A complete guide to enjoy fireworks in Japan

Jun 01, 2020

Although Japan’s summer can be such a pain in the neck for most of the time, everyone still visits Japan in the summer to see its beautiful summer festival and firework festivals.

August is when most popular firework festivals take place in Japan.

Some of these festivals are the Miyajima Fireworks Festival, Sumida River Fireworks Festival, Omagari Fireworks Competition, and Nagaoka Fireworks Festival.

The Omagari Fireworks Competition and Nagaoka Fireworks Festival are two of Japan’s three most impressive firework festivals, and they are known to attract over one million visitors from all over Japan every year.

Not only local visitors, a lot of foreign tourists come to Japan to see the firework festivals too, and this is the reason why there are always big crowds during firework events.

A good planning is necessary before attending any firework festivals, and today we introduce some tips to follow to avoid any incidents and disasters that could happen!

Getting there

 Reaching the venue of a firework festival can be annoying sometimes, and below are some transportation tips you should follow to avoid the crowd:

  • Arrive at the nearest station at least three hours early.
    Usually it takes half an hour to walk from the nearest station to the fireworks location, but that only works if the street is not crowded.
    A firework festival can attract more than hundred thousands of visitors per day, and crowds will usually pack the street for most of the time.
    This means you won’t be able to see the fireworks if you arrive half an hour before the start time, so make sure to arrive early if you want to walk normally without bumping on others, and it’s usually three hours before the start time.
  • Buy your return ticket when you arrive at the nearest station.
    Buy your return ticket or refill your transportation IC card as you arrive at the nearest station, or you’ll get stuck later.
  • Don’t drive!
    Main roads are all blocked during firework events. Use trains instead.
  • Leave early!
    Leave the venue 30 minutes before the ending time, but why? All visitors use the same train stations to go home, so most of them will restrict their entry to avoid accidents on the platforms. If you stay until the event ends, you will have to line up to get into the restricted station, and it could take over two or three hours.

Enjoying the show

 During firework events, the crowds continue even after leaving the nearest station, below are the tips you should follow to avoid any incidents:

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
    Some of you want to wear yukata and geta, but we strongly recommend wearing those items if you live close to the venue.
    If you live far from the venue, wear sneakers and casual clothes.
  • Buy your food and drinks before you reach the nearest station.
    Avoid purchasing food and drinks at the nearest station or at the venue, because most food stands, supermarkets, and convenience stores near the venue will be super crowded.
  • Finish your bathroom business before arriving at the nearest station.
    There will be several public toilets at the venue, but we strongly recommend going to the bathroom upon your arrival at the nearest station.
    The public bathrooms at the venue, and of course the bathrooms at the nearest station will be packed by crowds for most of the time.
  • Decide a meeting point if you get lost
    Decide a meeting point that is easy to spot just in case if you get lost, because the mobile phone reception might be bad during the event.

Other ways to avoid the crowd

After learning about the crowds, are you starting to have second thoughts about going to the firework festivals?
We have some suggestions you can follow to avoid the crowds.

  • Watch the fireworks from other places.
    Fireworks rise high up into the sky, this means if the location is not too far from the main venue, or is inside the city, you can see those fireworks from neighboring stations.
    Want to know the best spot to see the fireworks? Ask your Japanese friends or acquaintances about it; they might know or help you find the information you need!
  • Participate in a tour.
    If the fireworks festival you want to see is a nationally known event, there are tour buses leaving for that even from all over the country.
    The tour is usually a package deal that includes round trip tickets (bus or trains) and accommodation.
    The downsides of this option are that the deals are usually sold out quick and only target Japanese tourist.
    This means you need to call the travel agents directly to ask whether they accommodate foreign tourists or not.
    Some of those travel agencies are JTB, HIS, View Travel, and Hatobus.