Watching the Edogawa Fireworks Festival from the river banks

In Japan, the firework season kicks off towards the end of July and lasts until the end of August. The popularity of fireworks is by no means a recent phenomenon, and some events such as the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival have a history dating back hundreds of years. This long history means that today firework manufacturers really know how to put on a show, and the major events in Tokyo see upwards of 13,000 fireworks of all shapes, sizes, and colors launched. The major firework events in and around Tokyo are listed below, but first some tips to help you get the most out of the evening.

Consider events in the outer wards

The temptation to go and see the major firework events in central Tokyo like the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival is understandable. They are the biggest—the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival has two launch venues—and the most famous. However, they are also the most crowded and finding a place to sit is almost impossible unless you arrive hours before the launch. Moreover, the density of apartment buildings and office blocks means that almost any view from the street is at least partially obstructed. Better, choose a firework event in the outer wards, ideally one of those held along the flat and spacious river banks. Events like the Edogawa Fireworks Festival launch just as many fireworks as the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival, so there’s no need to feel like you’re missing out.

Arrive early

Stations nearest to the event become extremely crowded as the launch time approaches, and so many choose to alight at station slightly further away and walk. In any case, you should aim to arrive at least one hour before to get settled and find a suitable spot. Market stalls and beer vendors line the streets between the stations and venues so you’ll have plenty to keep you entertained.

Take a ground sheet

Many of the firework events do have paid seating areas, but these need to be booked well in advance and the websites are usually only in Japanese. Most visitors secure a free spot on the streets or on the flat grass area along the riverbanks—and so a cheap ground sheet comes in handy.

Check the wind direction

This might seem like overkill, but it can make all the difference. This is especially true for the events in the outer wards where the wide open spaces mean that you can choose to see the fireworks from just about any direction. If a slow wind is blowing in your direction when you face the launch venue, the considerable smoke released by the explosions will mean that after a few minutes your enjoyment of the fireworks could be reduced to watching a large, dark cloud of smoke turn a shade lighter for a fraction of a second…

Check Twitter

The weather during July and especially August can be highly unpredictable. While the official websites do get updated on the day of the event, when the skies turn gloomy and put doubts in people’s minds these websites get inundated with ten of thousands of users checking to see if they should make the journey or stay at home, and the servers often time out. Instead, it’s best to check the official Twitter accounts where important announcements are usually given in Japanese and English.

Upcoming Events

Katsushika Fireworks Festival

Late Jul 2021
Another enjoyable fireworks event (officially called Katsushika Noryo Hanabi Taikai) along the Edogawa River which sees over 13,000…

Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival

Late Jul 2021
This annual hanabi-taikai has roots dating back to 1732 when it was first held in remembrance of the those…

Ome Noryo Fireworks Festival

Early Aug 2021
One of the smaller hanabi-taikai events, the Ome Fireworks Festival see about 4,000 fireworks will be set off…

Minatomirai Smart Festival Fireworks 2021

Early Aug 2021
The Minato Mirai Smart Festival is a live music performance followed by a firework display which sees around…

Okutama Noryo Fireworks Festival

Early Aug 2021
Small scale fireworks festival near Okutama Station with just 1,000 fireworks released (versus upwards of 13,000 for the…

Jingu-Gaien Fireworks Festival

Early Aug 2021
The Jingu-Gaien Fireworks Festival is one of the few firework events to be held in central Tokyo. Spectators…

Ota City Peace Fireworks

Mid Aug 2021
Ota City Peace Fireworks Festival (大田区平和都市宣言記念事業) is a fireworks event held along the Tama River, typically in mid…

Shonan Hiratsuka Fireworks Festival

Late 〜 Late Aug 2021
The launch area for the Shonan Hiratsuka Hanabi Taikai is the at the end of the Hiratsuka Shinminato…

Chofu Fireworks Festival

Mid Sep 2021
Approximately 9,000 fireworks will be launched from the river banks of the Tama River. The opening ceremony will…

Kita Hanabi Taikai

Late Sep 2021
Love the idea of fireworks in the summer but hate the crowds? Tired of getting your hopes up…

Tamagawa Fireworks Festival

Early Oct 2021
A mid-sized firework event (6,000 fireworks) held along the banks of the Tama River near Futakotamagawa Station. The…

Narita Hanabi

Late Oct 2021
The Narita Hanabi is a fireworks event organised by community volunteers and firework makers that takes place above…

Edogawa Fireworks Festival

Late Oct 2021
A total of 13,000 fireworks are shot up into the air over the course of 75 minutes for…

Odaiba Rainbow Winter Fireworks

Early Dec 2021
Almost 2,000 fireworks will be launched over 10 minutes at 7pm every Saturday in December from Daiba Park,…

Odaiba Rainbow Winter Fireworks

Mid Dec 2021
Almost 2,000 fireworks will be launched over 10 minutes at 7pm every Saturday in December from Daiba Park,…

Odaiba Rainbow Winter Fireworks

Mid Dec 2021
Almost 2,000 fireworks will be launched over 10 minutes at 7pm every Saturday in December from Daiba Park,…

Odaiba Rainbow Winter Fireworks

Late Dec 2021
Almost 2,000 fireworks will be launched over 10 minutes at 7pm every Saturday in December from Daiba Park,…

Itabashi Fireworks Festival

Late May 2022
One of Tokyo’s biggest firework events with 12,000 fireworks launched over the course of 90 minutes. It also…

Hachioji Fireworks Festival

Late May 2022
The Hachioji Hanabi Taikai is being held one week earlier than usual this year due to ground maintenance.…

Adachi Fireworks Festival

Late May 2022
One of the more major firework events of the summer, the Adachi Fireworks Festival is held towards the…

Koto Fireworks Festival

Early Jun 2022
About 4,000 fireworks are launched from a barge on the Arakawa River for this annual hanabi taikai—and those…

Kamakura Fireworks Festival

Early Jul 2022
A smaller scale event with about 2,500 fireworks set off near Yuigahama Beach. But while it might lack…

Yokohama Sparkling Twilight

Early 〜 Late Jul 2022
Annual festival and firework event in Yamashita Park. Over 3,000 fireworks are launched from the shoreline each night…