Sumida River and Omagari Fireworks Festival
Summer has come! It’s the perfect season to go out and recharge your batteries, and we know the perfect place to do it. You’ll enjoy a lively spirit around you while you watch a glowing sky; try refreshing alcoholic beverages and enjoy tasty snacks. On this occasion, DINKtravelers recommends attending the fireworks festivals in Japan.
Fireworks are called hanabi in Japanese, which means “flowery fire”. Many fireworks festivals take place all around Japan from July to August because, for the Japanese, they’re a symbol of summer season.
Part of the tradition involves attending the festivals wearing a traditional unisex casual costume called Yukata. This garment is very light and chic, but you’re going to need someone else’s help to be able to put it on. Traveling by yourself? Don’t worry! There are several rental shops where they help you put it on. Simply select your favorite design.
The production and discharging of fireworks is strictly kept under the government’s control. Actually, only professional certified artisans are allowed to handle them, and actually, in order for an artisan to become certified, he requires 10–20 years of training!
Each school of fireworks artisans has unique techniques and traditions that were handed over and improved from one generation to another. Since there are several fireworks festivals that are also competitions, many fireworks artisans participate in them creating incredibly sophisticated works. Sometimes they make fireworks change of colors in various ways or burst into diverse shapes – they can draw simple shapes like hearts or even the faces of anime characters!
There are two famous fireworks festivals we specifically recommend. The first is the Sumida River Fireworks Festival and the second is the Omagari Fireworks Festival.
Sumida River is located in Tokyo and its festival is the largest and oldest in the city (since 1732). Visitors enjoy a showcase of about 20,000 amazing fireworks on the fourth week of July.
On the other hand, the Omagari Fireworks Festival is held on the fourth week of August in the Akita prefecture, in the northern part of Japan. It’s one of the three largest fireworks festival competitions in Japan and it invites participants to compete to get the Prime Minister’s Award. You’ll have a chance to see about 18,000 unique and sophisticated fireworks!
As you can easily imagine, it will be very crowded, but although general admission is free, if you pay for a ticket, you will access an area with comfortable seats. As another option, if you don’t mind watching the show from a distance, make a reservation at nearby hotels or restaurants.
Speaking of restaurants, buy a tasty snack at the food stalls you’ll find at the festival. Don’t miss Takoyaki, Yakisoba and apricot candy. Or if the weather is too hot, try a refreshing snow cone.