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The Atami Fireworks Festival is one of the most famous and popular summer festivals in Japan, held annually in the coastal city of Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture. The festival is known for its spectacular display of fireworks, which illuminates the night sky and attracts thousands of visitors from all over Japan and around the world.

The history of the Atami Fireworks Festival dates back to the Edo period (1603-1868), when the city of Atami was a popular destination for hot spring baths. In those days, fireworks were believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits, and were often set off during festivals and celebrations. The tradition of fireworks continued in Atami, and eventually led to the creation of the Atami Fireworks Festival.

The Atami Fireworks Festival is held every year on the first Saturday of August, and is a part of the city's larger summer festival, the Atami Kaijo Hanabi Taikai. The festival typically begins in the early evening, with food stalls and entertainment set up along the shore of Atami Bay. Visitors can enjoy a variety of local specialties, including seafood, traditional Japanese sweets, and local beer and sake.

As night falls, the main event of the festival begins: the fireworks display. The fireworks are launched from boats anchored in the bay, creating a breathtaking spectacle of color and light that lasts for over an hour. The fireworks are choreographed to music, and the entire show is designed to tell a story, with different themes and motifs each year. Some of the most popular themes in recent years have included "love", "peace", and "harmony".

The Atami Fireworks Festival is famous for its use of "starmines", a type of firework that creates a multi-layered effect, with several bursts of color and light overlapping each other in the sky. The starmines are set off in quick succession, creating a sense of excitement and anticipation among the crowd. The festival also features a variety of other fireworks, including rockets, wheels, and fountains, each with its own unique shape and color.

The Atami Fireworks Festival attracts visitors from all over Japan, as well as from around the world. Many people come to Atami specifically to see the fireworks, and the festival is often cited as one of the top fireworks displays in Japan. In addition to the fireworks, visitors can also enjoy other attractions in Atami, including the hot springs, beaches, and scenic views of the coast.

While the Atami Fireworks Festival is a beloved tradition in Japan, it has faced challenges in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the festival was cancelled entirely, and in 2021 it was held with strict social distancing measures in place. Despite these challenges, the festival continues to be a source of joy and excitement for people in Atami and beyond, and is a testament to the enduring power of celebration and community.

If you are lucky enough to attend, the Atami Fireworks Festival is a spectacular event that combines tradition, art, and entertainment. With its dazzling display of fireworks, beautiful setting, and lively atmosphere, it is a celebration that captures the spirit of summer in Japan. While the festival has faced challenges in recent years, it remains an important cultural event and a beloved tradition for people in Atami and beyond.

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