Some firework events are competitions in which firework experts compete on the basis of technique and innovation. Some fireworks are purely for entertainment, especially in the summer. There are approximately 5000 firework events all over Japan every year. Here is a short list of these events that have a long history, strong community commitments, or recent popularity. which should give you some ideas where to go. (The choice of events is based on the Omagari Firework Club’s Guidebook to Fireworks.)
I. Competitive Firework Events (yellow points on the map)
1) Omagari Firework Competition at the Omonogawa Riverside, Daisen City (Akita Prefecture). Held on the last Saturday of August.
– This competition has four categories as follows: day-fireworks, #10-sized warimono, #10-sized free fireworks, and creative fireworks.
– The grand champion receives the Prime Minister’s Prize (one of the only two firework competitions with this honor).
– The new tradition of creative fireworks began at this competition.
2) The New Firework Competition at the Omagari Skiing Ground, Daisen City (Akita Prefecture). Held on the Saturday that is closest to the spring equinox.
– The competitors compete with ten shots of #4-sized fireworks and five shots of #5-sized fireworks.
– Firework artists make presentations to explain their new fireworks.
3) The Akagawa Firework Competition at the Akagawa Riverside, Tsuruoka City (Yamaga Prefecture). Held on the third Saturday of August.
– This competition has three categories as follows: two shots of #10-sized fireworks, design fireworks, and electric musical fireworks.
– The gorgeous wide starmine fireworks at the opening and ending ceremonies are a must-watch.
4) Tsuchiura Firework Competition at the Sakuragawa Riverside, Tsuchiura City (Ibaraki Prefecture). Held on the first Saturday of November.
– This competition has three categories as follows: starmines, #10-sized warimono, and creative fireworks (seven shots of #5-sized fireworks).
– The grand champion receives the Prime Minister’s Prize (one of the only two firework competitions with this honor).
– The starmines category has some of the best fireworks in Japan.
5) Japan New Firework Competition at the Suwa Lakeside, Suwa City (Nagano Prefecture). Held on first Saturday of September.
– At this competition, firework artists compete with two shots of #10-sized fireworks and three shots of #7-sized fireworks.
– An exhibition for female firework artists is held.
– The starmine fireworks on the lake are a must-watch.
6) Fukuroi-Onshu Firework Competition at the Haranoya River Park, Fukuroi City (Shizuoka Prefecture). Held on August 11.
– This competition has two categories as follows: creative fireworks (four shots of #5-sized fireworks) and two shots of #8-sized fireworks and starmines.
– This firework competition has attracted a lot of attention recently due to the competition of pyro-experts recommended by the Japan Fireworks Artists’ Association, the largest-in-Japan starmine fireworks, and other special features.
7) Ise Shrine Firework Competition at the Miyakawa Riverside, Ise City (Mie Prefecture). Held on the third Saturday of July.
– This competition has two categories as follows: rocket fireworks and starmine fireworks.
– This is one of the three firework competitions in Japan that has many sponsored fireworks.
8) Yatsushiro Firework Competition at the Kumagawa Riverside Park, Yatsushiro City (Kumamoto Prefecture). Held on the third Saturday of October.
– This competition has two categories as follows: starmine fireworks and five shots of #5-sized fireworks (limited to participants from Kyushu) and one shot of #1-sized warimono and five shots of #5-sized fireworks.
– This competition also has musical fireworks and a barrage of other fireworks to enjoy.
II. Fireworks Festivals (orange points on the map)
1) Kachimai Fireworks Festival at the Tokachigawa Riverside, Obihiro City (Hokkaido Prefecture). Held on August 13.
This a highly entertaining fireworks show and is famous for the Nishikimauro barrage, which is gorgeously presented in collaboration with music.
2) Toyako Lake Long Run Fireworks at the Toyako lakeside, Toyako-Onsen Town (Hokkaido Prefecture). Held from late April to October.
Over this period, 450 shots of fireworks colorfully decorate the sky every evening from 8:45 pm for 20 minutes. These are visible from any spot in the town of Toyako. The weeping fireworks that almost touch the lake surface are a must-watch.
3) Oga Fireworks Festival at Oga Marine Park, Oga City (Akita Prefecture). Held on August 14.
Every year, this festival has a special theme and the show with narration and a great variety of fireworks is highly entertaining.
4) Kitakami-Mchinoku Arts Festival at the Kitamigawa Riverside, Kitakami City (Iwate Prefecture). Held in early August.
This is a thematic fireworks festival, and the lanterns floating on the river with fireworks stir people’s emotions. At this festival, people can launch fireworks with private messages.
5) Sakata Firework Show (named thus since 2002) at the Mogamigawa Riverside Park, Sakata City (Yamagata Prefecture). Held on the first Saturday of August.
This show consists of five well-conceived sections as follows: fireworks all over the world, Japanese traditional fireworks, water starmine, aerial Niagara Falls fireworks, and fireworks fantasy.
6) Sugagawa Shakadogawa River Fireworks Festival at the Shakadogawa Riverside, Sugagawa City (Fukushima Prefecture). Held on the first Saturday after August 15.
This is one of the largest fireworks festivals in Fukushima, with 60 cm balls, music starmines, large firework balls, Niagara Falls fireworks, and other beautiful fireworks.
7) Nagaoka Fireworks Festival at Shinanogawa Riverside, Nagaoka City (Niigata Prefecture). Held on August 2 and 3.
This fireworks festival is best known for the overwhelming 90 cm large fireball. It was held with the prayer of appeasement for the deaths in the Nagaoka Air Raid in 1945. After the Chuetsu Earthquake in 2004, a wide starmine was added to pray for the future of earthquake-hit areas.
8) Gion Kashiwazaki Ocean Fireworks Festival
This is one of the largest fireworks festivals in Niigata, along with the festivals held at Nagaoka and Katakai. The launch of a number of large-ball fireworks is overwhelming, including some askew shorts from the sand beach, wide starmine, simultaneous shots of two 90 cm ball fireworks, simultaneous shots of one hundred 30 cm ball fireworks, and barrage of three hundred 30 cm ball fireworks.
9) Katakai Festival Shinto Offerings Great Fireworks on the hill behind Asahara Shrine, in Ojiya City (Niigata Prefecture). Held on September 9 and 10.
This fireworks festival is famous for the world’s largest 120 cm ball fireworks. It is performed as an offering to the deity. People and private entities contribute to the shrine and burst fireworks. The program is as large as a newspaper.
10) Ashikaga Fireworks Festival at Watarasegawa Riverside, Ashikaga City (Tochigi Prefecture). Held on the first Saturday of August.
This fireworks festival was first held in 1903 and is one of the largest fireworks festivals in the Kanto region. It is famous for preset fireworks. The double-layered Niagara Falls fireworks and starmines at the end of the festival are overwhelming.
11) Nagano Ebisu Fireworks Festival at Saigawa Riverside, Nagano City (Nagano Prefecture). Held on November 23.
This is an old festival that was first held in 1899. It is one of the few fireworks festivals that is held in November. The national #10-sized fireworks competition is held on the same day at the same place. Complex warimono fireworks decorate the late fall skies.
12) Joso Kinugawa River Fireworks Festival at Kinugawa Riverside, Joso City (Ibaraki Prefecture). Held on August 11.
This fireworks festival has recently attracted attention for its well-conceived organization and presentation. Spectators can enjoy the highest level of the art of fireworks with events such as the Fireworks Museum which includes the three best fireworks artists and the competition of super starmine fireworks.
13) Tamamura Fireworks Festival held to the southeast of Tamamura Firefighters Office, Tamamura Village (Gunma Prefecture). Held on July 15.
Due to the absence of high buildings in rural areas, spectators can enjoy fireworks at close proximity. The display includes high-quality fireworks such as four-colored fireworks and wide starmine fireworks.
14) Kumagaya Fireworks Festival at Arakawa Riverside, Kumagaya City (Saitama Prefecture). Held on the second Saturday of August.
As Kumagaya City recorded the highest temperature in Japan, the organizers have been promoting this festival as the hottest fireworks festival in the country. With its starmine fireworks competition, this is one of the largest fireworks festivals in Saitama Prefecture.
15) Omigawa Fireworks Festival at Tonegawa Riverside, Omigawa City (Chiba Prefecture). Held on August 1.
This fireworks festival was first held in 1908 and was held for the 121st time in 2017. The huge underwater starmine fireworks are a must-watch.
16) Itabashi Fireworks Festival on Arakawa Riverside, Itabashi Ward (Tokyo Prefecture). Held on the first Saturday of August.
This festival is held at the same time as the Todabashi Fireworks Festival on the other side of the river. Together, 12,000 fireworks are launched from both the banks.
17) Sumidagawa River Fireworks Festival held between Sakura Bridge and Kototoi Bridge or between Komagata Bridge and Umaya Bridge, Sumida Ward and Taito Ward (Tokyo). Held on the last Saturday of July.
The Sumidagawa River Fireworks Festival is the country’s most famous fireworks festival, first held in 1733 during the reign of Tokugawa Yoshimune. On two sites, 20,000 fireworks are launched together. At the first site, a fireworks competition is held.
18) Suwa Lake Fireworks Festival, at Suwa Lakeside, Suwa City (Nagano Prefecture). Held on August 15.
This is one of the largest fireworks festivals in Japan in terms of the number and scale. The most popular are the kiss-of-fire starmine fireworks. Additionally, a variety of other attractions are offered, such as the wide starmine fireworks, 30 cm ball fireworks, and fireworks competitions.
19) Chofu Fall Fireworks Festival
This festival has more than 30 years of history as one of the largest fireworks festivals in the Kanto region. Local fireworks makers offer the best of their works, and the barrage of large-ball fireworks is overwhelming. In 2017, it was changed from a summer festival to a fall festival.
20) Zushi Beach Fireworks Festival, at Zushi Beach, Zushi City (Kanagawa Prefecture). Held in the latter half of May.
The fireworks are launched from three boats off the coast and can be seen from any part of the wide beach. The highlight is the fast launch program at the end, with gorgeous music playing.
21) Shinmei Fireworks Festival, at Fujigawa Riverside, Misato Town (Yamanashi Prefecture) Held on August 7.
The tradition of these fireworks was revived on August 7, 1989. It is one of the largest fireworks festivals in Yamanashi Prefecture, with 60 cm ball fireworks and well-conceived thematic fireworks.
22) Atami Ocean Fireworks Festival on the Atami Coast, Atami City (Shizuoka Prefecture). Held more than ten times between April and December.
This fireworks festival lasts only for 20 to 40 minutes, but with launches of fireworks from multiple locations, it is a very entertaining event and is held more than 10 times during the year.
23) Nagaragawa River Chunichi Newspaper Fireworks Festival, at the Nagaragawa Riverside, Gifu City (Gifu Prefecture). Held on the last Saturday of July.
A week before the Nagaragawa River Fireworks Festival, the fireworks festival is organized by the Chunichi Newspaper. It demonstrates special works that have been honored by the Japan Fireworks Artists’ Association and creative starmine fireworks.
24) Toyota Oiden Festival – Last Day Fireworks, at the Yahagigawa Riverside, Toyota City (Aichi Prefecture). Held on the last Sunday of July.
This is a fireworks event at the end of the month-long Toyota Oiden Festival, with fireworks of high quality and well-prepared presentations. A variety of fireworks, such as warimonos and starmines, are launched with synchronized music.
25) Okazaki Lord Leyasu Summer Fireworks Festival, at the Sugo and Yasakugawa Riversides, Okazaki City (Aichi Prefecture). Held on first Saturday of August.
This is the location where the Mikaw fireworks first began in the Edo era (17th to 19th century). Against the background of the Okazaki Castle, a variety of fireworks, including melodious starmine, goldfish fireworks, and silver waterfall fireworks, are launched for two hours.
26) Kuwana Suigo Fireworks Festival, at the Ibigawa Riverside, Kuwana City (Mie Prefecture). Held in the latter half of July.
This festival makes the best of the wide Ibigawa river. Beautiful reflections of the fireworks are seen on the surface of the river with the underwater starmine. Also, the sight of one of the largest 60 cm ball fireworks in the Tokai region is overwhelming.
27) Biwa Lake Fireworks Festival at Hama-Otsu Port, Otsu City (Shiga Prefecture). Held on August 8.
This creates a beautiful summer memory of the rich nature of Lake Biwako. The fireworks are launched from boats sailing in the lake. The aerial starmine and 60 cm ball fireworks are a must-watch.
28) Matsue Suigo Festival at Shinjiko Lake, Matsue City (Shimane Prefecture). Held in the first half of August.
One of the largest festivals in West Japan that offers a mystic view of fireworks on the water of Shinjiko Lake. The fireworks are launched from boats sailing in the lake and can be seen from anywhere on the shore.
29) Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival at Yodogawa Riverside, Osaka City (Osaka Prefecture). Held in early August.
Fireworks are launched from boats sailing in the river. A dynamic semicircle starmine on the water and a large flower firework over the sky are overwhelming. The fireworks make a beautiful combination with the skyscrapers.
30) Perfect Liberty Church Founder’s Festival at the PL Golf Course, Tondabayashi City (Osaka Prefecture). Held on August 1.
This is one of the largest fireworks festivals in Japan and offers great artisticity, volume, and quality. As it is a religious festival of the Perfect Liberty Church, only church members can enter the premises of the golf course on the day of the event.
31) Kumano Great Fireworks Festival at Shichirimihama, Kumano City (Mie Prefecture). Held on August 17.
Against the background of the World Natural Heritage Onigajo Coastline and Kumano Coast, heart-beat fireworks, such as thousands of flower fireworks, the roaring boost of 600-meter semicircle water fireworks, blast shock preset fireworks, and others are launched.
32) Miyajima Underwater Fireworks Festival at Itsukushima Port, Hatsukaichi City (Hiroshima Prefecture). Held on a Saturday in mid-August.
The Miyajima Underwater Fireworks Festival is characterized by a large number of fireballs that are shot into the water. These underwater fireworks and fireworks launched in the sky picturesquely decorate the great gate of the Itsukushima Shrine.
33) Kanmon Strait Asia Port Festival at Hananomachi Quay, Shimonoseki City (Yamaguchi Prefecture) and Moji Port, Moji City (Fukuoka Prefecture). Held on August 13.
The Kanmon Strait Asia Port Festival is co-organized by the two cities across the Kanmon Strait. Starmine, display set fireworks, underwater fireworks, and other fireworks, approximately 15,000 shots in all, are launched from both sides.
34) Hitagawa River Opening Festival at the Hitagawa Riverside, Hita City (Oita Prefecture). Held in late May.
The Hitagawa River is a tributary of the Chikumagawa River, which is open for fishing in late May, and this is celebrated with a river opening festival that includes fireworks for two nights. The fireworks and yakata boats on the river are the heralds of early summer.
35) Chikugogawa River Fireworks Festival, at the Chikugogawa Riverside, Kurume City (Fukuoka Prefecture). Held on August 5.
The Chikugogawa River Fireworks Festival has more than three and half centuries of history, as it was first held in 1650 for the inauguration of Suitengu Shrine. The 18,000 shots of fireworks that are launched are an impressive sight.