Summer means one thing in Japan, and that’s fireworks festivals. There’s no better way to enjoy warm summer evenings in Yokohama than with a lit-up sky, yukata and chu-hai picnics.
While spring has hanami (flower viewing), summer has hanabi (fireworks or “fire flowers”)—and with displays that will knock your socks off in terms of animals, cartoon characters and more, you won’t be disappointed. Yokohama fireworks festivals may not have quite the same funds as the Tokyo ones, but it certainly comes close, with plenty of great shows to choose from. Plus, there’s the bonus of less high-rises and slightly smaller crowds. So head to these festivals, set up a picnic and enjoy the incredible skylines alight with spectacular displays.
Yokohama Sparkling Twilight 2018
One of the newest festivals in Yokohama, Sparkling Twilight is still in its infancy but is already one of the most impressive displays around. Now taking place across two days with fireworks launched from the port, you can enjoy the display from any of the great viewing spots nearby. There is a ‘Sparkling Parade’ as well as processions of mikoshi (portable shrines) from every district in Yokohama, an illuminated boat procession and ice carving. Food wise you can enjoy a special selection of the city’s best restaurants in a pop-up affair called Seaside Restaurant in Yamashita Park.
The festival takes place from 11:30am to 8:30pm with fireworks between 7:30pm and 8pm. The closest station is Kannai.
Smaller scale, and outside Yokohama, yes, but a firework display on a beach is too good to turn down. The Kamakura fireworks display takes place at Yuigahama with plenty of good viewing spots on the beach or in Kamakura Seaside Park just behind it. This is a great way to end a day of exploring Kamakura or relaxing on the beach or is worth a trip of its own! The nearest station is Yuigahama or Wadazuka. There has been no back-up date this summer so if the weather is bad it will be canceled.
32nd Tsurumi River Summer Festival 2018
The event sees over 1,200 fireworks light up the skies over the Tsurumi River to the north-west of Yokohama city. Enjoy the best views from the banks of the river at Tsukuno Park with food stands, exhibitions and concerts throughout the evening. There are boat rides during the day and the fireworks begin at 7pm. Bleacher seats are available but are given away with sponsorship or through prior purchase. If the weather conditions are too bad on the 18th, the show will be postponed to the 19th. The closest station is Tsurumi Station which is a 5-minute walk away.
44th Kanazawa Fireworks Festival
Held in the southern area of Yokohama, this display takes place at the only swimming beach in the city: Uni-no-Koen, or Marine Park. There will be 3,200 fireworks launched into the sea air for a dazzling display on August 25 from 7pm until 8pm. Marine Park will have food stalls and plenty of drinks to sustain the summer revelers so you can choose to bring a picnic or enjoy the street-food offerings.
If the weather is bad the show will be cancelled rather than postponed. The nearest stations are Uminokoen-shibaguchi, Uminokoen-minami guchi, or Hakkejima.
A demonstration of friendly rivalry, this fireworks display takes place across the Tama River between Tokyo and Kanagawa. As last year was a washout thanks to the weather, this year they have decided to move it to October (because who cares about typhoons). Containing two shows in one as the neighboring prefectures compete with ever-growing displays, it is a great night with a brilliant atmosphere. The event is a popular one though and sometimes so crowded that there are size limits on your blue sheet space per person (around 40,000 attend each year).
The best vantage point is on the Kanagawa side of the river near Futako Shinchi Station where you will find all number of food stalls open from 3pm to 9pm or Futakotamagawa station on the other side. The lack of high-rise buildings nearby though means there are plenty of good spots, so if you arrive a little late don’t worry.
Escape Tokyo for the day, see mountains, hot springs, the modern, the traditional, the old and the ancient!
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