Japan takes pride in its stunning displays of fireworks during the hotter months of the year. After events being cancelled in Tokyo over the past few years due to the COVID pandemic, this year will mark the return of many summer festivals. People will show up at the river before the evening, looking for the best spot to get a good view. It is common to wear a Yukata for the occasion, which is a traditional Japanese summer garment. There are food stalls lining the streets that are set up for the day to keep people from going hungry.
If you are in Tokyo during July and August, these are the fireworks festivals you must watch, including one of the biggest and oldest fireworks festivals in Japan!
Sumida River Fireworks Festival
Image credits: Ben Cheung
The Sumida River Fireworks Festival is said to have begun during the Edo era and is one of the most popular fireworks festivals in Tokyo. It is held on the last Saturday of July every year and it’s location means that spectators may get a good view of the fireworks with Tokyo Skytree in the background. The show runs for 90 minutes and boasts over 20,000 fireworks. Make sure to show up early to grab a space before it gets too crowded!
Date/Time: July 29, 2023, 7pm~
Location: Taito Riverside Sports Centre
Edogawa Fireworks Festival
Image credits: Roven Images
The Edogawa Fireworks Festival is held annually on the first Saturday of August. You can watch the show from Either Tokyo or Chiba, as Edogawa River falls right in the middle of the two prefectures. If watching from the Chiba side, you’ll notice the name changes to the Ichikawa Shimin Fireworks Festival. In the first 5 seconds of the show, around 1,000 fireworks are set off, setting up a great start to the 75 minute show.
Date/Time: August 5, 2023, 7:15pm~
Location: Edogawa Ward, Edogawa Park
Itabashi Fireworks Festival
Image credits: Photo taken by the author
Another fireworks festival that falls on the border of two prefectures is the Itabashi Fireworks Festival. The festival takes place along the Arakawa River that flows between Tokyo and Saitama. If you watch it from Saitama, it is known as the Toda Itabashi Fireworks Festival. It is most famous for the longest “Niagra Falls” feature, which is a dramatic 700 metres long. The event lasts for 90 minutes and has super large fireworks that are bigger that most other fireworks festivals to leave a lasting impression on spectators.
Date/Time: August 5, 2023, 7pm~
Location: Itabashi Ward, Arakawa South Bank
Koto Fireworks Festival
Image credits: Photo taken by the author
The Koto Fireworks Festival is also held on the Arakawa River but, as the name states, in Koto ward. This year, it will take place on Mountain Day, a public holiday and marks the start of the Obon holiday period. The main event is located at Arakawa Sunamachi Riverside Park, which is approximately a 15 minute walk from the closest station and is a nice stroll along the river. The show lasts for an hour and displays a staggering 4,000 fireworks! It is usually less crowded than the other festivals, which gives spectators more space to spread out picnic rugs and relax.
Date/Time: August 11, 2023, 7:00pm~
Location: Arakawa Sunamachi Riverside Park
Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival
The Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival is the most central fireworks festival in Tokyo. It is held within the Jingu Baseball Stadium and is an exclusive show for paying guests. The cost of the ticket ranges from 8,000 to 12,000 yen. The ticket includes a seat for a spectacular hour of fireworks, as well as some live music acts. You can see them from Chichibu Rugby stadium for 6,000 yen. Since it held within the stadium, the fireworks may not be as big as the other festivals, but it is a fun experience with a good seat!
Date/Time: August 12, 2023, 7:30pm~
Location: Meii Jingu Stadium
Watch the Fireworks in Tokyo!
Watching the fireworks is one of the best ways to spend summer in Japan. Not only is it a marvellous spectacle, it comes with a great atmosphere. Get a group of friends together, dress up in a Yukata and enjoy the variety that food stalls have to offer. Once you have got something to eat, find your ideal spot to watch the show. Just remember to stay hydrated and keep cool!
- Summer in Japan Series 2: Summer Festival Guide
- Essential Items to Buy in Japan in Summer
- Sumida River: The Best Riverside Spot in Tokyo
Featured image credits: Desingecologist