7 Fireworks Festivals Near Tokyo (That Aren’t That Crowded)
A Guide To An Uninterrupted Summer Night
This summer, don't let the crowds disturb your ultimate Japan fireworks experience!
Summer in Japan is hot and humid but never short of fun. As we enter the months of scorching heat, we also welcome the season of summer fireworks festivals in Japan, or hanabi taikai, as they’re known as here.
But if you’ve been to the Sumida Fireworks or any other larger festivals, you’ll know that like everything popular in this country, the fun can easily be killed by the endless crowds and your inability to move neither forward nor backward. Yes, most hanabi taikai get overpopulated — and by that, we’re talking about half to one million people.
But don’t let the crowds stop you from making unforgettable glistening memories this summer! We’ve selected seven off-the-beaten-track fireworks festivals in and near Tokyo that get less crowded than the bigger ones (like Sumida Fireworks, which has an average of 950,000 visitors a year) — but still offer the ultimate experience. Enjoy the season!
Based in the far Western Tokyo, Okutama is a great one-day getaway from the city crowds, regardless of the season. The annual fireworks festival attracts just over 10,000 people, usually locals, yet the experience is as authentic as it gets. Start your day watching the lion dance and mikoshi (portable shrines) parade at the Okuhikawa Shrine festival near Okutama station. Then hike up to the summit of Mt. Atago, or stay around the station, just in time to watch the fireworks spark up the night sky against the beautiful Okutama woods.
When: Sat, Aug 11, 2018, 7:45 p.m.-8:20 p.m.
Where: Hikawa, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, Tokyo. Near JR Okutama station
Known for its “Nagayama Dai Shomei”(Nagayama Great Lighting), this fireworks festival is a rare gem that separates itself from the rest. Complemented by music and gorgeous hill backdrop, the fireworks will light up the sky in different forms including the famous cascading fountain of illuminating gold lights. Slightly larger than Okutama’s festival, this event has 4,001 fireworks (200 more than last year’s) and 14,000 visitors every year. Purchase a seat if you’re watching from within Nagayama Park Ground.
When: Sat, Aug 4, 2018, 7:15 p.m.-8:50 p.m.
Where: Nagayama Park Ground, 25 Sumiecho, Ome, Tokyo. 10 min walk from Ome Station
Reserved seats: ¥5,000-¥6,000 (Box seats), ¥1,000 (chairs)
Immersed in the splendid Hakone nature, the summer night festival will be held near Lake Ashinoko. You can admire around 2,000 fireworks blossom in magnificent color and watch their graceful reflections on the surface of the lake. What’s even better, there will be some personal fireworks messages for an extra few thousand yen — including maybe your own?!
When: Thu, Aug 2-Fri, Aug 3, 2018, 8 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Where: Hakone Garden, 139 Motohakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture. Take a bus from Odawara Station bus stop and get off at Hakone-en bus stop.
Chiba’s Mother Farm is a popular day trip destination for many families, but in summer, it takes visitors’ expectations to another level with its fireworks events. Though not a typical festival, the vast farm allows plenty of space to see the night lights without anyone breathing on your shoulder. There will be approximately 500 fireworks — a minor scale in comparison to the usual ones — but the perks of watching the night lights after petting cows and guinea pigs all day long are irresistible!
When: All weekends between Sat, July 28-Sept 2, 2018 (Every day between Aug 11 and Aug 15, too!), 7:50 p.m.-8:05 p.m.
Where: Mother Farm, 940-3 Tagura Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture. Take the bus from Kimitsu Station, get off at Mother Farm bus stop and walk for about 12 minutes.
Admission: ¥1,500 (Adult), ¥800 (Child), ¥600 (Dog)
Visitors: 3,000 (each day)
What do shopping malls in less populated areas near Tokyo have that those in central Tokyo don’t? Fireworks. This shopping mall with the perfect name for the season, Festival Walk, hosts its own fireworks annually, inviting people to shop until late at night before they end their day with some lights in the sky. It’s a fun event where 1,500 fireworks are released in the background of upbeat music. The highlight of this event is the Niagara Falls fireworks — apparently one of the largest of the kind in the whole Kanto region.
When: Sat, July 28 and Sat, Aug 25, 2018, 8 p.m.- 8:15 p.m.
Where: 51-1 Kawasakicho, Chuo-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba Prefecture. Take the shuttle bus from Sogaeki-nishiguchi Station’s west exit and get off at Festival Walk.
This one gives you the perfect chance to enjoy a day on the beach and see some great lights before you head home. Popular, and perhaps one of the more crowded on the list, this one is a must-see if you’re looking for a unique summer experience. Watching fireworks as you sit on the beach, is, after all, appealing in itself.
When: Thu, July 26, 2018, 7:30 p.m.-8:15 p.m.
Where: Morito Kaigan, Horiuchi, Hayama-shi, Miura District, Kanagawa Prefecture. Take the bus from Zushi station and get off at Morito Shrine Bus Stop.
Dating back to 1948, the annual Sagami Lake Firework festival is more than your regular summer hanabi taikai. The historical event is held annually to commemorate the lives that were lost to the lake. The 5,000 fireworks spreading across the lake form a breathtaking fountain of lights. A popular one in the Kanagawa region, and yet far less crowded than even the small ones in Tokyo.
When: Wed, Aug 1, 2018, 7:30 p.m.-8:45 p.m.
Where: 317-1 Midoriku Yose, Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture. 10-minute walk from Sagamiko Station
Cost for reserved seats: ¥6,000 (for up to four), ¥2,000 (for one), ¥4,000 (sheet seats for up to four)