Giant 650 Meter Fireworks! Niigata's Nagaoka Firework Festival 2023
The Nagaoka Firework Festival is one of the Three Great Fireworks Festivals of Japan. We introduce the festival's schedule in 2023, along with features and highlights.
Fireworks color the summer night sky in Japan. Have you ever heard of Nagaoka Fireworks Festival, one of the Three Great Firework Festivals in Japan?
Today we'll be introducing the firework culture unique to Japan and the Nagaoka Festival Fireworks that take place in early August.
Originally a "Memorial"
The Nagaoka Festival Fireworks originally started as a memorial and as a sign of peace.
Just before the end of World War II, on August 1, 1945, Nagaoka was bombed and more than 1000 people lost their lives. The Nagaoka Reconstruction Festival, which later became the Nagaoka Festival Fireworks, was started the following year to revive Nagaoka.
The opening starts with white shiragiku (chrysanthemum) fireworks. These fireworks are a memorial for the victims of the Nagaoka bombing.
From here, we'll introduce our three especially recommended fireworks that appear after the shiragiku.
1. A Huge 650 Meter Diameter Firework
The Nagaoka Fireworks are famous for the sanjakudama, which are a special kind of huge fireworks.
The size of a firework depends on the size of the shell that is shot into the air. This firework shell has a diameter of 90 centimeters and weighs 300 kilograms using a whopping 80 kilograms of explosives. This is the maximum weight allowed by law. This huge shell explodes into a 650-meter-diameter flower in the sky.
2. Various Themed Fireworks
There are various ways that the fireworks shoot up. For example the "Niagara Extra-Large Starmine" in this photo.
The fireworks are set up on a huge bridge and come pouring down from the sky, like a fiery Niagara Falls.
3. The Heart of the Citizens: Fukkō Kigan Phoenix
True to its name, the phoenix-like fireworks leave a light trail, as they are shot up from six different lined-up launch pads. Along with music that will make you feel like you're in outer space, your vision is completely covered in grains of light.
Dos and Don'ts at the Nagaoka Firework Festival
If you want to get the best view of the fireworks, it's best to watch from the viewing seats. But these tickets require reservations, so they might be hard to get. Around the Chōseibashi Bridge and Ōte Ōhashi Bridge, you can generally get a good view without purchasing a viewing seat ticket, so you don't need to worry if you don't get a reservation beforehand.
Fireworks are crucial to the summer season in Japan. We highly recommend stopping by the Nagaoka Festival Fireworks, feeling the warmth of the citizens, and thinking about the stories that each firework has.
Nagaoka Festival Fireworks 2023
Address: Niigata, Nagaoka City, Choseibashi Bridge downstream the Shinanogawa riverbed
Hours: Early evening (see website for details)
Date: August 2 -3 (Wednesday and Thursday), 2023
Nearest station: JR Nagaoka Station
Access: 20-minute walk from Ote Exit, walk along Ote-dori
Website: Nagaoka Fireworks Festival