EP 19: Summer Fireworks in Japan

Fireworks are very popular in Japan, and nearly every one of Tokyo’s 23 wards launches them during the weekends in the summer. Access by car would not be possible for most venues, so most people arrive by train, bike, or foot. 

Maybe I’m crazy, but I like the organized chaos of attending fireworks.

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Hundreds of thousands will attend a fireworks display (with some events getting up to a million spectators). As many of them are held on riverbanks, it’s crowded, but manageable.

If you don’t live within walking distance, riding the train is a popular way to get to fireworks.

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You can spot the Yukata’s (浴衣 – casual summer kimono) in the crowds. They look like kimono’s, but they’re not so formal, expensive, or heavy.

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I don’t know what fireworks are like where you live, but where I’m from in Canada, our shows would maybe last 20-30 minutes. The larger displays in Tokyo can last 1-2 hours. I was blown away to say the least.

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It was nice to see that after the fireworks people generally did a decent job of cleaning up after themselves.

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What’s fireworks like where you’re from?

15 comments on EP 19: Summer Fireworks in Japan

  • Brenda

    Hello Aiko and family!

    I’m Brenda from Singapore, and 21 this year! Most definitely not a child anymore. Been watching your YouTube ever since I chanced upon the Japanese breakfast video that went viral on Facebook, and I must say – you have a lovely family!

    Watched your video on fireworks in Japan just today and I thought I’d share with you a video of the fireworks I took recently, as Singapore just celebrated her 50th birthday!

    Enjoy!

    • lifewhereimfrom (author)

      Hi Brenda,

      Those fireworks look amazing! Thanks for sharing the video!

  • Mindy

    Hello from Canada, in the Quebec province!

    I do not know if you were from the place in Canada you mentioned, but here, in Montreal, there is a fireworks competition where groups of firework makers coming from all over the world show their best fireworks. There is at least one show of fireworks every week, usually during the week-end through July and August, and they last about 30 minutes. The best place to watch them is at the nearby amusement park where you buy tickets to have seats right in front of the show, but since the fireworks are so big and there’s a radio station that plays the music that plays along with the show, you can watch them anywhere nearby! Some go on rooftops, some take boat rides, others go on the nearby bridge (I heard that you feel like you’re in the fireworks there!) and, what I usually do with my family, go to a parking lot and watch them on the comfort of your outdoor chairs or your car seats! Things can get pretty crowded too before and after the fireworks, but it’s not too bad.

    Love all your videos! Good luck, and see you on your next one!

    • lifewhereimfrom (author)

      I was born in Winnipeg, but lived in Vancouver most of my adult life. We have something similar in Vancouver, called the Celebration of Light (or whatever they’re calling it now), where countries would compete for 3-4 weekends in the summer.

  • Liena_banana

    Last July, we went to watch “Cannon fight” at my hometown in Perak, Malaysia. This thing has been a tradition at Kampung Talang for years. Only this year we decided to actually go watch it, and I was surprised that this thing has become a big thing since the past 2-3 years. It was like a festival here. There were a lot of food stalls and the place was so crowded with people from kids to aunties and uncles. There we’re 4 sites of this “cannon port” and we went to one of the sites (video above). I was so shocked at the explosion, my body ‘refelxly’ squirmed at every explosions! They were so loud I didn’t expect it! The best part is when people are cheering simultaneously at the end of the “successful shots”.

    I do not fully agree with this kind of thing for some reasons but this year I decided to give it a go. Well, it was an experience 🙂

  • Liena_banana

    Ops, I sent the wrong clip, this is the better , shorter shot.

    • lifewhereimfrom (author)

      Wow Liena, I now understand why you said your body was squirming as those were going off. I wasn’t expecting those big torches and explosions!

  • Emily volante

    I love all your videos I see them every day I don’t now what fireworks are like I live in America I love my life I want to go to Japan one day.

  • Sam Ford

    Hello, Aiko, Shin and parents! I’m Sam and I’m from Texas. I watch your show and really enjoy it. I love seeing other cultures and really love Japan. Aiko is also just the cutest. ^-^

    In Texas we only get fireworks 2 weeks out of the year: one week leading up to New Year’s, and one week leading up to the Fourth of July. You /can/ set them off during those weeks, but most people save them for those two days. There are professional and quasi professional displays all around, and they generally last between 15-30 mins, depending on how many people are in attendance. Many shows have an orchestra playing along on the 4th of July. I live in the country, so people can buy their own fireworks and set them off on their own property or in the street. New Year’s is louder than the 4th, because everyone sets them off at midnight all at once on New Years, but in July people just fire them off whenever it gets dark. It is never crowded, and I can sit on my front porch and watch the neighbors set them off, or buy some and do it myself. But really, we only get fireworks twice a year. I don’t know if that’s sad, or helps to make it more special.

    • lifewhereimfrom (author)

      Listening to the orchestra while watching fireworks sounds fantastic! It’d be fun to set off fireworks yourself, but I think it’d also be a bit scary. – The Dad

  • Becky

    Where I’m from in the UK, we have fireworks every 5th of November for Bonfire Night/ Guy Fawkes Night (although I think they also celebrate it in parts of Canada). People often set off fireworks at home if their gardens are big enough. Most towns do a big public display, too. In my town, it’s on the first Saturday of every November, and it’s held in the biggest park in the town centre. There’s always loads of funfair rides and food stalls, and people selling glowsticks. There’s also always bonfires and the burning of the Guy. Then the display is usually a couple hours after the funfair opens. The fireworks used to be set to music, but the last time I went (10 years ago!), there wasn’t any music 🙁

    The funfair stays open for quite a while after the fireworks – I’m not sure how long, as we always used to leave after the fireworks had finished, because once they were over the funfair got too crowded.

    I don’t have any pictures or videos of Bonfire Night, as I haven’t been in ten years, but I’m thinking I’ll go this year if I’m not stuck at work. If I do, I’ll be happy to share them if you and Aiko want to see what our Bonfire Night celebration looks like.

  • Vivian Oxford

    Guten tag! As you may already know, My name is Vivian. I am a 18 year old half British, half German teen who lives in Berlin, Germany. My family and I take a vacation to UK every Summer since I beg them to and I admire the United Kingdom very much. To say the least, I am not quite happy, as well as other Germans, that we are criticized because Germany was once under the rule of Nazis. But we are most certainly proud of being able to win the FIFA, not to brag. Do you know of those Stereotypes that say we’re neat freaks and we have to be early or at least on time? Well, that’s basically me! I have Black hair and unnaturally bright blue eyes which I inherited from my father. Speaking if my family, we aren’t very close but we do live each other. Do your siblings ever annoy you so much you have the urge to yell at them? That’s my siblings and I everyday. We fight over the silliest things like who gets the last piece of wurst or pretzel, who’s the first to use the bathroom and many more immature things. I’m probably the only person in my family who’s a perfectionist. I’m usually the first to wake up and make myself breakfast just so I could use the bathroom first. I know, that seems quite selfish not to wake up the others just so I could go first. Enough about the bathroom, Let me tell you about school. My classmates are pretty smart since the lowest grade I have ever seen in my school is a C. I’m a fairly smart student who’s in the Top Ten but my classmates and I are shocked, considering the fact I’m quite lazy with homework and seatworks. At our school, everyone has a talent. My friend Ludwig is really good at sports and he is quite popular since he is good at sports and might I add, pretty good looking. My friend Elizabetha on the other hand is very artistic and everyone admires her for her work and her kind and sweet personality. As for myself, I play the piano, guitar and drums and I can draw pretty well since Elizabetha taught me. During our vacations, My friends and I go touring around Germany, not forgetting to bring a lot of money since we are obviously gonna pay for tickets (since we use an airplane as means of travel) and other necessary items. Our first stop is the Berlin Wall, which was torn down on The November of 1989 (I’m not quite sure of it, though) Next we head to Schwarzwald (black forest) which us a great spot for nature lovers. As we fly above Berlin, we notice that it resembles shattered glass. I do hear people say that the Capital of a country is the country’s heart. This makes me sad since it reminds me of Germany from Hetalia. Oh, I forgot to mention that my friends and I are MAJOR otakus and geeks. Going back on topic, After we go to Schwarzwald, we go Hiking on Zugspitze , which borders Germany and Austria. The view, if you get high enough, is really quite nice. After that somewhat dangerous yet thrilling hike, we head a little bit to the north to Go visit Munich, to attend the famous Oktoberfest even though we don’t drink much and to experience the typical Gemülichkiet (friendliness, warmth) We also go there to tour the Neuschwanstein Castle, AKA the castle that inspired Sleeping Beauty. After that, we head north to Schwerin to go see Schwerin Castle. It is very enchanting and looks like it was part of a fairy tale. Speaking of castles, There are LOADS of castles here in Germany, Like the Neuschwanstein Castle, AKA Sleeping Beauty’s castle which was mentioned before. That’s all I could say for now,y fingers are starting to ache. I apologize for not adding pictures from our tours since I’m using my phone and it won’t let me upload the photos. I’m quite disappointed but I’ll transfer to my computer to rt and send pictures

    • Vivian Oxford

      Oh, sorry. I meant to say I’ll TRY and send pictures

      • Vivian Oxford

        And I also forgot, It’s supposed to be “But we do LOVE each other”

    • lifewhereimfrom (author)

      Thanks for letting us know about your life. We’d really love to visit all of Germany’s castles one day!

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