Fireworks Season 2018.08.07
When coming to Japan, I knew that one thing I needed to experience was a firework display. Having fireworks in Summer was something that was completely new to me. Where I'm from, usually we just have fireworks during Halloween and New Year's, so I was pretty curious about how Japanese fireworks would be like.
It turns out that fireworks in Summer is amazing. It makes sense to have it in Summer actually, instead of standing outside in the freezing cold, you get to enjoy the sky while the Summer night keeps you warm (although recently it's been keeping us a bit too warm). But firework displays aren't just about the lights in the sky, another cool thing about going to a festival in Japan is that they have so many different food stalls.
This was something which surprised my housemates and I when we went to our first firework display, one of Tokyo's biggest, at Sumida river. This display was nearly two hours long and set off over 10,000 fireworks, the crowds had gathered since the morning as people came with picnic blankets and food supplies, picking a prime spot and camping out while enjoying the Summer heat. My housemates and I looked on in jealousy as people enjoyed snacking on foods and having some drinks as they enjoyed the firework display - this was something I made sure to correct for our second firework outing.
Ome was our second location for firework displays, being just 45 minutes from Mitaka station, Ome makes a great place for a day trip. It's just far enough away from Tokyo, so you can enjoy a more relaxed feeling with nature. Since this firework display was of a smaller scale (although still having an impressive 4,000 fireworks set off), it felt a lot more comfortable and a lot of the local shops came out with stalls, selling different snacks, drinks and even beer during the display. With the previous time in mind, my housemates and I made sure to pick up some yaki-soba, karage chicken and a couple of draught beers before finding a great spot to sit down.
Another thing which really surprised me was the amount of people wearing yukata (kind of like a Summer version of a kimono), it was so great to see everyone dressed up, the girls had their hair styled and even the guys were wearing the traditional yukata too. So of course my housemates and I had to do the same! Plus wearing the yukata means you get that classic hanabi look for your photos, I highly recommend picking up a yukata online or checking some local secondhand shops.
So if you're in Japan during July/August, try check out some firework festivals. There's still time to catch a few more: https://www.gotokyo.org/en/story/guide/fireworks-guide-2018/
Irish photographer who calls Social Residence Kichijōji home.
You'll usually find me in a nearby coffee shop with my camera or working on articles in the shared living space.
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