Finally, the rainy season is over and now we’re in the heat of summer. Although I’m not happy about the heat part, I’m totally excited about the fireworks display in Tokyo! It’s such a festive event here. And for the many years I’ve experienced Tokyo fireworks, let me give my personal opinion and some tips in general.
- Edogawa Fireworks
Access: Koiwa Station | Date: Aug. 2, 2014 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m
This is probably the best fireworks I have ever seen in the 23 wards of Tokyo! It’s not only the number of fireworks but the kind of fireworks they set off. I’m not an expert on fireworks but there were so many beautiful crackers aside from the usual star mine. Plus, it was synchronized with music. And just look at how long this one is, more than an hour. Unlike other fireworks displays which only have dazzling finales but boring fireworks at the start, this one was totally off the charts! If you have to go to just one fireworks display, it has to be the Edogawa Fireworks Display.
TIPS: If you are not able to secure a place in advance, don’t settle for watching it near the food stalls. Go to the actual viewing area, there are plenty of standing audiences and you can squeeze in if you are just a small group. If you intend to go on a picnic, I really hope you prepare in advance. It’s crazy there. The lines for the few convenience stores aren’t encouraging either. There are tons of food stalls by the way. Don’t expect to be able to go home immediately. Hundreds of thousands of people watched this last year. Just imagine the crowd going back to the station. It was the most challenging commute I ever had in Japan.
- Yokohama Fireworks (Kanagawa Shimbun Fireworks)
Access: Minato-mirai Station | Date: August 5, 2014 19:00 onwards
I’ve been to the fireworks in Yokohama twice. First was near the bay area since I was with a small group of people so we could easily find a spot an hour before the event. Second time was in a parking lot with my Japanese friends, since we intended to go on a picnic (with mats and all) but arrived just an hour before, so we had no other options. The Yokohama fireworks display is really pretty if you’re near. If you’re far away, you might experience some boring moments but that’s not a problem if you’re on a picnic with friends. The atmosphere was “chill” and really perfect for a picnic.
TIPS: Best to be early if you want to watch near the bay area. Transportation is challenging before and after the event, but meet up is still possible. It’s not that crazy compared to Edogawa or Sumidagawa. Buying drinks along the way is not a problem thanks to the convenience stores scattered around.
- Sumidagawa Fireworks
Access: Asakusa, Asakusabashi, Oshiage (any of these) | Date: July 26, 2014 19:05/19:30
This is one of the most popular fireworks display in Tokyo probably because it is very accessible to many people. And it’s not really my favorite because it is too crowded and the viewing spots are too scattered and it’s so hard to meet up! It’s probably lots of fun if you have successfully taken a spot, and that means hours before the fireworks. But as for my group we didn’t get there early enough so we tried squeezing in Sumida Park to watch the fireworks. It was great although it was just full of the star mines that I’m totally used to by then. I think this is best enjoyed with a proper picnic mat, good food, and good company!
TIPS: Be early and get a spot if you want to enjoy this. Otherwise you’d be stuck with lots of things in the way of a good view (trees, buildings, light posts).
- Tokyo Bay Fireworks
Access: Kachidoki Station, Toyosu Station for the actual viewing spots (paid) or Odaibakaihin Station for a less crowded venue
Date: Aug 10, 2014
I watched the Tokyo Bay Fireworks along the shores of Odaiba Beach with some friends. Because people tend to go to the actual viewing spot on the other side of the bay, there were fortunately less people on Odaiba! Without much effort on my part since we planned out a day going around Odaiba anyway, we did not need to hurry or rush to get a spot. Although mind you, it is a very popular fireworks display. It’s similar to the Yokohama one where the fireworks are launched from the sea, but a different experience since you see the rainbow bridge and Tokyo Tower in the background. This one has music as well!
TIPS: If you are watching from Odaiba, there are 2 supermarkets to buy your snacks from. Maruetsu and Phoenix which are both near Odaibakaihinkoen station. There’s also Family Mart and Lawson near the beach. Daiba Station doesn’t have convenience stores nearby.
So there you have it! The popular Hanabi fests in Tokyo during summer that I personally experienced. Now here are my tips for all you hanabi-loving people.
- Wear cool clothes! If you want to try wearing the Yukata like everyone else does, be sure that you have a fan as well and some cool drinks on hand.
- Wear comfy shoes. I’ve seen women wearing 4-inch heels but don’t let their facial expressions fool you. They’re just pretending to be okay. Think twice about the geta (Japanese sandals) as well!!
- Try going to the toilet before the event, and not in the toilet nearest the venue. Lines would be long. Same goes for shops.
- When it comes to going home after the fireworks display, have a Plan B when it comes to transportation, or, be patient. Like walking to a farther station 30 minutes away and getting on that instead. You have higher chances of being able to enter the platform.
- Try to come early. Or if you have money, buy some seats (I have never done it though).
- If you want to try watching the fireworks on a cruise boat, or with a restaurant view, prepare to shell out at least 10,000 yen per person. A cruise boat would have a better view over an indoor restaurant.
- Remember, clean up after yourselves!
Enjoy the summer!!
If you’re ready to travel outside Tokyo for really cool fireworks display, try Nagaoka fireworks in Niigata, usually on the first week of August.
Learn more here! Nagaoka Fireworks
Note: Image above taken from http://www.city.edogawa.tokyo.jp/hanabi/