If Spring in Japan is about Hanami or flower watching, summer is about Hanabi or fireworks. Firework festivals are held all over Japan during the summer season as the wind is gentler and the temperatures allow for external social activities in the evenings. Attending a hanabi event had been a fundamental part in Japanese culture. Apartments are even advertised with “hanabi view” benefits giving an indication of how much important the firework festival is to the Japanese.
I stay in Edogawa Ward nearby the Arakawa River overlooking the Koto Ward on the other side of the river. Koto Ward holds its fireworks festival on the first Tuesday of August where fireworks are set off from the center of the river which can be viewed from both Koto Ward and Edogawa Ward sides of the river. A shot I took last year is below
The 2015 schedule for fireworks was recently announced by the Koto Ward and has been set for August 4th which is a Tuesday. In event of rain it is held on the next day Wednesday or worst case scenario Thursday. Around 4000 shots are fired from 19:40 in the evening and continue for a whole 40 minutes until 20:30 with a grand finale. Around 350000 people attended the event last year which gets pretty crowded on the Minami Sunamachi area. The best part is that you can also catch the Skytree in the backdrop as the fireworks go up. Notice the Skytree in the right hand corner?? in the below image..
The Arakawa River gets busy with many colorful boats also gather around in the waters around to watch the firework spectacle.
The best spot that I know of for watching the fireworks is the Edogawa Jogging Track on the Edogawa Ward side of the Arakawa River. People spread out mats here and watch the fireworks. Come a bit early to catch the right spot.
My first experience of Hanabi in Japan was in 1998 at Asakusa, not with the crowds on the street but at a Japanese friends place who stayed at Asakusa, his private 2 floor mansion with a sprawling terrace to enjoy the fireworks. Today, my apartment just on the banks of the Edogawa side, I enjoy the fireworks courtesy of taxes paid by Koto Ward citizens from my apartment balcony on the 9th floor. Watching fireworks from your home… EPIC..Family, Snacks, Cola, Fireworks… bliss
Mark your calendars, for 2015, August 04 19:30.