Top 10 Fireworks Festivals in Japan

Summer in Japan brings up images of the ocean, yukata and most of all, fireworks.

In today’s post, I will introduce the top 10 fireworks festivals across the country by our SNS trend research.


1. Shiga prefecture: Biwako Fireworks Festival




View the night sky reflected against Japan’s biggest lake



Date: August 8 (Monday) 19:30-20:30
*Delayed in the case of stormy weather
Location: Hamaotsu, Otsu city, Shiga prefecture
Number of fireworks launched: 10,000




This fireworks festival is held at Biwako, the biggest lake in Japan.

Biwako is in Shiga prefecture. Shiga itself isn’t a major tourist destination, but the Biwako Fireworks Festival is only 30 minutes from Kyoto, making it only a minor detour.




The theme for 2016 is “A rainbow journey”, with around 10,000 fireworks to be launched.

It is wonderful to watch fireworks in the sky and reflected in the lake at the same time, bursting like flowers in bloom

Visitor’s opinions:
“The reflection against the water is beautiful!”
“You can also get great views from the opposite side of the lake.”


2. Yamagata prefecture – Akagawa Fireworks Festival




Watch Japan’s top-class pyrotechnicians compete

Date: August 20 (Saturday) 19:15-21:00
*Delayed in the case of stormy weather (will run if light rain)
Location: Akagawa riverside (from Haguro bridge to Mikawa bridge), Tsuruoka, Yamagata prefecture
Number of fireworks launched: 12,000




As one of the leading fireworks festivals in Japan, the high ranking of Akagawa was not a surprise. Some of the country’s top pyrotechnicians gather and compete.

The sky is filled with ambience, some of the fireworks even reaching 700m wide!




The location at Akagawa riverside is empty of interruptions, so you can enjoy the beauty in the sky above you.




Visitors’ opinion
“I love to watch the fireworks while lying on a picnic mat! The first time I went, I got goosebumps from the intensity of the fireworks. Ever since then, I’ve been travelling from Tokyo to see them every year.”


3. Niigata prefecture – Nagaoka Fireworks Festival


Fireworks bursting alongside Yukari Nagaoka’s music
Date: August 2 (Tuesday) to August 3 (Wednesday) 19:20-21:15
*Will run if light rain, unconfirmed in the case of storms
新潟県_長岡まつり大花火大会_復興祈願花火フェニックスその5 (1)
Nagaoka firework festival
Location: Shinano river (on the dried riverbed), Nagaoka, Niigata prefecture
Number of fireworks launched: 20,000 (throughout 2 hours)
This year 2016 marks the 70 year anniversary of the Nagaoka revival, which was the origin of Nagaoka Fireworks Festival.
The city of Nagaoka struggled as a result of World War II, and the festival was conducted to support the people affected.
The unique point of Nagaoka fireworks festival is that the fireworks are synchronised with music.


Visitor’s opinions:
“The brocade fireworks are magnificent! Your body trembles with the vibration.”
“I can’t get enough of the fireworks and laser beams.”


4. Akita prefecture – Omagari National Fireworks Competition


Japan’s fireworks playoffs


Date: August 27 (Saturday). Daytime show from 17:30, nighttime show from 18:50
*Will run in rain, delayed if storm
Location: Omono dried riverbed, near Omagari bridge, Daisan city, Akita prefecture
Number of fireworks launched: 18,000
Although the population of Omagari district in Daisen city is only 40,000 people, up to 800,000 people are drawn to the fireworks here every year.


 You can even go as far as to say that this is the event that determines the top pyrotechnician in Japan. Each artist individually launched the fireworks they made themselves.
In addition, the fireworks at Omagari have a set theme and a storytelling element. This kind of creative, original fireworks are hard to find!


Furthermore, this event is one of only two fireworks festivals in Japan to receive the prestigious Prime Minister’s award.
A particular highlight is the rows of star mines which burst one after another in time with the music.


Visitor’s opinions:

“With the combination of new and old fireworks, there is a lot to see. You can really feel the skill of the artists.”
“The best fireworks in Japan!”


5. Aichi prefecture – Toyota Oiden Festival



At the Toyota Oiden festival, participants wear costumes and dance to music, finishing in a huge display of fireworks.

It is held on the last Sunday of July every year.
Creative fireworks from famous pyrotechnicians and Japan Fireworks Artists Association decorate the sky. The Melody Fireworks, where music and fireworks are fused is a must see.



Visitor’s opinions:
“I recommend it because of it’s big scale.”
“The ‘Niagra Falls’ display was beautiful.”


6. Nagano Prefecture – Lake Suwa Festival


Spectacular fireworks bloom in Lake Suwa


Date: August 15 (Monday) 19:00~
*Will run in rain
Location:Lake Suwa, Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture
Number of fireworks launched: 40,000

It is the festival with the highest number of fireworks launched in the country. The festival started as a way to raise morale after the war. It started on August 15, 1949. It is now so popular that even though Suwa City has a population of 50,000 the festival attracts a crowd of around 500,000 people!


Lake Suwa is perfect for fireworks because of the surrounding mountains. The sound echoes all around enhancing the experience. Be sure to try experiencing the ingenious fireworks that takes advantage of the terrain.
Visitor’s opinions:
“You can enjoy it from the river or the mountains. It is a very powerful fireworks show.”
“The fireworks on the lake are really powerful!”


7. Mie Prefecture – Kumano Fireworks Festival




The powerful fireworks on the sea and coast are a must see.




Date: August 17 (Wednesday) 19:10~21:00
*Will be postponed in the event of rain or stormy weather
Location: Shichirimihama Coast, Kumano City, Mie Prefecture
Number of fireworks launched: 10,000




This fireworks festival has been going on for over 300 years and is always held on August 17th of the Bon Festival.




The fireworks are launched from two boats on the sea, creating a beautiful arch of fireworks. The climax makes use of the rocky “Onigajo” which is a famous spot in the country. The sight and sounds echoing around the rocks is a sight to see and can only be viewed in this unique spot.

Visitor’s opinions:
“This one and only fireworks festival makes me feel the wind from the powerful explosions. It is really amazing.”
“The fireworks on the sea and the Onigajo is really wonderful.”


8. Hokkaido Prefecture – Kachimai Fireworks



Hokkaido’s representative fireworks with high entertainment value

Date: August 13 (Saturday) 19:30~21:00
*Will be postponed in the event of rain or stormy weather
Location: Tokachi River special venue, Obihiro City, Hokkaido Prefecture


Fireworks in Hokkaido, a popular summer destination. Sponsored by Tokachi Daily Newspaper, the name of the fireworks show is “Kachimai” which roughly translates to “every win”.
This fireworks show also uses music and lights, making it very popular.





Visitor’s opinions:
“I don’t think there are many fireworks shows held somewhere as big as Tokachi River.”
“Held in my hometown, the show is great since it uses music and lights.”


9. Tokyo – Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival



Date: July 30 (Saturday) 19:05~20:30
*Will be canceled in the event of stormy weather
Location: Sumida Prefecture, Tokyo
Location 1: Sakurabashi downstream ~ Gentoikyo upstream
Location 2: Komagatabashi downstream ~ Umayabashi upstream
Number of fireworks launched: 20,000
Started in 1733 of the Edo period, this fireworks festival always draws large crowds. Launched from two locations on Sumida river, a total of 20,000 fireworks are used. Around 950,000 people come to watch the display.
Since 2012, the Sky Tree can be viewed among the fireworks, making it more popular.
The fireworks from Location 1 features top fireworks of the country.


Visitor’s opinions:
“I think it is a spectacular traditional fireworks show.”


10. Shizuoka Prefecture – Atami Maritime Fireworks




The sound of the fireworks echoes around the mountains.

Date: 7/24(Sun)・29(Fri)、8/5(Fri)・8(Mon)・18(Thur)・21(Sun)・26(Fri)
*Will run in rain
Location: Atami Bay, Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Number of fireworks launched: 5,000 (on the final day)




This year is the 65th anniversary of this fireworks festival. The festival started in 1952 to raise morale after a typhoon in 1949 and a great fire struck the town in 1950.

It is now a tradition that occurs around 10 times a year. Atami Bay is also surrounded by mountains which allows for echoing. The finale is a truly spectacular “niagara falls” with many fireworks launched at once, filling the night sky.




Visitor’s opinions:
“With so many fireworks in a short time, you can really feel the power among the mountains.”
“There is a different charm to fireworks launched from a ship vs being launched from land.”


So that’s it for the list of the top 10 fireworks festivals in Japan. The Japanese word for firework is “hanabi” which is a combination of the word for flower (hana) and fire (hi). Fireworks really are like flowers made of fire.

As you can see, Japan takes their fireworks very seriously and I think it would definitely be worth going to any of these festivals. I hope that I can go to one someday and that you will be able to as well.

Until next time!


A tradition of the Kanto region since the Edo period.

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