Nothing says summer in Tokyo like a few thousand rockets lighting up the sky in the shape of Pikachu, cherry blossoms or a frog-like thing. Squinty interpretation aside, Tokyo summer fireworks are impressive—see for yourself.
Fireworks festivals are the perfect place for a yukata date, a picnic get-together or a pleasant surprise on your unusually busy walk home. Held throughout the summer in Japan, they will knock the socks off anything you’ve seen before—especially if you’re lucky enough to see one of the competitive events attended by national and international pyrotechnic companies. In Tokyo, there are huge events like the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival, and smaller events held in quieter suburbs—depending on your capacity to tolerate crowds, you’ll want to choose carefully.
Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival | July 27th | Asakusa
If you only go to one Tokyo fireworks festival, make it the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival in Asakusa (from 7pm-8.30pm). The origin of this particular festival dates back to 1733, so it’s rich with history, tradition, and intense competition between pyrotechnic companies trying to outdo one another.
And what comes with all that is equally intense crowds. Roughly a million people from far and wide come to see the spectacle from just about any vantage point possible—river boats, rooftops or just elbow to elbow in the streets. But don’t let that put you off: the 20,000(!) fireworks lighting up the sky in just about every shape and color imaginable make up for having to share space. Read our Sumidagawa Fireworks survival guide for tips on enjoying the festival without breaking a sweat or wrecking your wallet.
Other Tokyo fireworks festivals to check out
Just because the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival is pretty much the mother of Tokyo’s fireworks festivals doesn’t mean that the rest aren’t worth attending! These other summer fireworks events also draw huge crowds, but perhaps you’ll have better luck finding a prime spot for some of them.
1. Adachi Fireworks Festival | July 20th | Kita Senju
The Adachi Fireworks Festival sees 13,600 rocket-type fireworks blasting off into the night sky. It’ll last for an hour (7.30pm-8.30pm) and takes place along the Arakawa River—specifically, near Nishi-Araibashi Park. It has been going strong for more than four decades.
2. Katsushika Fireworks Festival | July 23rd | Shibamata
Also known as the Katsushika Noryo Hanabi, this event will take place from 7:20pm-8:20pm at the Shibamata Baseball Field, about 10 minutes away from Shibamata Station. While it takes place on a weekday night this year, it should still manage to attract quite a crowd, what with its 13,000 fireworks lighting up the sky. It’s been going for over 50 years.
3. Edogawa Fireworks Festival | August 3rd | Edogawa
Another one of Tokyo’s older fireworks festivals, the Edogawa Fireworks Festival has been lighting up the skies for over 40 years. It’s a bit of a walk from either Koiwa Station (25 minutes) or Shinozaki Station (15 minutes) to the venue: the Edogawa riverbank. About 14,000 fireworks will go off, set to music and grouped according to different themes. This festival takes place from 7.15pm-8.30pm. In case of rain, the event will be postponed to the next day.
4. Itabashi Fireworks Festival | August 3rd | Itabashi
Celebrating its 60th year, the Itabashi Fireworks Festival is a bit longer than most Tokyo fireworks events, running from 7pm-8.30pm. The event area, the south banks of the Itabashi River, is a long walk from the nearest train stations (30 minutes, regardless of which you pick). The organizers caution that Ukima-Funado tends to be the most crowded station, and that Takashimadaira is the most convenient. If you don’t want to walk all the way, you can take a 15-minute bus ride from Narimasu or Tobu-Nerima Stations.
The festival promises some extra special fireworks for the anniversary, including a 700m Niagara Falls display, and there’ll be a photo contest, so make sure to get your best shot of the fireworks. The event is free, but reserved seating options are also available.
The most adorable place in Japan.
5. Tamagawa Fireworks Festival | October 5th | Futakotamagawa
Another of the popular ones, this event has been moved to October after a big washout in 2017. It will be held from 6pm-7pm around the Futakotamagawa area, just above the Tama River. It gets crowded extremely quickly, so stake out a location as early as possible (or you can pay for a reserved seat here if you’ve got the funds). The fireworks will be set off to music, and there will be a photo contest as well. Note the event will be canceled in case of bad weather, with no postponement date.
6. Tokyo Bay Fireworks Festival (on hold until after the 2020 Olympics)
Featuring 12,000 fireworks, this event is one of Tokyo’s best-known summer fireworks festivals. However, it’s been put on hold until after the 2020 Olympics due to development in the area.
Smaller-scale Tokyo fireworks events
1. Hachioji Fireworks Festival | July 27th | Hachioji
This event is a small one, with 3,500 fireworks brightening the skies above Fujimori Park, 15 minutes away from Nishi-Hachioji Station, from 7pm-8.30pm.
2. Showa Kinen Park Fireworks Festival | July 27th | Tachikawa
Taking place at the spacious, beautiful Showa Kinen Park/Showa Memorial Park, this small-scale event takes place from 7pm-8pm, and will feature 5,000 fireworks. While entrance to the park is free from 6pm, entering the park before then will require paying, but is recommended if you want to stake out a better spot. The organizers estimate that crowds will start to gather at 5pm, so try to arrive earlier than that—you could even stroll around if you arrive early enough. The park is great for a picnic, so why not try to enjoy a dinner accompanied by fireworks?
3. Koto Fireworks Festival | August 1st | Minamisuna
From 7.30pm-8.30pm, prepare to see about 4,000 fireworks at Sunamachi Mizube Park near the Arakawa River, a 15-minute walk from Minami-Sunamachi Station. Although the event is small in scale, you can expect a crowd of about 35,000 to show up. The fireworks will be canceled in case of a typhoon, with no second date confirmed (as of June), although generally it is held rain or shine. Also, it may be worth noting that access is currently affected by earthquake countermeasure work—so be sure to follow additional guidance from stewards and take care.
4. Ome City 70th Noryo Fireworks Festival | August 3rd | Ome
Apparently started to celebrate the arrival of Toei buses in 1948, this is a local-level fireworks festival. Held at Nagayama Park, a 10-minute walk from JR Ome Station, the display will run from 7.15pm-8.55pm, and will feature exactly 4,132 shots—count ’em.
5. Jingugaien Fireworks Festival | August 10th | Jingugaien
With 12,000 fireworks, this event was started as a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the opening of Meiji Jingu Shrine. The fireworks run from 7.30pm-8.30pm, but there will also be performances from various artists. Tickets are required for seats in Jingu Stadium, Jingu Secondary Stadium and the Chichibunomiya Rugby Field, but you can still see the fireworks for free if you’re around the area (although do note the launch site has moved to the softball stadium, which may affect the view for unpaid areas). Gaienmae and Aoyama-itchome Station are close to the venue. The event will take place on the following day in case of bad weather.
6. Chofu City Fireworks Festival | September 7th | Chofu
One of the last fireworks sessions of the summer, the Chofu gig is being held earlier than usual in 2019. Like the larger Tamagawa Fireworks Festival, this event, which is in its 63rd year, will light up the Tama River with 10,000 fireworks from 6.30pm-7.30pm, with the opening ceremony starting at 6pm.
Pro tip: For more options, check out these fireworks festivals in Yokohama.
This post was published in 2015 and is updated annually. Last update: June, 2019. While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.
Hangout with Snoopy and the gang at the newly reopened Snoppy Museum in Tokyo.
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