It’s 6 p.m. at Chichibugahama Beach. Hundreds of visiting college students and locals are gathered for the daily spectacle — a mirrored sunset tailor-made for social media.
In the nearby parking lot, a DJ plays songs from a laptop, his dog tied to the bumper of his open hatchback. Parked cars in the lot face the inland sea making the scene look like a drive-in movie theater. Young couples sip coffee and craft beer from the new shops that line the beach. The bustling cosmopolitan vibe belies this remote location in Japan’s Setouchi region.
The moment everyone is waiting for arrives. As dusk approaches, the sea recedes and the sun dips behind the horizon. Tide pools reflect the sightseers and scenes above. All is imbued with orange and purple hues. Cameras and smartphones come out and the groups who have gathered act out carefully planned poses. Perfect photos are taken. No filter necessary.