The first firework festival to take place in Japan was in 1733 and since then it seems they haven’t been able to get enough of these spectacular shows, and neither can we…
Japanese summers are full of fireworks festivals or 花火大会 (hanabi taikai) with more than 200 in August alone. They happen all over the country and range in size, with small fireworks displays (or sparkles) enjoyed in backyards or parks to large fireworks shows which can use between 100,000 and 120,000 rounds of fireworks and attract more than 800,000 spectators.
These stunning events are related to the Buddhist tradition of Obon (August 15th), when ancestors are believed to visit this world and people take holidays visiting cemeteries. Those attending the bigger festivals tend to wear the beautiful traditional Yukata, summer Kimono, or Jinbei and they make an event of it, taking food and drink and meeting friends and family to watch the displays. Japan’s fireworks technology is said to be the best in the world and has been handed own from generation to generation since the Edo period, although these days computers are often used to enhance their precision.
We asked three popular Japanese bloggers to share their favourite images of these astounding fireworks displays.
In the blog ‘Landscapes for Four Seasons in Shinshu’ RV focuses on the stunning landscape of Shinshu, a high-altitude mountainous area in central Japan, where he lives. He has also covered the beautiful fireworks that took place over Laka Suwa on August 17th this year; as many as 40,000 loads of fireworks were launched and 500,000 people gathered to view this magnificent occasion. The images are breathtaking.
Ichigo Milk (Strawberry Milk) is a very popular photo blog written by Sakura and features landscapes, night views, flowers, wildlife and architecture. There are very few words, allowing the pictures to speak for themselves. She has posted photos from August 15th, or Obon day, where the yard of the nearby Buddhist temple was opened to the public, so families gathered to celebrate and enjoy the festival.
Tori is a graphic designer in Tokyo, creator of the blog Yutoriro and a great cat lover. Her images focus on cats but also cover her daily minutiae – parties, cooking, exercise, abstracts, lunches, etc. Her fireworks photos were posted on August 12th and feature a firework event nearby. She said, ‘The event lasted an hour in total, but they must have being preparing it for a long time! I wish I could be a firework artist.’
We are going to keep updating this piece as we receive new images and also add in new festivals, facts and bloggers too, so keep an eye out for new postings and send us your photos and favourite festivals as you never know we could be featuring them too!