Top Fireworks in Japan

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No summer in Japan is complete without a good fireworks show. From being a simple entertainment in the Edo period, it has now turned into fine arts. Hence, pyrotechnicians from all over Japan gather together to compete for the top spot each year. Undoubtedly, your mind will be blown away!


 

Overview

Top 3 Fireworks in Japan!

   Omagari Fireworks Festival (Akita)

   Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition (Ibaraki)

   Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks (Niigata)

Recommendations

   Biwako Festival (Shiga)

   Akagawa Festival (Yamagata)

   Toyota Oiden Festival (Aichi)

   Lake Suwa Festival (Nagano)

   Kumano Festival (Mie)

   Kachimai Fireworks (Hokkaido)

   Sumidagawa Festival (Tokyo) 

   Atami Maritime Fireworks (Shizuoka)

   Minato Kobe Marine Festival (Hyogo)

Tips

 

Overview

Firework festivals in Japan are held in the summer. From the tiny ones to the biggest fireworks in the world, the audience are fully entranced for hours. Of course, no fireworks festival is complete without the festival atmosphere. So dress up in a yukata and check out all the food and game stalls lined up along the streets.

 

Top 3 Fireworks in Japan

Omagari National Fireworks Competition (Last Saturday of August)

Photo by Tohoku Japan

Omagari Fireworks attracts up to 800,000 people to the small city of Daisan each year. While it seems like any other fireworks festival, it is a fierce competition between the top pyrotechnicians in Japan. Unlike other fireworks, each artist personally showcases their fireworks at Omagari. Moreover, the winner receives the prestigious Prime Minister’s award, being one of the only two fireworks festivals to hand out the award. 

 

Location: Omono River, Daisan city, Akita Prefecture

Duration: 1 and a half hours

Number of Fireworks: 18,000

Access: 30 minutes walk from Omagari Station

 

Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition (Fourth Saturday in October)

Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition

Photo by The Gate

Tsuchiura is known for its innovative fireworks. It combines the latest technology and creative designs to produce stunning masterpieces. This event began in 1925 as a way to save businesses during the recession and to remember the deceased naval air force members. Tsuchiura is the only other festival to receive the Prime Minister’s Award. Unlike the others, Tsuchiura is held in October. So even if you aren’t able to visit Japan during the summer, there’s still this one for you to experience!

 

Location: Sakura River, Tsuchiura City, Ibaraki Prefecture

Duration: two and a half hours

Number of Fireworks: 20,000

Access: 30 minutes walk from Tsuchiura Station

 

Nagaoka Fireworks Festival (August 1-3)

Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks・Shosan-shakudama

Photo by The Gate

This event started as a way raise the people’s spirits after the devastation of WWII. While the event beings on August 1, the main fireworks are on the evenings of August 2 and 3. Unlike Omagari and Tsuchiura, Nagaoka is not a competition. Instead, Nagaoka’s fireworks is a prayer for the city’s restoration from its disasters. The unique phoenix-shaped fireworks symbolises the city’s resilience. The phoenix is the widest fireworks in the world, extending over 2 kilometres.

 

Location: Shinano River, Nagaoka, Niigata prefecture

Duration: 2 hours

Number of Fireworks: 20,000

Access: 20 minutes walk from Nagaoka Station

 

Recommendations

Biwako Festival (August 8)

Only a short 30 minutes from Kyoto, this festival is an easy side trip when visiting the Osaka region. Because it’s at a lake, it’s one of the easiest festivals to get a clear view. Make sure to check the beautiful reflection of the fireworks on the surface of the lake!

 

Location: Lake Biwako, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture

Duration: 1 hour

Access: 3 minutes walk from Hamaotsu Station

 

Akagawa Festival (Third Saturday of August)

fireworks

Photo by Hisgo

This fesitval has grown to be one of the biggest fireworks in Japan in its short history. Akagawa is also a competitive one, drawing pyrotechnicians from all of Japan. The prime spot for viewing is between Haguro Bridge to Mikawa Bridge. Unfortunately, you have to pay for this area. However, you can still watch the spectacular display for free from the rice fields at Mt. Haguro.

 

Location: Akagawa River, Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture

Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes

Access: 15 minutes walk from Tsuruoka Station

 

Toyota Oiden Festival (Last Sunday of July)

Toyota Oiden is one of the most creative fireworks out there, known for its harmony of the music and the fireworks. The festival starts with the final city dance competition the day before. Then, the next day starts with a blast from the traditional cannon Tezutsu fireworks.

 

Location: Shirahama Park, Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture

Duration: 2 hours

Access: 1-minute walk from Toyota City Station | 3 minutes walk from Shin-Toyota City Station

 

Lake Suwa Festival (August 15)

fireworks

Photo by Hatena

With 40,000 fireworks launched each time, Lake Suwa has one of the most electrifying atmospheres. That’s because the surrounding mountains helps to amplify the sound of the fireworks. Started in 1949, it now has over 500,000 visitors each year!

 

Location: Lake Suwa, Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture

Duration: 2 hours

Access: 8 minutes walk from Kamisuwa Station

 

Kumano Festival (August 17)

Kumano has a history of over 300 years. This festival always falls during the Bon Festival. The fireworks are launched from the two boats on the sea, creating a beautiful arch. Enjoy them best from Shichirigahama Beach.

 

Location: Shichirimihama Coast, Kumano City, Mie Prefecture

Duration: 2 hours

Access: 5 minutes walk from Kumanoshi Station

 

Kachimai Fireworks (August 13)


Photo by Hanabito

Kachimai is the first fireworks held in Hokkaido, started in 1929. The name Kachimai means ‘every win’ in English. It’s not hard to understand why. With the music and lights being in sync, the atmosphere turns into one of excitement and power. The Nishiki Kamuro, pictured above, is the highlight of the night.

 

Location: Tokachi River, Obihiro City, Hokkaido Prefecture

Duration: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Access: 20 minutes walk from Obihiro Station

 

Sumidagawa Festival (Last Saturday in July)

The history of Sumidawa Festival dates back to the Edo period. While it was small to being with, now more than 900,000 people visit it every year. Unsurprisingly, you can even see the Tokyo Sky Tree in the background!

 

Location: Sumida River, Tokyo City, Tokyo Prefecture

Duration: 1 and a half hours

Access: 5 minutes walk (Komagata Bridge)  | 15 minutes walk (Kototoi Bridge) from Asakusa Station

 

Atami Maritime Fireworks (Shizuoka Prefecture)

Atami Maritime began in 1952 to raise the city’s morales after the consecutive disasters in the years before. The final display, ‘Niagara Falls in the Sky’, is one not to be missed. This display turns the sky to a brilliant flash of gold! While many places in Japan only have fireworks in summer, Atami has it all year round. Therefore, you have no excuses for not attending even one!

 

Location: Atami Bay, Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture

Duration: 20~25 minutes 

Access: 15 minutes walk from JR Atami Station

 

Minato Kobe Marine Festival (First Saturday in August)

Photo via Rakuten

This amazing fireworks has Kobe City’s million-dollar skyline as its background! Best places to see these classy fireworks include Kobe Harborland, Meriken Park, and Venus Bridge (less crowded).

 

Location: Kobe Port, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture

Duration: 1 hour

Access: 15 minutes walk from Motomachi Station

 

Tips

Before You Go!

  1. Paid seating. Paid tickets let you access the best viewing spots. However, tickets sell out fast and require some knowledge of Japanese skills to book.
  2. Transportation. It will take a long time to get back to where you stay. Therefore, make sure you plan ahead, and expect delays. Check out the last trains and buses, especially in smaller cities if your hotel is far away.
  3. Accommodation. Many hotels are booked out months in advance. Make sure you are ready to book as early as you can! 

 

On the Day!

  1. Starting Times. Most events start at 7pm, but some may begin as early as 6pm or as late as 8pm. 
  2. Weather. Events usually carry on during light rain but are cancelled in cases of heavy rain and bad weather. 
  3. Viewing Spots. Many people go hours in advance to reserve the best viewing spots. As a result, it becomes highly competitive in big cities. Make sure to go several hours in advance if you want to get a good spot. 
  4. Toilets. It is very hard to find toilets during the festival, so go to the bathroom beforehand. You don’t want to miss even a second of the fireworks!
  5. Insect Repellent. A must-have at any festival! For there are plenty of insects in summer, especially the outdoors. 

 


Isn’t the fireworks in Japan on a whole new level? No wonder so much effort goes into preparing these festivals. Let us know if you have been to one on the list!

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