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Fireworks Festivals in Tokyo

June 24, 2018

Fireworks and summer festivals are arguably the best part of summertime in Japan, with days spent wearing yukata and jinbei traditional clothing while munching street food and nights spent outside watching literally hours of explosions and enjoying the atmosphere of the festival, and the crowds.  Summer festivals are a rare chance for people to relax and unwind, but here in Tokyo as always, are usually jam-packed with throngs of families looking for some mid-summer’s enjoyment as well.

Points to note:

  1. Transportation around festivals can be a challenge.  If you are riding the train, use Suica, Pasmo, or another compatible transport IC card. The queues at the ticket machines are very long when leaving the venues!
  2. Get there early if you want a “good spot!” This might mean getting there 3~4 hours ahead of time.
  3. Pack your own food and drink.  While the food at festivals is fantastic, it requires a lot of standing in line.  Bring the bulk of what you plan to consume and supplement your meal with a few items from the “yatai,” or food stalls. Pro-tip: you can get away with stopping at a convenience store for these on the way to the venue.
  4. There will be massive lines around restrooms. Try to plan your viewing spot near the toilets if possible.  Deciding to use one during or after the festival is an investment of at least 30 minutes.

Sumida River Fireworks

One of the oldest fireworks festivals in Japan, the Sumida River Hanabi goes back to the 18th Century. It is held on the last Saturday in July along the Sumida River, which flows through eastern Tokyo into Tokyo Bay.  The show can be watched from many points around the Asakusa/Sky Tree area (including on live TV!) but be aware the neighborhoods are dense and buildings will block your view of the sky in all but the best areas. Also note that the areas get REALLY crowded with the increased amount of tourists, and the police have started moving crowds across the bridges and side streets in timed groupings. 

  • 20,000 fireworks
  • Saturday, July 28, 2018 ( cancelled in case of rain)
  • Time: 7:05 PM – 8:30 PM
  • Location : Azuma/Asakusa districts of the Sumida River
    • Asakusa Station
      • Asakusa Line [A]
      • Ginza Line [G]
      • Tobu Skytree Line [TS]
      • Tsukuba Express [TX]
    • Oshiage/Tokyo Skytree Station (if you don’t mind a little walk; less crowding here)
      • Hanzomon Line [Z]
      • Keisei Oshiage Line [KS]
  • www.sumidagawa-hanabi.com

Edogawa Fireworks Festival

Like other festivals on this list, the Edogawa Fireworks Festival is a long held Tokyo tradition. 2018 will be the 43rd annual festival, and it will feature a lineup of about 14,000 fireworks.

  • 14,000 fireworks
  • Saturday, August 4, 2018
  • Time: 19:00 – 20:30
  • Location: Edogawa-Kasenjiki Area
    • Keisei-Edogawa Station on Keisei Line [KS]
    • Koiwa Station on JR Chuo-Sobu Line [JB]
    • Shinozaki Station on Toei Shinjuku Line [S]
  • www.city.edogawa.tokyo.jp (Japanese)

Itabashi/Todabashi Fireworks Festival

On the same exact day as the Edogawa festival, both Itabashi Ward and Toda City will have theirs on the banks of the Arakawa. The joint event will feature 12,000 fireworks going off from both sides of the river.

Jingu Gaien Hanabi

Jingu Gaien Hanabi is notable for a number of things, but its central location and visibility from a number of neighborhoods is probably the most relevant here.

  • 12,000 fireworks
  • Saturday, August 11th 2018
  • Time: 19:30 – 20:30
  • Location: Above Jingu 2nd Stadium
    • Kokuritsu-kyogijo Station  on the Tokyo Metro Toei Ōedo Line [E]
    • Sendagaya Station on the JR Chūō-Sobu Line [JB]
    • Shinanomachi Station on the JR Chuo-Sobu Line [JB]
    • Kita-sando Station  on the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line [F]
    • Gaienmae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line [G] (recommended)
  • http://www.jinguhanabi.com (JP)

Setagaya Tamagawa Hanabi

Taking place in the Futako-Tamagawa area located just southwest of Shibuya in Setagaya-ku at the Tama River border with Kawasaki, Kanagawa. Dominated by a large collection of shopping plazas including the new Tokyu Rise mall and office complex, the riverside location also offers a long recreational space on both banks. This also means the fireworks can be seen from many different vantage points. Also note, the date has moved up 2 months from August to October now, probably due to the huge thunderstorms that totally canceled the 2017 edition.

More Information

You could also try and secure a spot to view the fireworks from the water via tour boat.

Photo by Kakidai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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