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Sumida Gawa - Tokyo Lights Up

Sumidagawa Hanabi Taikai is perhaps Tokyo's most dazzling fireworks display, bringing almost 1 million spectators to the shores of the Sumida River.

The spectacular event includes a competition between rival firework companies, so state-of-the-art pyrotechnics are always on the cards.

Street stalls keep crowds fuelled with hot sake and corn-on-the-cob along with myriad tasty treats.

The best viewing locations are the boats on the river, but places are limited so if you have not booked by now...

Most of the 900,000 spectators head for Asakusa's Sumida Park, which gets incredibly busy, but it is well worth a bit of pushing and shoving for the amazing festival atmosphere.

Like green tea, Chinese characters and silk, fireworks first came to Japan from China. Since then, they have become an important part of the culture, with firework parties taking place up and down the country during the summer months.

The Japanese word for firework, hanabi, literally translates as fire-flower, and the short-lived beauty of a firework has much in common with that of the celebrated cherry blossom, so it's no surprise that the Japanese turn out in their thousands to firework festivals.

The Sumida Gawa event however, is the biggest and by far the most spectacular fireworks display in Tokyo, so it's well worth a look, if you happen to be in Tokyo this Saturday 25th of July.

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