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Hanabi - Summertime in Japan
In many countries, fireworks is something that usually occurs only on special holidays. In the States we usually only do so on Independence Day. However, here in Japan, "hanabi" (fireworks) are around throughout the entire summer. In this season and in every part of Japan you'll be able to find amazing hanabi every weekend. It is especially in beautiful rural areas. When the fireworks go out into the sky, there are no buildings to get in the way. The lights fill up your view of the sky completely - it's absolutely breathtaking. There is even a National Hanabi Contest where all the best firework makers compete to showoff their creations.
This year we went to the Super Ogase Fire Festival located in Oi-cho, Fukui Prefecture. Hundreds of people from all over Japan, clad in "yukata" and "jinbei" gathered to celebrate the summer season. Before the fireworks we walked around the pier to buy food at the "yatai" (food stalls). Fried chicken, fried squid, yakisoba, chocolate bananas, beer...you name it.
We secured a spot on a hill right off the coast and got out our bentos as the festival began.
On the harbour there was a tall wooden tower that was lit on fire. People under the fiery tower, that were constantly being soaked by buckets of water, were pushing it around in circles until it collapsed.
As soon as it fell, the fireworks started. The 45-min long show was awesome and so close-by that there was almost no delay in the sound. It was even synchronized to some J-pop music! After the hanabi, everyone politely lined up in an orderly fashion for the train ride home.
The next time you come to Japan in the summer, don't miss out on the opportunity to witness the legendary fireworks!