Fireworks festivals are a staple for Japanese summers, drawing in hundreds of thousands of people from across the country. But these aren’t your 15-minute, Independence Day or New Years fireworks shows.
Japanese fireworks shows often last for over an hour, and feature more than 10,000 fireworks lighting up the sky. Anticipate (the inevitably) huge crowds, and be sure to arrive far in advance to get a good spot for the show—but we guarantee the dazzling lights are worth it!
The small town of Nagaoka swells with 500,000 fireworks fans every year at the beginning of August. The Nagaoka Fireworks Festival is known for being one of the top three fireworks festivals in Japan, and it is one with a long and heartfelt history.
The fireworks started in 1946, a year after as much as 80 percent of the town was destroyed by bombs from World War II. The fireworks were a symbol to mourn the deceased and to symbolize Japan’s recovery. In 2004, another moving performance was made at the fireworks to mourn the victims of the Niigata earthquake. The most famous fireworks display is the red “Phoenix” representing “revival.”
Festivities include floating paper lanterns down the river during the first two days of the festival, and traditional mikoshi (portable shrine carrying) occurring on the final day. The fireworks are free to watch, but you can purchase tickets ahead of time for prime viewing seats.
When: Thu, August 1 to Sat, August 3, 7:20 p.m. – 9:10 p.m.
The Nagara Fireworks Festival is held every year along the Nagara River and is well-loved by Gifu and Nagoya-based residents. It takes …continue reading