Get your fill of fireworks this summer in Tokyo
Hey everyone who’s thinking of traveling to Tokyo this summer! How about planning your summer trip around some of the firework shows in Tokyo? Just like with the cherry blossoms, more and more foreign travelers are coordinating their visits with the symbolic seasonal tradition of fireworks! Many pyrotechnicians around the world look up to the high level of fireworks made and used in Japan. Judging by various characteristics like size and color, Japanese techniques are top class in the world. In one single stroke, we will introduce the schedules and locations of the most popular firework shows in Tokyo. Please go ahead and feel free to use this article as notes for your travels and share it with your friends.
Things to be careful of when watching firework shows in Japan
In a single day, tens of thousands of people may come to watch some of these famous fireworks shows. There are many different trains and lines to use as transportation to these shows, and so by avoiding the closest stations to the events, you can sidestep some of the crowds. But even then, heading out without thinking about arrival times or what you’re going to do after the show can cause you some unexpected trouble.
First things first, be sure to check out this helpful article!
Perfect Guide to see Fireworks and Avoid Crowds
Ranked No. 1 in the Kanto region for people who were glad they went to see it: Adachi Fireworks Festival
This is a fireworks festival with over 100 continual years of history. Unlike many other firework shows that stop midway for breaks or narrations, this one launches 13,500 fireworks in only one hour making for such a powerful spectacle you won’t be able to take your eyes of it even for a second. It is for this reason that the Adachi Fireworks Festival has passed up other famous firework shows around the Kanto area like the Sumida River Fireworks Festival for the No. 1 rated fireworks for people who were glad they went to see it.
Instead of the Kitasenju side, one can enjoy the viewing area on the riverbank on the Nishiarai side which is larger and more comfortable for watching the fireworks. However, there are traffic blocks around the Arakawa River fireworks viewing areas from 18:00 – 22:00, so don’t go by taxi. After the show, you can avoid a lot of the crowds by using the Kosuge, Gotanno, and Umejima train stations on the Isesaki Line of the Tobu Railway.
Phone Number：+81-3-3880-5853 (Adachi Tourism and Exchange Association)
Date: Every year in late July – 7/21/2018 (Saturday) *Cancelled in case of rain
Around 13,500 fireworks
Time: 19:30 – 20:30
Launch Location: Arakawa riverbank, Arakawa, Tokyo（東京都荒川区荒川河川敷）
Access：Kitasenju side: 15-minute walk from the Kitasenju Station on the JR Joban Line, Tobu Sky Tree Line, Tokyo Metro Subway Chiyoda Line, the Hibiya Line, and the Tsukuba Express Line. Nishiarai side (north side): 20-minute walk from the Kosuge, Gotanno, and Umejima Stations on the Isesaki Line on the Tobu Railway.
Powerful fireworks on the border of Tokyo and Chiba: Katsushika Noryo Fireworks Festival
The location of the fireworks is in the small town of Shibamata which is well known for its nostalgic charming characteristic of a middle working class town (referred to as “shitamachi”) that was featured in the famous old film, “It’s Tough Being a Man,” and is super popular among foreign travelers. We recommend taking a walk to explore the area before the fireworks. The area around the Edogawa (Edo River) doesn’t have tall skyscrapers, so you can watch this firework show that has a reputation for massive power from right up close to the launching site.
The main viewing area around the Edogawa riverbank can get extremely crowded. So we recommend watching the fireworks from the Shinkatsushika Bridge that spans across the Edogawa on the Matsudo city, Chiba side. Even though this bridge is close to the launching site, you don’t need to arrive early to save a seat and there are also food stalls and portable toilets set up! It’s a little bit of a walk back but use Yagiri Station on the Hokuso train line. The Shinshibamata station gets pretty crowded, but Yagiri Station is located one stop before the Shinshibamata Station on the way to downtown Tokyo, so you if get on at Yagiri Station, then you can get ahead of the crowds that will get on at Shinshibamata and be able to get a train home.
Phone Number：+81-3-6758-2222 (“Hanashobu Call”)
Date: Every year in late July – 7/24/2018 (Tuesday) *Postponed to 7/25 in case of rain or bad weather
Around 15,000 fireworks
Time: 19:20 – 20:20
Launching Site: Edogawa riverbank (Shibamata Baseball Field), Katsushika, Tokyo（東京都葛飾区江戸川河川敷（柴又野球場））
Access：10-minute walk from the Shibamata Station on the Keisei Railway, 20-minute walk from the Kanamachi Station on the Keisei Raiway, 15-minute walk from the Shinshibamata Station on the Hokuso Railway
Watch fireworks in the cityscape of the Tokyo Sky Tree: Sumida River Fireworks Festival
This is the fireworks show that boasts the longest history in Japan dating back to 1733. This fireworks show is so loved and well known by Tokyoites that if you ask about a fireworks show in the city, everyone will say, “Sumida River!” The fireworks are held every year in two locations, and the competition at the No. 1 launch site is absolutely spectacular. Carefully selected pyrotechnicians compete with all their might making for one of the highest level firework shows that takes place in Japan. One of the highlights of the show is watching the glorious spectacle that takes place in the same view as the Tokyo Skytree.
Over one million people come to watch the fireworks show every year making for a lot of congestion. Our recommended secret spot to watch the show is at Sensoji Temple. The temple grounds are vast and many of the viewers flow to other locations such as the Sumida Park so the crowds aren’t so tight here. For those who don’t want to deal with any crowds, you’ll have to separate yourself from the launching site a little, but the riverbank in the Shioiri Park is a great place to watch from which you can access by using the Minamisenju Station on the JR Joban, Tsukuba Express, or Tokyo Metro Hibiya lines. The Minamisenju Station isn’t the closest station to the fireworks, so you can avoid a lot of the crowds and be able to catch your train out! For those who want to watch the show along the Sumida River no matter the crowds, take care when trying to get home! If you try and use the Asakusa, Tokyo Skytree or Oshiage Stations, then there’s a big chance you’ll have to wait two to three hours and still not be able to catch a train home. So, we recommend walking straight out from Asakusa Station along Asakusa-dori street (about a 30 to 40 minutes’ walk) to Ueno Station where you can use a wide variety of train lines.
Phone Number：+81-3-5246-1111 (Sumida River Fireworks Festival Executive Office)
Date: Every year at the end of July – 7/28/2018 (Saturday)
About 20,000 fireworks
Dai 1 Kaijo (No. 1 Launch Site)
Time: 19:05 – 20:30
Launching Site: Downstream from the Sakura Bridge to the Kototoi Bridge（東京都墨田区桜橋下流～言問橋上流）
Access: 15-minute walk from the Asakusa Station on the Tobu Railway, Tokyo Metro Subway, or the Toei Subway lines.
Dai 2 Kaijo (No. 2 Launch Site)
Time: 19:30 – 20:30
Launching Site: Downstream from the Komagata Bridge to the Umaya Bridge（東京都墨田区駒形橋下流～厩橋上流）
No. 1 fireworks festival in Japan for a number of visitors: Edogawa-ku Fireworks Festival
The Edogawa-ku Fireworks Festival in Tokyo takes place on the Edo River which lies between Tokyo and Chiba and takes place at the same time as the Ichikawa Noryou Fireworks Festival. This is the No. 1 fireworks festival in Japan for numbers of visitors! In 2015, around 1,390,000 people came to watch the fireworks! Most firework shows are most exciting at the finale, but with this show it’s right at the opening! 1,000 fireworks are shot up at the first 5 seconds of the show every year, so everyone comes together for a giant countdown. You’ve definitely got to see this moment and join in on the countdown! The show is comprised of eight different themed sections for you to enjoy the fireworks.
The No. 1 fireworks show for the largest amount of visitors takes the number 1 spot for being most crowded. The opening is the biggest highlight of the show, so be sure to go early and get a spot. There is a limit to the number of people allowed in Shinozaki Station after the show, so buy your return ticket when you first arrive before going to watch the fireworks. If possible, leave the show early 20 minutes before the finale and head back to the station. We recommend heading to the large Shinozaki Park where it is relatively easy to get a viewing spot located at a 15-minute walk from Shinozaki Station.
Phone Number：+81-3-5662-0523 (Edo River Fireworks Festival Executive Committee)
Date: 8/4 (Saturday) *Postponed to 8/5 in case of severe weather
About 14,000 fireworks
Time: 19:15 – 20:30
Launching Site: Edogawa Riverbank, Edogawa, Tokyo（東京都江戸川区江戸川河川敷）
Access：15-minute walk from Shinozaki Station on the Toei Subway, 25-minute walk from JR Koiwa Station, 25-minute walk from Edogawa Station on the Keisei Railway, 45-minute walk from Mizue Station on the Toei Subway.
Longest string of fireworks in the Kanto area: the “Niagara Falls” fireworks of the Itabashi Fireworks Festival
The highlight of this show is the longest string of fireworks in the Kanto region, the “Niagara Falls” which continue for a length of 700 m. The show also includes other fireworks like those in the shape of characters from the world popular anime, Yokai Watch, that go off with accompanying background music making for a popular show with the kids and an overall spectacular show that will cause both kids and adults alike to dance for joy. Don’t miss the most colossal fireworks in the city that take place after a 150,000 person ceremonial triple clap.
The most crowded spot is Nishidai Station on the Toei Mita Line with access to the central viewing grounds. To avoid these crowds, use Takashimadaira Station. The grass viewing area located close to the station is relatively uncrowded. However, the return train from Nishidai Station gets super packed! In fact, you may not be able to catch a train back home! The JR Ukimafunado Station is also super packed! Unfortunately because Itabashi is located relatively far from Tokyo City center, the options for stations with access to a large amount of train lines is limited. We recommend either leaving 20 minutes before the finale to head for your train, or waiting until things settle down around 23:00, while enjoying one of the local izakaya (Japanese style pub)! Who would’ve thought?
Phone Number：+81-3-3579-2255 (Itabashi Tourism Association)
Date: 8/4 (Saturday) *Proceeds in case of light rain – Postponed until 8/5 in case of severe weather
About 12,000 fireworks
Time: 19:00 – 20:30
Launching Site: Arakawa riverbank, Itabashi, Tokyo（東京都板橋区荒川河川敷）
Access：20-minute walk from the Nishidai Station on the Toei Mita Line, 20-minute walk from the Takashimadaira Station on the Toei Mita Line, 20-minute walk from the Hasune Station on the Toei Mita Line, 20-minute walk from the JR Ukimafunado Station.
Firework shows compete in two spots at once: Setagaya Tamagawa Fireworks Festival
The “Tamagawa Fireworks Festival Commemorating the Establishment of Kawasaki City” takes place on both sides of the Tamagawa (Tama River) appearing as if they’re competing for your gaze. The Futakotamagawa area has an atmosphere of a celebrity neighborhood which is also fun to enjoy. Food stalls line both the Futakotamagawa and Kawasakigawa sides allowing you to get into the festival mood wherever you are!
Waiting in lines at the closest station of Futako-tamagawa Station to the Setagayagawa event grounds during the peak times may easily take around 2 hours. Even if you try to use Yoga Station which is one station ahead, you may not be able to ride due to the large amount of passengers that boarded at the Futako-tamagawa Station. One option would be to walk 2 km along the Tama River to the Tamagawa Station from which you can catch a train. You should either leave 20 minutes before the end of the show and head over to the station early or wait for the peak crowds to pass while enjoy a relaxing nighttime meal at one of the many restaurants and bars in the area and then get on a train around 23:00. The closest station to the main event stage on the Kawasaki side, Futako-shinchi Station is small and located right in front of a narrow street which gets so crowded, it’s hard to expect to be able to get on a train. Traffic blocks are lifted at 22:00, so if you aren’t able to get your train home, there is the option of taking a taxi.
Phone Number：+81-3-5432-333 (“Setagaya Call”)
Date: 10/13/2018 (Saturday)
Around 6,000 fireworks (12,000 when combined with the fireworks from the Kawasaki side)
Time: 19:00 – 20:00 *Cancelled in case of severe weather
Launching Site: Futakotamagawa Sports Ground, Setagaya, Tokyo（東京都世田谷区二子玉川緑地運動場）
Access：15-minute walk from the Futako-tamagawa Station on the Tokyu Denen Toshi Line, 10-minute walk from the Futako Shinchi Station on the Tokyu Denen Toshi Line.
What about the other firework shows?
For Tokyo fireworks veterans and connoisseurs, you may be wondering, “You mean you’re not going to mention that one?!” In fact, there are two other super famous firework shows that we have not introduced in this report. So … the reason for not doing so is … ?
◆Goodbye until the Tokyo Olympics: Tokyo Bay Fireworks Festival
The Tokyo Bay Fireworks Festival with stunning fireworks shot up over the night cityscape of Odaiba and the Rainbow Bridge which is also known as extremely popular among foreign visitors is cancelled for the time being! The reason for this concerns the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The site of the fireworks show is also that of the future athletes’ quarters. Because the site is under construction, we’re just going to have to wait until 2021.
◆The fireworks show that’s difficult for foreigner travelers to watch: Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival
The Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival is included as one of the top three in Tokyo whose main grounds are comprised of reserved admission seats. The show takes place every year in late August which in 2017 falls on 8/20. Admission tickets are sold on the day of the show but they are very difficult to acquire. Doing so requires an advance ticket bought beforehand which makes it a relatively difficult event for foreign travelers to get to.
The event takes place in a stadium, so from the outside you can only see especially high fireworks. For those who still want to get a peak of the show without going in the stadium, we’ll introduce a place here. However, live concerts take place between the fireworks leaving those trying to see the show from the outside … a little bored. Those outside of the stadium won’t be able to tell when the music has stopped, leaving you wondering if the fireworks will start again.
◎Spots to watch the fireworks from the outside
・Around Gaemmae Station of the Tokyo Metro Subway
・Around Aoyama-itchome Station
Those watching the above mentioned Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival use the stations closest to the site making for extreme crowds.
◎Locations with relatively less crowds
・Around the intersection of the Hatonomori-Hachiman Jinja Shrine located at a 5-minute walk from the Sendagaya Station on the JR Chuo and Sobu Lines.
・13F terrace of the Takashimaya Shinjuku Store
These locations will still draw large crowds so be sure to head over early to get a viewing spot.
Schedules for the fireworks festivals change slightly from year to year. Definitely be sure to make plans only after checking show schedules on their relative home pages! Different fireworks festivals may be cancelled or postponed due to rain or severe weather conditions.