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Nagaoka Hanabi Matsuri – All About the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival

By Bidyaswar Huirongbam Aug 12, 2022

Have you ever heard of the amazing Japanese fireworks (Hanabi Matsuri)? Fireworks were historically performed in Japan to ward off evil spirits, but nowadays they have become an integral and cherished part of Japanese culture.

What differentiates Japanese fireworks from others all over the world? Because they are symbolic of Japanese culture. All have themes, and the crowds get enthusiasm. There are blue mats and special food vendor tents all over the place. There is enthusiastic clapping and cheering after each series of fireworks.

What Are Hanabi?


Photo Credit: Ingyin May

In Japanese, Hanabi means “fireworks.” People consider them to be the summer equivalent to seeing sakura (cherry blossoms) in the spring. Many Hanabi or fireworks events take place across the country during the summer.

These firework displays take place practically every weekend, with each one being more stunning than the last. Often, the shows continue for 75 to 90 minutes, providing a fantastic show for people of all ages. Some of these festivals are popular with tourists and attract Japanese people throughout the summer.

When is the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival?

red hanabi - japanese fireworks in the sky

Photo Credit: Kartika Aini

The Nagaoka Fireworks Festival takes place from August 2nd to 3rd at the Shinano River, Nagaoka City, Japan. The Nagaoka Hanabi Matsuri, also known as the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival, is an annual festival that attracts at least one million visitors. It is rated as one of Japan’s top three fireworks events!

The Nagaoka Fireworks festival is home to the Pheonix-a great, breathtaking fireworks display stretching 2km in length. Over the two days of this renowned event, over 20,000 fireworks are launched into the summer sky and burst like a tapestry of distant stars over the midevening sky near the Shinano River’s riverside.

Big portable shrines float parades through the event, and traditional dances are performed throughout the day in the town. On the main street leading from Nagaoka station, there were sellers selling various Hanabi souvenirs, as well as food tents. 

Here is the YouTube video link for the Nagaoka Firework Festival 2022,

Simple Guide to Get to Nagaoka Firework Event

Nagaoka is located in the Niigata Prefecture of Japan near the Sea of Japan roughly 3 hours from Tokyo by train. You can get to Nagaoka by car or by public transportation.

This fireworks display can be reached by car or public transportation. To get to Nagaoka Station by train, take the Joetsu Shinkansen or a local train. The event site is a 20-minute walk from the Station. If you’re driving, exit the Kanetsu Expressway at the Nagaoka intersection. However, keep in mind that parking spaces are limited, and most festival parking lots charge a fee. Expect lots of traffic after the end of the show.

About the Festival Site

Like most fireworks shows in Japan, both ticketed seats (paid seating), and free seats (make sure to bring your own mats to sit along the riverside/ roadside, etc.) are available.

Again, being a well-loved festival, tickets to the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival sell out months in advance, so be prepared for that in advance!

Fun Facts

hanabi in the sky

Photo Credit: Cindy Nuguit

The riverbanks become incredibly crowded during this festival, so arrive hours before the official start time to secure a better view of the iconic moment. If you wish to see it from the roadside near the event location, the viewing area is free.

Grand tickets can be purchased if you want to see a once-in-a-lifetime Japanese fireworks spectacular. We recommend you reserve your tickets as soon as possible.

See the Hanabi Fireworks for Yourself

If you visit Japan during the summer, you should see these famous and massive displays of Japanese fireworks. So, what are you holding out for?

With so many events to choose from, you won’t be short on options. If you enjoy fireworks, festivals, and wonderful culture, Japan is the place to be. Put them on your to-do list. Guys, don’t miss out!

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Featured Photo Credit: Canva