Hanabi (fireworks) are an essential part of the Japanese summer. Nothing beats cold beer, street food and yukatas (light kimonos) on a hot summer night as you wait for thousands of stunning explosions to fill the sky. If you’re lucky enough to be in Japan during the summer months, make sure to hit some of the following spots.
Here are Metropolis’ recommendations for the best firework events of 2019:
Within the 23 wards of Tokyo area
Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival
Dating back to 1733, this firework festival is known as the oldest in the country. The annual event takes place on the last Saturday of July, and with almost 1 million people attending, it’s one of Tokyo’s biggest hanabi events of the year. You can stand on the Kototoi Bridge, Azuma Bridge and Komagata Bridge to enjoy the dazzling display close-up. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can catch the display from Tokyo Skytree or Oyokogawa Water Park.
Date: July 27 Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm Location: Taito Riverside Sports Center Access: Asakusa Station Admission: Free Website: https://www.sumidagawa-hanabi.com/
Meiji-jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival
Approximately 12,000 fireworks will light up the Tokyo sky at this event, which attracts nearly 1 million visitors each year. Pay for a seat at the Jingu Stadium, Rubber-ball Baseball Ground, Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Stadium or the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. You can also find a spot on the streets nearby to catch the amazing show for free. A live music show, known to feature big-name popstars, will take place at the main venue, Jingu Stadium.
Date: Mid-August Time: 7:30pm – 8:30pm Location: Jingu Stadium and surrounding venues Access: Shinanomachi Station (12 minute walk), Sendagaya Station (15 minute walk) Admission: ¥3,500 – ¥8,500 (prices vary at different venues) Website: http://www.jinguhanabi.com/
Edogawa Fireworks Festival
This massive fireworks display will draw an estimated 1.3 million people to the banks of the Edogawa River. Over a thousand fireworks are launched in the span of just five seconds for each of the eight acts in the 75-minute show. Shinozaki station is close to the park and bound to be crowded, so access from Keisei Edogawa and Mizue stations is recommended.
Date: August 4 Time: 7:15pm – 8:30pm Location: Toritsu Shinozaki Park Access: Shinozaki Station (15 minute walk), Keisei Edogawa Station (25 minute walk), Mizue Station (45 minute walk) Admission: Free Website: www.city.edogawa.tokyo.jp
Katsushika Noryo Fireworks Festival
About 13,000 fireworks will go off in the center of a large baseball field by the Edogawa riverside in the 52nd edition of this annual festival. Last year, nearly 8,000 people attended. This festival is smaller than other major hanabi events, so it’s the perfect choice for those who want to enjoy a stunning show without fighting tooth and nail for a good seat.
Date: July 23 Time: 7:20pm – 8:20pm Location: Shibamata Baseball Field Access: Shibamata Station (10 minute walk), Kanamachi Station (20 minute walk), Shin-Shibamata Station (15 minute walk) Admission: Free Website: http://www.city.katsushika.lg.jp
Itabashi Fireworks Festival
Nominated as one of the best and the biggest firework festivals in Tokyo, the Itabashi Fireworks Festival sets off over 10,000 fireworks along the Arakawa River for a tremendous 90-minute show. To secure a good vantage point, reserve a seat in advance and enjoy the magnificent show up close.
Date: first week of August Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm Location: Itabashi Firework Venue Access: A 20 minute walk from Takashimadaira Station, Nishidai Station and JR Ukima-Funado Station. Bus available from Naruma Station and Tobu Nerima Station Admission: Free; Reserved seats can be purchased on website Website: http://itabashihanabi.jp/
Adachi Fireworks Festival
With a history of about 100 years, the 41st annual Adachi Fireworks Festival will launch over 13,000 fireworks along the Arakawa River. There are plenty of great vantage points throughout the riverbank, so pick a spot and experience the age-old tradition of beautiful summer fireworks.
Date: the end of July Time: 7:30pm – 8:30pm Location: Arakawa-Nishiaraibashi Ryokuchi Park Access: Umejima Station (20 min walk) or Kita Senju Station (35 min walk) Admission: Free Website: http://adachikanko.net/event/
Koto Fireworks Festival
Held in Koto-ku, this annual event sets off almost 4,000 colorful fireworks near the Arakawa River. That number might seem small compared to other hanabi events, but the festival draws huge crowds. This year, an estimated 300,000 will attend. The venue is just 15 minutes from the Minami Sunamachi Station, and the riverbank provides a friendly vantage point only 150 meters away from the launching site.
Date: August 1 Time: 7:30pm – 8:30pm Location: Arakawa Sunamachi Riverside Park Access: Minami Sunamachi Station (15 min walk) Admission: Free Website: https://www.city.koto.lg.jp/101032/kurashi/komyunitei/hanabi/67.html
The rest of Greater Tokyo
Yokohama Sparkling Twilight
As a historic port city, Yokohama is the perfect venue for an offshore hanabi event. About 3,000 fireworks will go off each day during the two-day festival, which combines gorgeous night views with a number of special events, including parades, music concerts and food stalls from delicious seafood restaurants.
Date: Mid of July Time: Festival from 1pm – 8:15 pm; Fireworks start from 7:30pm – 8pm Location: Yamashita Park Access: Motomachi-Chukagai Station (3 min walk), Nihon Odori Station (5 min walk), Ishikawacho Station (15 min walk), Kannai Station (20 min walk) Admission: Free Website: http://www.y-artist.co.jp/sparkling/
Tamagawa Fireworks Festival
Though it’s not the biggest hanabi event, visitors will be amazed by the display of 6,000 colorful fireworks along the banks of the Tama River. Over 400,000 spectators are expected to visit.
Date: mid-October Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm Location: Tamagawa Futagobashi Park Access: Futakotamagawa Station (15 min walk) Admission: Free Website: http://www.tamagawa-hanabi.com/
Tachikawa Showa Kinen Park Fireworks Festival
A medium-sized festival that takes place at Showa Kinen Park, this event launches about 5,000 fireworks into the night sky. Although visitors can enter the park for free after 5pm, it’s best to arrive earlier and purchase a ticket for ¥400 (adults) to secure the perfect spot before it gets crowded.
Date: the end of July Time: 7:30pm – 8:30pm Location: Showa Kinen Park Access: Tachikawa Station (20 min walk) Admission: Free; Reserved seats can be purchased on website Website: http://tbt.gr.jp/hanabi2/index.html
Hachioji Fireworks Festival
At the Hachioji Fireworks Festival, visitors can enjoy 3,500 fireworks at close range within a municipal baseball stadium. Held since the Edo period, the festival showcases a display of beautifully crafted fireworks and star mines each year. Visitors can stroll through the night market for food, drink and other matsuri goods. There’s no parking at the venue, so public transportation is highly recommended.
Date: the end of July Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm Location: Daiwa House Stadium Hachioji (in Fujimori Park) Access: Nishi Hachioji Station (south exit) and Yamada Station (15 min walk) Admission: Free Website: https://www.hkc.or.jp/hanabi/
Chofu City Fireworks Festival
Held on the grassy banks of the Tamagawa River, approximately 9,000 fireworks will light up the sky during a spectacular 70-minute show.
Date: Mid August Time: 5:30pm – 6:30pm Location: Fuda venue and Keio-Tamagawa venue Access: Keio Tamagawa Station (5 min walk) and Chofu Station (20 min walk) Admission: Free; Reserved seats can be purchased on website Website: http://hanabi.csa.gr.jp/
Ome Noryo Fireworks Festival
Known as the biggest firework festival in the Nagayama area, this event launches over 4,000 fireworks into the night sky. Tickets can be pricey, but visitors can grab a seat for free anywhere outside the official viewing area.
Date: First week of August Time: 7:30pm – 8:50pm Location: Nagayama Park Access: Ome Station (10 min walk) Admission: Free; Reserved seats can be purchased on website (¥5,000 – ¥6,000) Website: https://www.omekanko.gr.jp/fire/fire.php
Okutama Noryo Fireworks Festival
With about 1,000 fireworks, this festival is smaller than other hanabi events in Tokyo. Visitors can avoid the massive urban crowds, sit back and enjoy the stunning display. The venue is two hours from Shinjuku by train.
Date: Mid August Time: 7:45pm – 8:20pm Location: Okutama Access: Okutama Station (3 min walk) Admission: Free Website: https://www.okutama.gr.jp/site/
Outside the Kanto region
Omagari Fireworks Competition (Akita Prefecture)
This is the biggest firework festival in the Tohoku region. Last year, the popular event attracted more than 700,000 visitors so expect a huge crowd and an amazing show.
Date: the end of August Time: Daytime 5:30 pm – , Night time 6:50 pm – Location: Omagari Hanabi National Fireworks Competition Venue Access: JR Omagari Station (25 min walk) Admission: Free; Reserved seats can be purchased on website Website: https://www.oomagari-hanabi.com/
Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival (Osaka Prefecture)
Approximately 530,000 people will come to see this firework display on the banks of the Yodo River. Make sure to get there before 6pm or else you can’t enter the riverbed.
Date: Early August Time: 7:40pm – 8:40pm Location: the downstream of Shin Mido-suji Yodogawa Tetsubashi to the Yodogawa riverbed of Japan National route Access: To Juso venue: Tsukamoto Station (15 min walk); to Umeda venue: Umeda Station, JR Osaka Station, Higashi-Umeda Station (25 min walk) Admission: Free; Reserved seats can be purchased on website Website: http://www.yodohanabi.com/
Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition (Ibaraki Prefecture)
A tremendous array of over 20,000 fireworks will be launched in this annual event. Many Tokyoites are expected to come and see the colorful show, so arrive early to secure a spot on the Sakuragawa riverside.
Date: First Saturday of October Time: 6:00pm – 8:30pm Location: Sakuragawa riverside (Gakuen-ohashi area) Access: Shuttle Bus from East Gate of Tsuchiura station to Gakuen-ohashi (10 minutes) Admission: Free Website: http://www.city.tsuchiura.lg.jp/page/page006275.html
Biwako Fireworks Festival (Shiga Prefecture)
Get ready for a stunning display of 10,000 fireworks to light up the sky over Lake Biwa. Last year, over 300,000 spectators came to see the show’s massive star mines and various other hanabi displays.
Date: First week of August Time: 7:30pm – 8:30pm Location: Vicinity of Otsu Port Access: Keihan Electric Railway Keishin Line Hamaotsu Station (3 min walk) Admission: Free; Reserved seats can be purchased on website Website: http://www.biwako-visitors.jp/hanabi/
Akagawa Fireworks Festival (Yamagata Prefecture)
One of the top 10 firework festivals in Japan, the Akagawa Fireworks Festival is a massive event that takes place in the small city of Tsuruoka. For an hour and a half, approximately 10,000 fireworks are launched along the Mogami River to create a wonderful display.
Date: August 17 Time: 7:15pm Location: Akagawa Fireworks Festival Venue Access: Tsuruoka Station (15 min walk) Admission: Free; Reserved seats can be purchased on website Website: https://akagawahanabi.com/
Nagaoka Fireworks Festival (Niigata Prefecture)
Said to the best hanabi event in Japan, the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival launches a slew of brilliant fireworks into the sky every summer, including Nagoaka’s very own shosanshakudama, which reaches a height of 600 meters and expands to a diameter of 550 meters. In addition to these gigantic explosions, 20,000 other fireworks will make this a summer night to remember. For the best seats, purchase a ticket online. Tickets cost between ¥3,000 and ¥18,000.
Date: August 2 – 3 Time: 7:20pm – 9:10pm Location: Ote Street Shinano Riverbanks Shinano River under the Chousei Bridge Access: Nagaoka station (20 min walk) Admission: Free; Reserved seats can be purchased on website Website: https://nagaokamatsuri.com/
Kumano Fireworks Festival (Mie Prefecture)
This is the biggest firework event in Mie Prefecture. Over 10,000 explosions will light up the sky above Shichirigahama beach, with a breathtaking view of the Onigajo sea cliffs in the background.
Date: August 17 Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm Location: Shichirigahama Beach Access: Kumanoshi Station (5 min walk) Admission: Free Website: https://www.kumano-kankou.info/kumano-fireworks/