Bioluminescent plankton turn Kanagawa seashore into something that looks more like a Final Fantasy game.

Last weekend an old friend of mine visited me here in Kanagawa Prefecture, and we decided to hit up the coastal city of Kamakura one afternoon to see some of the cultural sights and drink some of the local beer. Since my friend had never been to the town before, we first visited the colossal statue of the Great Buddha, then walked over to Hasedera Temple.

As we climbed up the temple’s hillside staircase, we eventually got above the foliage of the garden below, to a point where the view opens up and you can see the waters of Sagami Bay. But on that day, what waited for us was neither a dazzling blue nor a deep green sea, but a red tide.

An unusually warm couple of days had caused a sudden surge in the Noctiluca scintillans plankton population. Because of that, we didn’t stick around to admire the tarnished view for too long, Had we stuck around until the sun went down, though, we’d have been rewarded. See, Noctiluca scintillans are also known as sea sparkle, because at night they look like this.

The plankton give off an ethereal blue glow when agitated, with even the natural motion of the sea being enough to trigger the reaction. So when the waves came rolling in during the nighttime ore pre-dawn hours in Kamakura this weekend, they often looked like they do in this GIF.

As if that wasn’t beautiful enough, the whole thing coincided with this year’s annual Eta Aquariids meteor shower, and photographer Kagaya (who recently shared his amazing nighttime cherry blossom photos) was there to capture shooting stars streaking through the night sky above the sparkling waves, in both still photo and video formats.

Locals and tourists alike were drawn to Kamakura’s Yuigahama beach to record the otherworldly phenomenon for themselves as well.

The azure swells were also visible on Zaimokuza Kaigan shoreline, farther east along the coast of Sagami Bay.

With the weather cooling off, Kamakura’s beaches are expected to be back to normal in short order (Noctiluca scintillans plankton itself is non-toxic), but for those who saw the sea sparkle last weekend, the memory is likely to last a lifetime.

Sources: IT Media, Kinisoku

Follow Casey on Twitter, where his goal for the summer is to spend as much time on Kanagawa’s beaches as possible.