Niigata has hot summers and cold winters. It is a region with four distinct seasons. And in Niigata, with its sea and mountains, there is fun to be had all year round, from swimming in the sea in summer to skiing and snowboarding on the slopes in winter.
Hamachaya (beach houses) are an essential part of Niigata's summer bathing scene. In Niigata, 'beach houses' are called 'hamajaya'.
From the official Niigata City tourist information website.
Sekiyahama Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Niigata City, lined with 18 beach teahouses and crowded with bathers in summer.
While many people remember the glamorous Sekiya beach in summer, what happens to those beach teahouses in winter? Such a question suddenly arose, so I stormed into Sekiya beach in winter!
Here we are, Sekiya beach. An unusual sunny day for winter in Niigata. Still, the wind is great.
There are many very slanted trees on the road to the beach. In Niigata, the sea winds are so strong in winter that the trees do not grow straight. Many cedar trees, called 'sandbanks', are planted along Niigata's coast to prevent sand being blown away by the sea winds in winter. These cedar trees do not grow straight up, but at an angle due to the wind. So the cedars of the proverb "Cedars in Niigata and men don't grow" don't grow because of the wind. Incidentally, what about men... I don't know (laughs).
We immediately head for the beach. The weather is fine, but the wind makes it hard to keep your eyes open...
Finally, we captured a winter view of the beach teahouse!
Baan! Stunningly empty!
Where did all that summer bustle go? All the entrances to the beach teahouse were blocked with wooden and tin boards, turning it into almost a ghost town. The strong winds from the sea and blowing sand seemed to bury the summer days in the past.
The stairs leading to the beach are almost completely covered in sand and are not stairs but just a slope. And for some reason, a tractor (?) left in the sea. The bulldozers used to shovel out the sand are also buried in the sand and are no longer visible.
The beach is all over the place with the boat that was washed up and the rubbish that drifted ashore. I knew that the beautiful sandy beach in summer was the figure of many people cleaning the beach before the opening of the sea, but I was surprised that it was so rough.
At this time of year, the town is in a Christmas mood and is decorated with illuminations. The winter beaches, away from such a town atmosphere, are filled with a nostalgic atmosphere.
The atmosphere is very sad and I think it might tickle the hearts of those who love ruins. For those who want to indulge in a slightly sentimental mood or for ruin enthusiasts, Hamachaya in winter may be the place for you.