Category Archives: Japan Fireworks

YOKOHAMA PORT FESTIVAL 2019

WHAT: YOKOHAMA PORT FESTIVAL
WHEN: SATURDAY 1ST JUNE TO SUNDAY 2ND JUNE 2019
WHERE: RINKO PARK, SOUTH EXIT PLAZA, MINATOMORI, NISHIKU, YOKOHAMA CITY, KANGAWA PREFECTURE
COST: FREE

The port was first opened in June 1859, giving Yokohama foreign shipping rights to countries such as America, Holland, Russia, Britain, and France. At this time, there was no official celebration for the opening, but as the year passed and the port rapidly grew it was decided that on the one-year anniversary that a celebration would take place. Following exponential growth, in 1995 it was established as an annual event which became the official Yokohama Port Festival. The second of June is classed as an official holiday in Yokohama and the celebration attracts over 700,000 visitors over the 2 days; making it the biggest event celebrated at the beginning of the summer in Yokohama.

Everywhere you go throughout summer in Japan you will see festivals of all kinds, and with these, it normally means one thing follows: fireworks. This event is no exception to the rule.

Sparkles in Twilight / Yokohama Port Festival 2015

Yokohama is brimming with tourists’ spots and a stone throw from Tokyo. This was the first established festival to open its doors to foreign visitors over a century ago and the region has benefited massively for this with architecture, new traditions and customs and international music and beer festivals were brought to the people of Japan via this port.

The 2-day event is packed with action and activities to be enjoyed by both the young and old, both off and on the water. Here is a rough guide of what to expect throughout the 2 days:

• DANCE COMPETITION AND DEMONSTRATIONS
• QUIZZES
• MUSIC CONCERTS
• CHOIR
• STAGE SHOWS
• INTERNATIONAL CUISINE CONCESSIONS
• WATER SPORTS
• TRADITIONAL FOOD AND DRINK
• FIREWORKS

The opening of the festival is a concert with local talent performing onstage, along with the performance from professional dancers and children producing dynamic scenes on stage.

The main performance of the festival is “dream of harmony”, 800 people from across Yokohama join and form a choir and treat the visitors to a musical ensemble. In the entertainment experience part of the festival, you can ride a small ship one of the many amphibious boats or buses or give the sea kayaking or stand up paddle boarding a try. If you don’t have your sea legs, there is plenty on dry land to enjoy whilst you watch those brave (or crazy) enough to take part.

The beam spectacle fireworks are the name given to the magnificent fireworks display held on the evening on the 2nd of June. This takes place over the harbour lighting up the skies above. In the 40-minute show, you will be amazed by the musical fireworks, lasers, and lights making this a fantastic end to the evening’s celebrations.

If you fancy a different view on the show, there are also plenty of boats offering evening cruises some with dinner packages to make your day that extra special.

The summer in Japan is packed with firework events so if you can’t get along to see this first-hand but are visiting Japan through the Summer, we feature articles on most of the events taking place so keep an eye on our blogs for more information.

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RYUKYU KAIENSAI FIREWORKS FESTIVAL

WHAT: RYUKYU KAIENSAI FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
WHERE: GINOWAN TROPICAL BEACH, GINOWAN SEASIDE PARK
WHEN: SATURDAY 13th APRIL 2019
COST: TICKETS FOR SEATS AVAILABLE / SOME FREE VIEWING PLACES

The Ryukyu sea fire festival is the earliest summer festival to take place in Japan. This year will be the 16th edition and has the theme of “to the summer that is touched the earliest in Japan”.

It is one of the biggest shows in Okinawa with a fusion of Japanese music and culture, also boasting to hold one of the largest scale fireworks displays in Japan.

Coinciding with the sea opening, Okinawa is the only place that you will be able to find fireworks on the beach in April. There are special seating areas set up all around the beach and these can range from around ¥ 10,800 (£73.00) to ¥ 4,300 (£30.00). You can also view the fireworks from areas that don’t have any seating for free, but this will not allow you to see the entertainment on offer before the fireworks finale.

The fireworks have been designed by some of Japans top pyrotechnic artists along with the worldwide designer Junko Koshino. Famed for the fireworks drawings and designs that sent Marutamaya Ogatsu fireworks Co on to win the Macau international fireworks competition in 2016. She also has participated in some of the most famous fashion shows in the world, such as London Fashion Week, Beijing, Cuba, has produced the Japan festival fashion show and the official opening of the John F Kennedy center in Washington DC.

2016/04/09琉球海炎祭

The fireworks will be lit around 19:30pm and the show will last over an hour. Prepared to be mesmerized as over 10000 fireworks, all with a rainbow of colours and an abundance of different effects light up the night sky of the southern island. With the ocean waters below, this creates a magnificent mirror image on the water’s surface. The fireworks are choreographed to a musical score of Okinawan music, a wild range of soul, classical and original chanpuru music timed within seconds so that every note comes with a bang.

With the fireworks been the most popular part of this event if you are lucky enough to be in the area make sure that you arrive early especially in free viewing areas. The full event attracts tens of thousands of locals and visitors to the area all wanting to catch a part of the explosive action to end the evening.

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NAGASAKI LANTERN FESTIVAL 2019

WHAT: NAGASAKI LANTERN FESTIVAL
WHEN: 5TH TO 19TH FEBRUARY 2019
WHERE: ALL AROUND NAGASAKI WITH MAIN EVENTS AT MINATO & CHUO PARK
COST: FREE

Be mesmerised and enchanted by the brightly coloured, exotic dreamworld this winter, by visiting the spectacular lantern festival in Nagasaki.

The original celebration took place alongside Chinese New Year celebrations in Nagasaki’s Chinatown, in 1994 it expanded from the Chinatown to all over Nagasaki and was officially named the Nagasaki lantern festival.

The festival lasts throughout the 15 days of the Chinese lunar new year celebrations and has now become so incredibly popular that over 1 million locals and visitors come along to see the lanterns and all the beauty that Nagasaki has to offer.

Known for one of the biggest Chinatowns in Japan alongside Yokohama and Kobe, you can tell that the city had a strong influence from China with their trading history and the celebrations that are involved on these days.

Along with the lanterns are acrobatics shows, lion and dragon dances, theatre performances, emperors’ parade, and of course fireworks. If you fancy trying the local cuisine there are plenty of food stalls to choose from and souvenir shops to take a little memento home with you.

With plenty to see and do all over Nagasaki during the celebrations, you can cram plenty into your days. If you are short on time however, the two main places to where all the action takes place are Minato Park and Chuo Park.

Schedule

  • 5th February – Opening Ceremony – 5:30pm to 6pm

The opening ceremony and lantern lighting for the 15 days begin at Chuo park there is just the lantern lighting whereas at Minato park you have the added extra of the fireworks.

  • 9th & 16th February – Emperors Parade – 2pm to 4:30pm

This is an enactment of how the emperor and empress celebrated the new year with his people during the Qing dynasty. Participants include slaves to carry them both on seats and over 150 flag bearers parading around in Chinese costumes.

  • 10th & 17th February – Maso Procession – 1pm to 4pm

This was originally carried out by the crews of the Chinese ships entering the port at Nagasaki during the Edo period.

Alongside the schedule here is another few pointers for you to have a look out for and make sure that you don’t miss out on:

Dragon Dance – This is thought to have originated from China, as a rainmaking ritual. Wearing traditional clothing the locals chant to the clouds attempting to make it rain, along with carrying a 20-foot dragon trying to attempt to swallow up the moon, the rain chant is done to ensure a good harvest.

Lion Dance – this is characterised by bright coloured costumes and Chinese percussion instruments, with both acrobatic and energy filled rhythms; this is a must see.

Erhu – these are local performances by the residents of Erhu and Kokyu, they include traditional Chinese instruments and is held at various venues around the city.

For the photographers out there to get perfect snapshots the best place to be is by the Megane Bridge, known as Japans oldest arch-shaped bridge, where you will see the only yellow coloured lanterns of the whole festival. Hanging above the water they give off a glowing reflection in the water below as though it is alight; a beautiful sight to see.

As well as the lanterns, there are paper ornaments of the Chinese Zodiac animals.  This year celebrates the Year of The Pig, so the main attraction will be centred around this. Also, there will be Chinese gods on display amongst other things that are known or supposed to bring good luck. These fantastic lantern masterpieces are often made by Chinese artisans or brought over from China each year specifically for this celebration.

Those born in the Year of the Pig are said to be artistic, refined and intuitive with good manners and a refined attitude. Whilst on the whole people born this year are caring and self-effacing, they can be stubborn and indecisive.

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