HANABI TAIKAI FIREWORK FESTIVALS
WHAT: HANABI TAIKAI FIREWORK FESTIVALS
WHEN: ALL SUMMER - MORE INFO HERE
Summertime in Japan is a magical time as the summer firework festivals take place all across Japan.
Japan is made up of 6852 islands, the four largest being Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku so expect to do some travelling to take in the most impressive displays.
The best way to get around Japan is by train with a Suica or Pasmo card. These electronic smart cards are available at all railway stations, kiosks and anywhere you see the cards symbols.
We recommend arriving at the festivals at least two hours before the start to ensure that you gain the best views and to enjoy the numerous food, drink and handicraft vendors who accompany the displays. Highly popular with children at these events are Kakgori (shaved flavoured ice) and Kyngyo Sukui (gold-fish scooping).
Once you have chosen your spot for the show remember that you may be there for some time so it is worth taking something along to help pass the time especially if you have young children, as well as the wait for the show to start, some of the demonstrations can last 1 ½ to 2 hours with up to 15,000 shells being used.
For those who do not want to queue, reserved seat tickets are available for the more popular shows like the Sumida River and Makuhari Beach; prices vary for these seats but are usually around 3,000 yen (approximately £15).
For a fancy seat with arm rests and a table you should expect to pay up to 28,000 yen at the Itabashi Festival. These seats are limited so book well in advance.
Whilst many locals will choose which displays they will be attending well in advance and travel there themselves, another good way for the true firework fanatic is to take up a package tour. The benefits of this arrangement being that you will be ferried to the event in by bus, your seat will have been reserved so no waiting around, most of the tour guides speak English, special arrangement may have been made offering better viewing, food and drinks may be included or even a romantic dinner on board a river boat with the best seat in the house for the firework display.
These displays will feature some of Japan's cutting edge fireworks, just to give you an idea what to expect, here a nice little piece of video from the Kobe show last year.