Fireworks festivals (written 花火大会 Hanabitaikai in Japanese) are the most popular summer events there: millions of people traditionally rush to get the best place for the biggest contests. It is a fact that Japan is almost a sacred land for anyone who craves for this pyrotechnical shows considered as some of the best of the world (though ironically, they were introduced centuries ago by the Portuguese).
Just one figure: There is no less than 200 fireworks on august in the whole country... with some of them having thousands of rockets fired ... for hours of total delight!
Top 3 (Osaka-Kyoto and surroundings)
Dreamy time at Kameoka Matsuri (Kyoto)
We are proudly established in Kyoto and couldn't resist but select our top 3 of the best places to go in Kansai (Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe/Nara) thanks to Suntory's helpful information.
1. Yodogawa (Osaka)
On August 9th : Over 500000 viewers and several thousands shells Osaka's largest riverside. You got to see it.
2. Biwako (Shiga)
On 8 August: 350000 people are gathering near Biwako's lake to watch the 10000 - we haven't count them though - rockets fired (see details below).
3. Kameoka Peace Festival (Kyoto)
(See first pic)
On August 7th : "Only" 5000 shots ... but there is always many many participants to enjoy this great event in one of the most beautiful place in Kyoto (Arashiyama).
Not planing to visit this great part of Japan (what a shame!)? Have a look at Fukuoka, Nagaoka, Suwako or Sumidagawa (in Tokyo) for massive fireworks and top notch ambiance!
A few advices before you go
If you want to live the best of your first Japanese Hanabi, you'll definitively want to check this handful of :
- The first rule of all is to get your sitting pitch by heading to the location soon as possible (a few hours before for the largest contest). It totally worths it since it will ensure you the best view and landscape ... and a few hours of cool popular atmosphere with local people. (^^)
- Summer is hot and stuffy in Japan, you'll probably want to switch your usual outfit for a traditional yukata or jinbei (men). This typical summer clothes are super light and fresh and will let you blend in the crowd.
- Take some drinks and foods with you! You can surely get delicious stuff at the nearest Yatai (food stall) like Kakigori (actually, you should absolutely try this speciality!) but you don't clearly want to miss the best part because you went to get water or so!
- Double check the date : It's not so unusual that several events happen at the same time or very close: you got to choose! ^^
You have a planephobia or just not enough time to travel this year? We have found this HD video of last year's fireworks event at biwako lake (and it's the biggest in Japan!) - only 20 min away from Kyoto by train (By the way...). Enjoy!(^・ω・^ )