traffic on the way back after the fireworks are over. You can avoid the late drive back by taking the bus tour offered by Misawa ITT. There will be a bus on both Saturday and Sunday. You can call 226-3555.

Another idea would be to make reservations at one on the hotels or inns. As all the rooms will be full during the festival, it would be wise to make reservations as early as possible. If you have a Japanese friend to help you, you can call 0176-75-2425. If you can not get a Japanese speaker to help, you can call Mr. Tamura at 0176-75-2111. He speaks enough English to help you find a place to stay. This phone number is only for making reservations not for festival information.

Lake Towada also has three campgrounds to choose from, some of which are located near to the docks where you can catch a ride on the sightseeing boats which can take you to the absolute best spots to see the fireworks.

Camp Utarube (turn left at the T when you see the lake, located between Nenoguchi and Yasumiya, the event site of the festival) is located close to Utarube docks on the east lake. The other two camp sites are Camp Oide located right across Yasumiya on the west lake where you can see the fireworks from the site itself and Camp Takinosawa on the north side of the lake which is near an observatory and is a short drive from the Ohkawatai docks.

The main festival site is at Yasumiya, where you will find most of the hotels and stores. There will be concerts and Yosakoi dancing at the main stage at the Station Plaza. One band featured will be ďIbukiĒ. The band members were actually born at Lake Towada!

The main festival site is at Yasumiya, where you will find most of the hotels and stores. There will be concerts at the main stage at the Station Plaza every day and night. Nationally known bands will be performing.

Other events are also slated. There will be a flea market. Americans are encouraged to set up and you will be given a free booth. But you must register in advance. Call 0176- 75-2425 to register in English.

Other events you can participate for free in include: Row boat races with prizes. Trout fish catching contests by hand. Hot coal will be set up for you to cook the fresh rainbow trout you catch!

More pictures and videos of events can be seen at:

You may also want to spend time water skiing, fishing in the lake, or hiking up Mt. Towada (the hiking trial starts behind the rose garden near Utarube). Or see if you can find all 15 waterfalls along the Oirase Gorge. Mountain biking all around the lake is also very exhilarating.

Whatever your pleasure, the Kosui Festival is one of the best times to make your trip to Lake Towada a memory of a life time!

July 18th (Saturday)

* 9:00~ Flea Market. Front field area at Asabashi.

* 11:00~11:50 Opening Ceremony. In front area of Statue of Otome.

* 14:00~ Yosakoi Dance. In front of the stage.

* 15:00~ Yosakoi Dance. At the Shrine

* 14:00~17:00 Band Concert Stage area.

* 18:30~ Boarding begins on the carnival boats to see the fireworks.

* 19:00~22:00 Statue of Otome Illumination

* 20:00~ Fireworks begins

* 21:00~ Fireworks ends

July 19th (Sunday)

* 9:00~ Flea Market

* 13:00~ Yosakoi Dance performance. Front of the stage

* 13:00~ Paddle boat race. Free. Open to all. Race for prizes.

* 14:15~ Yosakoi dance performance & Suiraijin Taiko Drums Performance.

* 14:00~17:00 Trout catch by hand, open to all (limited to 400 fish). Free

* 18:30~ Boarding begins on the carnival boats to see the fireworks.

* 19:00~22:00 Statue of Otome illumination

* 20:00~ Fireworks begins

* 21:00~ Fireworks ends