Translated by Jasmine Nishino
Japan's Top 5 Most Outrageous Fireworks Festivals!
Written by Reiya Horii
In Japan, there are plenty of fireworks festivals, but this time we selected five of the most unique festivals in Japan.
When people think of summer in Japan, fireworks are the first thing that comes to mind. However, there are all sorts of shapes and sizes of fireworks, ranging from small ones like shooting stars or ones that are large and explosive! This time, we would like to introduce to you some of the most unique fireworks festivals in Japan!
The information regarding the fireworks events are from 2015 or 2016. The times for them to be held may vary. Please check their websites to confirm.
1. National New Fireworks Competition (Nagano Prefecture)
Star-mine on the lake. (Photo courtesy of: National New Fireworks Competition)
This is a fireworks competition held at Lake Suwa, located at Suwa City in Nagano prefecture. You can see fireworks artists from all over Japan present their latest creation with special messages and music. You will also be able to see the unique star-mine on the waters of Lake Suwa.
Date: September 2nd, 2017 (Saturday)
Location: Nagano, Kamisuwa Onsen, Lake Suwa
2. Nagaoka Fireworks Festival (Niigata Prefecture)
Photo courtesy of Nagaoka City Tourism Association Team, Festival Promotion Office
One of the three largest fireworks festivals of Japan is held in Nagaoka city in Niigata prefecture. It is a fireworks festival that began in order to ease the spirits of the dead from the Nagaoka air raid and support the restoration from the Chūetsu earthquake. The highlight of 2016 is the "Kome Hyappyō Fireworks with 100 consecutive shakudama shots. Like last year, you also can't miss the immense triple consecutive shōsan shakudama shots too! A shakudama firework has an approximately 20 cm radius, while a shōsan shakudama firework is nearly 90 cm wide!
Date: August 2nd and 3rd, 2017 (Wednesday, Thursday)
Location: Niigata, Nagaoka city / Lower river of Chōsei bridge or the riverbed of the Shinano river.
3. National Fireworks Competition "Day Time Fireworks" (Akita Prefecture)
Day Time Fireworks (Photo courtesy of Ōmagari Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Fireworks Promotion Office)
Fireworks are not only for the night! Another one of the three largest fireworks festivals is held at the Omonogawa Riverbed Sports Park located in Ōmagari town in Daisen city, Akita prefecture.
The day time fireworks are colorful fireworks launched during the day performance. For those who have only seen fireworks at night, this must be a very different sight. These particular fireworks were highly valued for their rarity by fireworks enthusiasts from the past to the present.
Date: August 26th, 2017 (Saturday)
Location: Akita, Daisen city, Ōmagari town
4. Festival of Fire "Hand Canon Fireworks" (Aichi Prefecture)
Photo courtesy of: Festival of Fire Executive Committee
The Festival of Fire is an event that occurs in Toyohashi city in Aichi prefecture. The hand canon fireworks that feature in this festival are extreme fireworks where gun powder is stuffed into a bamboo pipe and fired. Ember starts shooting out of the bamboo pipe and rain down on the carrier. Loud beats of Japanese drums accompany the fireworks and add to the fiery mood of the festivals. At this festival you can encounter an extra hot summer that is very different from standard firework festivals.
Date: September 9th, 2017 (Saturday)
Location: Aichi, Toyohashi city. Inside Toyohashi park, Toyohashi stadium, and the surrounding areas.
5. Obari Matsushita Style and Takaoka Style Tsunabi Fireworks (Ibaraki Prefecture)
Photo courtesy of: Tsukuba Mirai City Office, Office of Economy, Trade and Industry
Tsunabi is a collaborative work between fireworks and puppets. It is a traditional performing art where puppets are carefully controlled by many ropes, matching the sounds of the hayashi (*1). It is also called marionette fireworks, and has two distinct styles: the Obari Matsushita style and the Takaoka style in the Tsukuba Mirai city in Ibaraki prefecture. Watching a story created with puppets and sudden appearances of fireworks is a very exciting show meant for all ages!
*1 Hayashi: Japanese traditional music featuring the flute, hand drum and taiko drum that is designed to create atmosphere when story-telling.
Date: Takaoka style: August 24th, 2017(Thursday), Obari Matsushita style: August 27th, 2017 (Sunday)
Location: Obari Atago Shrine and Takaoka Atago Shrine
If you feel like you need to see a different type of fireworks festival, why not head out to see one of these unique festivals?
National New Fireworks Competition
Address: Nagano, Kamisuwa Onsen, Lake Suwa
Nearest station: Kamisuwa Station, JR Chuō Main Line
Access: 8 minute walk from Kamisuwa Station
Phone number: 0266-52-2111
Website: National New Fireworks Competition (Japanese)
Nagaoka Fireworks Festival
Address: Niigata, Nagaoka city / Lower river of Chōsei bridge or the riverbed of the Shinano river.
Nearest station: Nagaoka Station, JR Jōetsu bullet train
Access: 30 minute walk from Nagaoka Station
Phone number: 0258-39-2221
Website: Nagaoka Fireworks (Japanese)
National Fireworks Competition "Day Time Fireworks"
Address: Akita, Daisen city, Ōmagari town
Nearest station: Ōmagari Station, JR Akita Shinkansen, Uetsu main line, Ōu main line
Access: 30 minute walk from Ōmagari Station
Phone number: 0187-62-1262
Website: National Fireworks Competition "Day Time Fireworks" (Japanese)
Festival of Fire "Hand Canon Fireworks"
Address: Aichi, Toyohashi city. Inside Toyohashi park, Toyohashi stadium, and the surrounding areas.
Nearest station: JR or Meitetsu Toyohashi Station
Access: Take the light rail from Toyohashi Station. Get off at Toyohashi Kōen mae stop.
Phone number: 0532-53-7211
Website: Festival of Fire (Japanese)
Obari Matsushita Style and Takaoka Style Tsunabi Fireworks
Address: Obari Atago Shrine (Tsukuba Mirai City Obari 3235) and Takaoka Atago Shrine (Tsukuba Mirai City Takaoka 631)
Nearest station: Miraidaira Station, Tsukuba Express
Access: 20 minute walk from Miraidaira Station
Phone number: 0297-58-2111
Website: Tsukuba Mirai City Tourist Association (Japanese)