WHAT: SUMIDAGAWA FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
WHY: SUMIDAGAWA FIREWORKS FESTIVAL/ HANABI- TAIKAI FESTIVAL
WHEN: SATURDAY 28TH JULY 2018 – 7:00pm to 8:30pm
WHERE: BOTH SIDES OF THE SUMIDA RIVER
This is the most famous fireworks event to be held in the capital of Japan and attracts well over one million locals and visitors to the area each year.
The original roots of the festival date back to 1732, when the display was held upstream of the bridge over Showa 36. It was held in remembrance of the horrific time and a major loss of life due to the plague that afflicted Edo. The festival continued to run but in 1843, following a major fire, it could not be held at that site so the authorities agreed to move the display to the Sumida river with the addition of there been 2 launch sites so that more people could attend and enjoy the displays.
From the early days of the competition, it has always included two of the local fireworks manufacturers competing against each other for the biggest and best display. This competition still exists today even if the companies have changed slightly. You will still hear during the displays the locals shouting “Kagiya” or “Tamaya” as these were the two companies most popular firework manufacturers in Sumida during this time.
The themes for the fireworks displays are changed year upon year, with the 1st venue providing over 200 artsy type fireworks, whereas the 2nd venue offers more contemporary fireworks along with the star mine fireworks in their display.
Wherever you choose to watch these fantastic displays make sure that you arrive early as everywhere does become pretty crowded from early morning. Some buy tickets for the rooftop terraces that are dotted around the area whilst others try to find a spot anywhere to make sure they catch a glimpse of the fireworks even if it is with a restricted view.
The best place to get an up close and personal to the fireworks is on one of the bridges that cross the river. Bear in mind that you will have to queue with thousands of others, all waiting their turn for the 5-minute full view of the superb display. Other spots where you can catch a glimpse of the displays are sections under the highway north of the venue near Tsutsumodon park and Dozohori park or under the highway between the venue near the east side of the river.
If you have a head for heights why not try something completely different and head over to the Tokyo sky tree an observation deck that is 450 meters from the ground where you can get some fantastic shots as you look down on the display.
The fireworks begin at the first venue at 7:00pm with the 2nd venue beginning at 7:30pm each display lasting 90 minutes undisturbed. The sky is brought to life with whistles, bangs and a kaleidoscope of colours as the 20,000 fireworks are fired into the air. In the event of displays not been carried out due to weather, the event will be moved to the Sunday. Once finished everyone tries to make a quick exit so they can go back and finish the day setting off a few of their own fireworks and having mini displays along with enjoying time with family and friends.