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1. Nagaoka Matsuri Fireworks Festival (Niigata)Cp9asngf/Wikimedia Commons
This fireworks festival has managed to satisfy all the critics and got itself the top spot in all fireworks festival rankings. It is the king of fireworks festival in the whole country. Here, they showcase the ever famous Shosanshakudama a total of 4 times, providing the spectators with a spectacular fireworks performance, hence making it truly the best out of the top three most magnificent fireworks festival in Japan. It may take some time and effort to make your way here from either the Kanto area or Kansai area but it is truly worth it. (Shakudama refers to the firework’s dimension when lit up. A Shakudama will rise up to a height of 300m and on its first lit, it will achieve a diameter of 30m and then expand to a 300m diameter circle. A Sanshakudama will reach a height of 600m and then expand from a diameter of 90cm to 550m! Plus the Sanshakudama was created in Nagaoka and that is why here in Nagaoka, it is referred to as Shosanshakudama.)
The event is from August 1 to 3.
Homepage: nagaokamatsuri.com (English)
2. Okazaki Fireworks Festival (Aichi)人民的好青年/Flickr
Results of a survey show that this is the number one fireworks festival that people would want to go to and experience and the second most popular fireworks festival in the Tokai area. Okazaki, the birthplace of Tokugawa Ieyasu, is also where the famous Mikawa fireworks is produced. Fireworks artisans here take pride in making Mikawa fireworks and their passion and dedication will definitely show as the fireworks lit up at night. The fireworks festival here is not to be missed as you will be entertained with beautiful fireworks lighting up the sky with the Okazaki Castle in the background.
The event is from July 29 to August 2.
Homepage: http://www.okazakimatsuri.jp/(Japanese Only)
3. Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Festival (Ibaraki)
This fireworks festival ranks 3rd fireworks festival that people would most want to go to. Critics have ranked it as the 3rd best fireworks festival and in the Kanto rankings, it places 1st. Hence it does deserve to be part of the best 3 fireworks festivals in the whole of Japan. Pyrotechnic experts gather for this competition to show off their best fireworks performance through three categories; rapid and continuous shots (Starmines), size of the diameter and freestyle. As it is quite close to Tokyo, it would be easy to incorporate this must-see event into your itinerary.
This event is on October 3.
Homepage: www.tsuchiura-hanabi.jp/ (Japanese Only)
4. Omagari National Japan Fireworks Competition (Akita)
Homepage: www.oomagari-hanabi.com/ (Japanese Only)
5. Katsushika Noryo Fireworks Festival (Tokyo)
After Tsuchiura’s fireworks festival, this is the next popular festival in the Kanto area. This fireworks festival shows how city folks celebrate summer. Picnic mats are lined up along the riverbed and people await patiently in the heat for the show to begin. As this festival is even bigger than the one at Sumidagawa River, be prepared that the roads will be closed to make way for more space for the public to view the show. Indeed, this is a major metropolitan fireworks festival!
This event is on July 21.
Homepage: www.city.katsushika.lg.jp/14627/024439.html (Japanese Only)
6. Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival (Tokyo)
This famous fireworks festival is located right in the middle of the city. The view is just amazing as it is not only about the big and colorful fireworks in the sky but the cultural aspects of the surroundings with traditional houseboats on the river and the Tokyo Skytree in the background. Be warned though, because of its location in the middle of the city, it is going to attract a major crowd and you might have to come here really early to get a good seat.
This event is on July 25.
Homepage: sumidagawa-hanabi.com/ (Japanese Only)
7. Kanagawa Shimbun Fireworks Festival (Yokohama)
This fireworks festival in Yokohama has made its ways to the top ranks with other Kanto’s and prefectures’ fireworks festival. The Shakudamas exploding in the sky continuously with the breathtaking view of the harbor creates a really beautiful and romantic experience. The main feature of this festival would have to be how the fireworks are arranged to be in sync with the music playing in the background. This fireworks festival is truly spectacular with its wide variety of fireworks with the beautiful view of the harbor in the background.
This event is on August 4.
8. Minato Kobe Fireworks Festival (Kobe, Hyogo)
Minato Kobe Fireworks Festival at Kobe is just as famous and popular in the Kansai area as Osaka’s Tenjin Matsuri. It is gaining a lot of attention nationwide too. Just like the festival at Yokohama, this one offers spectacular fireworks performances with a beautiful view of the harbor. So, yes this experience is not to be missed.
This event is held on August 8.
Homepage: kobehanabi.jp/ (Japanese Only)
9. Tenjin Matsuri (Osaka)
When it comes to the fireworks festivals in Osaka, they would have to be Tenjin Matsuri, Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival and the PL Art of Fireworks in no particular order. We’ll first talk about the Tenjin Matsuri. This fireworks festival has been around for more than 1000 years and this is considered as one of the top 3 biggest matsuri festivals in the whole of Japan. As the name Tenjin goes, this festival is all about honoring the gods. The whole place is festive with fireworks decorating the sky and well lit traditional boats on the river.
This event is held on July 25.
Homepage: www.tenjinmatsuri.com/tenjinmatsuri_navi/honmiya_shinshin (Japanese Only)
10. Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival (Osaka)
This fireworks festival started off as a community project in which locals would volunteer but it has now turned into Osaka’s major summer festive celebration. If you come early you could secure seats that would provide you with an up-close view of the fireworks and if you do not like crowds when commuting, we recommend you to leave early before the festival ends else you would get caught in the crowds.
This event is held on August 8.
Homepage: www.yodohanabi.com/ (Japanese Only)
11. PL Art of Fireworks (Osaka)
PL Art of Fireworks is the most-anticipated fireworks festival in Osaka. This fireworks festival is slightly different from other festivals because it is held to honor the first and second founders of Church of Perfect Liberty. Besides that it is an event to spread the word of peace to the world. Although it is a religious event, it is well loved by all here in Osaka because it features the rare Shakudamas. It is truly a spectacular show that features different types of fireworks in a wide variety of color in a very artistic way. It closes off with rapid and continuous shots of 1000 fireworks.
This event is held on August 1.
12. Nagaragawa Fireworks Festival (Gifu)
The 2nd fireworks festival in the Tokai area that people want to attend would have to be this event. It is famous nationwide. A well-selected group of pyrotechnic experts compete here to show off their skills in this spectacular event that promises to wow spectators with 30,000 shots! The public can also vote for the best freestyle performance online. You can also catch a glimpse of Shiga Castle on Kinkazan from the location of the event.
This event is held on July 25.
Homepage: www.chunichi.co.jp/chuhana/nagaragawa.html (Japanese Only)
13. Fukuroi Fireworks Festival (Shizuoka)
Shizuoka’s Fukuroi Fireworks Festival ranks 3rd among the fireworks festival in the Tokai area. Top pyrotechnic experts will compete to show their talents and you’ll see fireworks explode in the sky in sync with the music played in the background. You might be pleasantly surprised with a fireworks presentation in the form of a well-loved fairytale and since this event is held in Shizuoka, this event will naturally feature a fireworks presentation in the shape of Mount Fuji.
This event is on August 8.
Homepage: http://www.fukuroi-hanabi.jp/index.html (Japanese Only)
14. Suwako Matsuri Fireworks Festival (Nagano)
Folks here are proud of this fireworks festival because it showcases 40,000 shots, the highest number of fireworks shots in the whole of Japan. It is not surprising to see it in the top ranks with other famous events. This event features a fireworks competition followed by a grand finale of waterfall effect fireworks that span for 2km along the lake. You won’t only be amazed by the visuals here but because the lake is surrounded by mountains, the boom of the fireworks exploding creates an unforgettable echo.
This event is on August 15.
Homepage: sp.jorudan.co.jp/hanabi/spot_87309.html (Japanese Only)
15. Katakai Fireworks Festival, Asahara Shrine Annual Autumn Festival (Niigata)
Niigata’s Katakai Matsuri Fireworks Festival is where you witness another world record with its Yonshakudama that expands from a diameter of 120cm to a whooping 800m! Its Yonshakudama shoots up to 800m and just fills the whole sky with beautiful colors! This is the one fireworks festival that has made its way to the Guinness World Records.
This event is from September 9 to 10.
Homepage: katakaimachi-enkakyokai.info/ (Japanese Only)
Have these fireworks festivals caught your attention? This list was carefully thought up after taking into consideration the many types of fireworks festival rankings that we have within Japan. As this list only shows the top 15 fireworks festival and not a comprehensive one of all the ones held at every prefecture, we hope that there is at least one in this list that you could make your way to easily.