So the Golden Week is upon us and you haven't made any plans to leave the city. It's almost impossible to get a hotel reservation or Shinkansen ticket and even if you do, you know most places are packed with visitors this time of the year. Perhaps you can go watch a film or spend the day at the beach. Or maybe you can go drinking with your friends. The 6th Zushi Beach Film Festival offers you the chance to do all of those things and then some more.
Just over an hour away from Tokyo, Zushi has been popular with the art world for decades. Writers and musicians among others, have chosen to live here either full time or for part of the year. Looking at Zushi this makes perfect sense. Sitting at the top of the Miura Peninsula the town is close enough to the capital that one can commute to work but it is also remote enough for those seeking a more tranquil lifestyle. The proximity to the ocean as well as the extensive forest surrounding the town are also part of the attraction.
A 10-minute walk from the station, the beach is buzzing with excitement. Surfers, families, couples and groups of friends are all here enjoying the long-awaited sunny weather. We buy our tickets for the festival and head for the small bazaar going on inside. Some are selling artisan pastries while others are giving guests head massages. A massive golden retriever is running around looking to make new friends. A group of skateboarders are having fun with a ramp built for the festival's Skateboarding Day. An one corner of the festival area there is a workshop going on. Next to it some kids are riding a small carousel. People are selling and buying food, drinking, making jokes. The festival area is neither overcrowded nor overly quiet. Some have already reserved a spot in front of the big screen, even though the film is not due to start for another 5 hours.
We spend the remaining daylight hours exploring the beach and its surroundings. We visit a nearby temple and discover a 15-minute hiking trail that leads to the top of a hill. From there we can see Enoshima, the town of Zushi and the surrounding hills. The sun is slowly setting and by the time we make it back to the festival area the film is about to start.
We lay our picnic blanket on the ground and crack open some beers just as the opening credits start to roll. Tonight's feature is a documentary about the birth and evolution of rap, called Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap. The film is good but what is most notable is the atmosphere here; everyone is laid back, friendly even. It may be the effect the sea breeze has on people, or perhaps the fact that this is a community effort that has turned out so well. Whatever it is, it makes me rethink those shinkansen tickets and hotel reservations; perhaps I should stay here and enjoy the rest of the festival.
For more information, click here . Ticket sales start at 11:00. Keep in mind they are sometimes sold out as early as 14:00. Every day there is a different theme according to which the food and film selection is made so choose according to your literal and metaphorical appetite!
Website(Japanese) : http://zushifilm.com/